'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

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Kevin’s Grandest Designs viewers coo over pensioners who built a revolutionary flat-pack Huf Haus in 2004 – saying ‘they’re still alive and still adorable!’

  • Kevin McCloud revealed his five favourite Grand Design builds on a special commemorative episode
  • The presenter re-visted the Huf Haus, which was built by pensioners Greta and David Iredale back in 2004
  • Viewers tuning into Kevin’s Grandest Design were delighted Greta and David were still living in flat-pack home
  • A Huf Haus can be built in around 14 weeks, with properties costing around GBP500k for a medium-sized home 
  • Show saw McCloud also re-discover an 800-year-old cave in Worcestershire, which became ‘cave man chic’
  • His number one was build which saw GBP10K worth of shipping containers turned into an architectural delight 

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Viewers tuning into a 20th anniversary special episode of Grand Designs, which featured presenter Kevin McCloud’s favourite builds, couldn’t hide their joy after realising an elderly couple who built a flat-pack Huf Haus back in 2004 were still alive and still loving their extraordinary home. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the hit Channel 4 show, McCloud whittled down his top five picks on Kevin’s Grandest Designs, which aired last night.   

He re-visited Greta and David Iredale, now both in their late eighties, who were one of the first people in the UK to build a German Huf Haus – a house where all the components are pre-constructed and then put together on site – 16 years ago. The couple built their ambitious home on land they’d bought in Walton-on-Thames, in Surrey. 

The Iredales, already pensioners when they embarked upon the ambitious build, appeared just as delighted with their home in 2019 as they were when they first walked through the doors, after they’d spent six months bedding down in a caravan on site.    

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The Huf Haus, a German flat-pack home with pre-fabricated parts, caused pensioners Greta and David Iredale many a headache when they built it back in 2004, in series four of Grand Designs

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Viewers of the show’s 20th anniversary show Kevin’s Grandest Designs were delighted to see that the couple were still living in the house after McCloud took a trip back to their unique self-build home

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Flashback footage showed David and Greta watching their home being pulled into place back in 2004

Viewers said they were delighted to discover that the couple were still living, and still describing their home as ‘perfect’. 

A heart-warming moment saw the couple share a kiss and David admit that he still ‘tingles’ when he sees the property.

One touched viewer, @SamKennerley, wrote on social media: ‘Anyone else get a warm feeling when the elderly couple who built the Huf Haus were still alive and adorable. Me too.’ 

@Galunacy added: ‘Yay so glad to see the huf haus episode featured on #GrandDesigns tonight – loved that couple and that house.’ 

@xcelticax penned: ‘The Huf Haus was always my favourite of all the grand designs, amazing engineering and beautiful’

The couple spent two days in a German factory back in 2003 deciding on the specifications for their Huf Haus before it took just three-and-a-half days to build on the land they’d bought in Walton-on-Thames. 

Benefiting from a ‘good summer’, the couple lived in the grounds in a caravan while the final touches were put to their home.  

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

David Iredale, now in his late eighties, admitted that his home still made him ‘tingle’ when he saw it, and the couple described their property as ‘perfect’ (Pictured kissing wife Greta)

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Greta Iredale was seen relaxing in the living room of her home, with light flooding in from the property’s huge windows

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The Huf Haus was raised from the ground in just three-and-a-half days back in 2004 but the couple spent six months living in a caravan while the property was finished and furnished

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

David and Greta, already pensioners in 2004, described watching their Huf Haus being built as ‘one of the most exciting moments’ of their lives

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The flat-pack property being built; the Huf Haus company, based in Germany, saw a spike in sales after the show aired in 2004

A medium-sized Huf Haus costs around GBP500,000 to build and the entire house-building process – from initial designs to builders – is provided by the company. 

The properties generally take no longer than three-and-a-half months to finish, once a plot of land has been found. 

Kevin’s Grandest Designs saw McCloud pluck out his top builds from 20 years of broadcasting, revealing a converted shipping container and cave among his all-time favourite Grand Designs in the commemorative episode.

