Fin Orme designs self-build house in Somerset with ORME architecture

Fin Orme designs self-build house in Somerset with ORME architecture

The house is situated within the same plot as Orme’s childhood home – an eco-house designed in 1997 by his late father Mark Orme, founder of ORME architecture. The new structure is built principally from timber, using a twin-stud frame and structural glulam.

The walls and roof are insulated with recycled warm-cell newspaper and the exterior is primarily clad in local larch timber, grown within 30 miles of the site.  PV panels and an air-source heat pump provide a localised self-sufficient heat and electrical source.


A double-height open-plan living space sits at the heart of the building, accommodating a kitchen, dining and sitting areas.  The kitchen is made from CNC-cut plywood and reclaimed timber fronts with a micro-cement worktop.  Two large glazed sliding doors open out from the living room onto a west-facing patio that overlooks Glastonbury Tor and is designed to capture evening sunsets. Two double bedrooms sit at either end of the living space, with a mezzanine studio above the spare bedroom.  The double-height master bedroom hosts a large corner window and an outdoor bath that sits adjacent to the en-suite bathroom.

The Wriggly Tin was delivered as a design and self-build with Orme leading the project from concept to completion. He worked with ORME architecture during concept and technical design stages and then acted as project manager and builder during construction, working alongside fellow recent architecture graduates, George Fisher and Jessica Wheeler.


Architect’s view

The innovation of the project is founded in the interconnection between designing and building; where material, design and making have constantly influenced each other.  The self-build process, which was completed during the pandemic, highlighted to me the benefit of spending time on site while training to become an architect, directly learning about how buildings come together. Embracing a mindset of upskilling and working with our hands has been a key factor in creating this deeply personal and bespoke home.

The project was guided by an agenda to build locally and sustainably to reduce carbon emissions, which is reflected in the materiality, structural form and energy strategy of the building.  Design decisions were carefully discussed with like-minded material suppliers and makers, not just in terms of performance, but also as aesthetic propositions. Particularly formative was the role of two local builders who worked with us two days a week to help guide the more complex elements of building the structural timber frame.

The opportunity to lead the project soon after graduating, working alongside my fellow recent architecture graduates, George Fisher and Jessica Wheeler, has been an exhilarating and transformative learning curve that wouldn’t have been possible without the time and energy of so many brilliant people. Thank you to all involved.
Fin Orme


Client’s view

I’m delighted with the Wriggly Tin, it’s a perfect home for me as I move through my late-50s and has exceeded my expectations. I wanted a house that spills outside so I could seamlessly move from inside to out. This has been beautifully achieved. The open-plan living space enables the house to absorb the many people who come through the space.

The design has created a deep sense of connection with nature and the surrounding landscape, with light flooding into the space at all times of the day. I particularly enjoy watching the sun set behind Glastonbury Tor from my beautiful double-height bedroom and outdoor bath.

It was a pleasure to work with my son on this project. He has guided and supported me through the journey brilliantly. He has taken any stress in his stride and was very patient and long-suffering with my incessant indecision. I am a very proud mother and house owner.
Sarah Orme




Project data

Start on site October 2020
Completion date January 2022
Gross internal floor area 111m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 145m2
Form of contract or procurement route Self build
Construction cost £220,000
Construction cost per m2 £1,520
Architect Fin Orme
Executive architect ORME architecture
Client Sarah Orme
Structural engineer John Beverage
Landscape consultant Tom Trouton
Project manager Fin Orme
Principal designer Fin Orme
Approved building inspector Somerset Building Control
CAD software used VectorWorks


Environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >2% Not calculated
Percentage of floor area with daylight factor >5% Not calculated
On-site energy generation 100%
Annual mains water consumption 50 m3/occupant
Airtightness at 50pa 2.85m3/h.m2
Design life 80 Years
Embodied / whole-life carbon Not calculated
Annual CO2 emissions Not available