A modernist riverside home designed to withstand extreme flooding, a pared-back barn conversion and a Japanese-inspired building are among the properties competing in the latest heat to be named Grand Designs: House of the Year.
The third program of the series will air tonight. Channel 4Kevin McCloud, his co-presenters, Damion Burrows (architect) and Michelle Ogundehin (design expert), visit five homes in the UK to compete for a spot on the shortlist. All of these properties push the limits in traditional design.
Each of the buildings was designed to solve a problems – from a house that deploys discreet camouflage to blend in to its overlooked setting to a modular timber home that elegantly resolves the challenges of building in a remote, unforgiving Highland environment.
Meanwhile the show also features a sleek riverside house; a barn conversion that neatly sidesteps the pitfalls of restoring agricultural buildings; and a Japanese-inspired house in Cambridge that proves a standard budget needn’t be an obstacle to building a bespoke home.
Kevin said, “In tonight’s show we will be looking at houses that solve problems.” They are champions at chess, masters in strategy and able to conquer any obstacle with their brilliant ideas.
It doesn’t matter if it was with just one genius stroke or hours of trial and error. Each of these buildings has taken on the challenge, and have not only risen to it but also surpassed it.
This is a close-up of the five properties…
Grand Designs: House of the year is the new heat.
The third episode of the series will air tonight on Channel 4. Kevin McCloud, along with his co-presenters, Damion Burrows (architect) and Michelle Ogundehin (design expert), visit five houses across the UK to see if they can get on the shortlist.
Every one of these buildings were designed to address a problem. One example is a discreet camouflage house, which blends in with its surroundings (pictured).
Meanwhile the programme also features a Japanese-inspired house in Cambridge that proves a standard budget needn’t be an obstacle to building a bespoke home
MODERNIST HOME RIVERSIDE
Kevin explained that living by the river was a dream to many people when he visited the house featured on the show. You can relax on your porch and enjoy the warm sunshine, while enjoying the cool breeze and watching the river’s current.
“Reality can sometimes be more harsh than fiction, especially when it is raining again. Your house is flooded as the rain falls, and then suddenly it bursts into its banks. This is quite a set of problems, isn’t?
River House, by John Pardey, was built on a flood plain of the River Loden in Berkshire. It’s long and tall, lifted above the river bank on two metre stilts, with a svelte angular interior.
It’s a glamorous, glorious place to while away the hours, and stretches a whopping 50 metres end to end.
There are three bedrooms, two studies, a terrace, and a large open plan living space.
It’s home to Tony, a semi-retired consultant surgeon, and Charlotte, who worked in the art world, who both dreamed of retiring to the river bank.
River House by John Pardey was constructed on the flood plains of River Loden in Berkshire. It is long and tall. The stilts are two meters high. Inside, it has an angular, slim interior.
This is a beautiful, glamorous place where you can spend hours. It stretches for 50 meters from end to end.
Speaking of the extreme flooding, Charlotte said: ‘It’s really exciting, garden furniture gets tied to the tree and everything else goes in the garage. There is no way to store anything underneath the house.
According to the couple, it is an easy way to stay minimalist.
Tony stated that flooding is something you don’t realize until you experience it. It is actually aggressive and fast moving water.
“If you descend into the flood you must be careful to not lose your feet or get carried away.”
Tony and Charlotte were praised by the RIBA judges for their hands-on approach to the construction. They spotted Charlotte’s personal touch on the morning terrace at the end of the project and in the interior details (pictured).
Kevin said that it was a house for younger people, and Kevin added: “It’s a home to practice in later years.” The home is elegant and simple, thanks to the steel-lined columns that lift it above flood level.
“Even the cladding appears to hold on without screws.”
Inspired by modernist 20th-century pavilions, the home featured huge glass walls that let in the natural landscape.
Outside, a 50-foot window showcased the breathtaking view of the river. This was the real viewing experience.
The RIBA judges praised Tony & Charlotte for their hands-on approach in building the house. They were impressed by the couple’s unique touch with interior detail and the morning terrace that they asked at the finish.