Also among them was a home he called his ‘most visited’ project – a house nicknamed Miss Tiggy Winkle’s mansion in Herefordshire, which has been a work of love for Rowena and Ed since they started building 12 years ago.

Another of Kevin’s most memorable and ambitious self-building projects was by a man called Angelo, who transformed an 800-year-old cave in Worcestershire into a home worthy of the title ‘cave man chic’. 

A couple who spent GBP850K transforming a barn the size of seven three-bedroom houses in Essex into a home also made the cut, as did the impressive Kennington Water Tower conversion, which Kevin dubbed an ‘obscenely expensive’ project. 

However, he praised owners Graham and Leigh for restoring the ten-floor Victorian building in London in nine months and it was ‘one of the most dynamic and intelligent restoration projects’ he’s ‘ever had the pleasure to follow.’ 

But in a final revelation, Kevin admitted that ‘probably’ his all-time favourite build was created by a farmer and architect in Northern Ireland, who turned GBP10K worth of shipping containers into an architectural delight.

And while undeniably impressive for a variety of reasons, they’re not the only properties worth dedicating an entire episode to. 

Other spectacular properties that have featured in the show’s history include a GBP800k snake-like home that nestles in the Blackdown Hills and a spectacular GBP7.5million home in Holland Park that was originally a music studio which saw the likes of Shirley Bassey, Queen and John Lennon record there.  

THE CONTAINER HOUSE

Derry, Northern Ireland, series 14

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Farmer and architect Patrick Bradley created this home in 2013 and the GBP133k dream home is made entirely out of four shipping containers and located in Derry, Northern Ireland. Kevin dubbed it ‘probably’ his all-time favourite 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Patrick’s home is located over a stream at a beautiful and secluded spot on the family farm and the four shipping containers form a giant cross

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Patrick decided that a spot on his family farm would be the perfect place to build this impressive project from ship containers, which many deemed impossible. Pictured with Kevin

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

At the time, Kevin thought the project was a disaster in the making, with the potential to ruin an idyllic spot on the family farm.

Patrick faced a desperate uphill struggle to win over his doubters. But Kevin was won over from the project which he later called ‘almost faultless’. Pictured, the living room now with spectacular views

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The pioneer has continued his innovative work and has since built a shipping container studio clad in gold which he can work from (pictured)

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

After the initial programme aired, Patrick (pictured) was inundated with requests from all over the world to design container houses for others

HOUSE ON THE HILL

Herefordshire, series 11

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s mansion, otherwise known as Ed and Rowena’s handbuild home on the hill featured on series 11 in 2011 (pictured)

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Life’s work? The Waghorns, from Herefordshire, began designing their home ten years ago and became the longest-running project ever to feature on Grand Designs

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Ed’s ambition was to craft by hand a truly sustainable home with a great vaulted hall at it’s heart. Kevin described it as a ‘living, breathing, ecological self-build.’ Pictured, the view from one of the windows

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

 Ed and Rowena transformed an eight-acre smallholding in Herefordshire into a stunning thatched family home with a ‘cathedral’-style central window

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Much of the property used foraged materials with the triangular sandstone tiles being sourced from a local site and cut by Ed’s brother Will 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Master craftsman: For Ed, the making of his house was just as important as its completion, which is still ongoing after a decade

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Even the kitchen was crafted with Ed’s fair hands, using ‘scavenged for’ wood

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The wooden beams were placed in by hand, with the project deadline constantly being pushed back

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

As well as a tiled and wooden floor, there’s also a rammed earth floor, which involves getting earth from nearby and ‘ramming’ it into the ground, before oiling it 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Ed’s been chiseling this building into being for over a decade and is still building right now – as he’s building a home for his mother

THE WATER TOWER 

Kennington, series 12  

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

It’s believed owners Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce bought the Grade II listed building for GBP380,000 – and spent almost GBP2million converting it from a crumbling ruin into a family home 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

While Kevin called the Kennington Water Tower (pictured) an ‘obscenely expensive’ project, he praised Graham and Leigh for the restoration of the ten-floor Victorian building in London, which he said was ‘one of the most dynamic and intelligent restoration projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to follow’

