FRIDAY last week saw an unorthodox gallery open at the country’s first custom home development.

‘Design Your Home’, part of Places for People, put together the ‘gallery’ in partnership with Homes England, inside a new showhome at the Squirrel Wood development, in Rooksdown.

The UK-first scheme gives people the opportunity to design their own home while the ‘gallery’ is made up of a display in each room of all of the fixtures and fittings the developer offers as part of the designing package.

The ‘gallery’ was opened by Basingstoke MP Maria Miller and mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Seán Keating.

Buyers are able to choose their own layout, including open plan living, additional rooms in the roof, extra bathrooms, and extensions. They can also pick from a range of internal choices on kitchens, bathrooms, skirting, coving, doors, light/electrical fittings, door furniture, sustainability features, garden design and paint colours.

The cost of a ‘Design Your Home’ bespoke home is no more expensive than the cost of a home from a volume house builder and, due to some tax advantages, it can often be cheaper.

‘Design Your Home’ also helps out purchasers with their rental costs whilst their new home is being built.

As all of the custom choices have been pre-approved for planning and the foundations are pre-installed, a home can be delivered within six months.

Kim Slowe, chief executive officer of Design Your Home, said: “People have been given far too little choice in how their new home is designed for far too long. We’re putting that right.

“Design Your Home puts the buyer in control of how their new home is configured, enabling them to buy a bespoke house at no extra cost. This change is way overdue.”

Under-construction Squirrel Wood is Design Your Home’s first major project, consisting of 122 homes with the first phase sold out.

The average price of a home is £350,000 and half of all buyers are first-timers.

New schemes in Swindon and Dorchester are also underway.

The company expects to launch 500 plots a year within the next three years.