Last time on The Build, we hit disaster after disaster as we ran through the final steps, fitting the doors and windows, heating, plastering, and the window decals. That was months ago and we’ve been moved in for a while now. I wanted to wait until it was literally finished for another Build Vlog but honestly, if we wait for that it’ll never be released!

Therefore, I wanted to share the space not only with the MTog’s (members), but also with the wider community. For that, we had to pop it on YouTube and structure the video in a different way. As I’ll mention further down in this blog, we will do another MTog-only Build Vlog, but not quite yet!

Here is our most recent update from The Build:

The next Vlog will be just for MTog’s again as we run through the final parts, fixtures, fittings, Dan’s Gym etc – it’ll probably end up being 1 year since the start of the build but there’s still some bits left to do.

Some core questions and fun facts:

  • Was it easy? No. Hell no. The plans were re-drawn because honestly I really didn’t like the original plan. We switched architects and the news ones nailed it. So we did do 2x planning applications and both were passed without a hitch (thank you to our council!).
  • Did you lose a lot of garden? No. Our garden is 100m long and the width allowed us to take 6m out without impacting access or space. The original part of the garden where this building now sits was part wasteland (very old inherited greenhouse and an unused veggie plot), part grass, part ruined building. We didn’t impact the garden at all.
  • Are the neighbors ok with this huge building appearing? Yes. We have really good relationships with all of our neighbors and all were involved in decision-making from start to finish. Any damage to their land caused by the build was discussed beforehand and fully repaired in whatever way they wanted it after the build was complete.
  • Would I recommend it to other photographers? Hmm, probably yes. For us, the cost of renting a space that we’d need for all of our things would be equal to the cost of the build here if we were to rent the space for 3-4 years on a constant lease. That’s one of the main reasons we built in the first place, along with the fact that I knew 100% I wanted to work from home.
  • Did it come in on budget? Yes, technically under!
  • Did we do things ourselves? Yes – the build vlogs for MTog’s show how we did groundworks, sourcing and some project managing ourselves, along with decor and most furnishings.
  • Did we furnish it with high-ticket items for the upmarket finish? No! I am a practiced bargain-hunter and I know where to find expensive things cheap – for example, the worktop for the kitchen area is literally an offcut from outside the local granite merchants. The reason the upstand around it is so small is because it’s all they could get out of the piece and still have it fit our unit. The boiling water tap was essential for me, but I wasn’t going to spend crazy money on a Qooker – so we didn’t, it’s a less expensive equivalent. The toilet and sink are bargains from an outlet and the chest of drawers is 20 years old from my childhood bedroom, upcycled with stain and paint. There are many more examples, but we used these savings to have custom items, like the shutter doors, made for us.
  • Do I love it? Well, when it was finished and the builders left I did sit in the middle of the room and cry. I think it was just relief that it was complete but it hit me really hard. I wouldn’t change anything about the layout, but I would steal the shed next door as a standalone office/filming room for some privacy!
  • Where did the money come from? This is a common question we get asked privately and also probably the biggest misconception. To be honest, I don’t really need to declare where the dollar came from to build this building, but there is a clue on the front doors. You’ll notice (maybe?) that the front door has a privacy wrap on the lower third. In that wrap are two icons, one is the Tog pin, one is a < symbol. The < symbol is the logo mark of my other business – my original business – the marketing agency. It is this business that funded the vast majority of the build itself and all of the planning beforehand, because That Tog Spot literally didn’t exist then. Even now, technically, That Tog Spot is owned by and sits under the other business. I’ve mentioned this business from time to time, usually about how I’ve tried to close it or wind down and failed miserably – it’s still as busy as ever and the team here work for both that business and That Tog Spot daily. Busy bees!
  • Would I do it all over again? Yes, because of all of the above, plus how it has helped our team grow and mine and Dan’s relationship too. We work together and live together full time – some separation of the two is good!

That’s all for now!