This new-series Grand Designs TV house is testament to one couple’s commitment to see a tricky build through to completion
Expats Jon and Gill Flewers had a long-standing dream of building their own home. In 2013 the couple returned to the UK from New Zealand with their three sons and embarked on the build phase of their low-energy home with five bedrooms and an open-plan living space. Builders were unwilling to work on the sloping site in Malvern, Worcestershire, as it would involve major excavations. The architect devised alternative plans in which the property moved forward by six metres, reducing the amount of excavation needed. ‘We went from a building that was four-storeys to one that was three,’ explains Jon.’
The timber-clad house is upside down, with sleeping quarters on the first floor and communal living areas on the top floor. It’s constructed with cost-effective and energy-efficient Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) and finding structural engineers and builders familiar with ICF further held up the progress of the build. Despite all the problems, quitting was never an option for the couple. ‘Once you’ve committed and said you can make it work, you have to see it through. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t days when I didn’t think, why on earth are we doing this?’ says Jon.
For more details on this Grand Designs exclusive TV house and other inspiring self-build projects, pick up the October issue of Grand Designs magazine on sale September 13.