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

While the owners (pictured) have never revealed exactly how much the project exactly cost, they admitted at one stage it was costing them GBP35,000 a week

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The owners told how the view has changed since first starting the transformation, with many other buildings being erected in the surrounding areas

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Before the transformation (pictured), the owners had no idea of the challenge ahead

CAVE HOUSE

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Kevin told how Angelo transformed an 800-year-old cave in Worcestershire dwelling into a home worthy of the title ‘cave man chic’ (pictured)

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Despite being diagnosed with MS, Angelo transformed the carve dwellings into a home – with impressive results. Pictured with Kevin

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Angelo admitted that he was ‘probably a little bit naive’ before beginning the project and added: ‘I definitely suffered during the process. I had a terrible ringing in my ears for months afterwards.’ Pictured, one of the bedrooms in the cave

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Against pain and adversity, Angelo (pictured) carved a modest and wonderful home. Speaking of his ambitious self-build, he said: ‘Reactions from my friends and family was that I’d probably lost my mind, but I think it’s because people couldn’t see what I could see’

ARTIST BARN

Braintree, Essex, series 11

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

This medieval barn in Essex left viewers stunned after being transformed into a 21st-Century Home – which included artist studios

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Kevin first met artists Freddie and Ben (pictured together) ten years ago. They sold their home in London to take on the  vast country barn in the Essex countryside. Pictured, after the transformation

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Ben revealed that the project proved financially exhausting and told how ‘everything is not just double, it is exponentially more expensive.’ Pictured, the living room after the transformation 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Kevin explained that the project is a pure example of when the ‘creatives were allowed to run wild’. Meanwhile, Ben dubbed it ‘very livable’ and added ‘the rain doesn’t come in’

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Speaking before starting the project, Freddie said: ‘It’s not a house which will have an upstairs and a downstairs, so it’ll be more like a cathedral’

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The couple spent GBP850K transforming the barn the size of seven three bedroom houses in Essex into a home (pictured)

AND HERE’S HIS OTHER FAVOURITES… 

THE FOSSIL SHELL 

Blackdown Hills, Devon – series 18

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Nature-loving couple Stephen and Elizabeth Tetlow created this GBP800K home to resemble a fossil shell  in 2017 – the couple wanted a house which reflected their respective passions – his work as an engineer and Elizabeth’s as a horticulturist 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Inspiration for this home came from a fossilised ammonite shell Stephen spotted on a desk and he drew up the plans himself with the help of a single architect

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The modern interior of the home boasted a curved roof which followed the same pattern of the home’s exterior and had a white and bronze colour scheme which perfectly complimented the house’s wooden paneling 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The home has breathtaking views over the Blackdown Hills where Somerset borders Devon and features several windows around the house for the couple to enjoy natural light throughout the day 

THE FORMER RECORDING STUDIO 

Holland Park, London – series 12  

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

This GBP7.5million home in Holland Park was created by interior designer Audrey Lovelock and her husband Jeff after being converted from Lansdowne Studios, which saw the likes of Shirley Bassey, Queen and John Lennon record there 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The stunning home was bought from the studio’s owner and engineer Adrian Kerridge in 2006 and is now a four-bedroom flat

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The four double bedrooms each has an en suite bathroom, a luxury wet room, gym, cinema room and wine room as well as two terraces  one of which can be used for parking

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The converted flat is in Lansdowne House, which was built in 1904 as a place where struggling painters could work, and there are 11 other flats in the building

THE GLASS HOUSE

Brixton, series 12 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The Winter Palace in Brixton was designed by architect Carl Turner for himself and his partner Mary Martin in 2013 and the eco-friendly GBP1.5million house in South London boasts three-storeys and a glacial exterior

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

This home’s exterior was achieved through the use of milky glass panels over polished concrete and Mr Turner claimed the insulation is so good it is one of the most energy-efficient homes in the UK 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The home’s modern interior features simple white walls, sliding doors of white birch ply, some coated with a thin layer of steel and is decorated with chic matching furniture 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The minimalist home has a grey and white colour scheme and features a geometric-style stair case and the home has underfloor heating 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Patrick designed both the interior and exterior of the containers and the qualified architect created a home that could work on a dual level, fulfilling his needs as farmer, and also an architect