It’s not only the joinery that takes you through this house. The lighting also guides you through it to get to the master bedroom at its far end.
It separates public and private rooms, as every modernist building should.
SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS: RUGGED BUILDING
Damian traveled to Scotland’s North-West coast to solve the second problem. Damian was not able to build in the middle.
House in Assynt, which was accessible only via an 8-mile single track road, had to have been built on the site and moved in small sections.
While the front pod offers an open-plan living area, the second pod features a master bedroom and en suite. The final pod also has an additional bathroom. (pictured is the master bedroom).
The second problem-solving longlister defied the challenges of building in the middle of nowhere, with Damian travelling to the North-West coast of Scotland to find it.
House in Assynt, which was accessible only via a 8-mile long single track road had to have been built on the site and moved in tiny sections.
Beautifully striking with an amazing interior, the house has stunning architecture. The house was constructed in three modular modules with different functions.
While the front pod offers an open-plan living area, the second pod features a master bedroom and en suite. The final pod also has an extra bathroom and guest room.
Heather and Phil are the property’s owners. They discovered the area on holiday in 2015, and immediately fell in love (pictured).
Heather and Phil are the property’s owners. They discovered the area on holiday in 2015, and instantly fell in love.
Phil said, “I always wanted to find a home somewhere in the middle. This is where you will find it.
Heather said, “There is definitely not any of the attractions found in an urban centre.”
Phil added: “People might ask, Why would you do such a thing?” We just love this wild place.
“We didn’t know what we wanted but we were clear that we wanted something that was in harmony with the landscape.”
The house was constructed in 13 pieces in a factory located 70 miles from the location. It was then transported to the site and assembled within four days.
Built in four days by the builders, the home was completed with minimal rain and lashing winds.
Heather said, “When Mary was our architect, she first stated that it would be a light-touch house.”
Phil stated that she had a vision early in her career of the possibilities and turned it on for us. Mary met us when we went to see the plot. Mary leaned down and smelled the ground the first time we visited.
Mary continued, “Who are you to cut ancient rocks?” It’s only for a short time. Let’s not do that. The building was to be placed between the two highest points of the hill without breaking rock.
The home was built on stilts and perched on barely visible concrete.
This is an area to relax, but the construction process was far from relaxing.
It was cut in thirteen sections and built at a factory in 70 miles. Problem was getting sections on site.
The driver transported each module on a single track.
Heather stated, “We were amazed when the first shipment arrived.
The builders battled lashing wind and rain to assemble the home in just four days, with the end result being a remarkably efficient building that now conserves energy.
Artificial light is no longer necessary as there are many glass and sliding doors that can be opened from floor to ceiling.
MANIMALIST CAMOUFLAUGE HOUSE
Hove was the second-build in the program. Although it overlooked neighbours on every side, it was cleverly hidden.
The clever 5,000 sq ft building camouflaged itself with a green roof and a black brick cloak.
It was built by a property developer Paul and his wife Maria, with Paul confessing: ‘I considered pursuing architecture as a profession but discovered quite early on that I neither had the talent or patience to go and qualify.
Hove was the second-build in the program. Although it overlooked neighbours from all directions, it was cleverly concealed from view.
This property is cleverly laid out with bedrooms located in quiet rooms to the front and the master bedroom, kitchen diner, and master bedrooms wrapping around the cool courtyard that has a swimming pool at the center (photo: the living area).
The next best thing to do was commission the architecture.
Maria said, “I don’t think I have the same passion as Paul for architecture.”
It has an interesting layout with two bedrooms, one in quiet and one in master. The kitchen diner and master bedroom are located around a courtyard that features a swimming pool.
Kevin said that he was impressed by the house’s design and added: “It is an incredible spot.”
Paul explained that they are mindful of the neighbours around them and wanted to avoid any imposition. It’s a monastic feeling that I like. It’s great for the soul.
Judges at RIBA praised the seamless transition between the exterior and interior spaces.
Judges from RIBA praised the smooth flow between interior and exterior spaces.
The kitchen featured a minimalistic, white design with simple floors.
