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These memorable Grand Designs TV houses feature unexpected materials and unique design ideas

Lifeboat House Grand Designs

Image: Chris Tubbs

During the show's 18 year run, there have been plenty of amazing self build projects of different styles and build types to marvel over.

Despite the diversity of each unique TV house, they’re all bound by a common driving force – the perseverance and willpower of the self-builders who take a huge leap of faith to see their dream through to reality. Here’s a reminder of some of the most memorable Grand Designs TV houses.

Damien Hirst houseboat renovation, Series 1, 2001

Damien Hirst Houseboat renovation featured on grand designs as a TV house

Image: James Balston

The Signe Maria was a dilapidated houseboat moored on the Thames at Chelsea. The renovation cost £160,000 plus the cost of the dry dock essential for restoration and refitting. The revamped interior includes banquettes and reconfigured furniture and is decorated in a laid-back nautical style. 

Timber-clad hillside home, Series 17, 2017

malvern hillside self build tv house rfeatured on grand designs series17

Image: Chris Tubbs

This low-energy home on a challenging sloping site in Malvern, Worcestershire was built using Insulating Concrete formwork. Proving difficult to find the specialist structural engineers and builders the project required, the build cost £600,000 and took three years.

House of Fun, Series 17, 2016

Fun House Grand Designs

Image: Matt Chisnall

Costing £880,000, this brick and zinc barn-style extension was added to a 19th-century gamekeeper’s lodge and took 18 months to build. The size of the extension is 421sqm (the existing cottage is 110sqm).

Converted Cave Home, Series 16, 2015

Cave House Conversion Grand Designs

Image: Andrew Wall

This abandoned 62sqm property cost £100,000 to renovate and took nine months. Plus, it's even available to rent as a holiday home.

Shipping Container House, Series 14, 2014

 Shipping Container Conversion Grand Designs

Image: Aidan Monaghan

Four shipping containers make up the structure of this stunning house and it's one of Kevin's favourites of all time. Measuring a modest 115sqm, it took seven months to build with a budget of £130,000.

Monty’s Underground Home, Series 5, 2005

peckham monty arcitect grand designs channel 4 london

Image: Jefferson Smith/Media10

A restrictive site in Peckham meant the owners had to work hard to achieve a successful build. The one-storey property features hi-tech gadgetry including an LED light fitting that doubles as a shower and bed that slides away to reveal a bath underneath. The owners are happy to acheived an innovative design on a restricted budget. 

Water-tower Conversion, Series 6, 2006

 Kevin McClouds Top TV Houses4

Image: Jefferson Smith

Originally built in 1877, the 100ft tower went on the market for £380,000 and has fast become a tourist attraction. It offers 360 degree views over London, which includes The Shard, Big Ben and The London Eye. 

Kent Water Tower, Series 6, 2006

kent water tower  tv house featured on grand designs

Image: Elizabeth Zeschin

When the owners bought a gamekeeper’s lodge in rural Kent, they also inherited a huge great concrete water tower that turned out to be designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. They sold off the lodge to pour all their energies into preserving the water tower. The results are inspirational. 

The Lifeboat Station, Series 11, 2011

 Lifeboat House Grand Designs

Image: Chris Tubbs

Located in Tenby, Wales, the station is Grade II listed and has stunning views of the harbour. Taking seven years to build, because of negotiations with the Crown Estate for the freehold, Kevin McCloud estimated that the build cost over £600,000 but the owners never disclosed. 

Have we missed a unique self build? Tweet us @granddesignsmag or post a comment on our Facebook page

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