9 Grand Designs houses with great views
These homes have some of the most stunning outlooks in the country
These impressive houses from the Grand Designs TV series all have great views. Each one demonstrates considered use of location and orientation – not to mention masterful glazing – in order to frame the picture-perfect vista.
1. Dutch barn, Lincolnshire
Nathan and Amye Marshall wanted their barn-inspired home to have a bedroom with a large window framing a view of the Lincolnshire countryside. Kevin McCloud questioned having such a big window in this private space. Particularly as the bedroom includes an open plan ensuite bathroom. But the room is not overlooked and has sweeping curtains to keep the room darker for longer in the summer. The resulting space is both practical and quite spectacular.
2. ‘Ferris Bueller house’, Cornwall
Harry and Briony Anscombe took inspiration from the house featured in the iconic 1980s movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for their dramatic self build home in Cornwall. Much like the home in the film, Harry and Briony’s American Modernist-style house is a steel frame structure, set on the top of a sloping plot. The gradient of the slope provides for spectacular views over the surrounding countryside through vast windows in each corner of the open-plan living space. The house was put up for sale in June 2020 for £2.5million.
3. Hux Shard, Exeter
Combining a sci-fi exterior with luxury interiors, this landmark Grand Designs home by Joe and Claire Pinday was no mean feat. Nothing like it has been seen before on the show – or in the tranquil Devon countryside. The shard’s sculptural exterior walls are formed of shard-shaped panels set in a jagged 70m line following the contours of the Huxham hill on which it stands. Inside is just as impressive, with sleek contemporary furniture teamed with hi-spec fixtures and fittings.
4. Water Tower, London
Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce’s budget busting water tower renovation is a truly memorable project. Not only for its scale and ambition, but for the outlook from its penthouse living room. The space may not have the biggest windows of the projects featured, but the couple designed the room to offer 360-degree panoramic views of London. The iconic sights include the London Eye, Big Ben and The Shard.
5. Clifftop house, Galloway
Andy and Jeanette’s home is on the site of a former military listening station perched high on the rugged Scottish Galloway cliffs. On one side, it is designed to blend into the wild landscape, and covered with earth, grass and boulders. On the seaward side, views extend as far as Belfast Harbour on a clear day. So the couple opted for a completely glass-fronted facade to make the outlook the core value of the design.
6. Flood-proof cantilevered house, Essex
Geoff Wood’s home, situated on a coastal floodplain, is protected from changing sea levels by a gravity-defying cantilever. It boasts stunning views of the Blackwater Estuary, something he is particularly proud of, having always wanted a home that overlooked the sea. His first idea, to convert a pair of Martello towers in Sussex, ran into trouble with the planning authorities. But then he saw an online advert for a plot of land at Maylandsea on the Essex coast and decided it was the perfect self-build opportunity, despite the area being in the Environment Agency’s Flood Zone 3.
7. Timber cottage, Cornwall
Gregory Kewish and Rebecca Sturrock considered selling their timber cottage in Cornwall for a bigger family home. But they were convinced to undertake a self build project after glimpsing the potential views on offer after climbing on the roof. Architect Gregory, undertook the design and build himself. He installed seven and a half metre-long picture window with a sliding door to provided panoramic views from the main living space.
8. Shipping container house, County Derry
Architect Patrick Bradley built a home on his family’s much-treasured farm. His plot is in a picturesque spot by a bubbling brook. His home is made from shipping containers, which raised eyebrows for his family. They worried the building would interrupt their favourite view from their own home. Patrick’s agricultural building-inspired design feels at home in this setting. By stacking the containers in a cruciform arrangement, he created a raised home with panoramic views out onto the rural landscape.
9. Amphibious house, Buckinghamshire
Building this home on a flood plain presented architecture practice Baca Architects with a significant challenge. The solution was a feat of engineering that raises the property above the level of flood waters. Glazing also became a crucial feature of the design to capitalise on the enviable waterside setting. ‘The wall of glass provides a great view out on to the river,’ said Nicki. ‘We have a swing seat in the living room, which both children and adults love.’ A mezzanine level means that the views can also be seen from the main bedroom.
These impressive houses from the TV series are great inspiration for self-build projects in stunning locations. Looking for a plot of land? Try the new Grand Designs Land Finder.