Take a look inside this spacious self-build farmhouse and take in the clever cost-saving design ideas featured

grand designs tv house 2018 series leominster exterior view of house grand designs magazine

Image: Mark Bolton

The fourth episode of the 2018 series of Grand Designs' followed Steph Wilson - a chiropractor who's spent twenty-years dreaming of living on the farmland that belonged to her grandfather, after it was sold out of the family when she was sixteen.

Along with husband Alex, Steph reclaimed the land after re-mortaging their house to buy back 27 acres of the farmland for £200k. Determined to give her two young children the blissful childhood she had, Steph managed to get planning permission for a sleek contemporary cantilevered farmhouse in the old gravel pit where she played as a child.

‘Emotionally, I’m tied to the land and to the memories it holds for me, and I wanted to create an idyllic childhood for my children, too,’ Steph explains.

However, Steph and Alex's dreams were almost shattered after being told their ambitious design would cost £500K to build - double what they could borrow. There was another spanner in the works when Alex was made redundant meaning Steph had to return to full time work. But help came from Steph's childhood friend and architect, Jessica Barker who stepped in to create a new design that could be achieved on the tightest of budgets.

Here are just a few of the budget-friendly design ideas that have been incorporated in the farmhouse - which you could try yourself.

Black corrugated steel cladding

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Leominster, Herefordshire with cladding black corrugated steel -tv-houses-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Mark Bolton

The house nestles into the landscape and is clad in distinctive black corrugated steel. Alex has been stalwart in his support, although he took some persuading to warm to the corrugated black agricultural-style steel cladding that is the exterior face of the insulated and plaster-boarded walls.

Installing windows at an angle

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Leominster, Herefordshire with ensuite bedroom and balcony -tv-houses-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Mark Bolton

Steph and Alex’s bedroom is wonderfully spacious, with a walk-through wardrobe and en-suite bathroom, as well a generous balcony. Working with their architect, Steph and Alex devised ways to keep costs down while creating a house that maximised the views and provided all the space they needed.

One particularly successful idea was to cut in the balcony area by installing the windows at an angle. This kept the building to the most economical modular shape, but created a contemporary and individual feature.

High level insulation wood burner

Grand Designs TV house from 2018 series in Leominster, Herefordshire with wood burner -tv-house-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Mark Bolton

Steph and Alex made a virtue of the financial constraints. ‘We chose a high level of insulation – the cheapest way to make the house energy efficient on our tight budget,’ says Steph. ‘

We decided on a wood burner, as wood is available to us from the farm. We have oil as a back-up and for hot water, plus solar panels on the shed for electricity. We’d love to have gone more eco, for instance with ground source heat, but we simply didn’t have the funds. In the future, perhaps.’ 

Open plan living area with bi-fold doors

Grand Designs TV house from the 2018 series in Leominster, Herefordshire with open plan living area kitchen with grey sink unit -tv-houses-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Mark Bolton

For Steph, ‘the main living space was [her and Alex's] priority’. She admits that 'one of the lovely things' about staying in a caravan during the build 'was that we were very close as a family and all in the same living space together all of the time.’

With the bi-fold doors fully pushed back, the open-plan living area becomes one with the part-covered deck so that the family can enjoy fresh air in all weathers.

Mixed sized windows

grand designs tv house 2018 series leominster different sized windows grand designs magazine

Image: Mark Bolton

‘We wanted the house to complement the land that was so dear to Stephanie’s heart,’ says architect Jessica Barker.

‘From inside, every window is like a painting – portrait, landscape, panorama, small vignette – all carefully designed to frame views of the sky, rolling fields, wildflowers or rock. At night, looking in from outside, the house is a composition of windows to different worlds; the kitchen counter, entrance hall, lofty bathroom, soaring climbing wall and spacious master bedroom.’

Windows in all shapes and sizes have been perfectly placed to make the most of the views outside.  


What features of this farmhouse do you admire the most? Tweet us @granddesignsmag or post a comment on our Facebook page



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