We’re coming to the end of the latest series of Grand Designs on Channel 4. So we’ve taken the opportunity to look back at what have been our favourite episodes. Some of the designs have been original, amazing and inspiring. Some episodes were gripping, only to find out if the house was finally finished and the participants had moved in.
“I have to say I’m not a big Grand Designs fan and haven’t watched an episode for many years.”
“However, there is one project from recent years that I rather like as it’s in our village and I walk past it most weeks. The ‘Twin Build’ from October 2018 has been a positive addition to the village and sits very well in its context.”
“The project was hugely ambitious, especially with their initial budget, and it’s testament to the twins’ tenacity that they achieved the excellent build quality they did.”
South Cornwall, 2016
“I enjoyed trawling back through the list of shows. There have definitely been some beautiful builds on Grand Designs [and some ugly ones too] – it was definitely difficult to narrow it down to one favourite.
“However, the South Cornwall episode really sticks in my mind due to the craftmanship involved and the beauty of all the steam bent wood. It’s well worth checking out!”
“Hoo House in Woodbridge, Suffolk is a beautiful, low energy, low cost family home that was conceived by Nat McBride for his family – partner Lucie Fairweather and their young children.”
“Tragically Nat passed away before the house could be built but Lucie continued their plans and realised their dream home for a total of £242k (in 2010).”
“The architects, Tate+Co, responded to local planning restrictions that required the house to be a chalet bungalow, and created a really exciting roof form – split at the ridge – which allowed them to then still provide high ceilings to the first floor bedrooms as well as a dynamic double height living space below.”
“The project is so inspiring, showing that high quality, sustainable design can still be achieved with a tight budget and under very challenging circumstances.”
Islington, Straw Bale House
jeremy till & Sarah Wigglesworth
“I don’t much care for Grand Designs but I am a huge and unashamed Jeremy Till fan.”
“Jeremy & Sarah’s house, adjacent to a busy railway in Islington is absolutely nuts, requiring them to lift it off the floor onto a set of shock absorbers & clad it with sandbags to mitigate the noise.”
“It has such a spirit that I’ll always envy and is reinforced by an emphasis on taking time to make decisions, that it’s ok to respond to things as they emerge on site. Obviously easier said when you’re a pair of architects managing your own build, though.”
“There’s also a charming square aspect ratio and grainy early 2000s quality to the episode that takes me back in time.”
Amersham Water Tower, 1999/ 2002 / 2010
“Marking the 100th episode of Grand Designs in 2012, I fondly recall the enchanting story of the Kensington Water Tower.”
“Having provided water for 800 families and once a residence for Charlie Chaplin, this historic structure held a remarkable tale.”
“Watching the heartfelt commitment and enthusiasm of the owner, an architect, in rescuing and preserving this abandoned landmark for future generations was truly inspiring.”
The Streets, The Box House
“The short series focused on pioneering self-builders, and this couple chose to use an innovative ‘flatpack’ U-Build construction system.”
“This simple and quick methodology allowed them to save time by putting together the CNC modular plywood building blocks off-site.”
“The result was a striking contemporary house finished with charred-black timber cladding.”
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