From cost savings to the benefits when building on a tricky plot, these Grand Designs self builders each used timber frames as part of their construction for a different reason. 

TV house in herefordshire - timber-framed modern farmhouse - grand designs

Image: Mark Bolton

Building a home with a timber frame comes in many guises, especially within the realms of Grand Designs. To most, it's a modern method of construction – a way to build where the frame can be prefabricated offsite to save time during the construction process – however, from the list of homes that follow, each featuring on Grand Designs in the past, it's clear that not every self builder has approached the idea of a timber frame in the same way, or for the same reasons. 

Modern farmhouse, Herefordshire 

When Steph Wilson secured a plot of land on her grandfather's old farm for a self build project, she originally had planned an impresssive earth shelter-inspired build. However, with the estimated cost sitting at £500,000 and her husband Alex made redundant at the beginning of the build, the couple had to revise their plans to meet a more modest budget.

As part of these cost-savings, Steph opted for a economically-efficient timber-framed build, with the frame provided by Turner Timber Frames. This helped towards creating this two-storey, three-bedroom house for a build cost of just £270,000. 

Read more: TV house: A modern farmhouse in Herefordshire

Timber-framed new build, Bolton

TV home in bolton - timber frame new build on greenbelt - grand designs

Image: Andrew Wall

Paul Rimmer, a builder, had spent his career constructing homes the old-fashioned way with nothing but bricks and mortar. However, when he came to build his own forever home on some land opposite his family's restored farmhouse in Bolton, he had to take a different approach. 

The land was a greenbelt site and Paul went from being told he had no chance of planning permission to having the build approved in the space of two years thanks to his sustainable, zero-carbon emission, timber frame build approach. 

Read more: TV house: Timber-framed new-build in Bolton

Dome House, Herefordshire 

TV house in herefordshire - timber-framed self build - grand designs

Image: Andrew Wall

While, for many of these timber-framed homes, the speed and ease of construction is a guiding element, for Ed and Rowena Waghorn's self build in Herefordshire, it was quite the different story. Their timber-frame has been made and erected almost entirely by hand using craft skills and locally sourced materials, delivered to the build site, up a steep hill, by horse. 

The build started in 2005, but the family didn't move into the home until 2014. 

Read more: TV house: Handcrafted timber home in Herefordshire

Medieval monastery site, Hertfordshire

tv house on a medieval site hertfordshire - timber-framed self build - grand designs

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

This plot, a Scheduled Ancient Monuments Site between a historic cathedral and a picturesque river, sat abandoned and vandalised at the rear of Chris and Kayo's existing home. It covers the buried remains of a medieval monastery precinct, and it was almost inconceivable that someone would gain planning permission to build here - in fact, many had tried and failed over the years. 

These self builders succeeded where others failed thanks to a design which paid heritage to the original Roman site, as well as a single-storey structure, made from lightweight timber casettes, which promised not to damage the Medieval treasures which lay beneath their feet.  

Watch the episode: South Hertfordshire, 2017

House in the Woods, West Sussex 

timber frame self build in the woods - tv house in west sussex - grand designs

Image: Stephen Morley

Ben Law's eco self build is one of the most memorable builds from the early series of Grand Designs, with Kevin McCloud following his build journey way back in 2003. After acquiring a woodland called Prickly Nut Woods, Ben set about building a home by hand that would blend into the environment and use local resources. 

The home, however, came with strict guidelines - the first to be built in the woodland for some 50 years. If Ben ever sold the land, or his coppicing (a form of natural woodland management) business, he'd have to take the house down. 

Read more: Ben Law's Wooden House

Steam bent house, Cornwall 

steam bent TV house in cornwall - timber frame extension - grand designs

Image: Paul Ryan-Goff

Designer-maker Tom Raffield is known for this wooden furniture and lighting, created using traditional steam-bending techniques. It's no surprise then, given the designer's love of wood, that he and wife Danie opted for a timber-framed extension to this Grade-II listed cottage in Cornwall. 

Tom and Danie had the timber-frame of the two-storey extension erected and a first fix completed by the main contractor, before taking on the work of finishing the build themselves, including using Tom's signature steam-bending process to create a cladding for the building from trees that had fallen in the site's woodland.

Read more: Grand Designs steam bent timber house in Cornwall

Timber frame farmhouse, Devon 

timber-framed self build farm house - tv house in devon - grand designs

Image: Paul Ryan-Goff

Working with Orme Architecture on the design of a farmhouse on a site in Devon, Mark and Candida Diacono opted for a build with a sweeping roof, inspired by the shape of a plough. With this in mind, a timber-framed build provided an obvious choice for the build. '[A timber frame build] seemed to choose us,' said Mark, 'suiting the sweeping shape of the roof and our keenness for a highly insulated building, plus it worked with our budget.'

Alongside this modern method of construction, a cookery school was built on site using traditional cob methods from materials on the site. 

Watch this episode: TV house: A timber-framed farmhouse in Devon


Which of these timber framed builds are your favourite? Share your thoughts with us by tweeting us @granddesigns or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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