• Phoebe

Our Favourite Episodes of Grand Designs to Keep You Sane in Isolation

Most of us have got plenty of time to kill at the moment. There’s only so much day time TV we can take, so here’s a guide of some of our favourite episodes of Grand Designs to give you some home inspiration while you’re relaxing with - what feels like - your 100th cuppa of the day.

East Devon 2013

In this episode Kevin meets Kevin, a man who wants to build a castle entirely out of mud.

This ancient building technique has its advantages, but still presents plenty of challenges throughout the programme (would an episode of Grand Designs be complete without it looking like the family would go bankrupt?).

Kevin doesn't complete his castle - although it is revisited - with the final visit also revealing some big changes in Kevin’s life.

We love this episode because it shows you can build in pretty much anything, although it will lead to compromises in other places, you can end up with a unique build.

Image from Homes & Property

County Derry 2014

You could argue that most Grand Designs projects are unusual, but most of them do end up incorporating traditional building materials. Instead, architect Patrick from County Derry decided to use shipping containers to make the most of his favourite spot on his family’s farm.

This required some clever engineering and design, the result of which is one of Kevin Mcloud’s favourite Grand Design builds.

At the time the concept of building a home out of shipping containers was pretty strange, however since the show Patrick has had plenty of people contact him to design them their own.

Patrick’s project shows how something as industrial as a shipping container can still be at home in such a rural setting. You can challenge planning rules and set a precedent with your design.

Image from Complete Homes

Sheffield 2018

We couldn’t miss off an episode that is so close to home, but that’s not the only reason why this project made the list.

This project on the site of an old corn mill set out to build two new homes for a budget of £350,000 - you’ve got to watch it to find out if they did! - one for Jon and one for Nik, who are twin brothers.

They drive the same car and have identical dogs, but will their homes be identical? Both incorporate a mix of exposed block work and steel work along with other finishes that are nods to Sheffield’s industrial past, but each adds their own personal touch to their homes.

Image from Homes & Property

Galloway 2019

We’re dog lovers at Plans For Extensions, so we’re well on board with Jeannette and Andy building their forever home on the Scottish coast so their Newfoundlands can enjoy the beach.

Obviously there’s more to it than that. This episode really proves you can build anywhere, at any time of year as long as your team is experienced enough and willing. A Winter in Sheffield is still probably more appealing to builders than Spring in Galloway judging by this episode.

Image from Express Bifolds

Warwickshire 2019

This episode is one of our favourites because it shows that you can have something that’s not only accessible but that’s still beautiful too. Not all accessible design has to be clunky or utilitarian.

There are well thought out accessibility solutions for Mark such as a kitchen with work surfaces at the right height, a consistent floor level throughout so he can easily move between rooms, even down to windows at the right height for him to see the stunning views from the new barn, but none of it comes at the cost of ruining the design vision he has for it.

Some compromises do have to be made and personal circumstances change for both Mark and his wife who is project manager for the build, but the project goes to show with clever design solutions you can build something that’s practical and stylish.

Image from Daily Mail

Hull 2019

This episode sounds outlandish but is maybe more relatable than most. Yes, Richard and Felicia plan to build a home in an old water tank, but their budget of £150,000 is more relatable than those that spend closer to £1,000,000.

Their project is obviously still worthy of Grand Designs and is still pretty big, but it is just enough for their needs as a family.

Are the walls of the tank structurally sound enough to become the walls of their new home? After a collective sigh of relief when they are, the family comes up against another hurdle - a life threatening illness.

If you held on through the emotional roller-coaster, you do get to see this project near completion. The family are able to live in their design even though some parts are still unfinished. Probably a more realistic ending to an episode of Grand Designs, a family able to enjoy their home while work continues to finish it off.

Image from Hull Daily Mail

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