For the first time in Grand Designs TV history, Kevin McCloud followed Elinor and Born Barikor on their self-build journey to creating a healthy home. Take a look at the key features that ensure their project is a truly healthy building.

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London, Grand Designs first healthy home

Image: David Giles

With the news spotlight focussed firmly on allergies and their potentially devastating outcomes, the third episode of the 2018 series of Grand Designs marked TV history as Kevin McCloud and the team visited their very first healthy home project. Gallery owner Elinor and fitness entrepreneur Born Barikor set themselves the nearly impossible challenge of building Britain's first hypoallergenic house designed to help with the crippling allergies which blight their children’s day-to-day lives. 

The family's new part-submerged, shed-inspired home will be built with the high standards of airtightness approaching Passivhaus standard, a mechanical ventilation system to purify the air, non-solvent paints, flooring and carpentry and natural materials wherever possible.

'Over the years since getting the diagnosis and learning of the complexity of the boys’ allergies, we had many discussions about how we would have liked to live somewhere that was ultimately ‘safe’ for the children,' Born says. 'This however was always considered a dream.'

Here are just a few of the possibilities for safeguarding you and your family's health when carrying out a self-build or renovation project.

Decorate with non-solvent paint

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London - children's bedroom with non-toxin paint in healthy home

Image: David Giles

Their children, Pascal, Avery and Blakely-Rae each have their own bedroom, decorated with bright non-solvent paint from the Crown Breatheasy range and including furniture and furnishings chosen to be as healthy as possible.

Use large full-height glass doors for natural light 

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London with master bedroom

Image: David Giles

This lower floor is where the bedrooms are sited, opening onto a sunken courtyard which forms the centre of the tiered garden. For a home designed specifically to be healthy, the lack of natural light in this part of the house was an issue.

Elinor and Born ensured that the full-height glass doors were as large as possible and brought in Lighting Designer Darran Prior to advise on how to incorporate artificial light.

Create a garden space or courtyard with healthy plants

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London with a sunken garden containing healthy plants

Image: David Giles

This generous series of spaces provides a peaceful retreat for Elinor and Born and has doors which open to the sunken garden with its carefully-chosen healthy plants including hostas, hydrangeas and lavender. These plants reduce pollen as they are all pollinated by insects rather than wind.

Design a multi-purpose living area made from natural health-approved products

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London with an open plan living area

Image: David Giles

The family spend most of their time in this comfortable multi-purpose open-plan space, which includes an island unit in the kitchen, a dining area and space for books and hobbies. It leads onto an outdoor terrace where the family can make the most of the fresh air.

Born and Elinor’s designer sourced a German company, Rational, whose products are approved as not being harmful to health, for the kitchen units, and tracked down worktops, tiles and deck derived from natural products - the decking is made from maize husks, for example. 

Design a lounge with healthy reclaimed furniture

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Richmond, London living room in Grand Designs first-ever healthy home

Image: David Giles

A cosy room where the family can relax, safe in the knowledge that the paint, floor-coverings and comfortable furniture are as healthy as possible. 

Elinor and Born's top healthy furniture finds include a reclaimed scaffold plank dining table and benches, Ercol chairs, Persian rugs and a church pew, now painted in non-solvent paint.

Words: Jayne Dowle 


Which features of this hypoallergenic house would you incorporate into your own build? Tweet us @granddesignsmag or post a comment on our Facebook page



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