THE SHED HOUSE

County Down, series 18

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Micah and Elaine Jones, pictured with Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, in their wooden and concrete home

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Architect Micah designed his own very grand interpretation of a shed – a four bedroom home in the footprint of the agricultural buildings he demolished

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The home was built from timber shipped all the way from Austria on the back of a truck, and the kitchen featured intricate hand-painted tiles lovingly made by his Micah’s wife Elaine

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Micah crafted the curved walls in the bathroom with a DIY steam bath to bend the panels before applying

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The couple – who had two sons at the beginning of the project and an extra daughter by the end after Elaine fell pregnant – added bright splashes of colour for their children

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The couple bought the 0.6 acre plot of land for GBP80,000 and decided to knock down the buildings that were on the land

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Inspired by the sheds he grew up around Micah designed a shed-style structure clad in timber and stone from the buildings that were knocked down

VAULTED ARCH

Kent, series 9 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Designed for his family by architect Richard Hawkes, the framework of this project is based on a medieval design, known as timbrel vaulting, which can be seen in the dome-shaped roof 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple 'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The building explores the uniqueness of ‘place’ as well as harnessing solar energy to generate all its own electricity and features a stunning vaulted ceiling

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

The building demonstrates how contemporary design can celebrate local materials and crafts and integrate new technologies

RUSTIC

Sussex, series 3

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Built in Prickly Nut Wood, near Midhurst in West Sussex, Ben Law’s intriguing three-bed home is made out of sweet chestnut coppiced from the surrounding woodland

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Putting down roots: Ben Law and his self-built house. The build cost GBP28,000 and used an impressive 300 barley bales to form the walls

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Back in 2008, Ben Law put the wooden wonder on the market for GBP365,000. It took just eight months to built

HEDGEHOG HOUSE

Co-op, Brighton, series 1

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Kevin saw a record-breaking co-operative of ten families build their own homes on the edge of Brighton back in 1996

CEDAR CLAD CONTEMPORARY BOX

Stirling, series 6

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

After building this project and bring put off by the busy road ruining their stunning views of Camsie Fells, Theo and Elaine Leijser decided to build a big box window on the front of the building

FLOATING HOUSE

South Downs, series 16

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

This impressive house is located within the South Downs National Park and features a contemporary design, while the waterside-build means it benefits from its exquisite views, overlooking the River Ouse

MODEST CONTEMPORARY HOME

Woodbridge, series 10 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Hoo House, designed by Lucy Fairweather and her partner Nat McBride, is a stylish and eco-friendly family home with views across some of Suffolk’s most beautiful countryside

RECYCLED BUNGALOW

Isle of Wight 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Architectural designer Lincoln Miles was the brains behind the transformation of this Seventies bungalow on the Isle of Wight

 

 

A Q&A with Grand Design’s presenter Kevin McCloud 

'They're still alive!' Viewers watching Grand Designs anniversary episode coo over huf haus couple

Kevin McCloud opens up about adding value to property, and predicts what interiors trends will be popular in the future 

What is your advice for people taking on their first self-build or renovation project?

What are the common mistakes – and any tips on how to avoid them?

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. The designs stage is about sorting problems quickly and cheaply ahead of time, so if you spend 3 years planning then you might spend 18 months building, if you spend 18 months planning then you’ll spend 3 years building, and it will cost a fortune.

Use cost consultants and quantity surveyors to properly cost the whole project. When I ask people at the beginning of each programme, “what’s your budget?”, what they usually tell me is a notional figure based on what they want to spend, not what it’s costed at.

People so rarely have it costed and that’s why most of them do go over budget a bit and some have even doubled in cost.

You should also work with an architect who shares the same view of the world as you do and choose a builder you trust. You should always work with great people; don’t believe you can do it all yourself. If you happen to know a good builder who’s worked with you before and you like them and trust them, use them.

If your brother or sister or friend has used a great builder, use them.

What would your top tips be for adding value to your home?

