Grand Designs Live
Grand Designs Magazine Cover
  • fb icon
  • fb icon
  • fb icon
  • fb icon

If you ask a fan of Grand Designs which programme they remember most, it’s often: ‘the one where the guy built his house in the woods’.

ben law s wooden house

Series three, 2003
The build cost £28,000
300 barley bales formed the walls
4.5 million viewers watched the show
The project took eight months

That guy was Ben Law (ben-law.co.uk). The project struck a deep chord with millions of viewers as we avidly followed the construction of his home back in 2003. Woodsman Ben wanted to build the property using the forest’s resources, while also ensuring it blended into the landscape. He acquired Prickly Nut Wood in 1992 through barter – his labour was exchanged for land – and from then until the house was erected 10 years later, he lived in a caravan.

ben law s wooden house2

Ben’s was the first property to be built in the forest in West Sussex for 50 years and there were conditions when permission was granted – if he was ever to sell the woodland or his coppicing business, he’d have to take his home down. By using traditional building techniques, packing his house with solar panels and wind turbines, and employing the help of many friends, Ben managed to keep costs low. Unlike in the TV show, the building is now filled with furniture for Ben and his young family, and there’s even the odd extravagance – a sunken hot tub sits on the verandah. ‘I love living here,’ he says. ‘Every day, waking up is a pleasure.’

For this series' TV house previews, pick up the November issue of Grand Designs, out now.

Photography: Stephen Morley

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2018 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof
visit-award-winning-grand-designs-live-hosted-by-kevin-mccloud
grand-designs-most-unusual-tv-houses
Grand Designs TV Houses

The most unusual Grand Designs TV houses

Every Grand Designs TV house is amazing in its own right but we’ve managed to pick out some of the more quirky that have appeared...
riba-house-of-the-year-2017-architects-reveal-their-home-design-secrets
Grand Designs TV Houses

RIBA House of the Year 2017's architects reveal their sustainable home design secrets

Grand Designs talks exclusively to the architects behind the Caring Wood project, which was crowned the RIBA House of the 2017. James Macdonald Wright and...
grand-designs-eco-self-build-home-fire-s-justgiving-page-raises-over-10-000
Grand Designs TV Houses

Grand Designs eco TV home's JustGiving page raises over £15,000 after fire

The Grand Designs TV house in Lammas eco village, Pembrokeshire, Wales, has burned down on New Year's Day. Their friends have come together to set...
riba-house-of-the-year-2017-winner-look-inside-caring-wood-the-modern-english-country-house
Grand Designs TV Houses

RIBA House of the Year 2017 winner: 5 design ideas from Caring Wood

In Channel 4's four-part series Grand Designs: House of the Year, architects James MacDonald-Wright and Niall Maxwell were crowned winner's of the RIBA House of...
riba-house-of-the-year-2017-7-of-the-most-inspiring-houses
Grand Designs TV Houses

RIBA House of the Year 2017: 7 of the most inspiring houses

Grand Designs rounds up the top 7 most inspirational houses longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2017.
5-money-saving-tips-for-your-self-build-project
Grand Designs TV Houses

5 Money Saving Tips for your Self Build Project

From eco friendly materials to the best house orientation, find out more about the money saving ways a couple from Co. Down, Northern Ireland built...