How to Build a House, The TINTO Way

Interior of bespoke, contemporary self build house — TINTO Architecture, Scotland

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.
If you can dream it, you can become it.”

William Arthur Ward's famous quote is so true of a self build home project. If you can imagine it, and it can be drawn, then it can be built. With many factors to consider from planning a house design to the completion of your new build home, the skilled team at TINTO are here to point you in the right direction.

Based in Aberdeen, Scotland — we're an architecture and interior design practice who work across residential, commercial and retail & leisure projects — transforming your world through place and space.

Self Build Scotland: A Home Tailored to Your Exact Lifestyle

A self build project is the easiest and most direct way to create your dream home — a space entirely shaped by you, down to the very last detail. It gives you the freedom to customise every aspect of the design to your specific wants and needs, in a way that perfectly suits your lifestyle and tastes.

Embarking on a new home project can seem like a daunting task — one that can often feel overwhelming — and many homebuyers would feel the temptation to give up on their dream home, simply because they do not know where to begin. At TINTO, however we believe that if you find the right architect to guide you through this journey, a self build can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever hope to do in life. A once in a lifetime achievement, for most of us — and something we never take lightly when working with our valued clients.

We have addressed some of the most important questions, issues and steps below, to help you on your journey to building your very own custom self build home — and we welcome any further queries, so be sure to get in touch with TINTO for more information.

Large, Contemporary New Build House Concept by TINTO Architecture

Designing a Home — Why Do It?

Building a new home from scratch has become an increasingly popular option — particularly for people moving out of towns and cities and into the countryside, where land is available to buy and views are plentiful. The drive to live more sustainably and keep energy costs down is also a significant factor here, and self builds can be build to retain warmth and integrate various renewable energy features, such as photovoltaic solar panels.

They are also cost effective to build, against the purchase of an ‘alternative’ new build, while also offering a huge return on your investment, with buyers paying more for ‘one off’ homes than template housing by major developers.

Building to the space you have to work with, you can live exactly where you want to and create the perfect space for you and your lifestyle — right down to practical considerations like family, working from home and access requirements. A novel example of designing practically is the concept of 'tiny house' living — offering simplicity and eco benefits for those that choose to do it. No matter what you choose, the bottom line is that with the right home to base yourself in you can better blend your work/life balance, giving you more time to pursue other life goals and do something good for the world.

Tiny house concept by TINTO Architecture, Scotland

Building a House Step By Step

Buying a Plot of Land

There are many different approaches to a self build home, but having a location or piece of land is often the best place to start. There are specialist plot-finding websites, however you can also strike gold with a plot by checking the local council’s website for recent planning applications, studying the local area, attending local auctions, registering with independent estate agents and using the internet to search for available land if you have a specific location in mind.

Finding the Right Architect

The next key step after securing a location is to find an architect. Rich Tinto, our Vision Guy says it best:

“The relationship you will form with your architect is probably the single most important new relationship in your life, after your life partner.”

At TINTO, we take this very seriously. We understand the commitment it takes to set out on a self build project, and how as much as anything else it is a hugely emotional experience.

We urge everyone who speaks to us about a possible project to take the time to make sure they have an architect who really understands them and their vision. If this relationship cannot be formed, you need to walk away and find the right fit — it is too important a factor to overlook.

We love to work with new clients on ambitious projects and small, meaningful ones — but we'll always be the first to say if we don't think we can help you best.

A Quick Look at The TINTO Way

To greater illustrate the process involved in creating a self build home project in Scotland — or wherever we might be working — here is a glimpse into the TINTO outlook on this journey.

The TINTO Way — process diagram from Scottish architects TINTO.

At the initial ‘Discover’ and 'Imagine' stages, we make time for listening to your initial ideas and really understanding what is most important to you — from home inspiration to absolute must-have features — and from this we can begin to conceptualise and shape a brand new vision, one that encompasses everything you want for your new self build home.

In our next stage we identify opportunities and challenges, all part of the journey to your perfect design. This is where things get exciting — and includes a Co-Creation session where ideas are shaped uniquely by you, from which we start to prepare home design visuals that help your ideas come to life, while also confirming budget and timelines.

Before we can engage with contractors and specialist consultants on the build stage, we prepare a package of all the paperwork you will need in the process of the build. We then take your detailed project requirements to our trusted network of contractors – another step made easier, allowing you to focus on making plans for your new future home.

Team TINTO manage the construction process, liaising with vendors and keeping you informed on key developments. We also take care of obtaining legal and contractual requirements, including completion certificates. Upon completion, we are there to review the project successes and consider anything that may be required in the future.

We are confident in our process, we welcome challenges and, above all, we place value in certainty, which allows us to successfully lead clients from initial ideas through to final delivery and review of their new home project. You can find out more about the TINTO Way on the Your Journey page.

Large, contemporary self build home concept by TINTO Architecture, Aberdeen

Building a Dream Home?
Some Tips and Things to Remember:

Realism is Important
While enthusiasm is a big plus, it's vital to manage your expectations and be realistic. There are many ways to do a new build home project, but from the start you should be clear about what time you have for the project, your experience, and what you want to take from it.

Find an Architect You Can Lean On
You need to make sure you have someone who can lead and steer you through the journey, from start to finish, to ensure that you can really get to grips with the elements you are confident of, and leave everything else to the professionals and the team around you.

Resale Value Comes From Getting the Build Right
New builds give off great value at the end, with common uplifts of between 10-40% of overall spend value, and this is motivation for many. However, you cannot skip the early stages and our job is to ensure that we excite you with our ideas, are pragmatic with the numbers, and provide you with clarity in delivery, freeing you up to be your best self, and to take possession of your build as enthused and energetic as the day you decided to do it.

If all of the unknowns could be taken away, who in their dreams would not want to build their own home? Very few! At TINTO, we exist to create great places and spaces that transform your world and aim to make the journey as enjoyable and stress free as possible, with you in mind at every stage.

If you have thought about building your dream home, or if reading this has got you thinking about the possibilities, get in touch with TINTO to find out more.


Building a New Home

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, a major project — we can help.
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