This boat-inspired house by the river in East Sussex helped James Strangeways to find his feet on dry land.

tv house exclusive east sussex

Described by Kevin McCloud as ‘one of Britain’s last great eccentrics’, self-confessed boat obsessive James Strangeways is the first to admit that he’s not a fan of houses. Having spent much of the past 35 years on the water, hopping from vessel to vessel, he was going to require something pretty extraordinary – and unconventional – to anchor him on dry land. He was determined that if he did have to live in a building, it wouldn’t look like your average domestic property at all.

Instead, James commissioned his nephew, the architect Ben Hebblethwaite (who claimed during filming that he was ‘rather bemused and surprised’ at the request), to build a timber structure that was a halfway house between a dwelling and a boat. It was designed to appear as if floating on stilts, with deck-like terraces and open doors either side to provide views over the nearby River Rother and the surrounding East Sussex countryside. The property also needed to have direct access to the water, with moorings, so that James could be river-bound whenever he pleased.

Kevin McCloud on how our homes give us the chance to reflect and have new experiences

Our editor-at-large ponders how our homes can give us a chance to reflect and have new experiences.
how-our-homes-give-us-the-chance-to-reflect-and-have-new-experiences
new-tv-series-the-groundhouse
Grand Designs TV Houses

TV house: Hand-built ecological home in Wales

As part of an eco-village in west Wales, Simon and Jasmine Dale set out to hand-build an ecological home, starting with only £500 in the...
grand-designs-water-tower-conversion-london
Grand Designs TV Houses

Grand Designs water tower conversion in London

An ambitious Grand Designs water tower conversion based in London had two new-build extensions included in the renovation.
tv-house-timber-framed-new-build-in-bolton
Grand Designs TV Houses

TV house: Timber-framed new-build in Bolton

Builder Paul Rimmer and his family have shown how to construct a sustainable home
tv-series-secrets-cliff-side-home-in-wales
Grand Designs TV Houses

TV series secrets: Cliff-side home in Wales

Find out how things have progressed since the owners wowed us with this new-build on a dramatic cliff-side in Wales.
tv-house-transformed-bungalow
Grand Designs TV Houses

TV house: Transformed bungalow in Wirral, Merseyside

A dull bungalow in Wirral, Merseyside is transformed into the ideal home.
tv-house-lifeboat-station-in-tenby-south-wales
Grand Designs TV Houses

TV house: Lifeboat Station in Tenby, South Wales

A crumbling Grade II-listed lifeboat station building on a beach transformed into a home.