Paul explained that it took fifteen months to build this remarkable house. The first time we were on site was when one of our employees got trench foot.
Paul Turner, the architect behind the house, said that Paul bought it because he was a developer. The penny fell on the idea that this would be the perfect forever home.
“When the house became his home, it was no longer a development property. He started investing more in it. If it is for you then you will see the benefit of having it.
ANCIENT FARM BUILDING CRUMBLING ANTIENT
Michelle travelled to Devon deepest to see The Outfarm (pictured), the barn conversion unlike any other.
Michelle travelled to Devon deepest to see The Outfarm, an extraordinary barn conversion. This was the next property to be added to her long list.
The original openings where cattle could enter and leave the building are preserved, while the interiors have the feel of a private club.
Richard and Dawn discovered its charms eight years ago when they moved in there.
Richard stated that he first saw the place through fog and across fields. It had a fairytale-like feel. The place’s spirit was so magical that we were immediately enchanted.
Dawn stated, “It looks very castle-like.”
They had the blessing of a son Tom to help them realize their dream.
Richard and Dawn fell in love with the home’s romantic appeal eight years ago. Tom, their son designed the ideal home (photo: the spacious upstairs room).
He stated, “I think that a fair bit of architecture has to be controlled and disciplined.” It is about truth and expression. It was an honor to create a place for friends and family.
Michelle stated, “From this side you can get an impression of the Majesty of This Barn.
The couple bought their first home in the same condition. It had no roof or floor and trees were growing inside.
Richard stated that the walls had a solid feel and lasted for a long time. Within a couple of years, it would have passed it by and the wall would begin to fall.
Dawn stated that she was struck by the incredible feeling it gave off and felt it needed to be saved.
This layout is faithful to the original. There are three bedrooms downstairs and one bathroom.
Meanwhile, upstairs was an open central space that was unbroken by internal walls.
Michelle described it as ‘almost Churchlike’. Richard however said that he wanted it to have a barn-like feel.
Even more, judges from RIBA praised the fact the new additions to the barn were built on top of the historic history.
Richard lived there in a yurt while Dawn worked another 200 miles.
Dawn stated that she used to visit every Thursday, and check on how the progress was being made. Although I wasn’t able to contribute much, it was very thrilling when I arrived.
Richard said: ‘When it was pouring with rain and so much mud, it could get a bit tetchy. We had enough passion to get by and keep going.
Dawn stated, “If you work really hard to achieve something it will mean so much more.” It gives you a great sense of accomplishment.
£200,000 JAPANESE INSPIRED HOME
Damian visited Simple House in Cambridge, a former Cambridge council estate to solve the dilemma of building an amazing house within a tight budget.
The simple, yet stylish living areas were made to order for the owners. They are located off of a central wall.
Damian visited Simple House in Cambridge, a former Cambridge council estate to solve the dilemma of building an amazing house within a tight budget.
From the gravel embedded in the concrete floor to the striking roof lights, the home was all built for £200,000.
Simple House takes advantage of the small plot and draws inspiration from Japanese houses, which have two courtyards.
The house has multiple bedrooms as well as a study.
Jenny who is a theatre worker and Aki who was born in Japan are its owners.
They decided to build simple house after they struggled to find something to afford in budget in the city.
Akai explained that houses are out of the question. He said, “Nothing with a yard, nothing apart.” While we searched for land, we also looked at other options. It took us three years to find the perfect plot of land.
The owners decided to build a simple house after they struggled to find something to afford in budget in the city (pictured, the interior of the home)
Jenny said, “I was excited about the idea to start from scratch and fit everything according to your measurements.”
“It’s small, but two very small people can fit everything around them. It was an amazing prospect.”
It quietly acknowledges Akai’s Japanese heritage. Jenny says: “We didn’t want to make any big statements about Japanese design. But we appreciate that level of detail.
“It was built as it is. There wasn’t much to finish the interior.
The plot is not wasted and it”s extremely efficient.
Building Simple House wasn’t easy because it was built from loose clay soil. Although it took 13 months to build, the house was complete in thirteen months. It is a great example of how experience and gadgets can be used in creating a unique home.