Every ambitious self-build, episode by episode
The Grand Designs 2021 series started on Wednesday 1 September 2021 on Channel 4 and featured some amazing feats of architecture. Here’s each of the houses from the famous self-build show, episode by episode…
1. The Hux Shard, Devon
- Single-storey house with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms
- Initial budget: £835,000
- Plot cost: Already owned
- Director of design: Mick O’Connor, Squirrel Design
Joe Priday, 37, MD of a wealth management firm, and his wife Claire, 42, embarked on a complex sculptural house in rural Devon. The couple, who have three young children, commissioned a design made from 34 zinc-wrapped timber shards set in a jagged line hugging the contours of a hill. The building is carbon negative and has a hi-tech interior, but its sheer intricacy tested the engineers, the builders and the budget.
2. The triangle house in Billingshurst, West Sussex
- Triangular build with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
- Initial budget £190,000
- Plot cost: £160,000
- Planning architect: Valerie Hinde
A carpenter specialising in high-end bespoke interiors decided to turn his hand to construction. Olaf Mason, 45, working as architectural designer, and Fritha, 42, attempted to fit a clever triangular house into a small plot constricted by a busy main road, a railway line and a sewer. It was no mean feat, but the couple took this 3D geometrical puzzle in their stride, along with the arrival of their baby daughter during the build.
3. Bothy extension in Kinross, Scotland
- Single-storey bothy extension with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms
- Initial budget: £350,000
- Plot cost: £225,000
- Architect: Staran Architects
The starting point for this old-meets-new project was a hut, or bothy, once used by the gardeners of a private estate. Transforming it into a family home was the brainchild of Iain Shillady, 38, of Staran Architects and his wife Jenny, 37, a marketing manager. The couple, who have two children, restored the 150-year-old structure, along with its mature adjoining walled garden. They then linked it to a single-storey black timber-clad extension to create the living space they craved.
4. Gretta’s Malaysian pavilion in Ely, Cambridgeshire
- Single-storey Malaysian-style house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
- Initial budget: £300,000
- Plot cost: £125,000
- Designer: Carlos Gris
Teacher Gretta Funnell, 60, shared many happy years living and working in Malaysia with her late husband. Now back in the UK and wishing to honour his memory, she decided to build a home in the Malaysian style. This minimalist steel-framed box is open plan with a burnt wood exterior, an overhanging roof and a rooftop garden. The house was a true family affair as it was designed by Gretta’s nephew, project managed by her brother-in-law, and stands next to her sister and brother-in-law’s home.
5. Swimming pond house in Chichester, West Sussex
- Three-storey house with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms
- Initial budget: £650,000
- Plot cost: £810,000
- Architectural designer: Daniel Rowland of Studio Fuse
Seeing potential in a plot that included a 1930s house and a huge pond, architectural designer Dan, 44, and interior designer Nina Rowland, 42, built a new home on the site. The couple, who have two children, envisaged a flint and larch-wrapped house with a glass corridor leading to a single-storey kitchen. The kitchen overhangs a natural pond, so the family can simply open the doors and enjoy the water.
6. Derelict mill in South Lakeland, Cumbria
- House in a derelict mill with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, workshop and office
- Initial budget: £250,000
- Plot cost: £110,000
- Architect: Tape Design
Ruth Grimshaw, 31, and Robert Glass, 35, who run the architectural practice Tape Design, planned to convert a rundown 18th-century blacking mill into their home, creative space and office. The mill’s stone shell, which had been empty and deteriorating for 60 years and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, needed full restoration. So in a clever twist the couple dropped their new timber-framed house inside the footprint of the existing building.
7. Flood-proofing on the Blackwater Estuary, Essex
- Cantilevered house with 3 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms
- Initial budget £700,000
- Plot cost: £350,000
- Original plans: Baca Architects
Building a new home on a 7.5-acre flood plain beside the Blackwater Estuary in Essex was a tall order for retiree Geoff Wood, 64, a first-time self-builder with finite funds. Its daring design required significant amounts of engineering to anchor it in place, and the house has a complicated industrial-strength steel frame so it can be dramatically raised 4.5m above the ground – high enough to protect it should sea levels rise.