The vast majority of homes in the country are not designed by architects and they’re not designed to fit where they are. They’re pattern-book homes that just sit where they are regardless of where the sun is, where the outlook is and whether there’s a view. 

What architecture can do is put you in greater contact with the outdoors. Think about ways in which you can remodel your home and bring in light to make it feel bigger. 

I think light adds a sense of space and a view adds a sense of connection.

A friend of mine did a lovely thing in a terraced house – he had a view out the back over some really scrappy yards and above them were some trees.

And all he did was frost the lower half of his window, so all he saw was the tops of the trees waving in the wind.

Another way of adding value of course is to add space, whether that’s by adding a kitchen or a conservatory or even an annex at the bottom of the garden. 

People are looking now for ways of living which are flexible and adaptable, that allow them to have a friend to stay or give them somewhere to work away from the office. Don’t necessarily make a room explicitly and only for your needs, make it adaptable.

Another way to add value is to look after the building, care for it, love it, be proud of it. 

The most interesting homes I visit are not showrooms for trendy furniture, they’re houses that feel lived in and that are full of people’s personal effects. 

Estate agents will tell you exactly the opposite but if you want to add personal value to your home make it a view of your tastes, of your objects – your autobiography.

What trend predictions would you have for properties in the next decade or so? Any old-trends coming back into style?

I wouldn’t know a trend if it hit me in the face.

I kind of like simple stuff and trends always seem to interfere with that. 

There’s one thing that I’ve noticed which is really odd and that’s an absolute tidal wave of grey paint that people just assume is going to sort everything out. 

In the 60s when we painted our houses we painted everything gloss white. In the 70s and 80s people started introducing brown wood. 

So it was a great relief to me when, in the late 90s, people started using not brown stain, but grey paint, or grey powder coated aluminium. 

Now any developer or any builder that wants to sell a home quickly will just paint the front door grey. It’s a little bit like living in George Orwell’s 1984. “Oh, it’s a pile of old rubbish?

Let’s just paint it grey, no one will notice.”

Personally, I think the next big thing is going to be aluminium-clad timber windows, and the finish is going to be an anodised, matte, shot blasted pink – in other words it’s going to be Apple’s space pink. All the colours that Apple phones come in are now going to set the palette for windows for the next 10 years.

And what interior trends are no longer fashionable – any that we should ditch?

Bling. I’m telling you that bling is dead.

And the reason that I’m telling you it’s dead is because it’s not, but I really wish it were! So by saying it, I’m going to make it happen.

What do you see as the future of self-builds in this country?

This is a numbers game. Earlier this year we did this series called The Street which we’d been filming for six years. 

It’s a really important series that represented Grand Designs for everybody – the idea that we could all go out there and build a house for 150 or 250 grand on a plot costing a hundred.

The Bicester project is an amazing story of one council’s determination to try and get something done.

We made that series with two purposes in mind.

One was to promote self-build to a wider audience (we’ve done that) and the other was to shame other local authorities into finding land and doing the same thing. 

And other local authorities are now following on, the government’s self-build portal is a really solid, really helpful way of getting into it and the National Custom and Self Build Association are now running courses to get more people involved – so it’s a great time to be doing it, it’s never been easier.

And the mortgage market is actually becoming more flexible in offering mortgages for self-builders.

Not only that, but around the corner is a similar opportunity for people that are on the social housing list to do the same thing, with co-housing groups and housing associations.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming series of Grand Designs?

There’s the usual rollercoaster of emotions, stories of loss and of gain, of hardship and of triumph – Grand Designs has always traded in those big ideas. 

One of our contributors in this series has sailed across the Atlantic – that’s quite a feat. And he compares self-build with that experience. 

Although he says actually with sailing, once you sight land you feel great. With self-build, as you’re finishing a project you feel like you’ll never ever get there, you’ll never get to the end.

So, it’s actually worse than sailing across the Atlantic.

This series we’ve got design for disability, design for serious illness, some great architectural ideas.

Grand Designs has never been about the middle ground, it’s always been about people on the margins doing adventurous, difficult stuff and this series doesn’t disappoint.

It’s a cracker.

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