Inside UK’s first U-Build house

Look inside the UK's first U Build box house to be featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs: The Street, hosted by Kevin McCloud.

By Jo Messenger | 12 March 2019

The UK’s first U-Build house is strikingly contemporary, cost-effective and part of a pioneering community of self-builders in rural Oxfordshire and featured on Grand Designs: The Street.

The bright kitchen diner of the u-build box house featured on Channel 4's My Grand Design, designed by studio bark

Image: Lenny Codd

Four years ago, Chris Haines was sitting on the London tube reading Grand Designs magazine when he spotted an advertisement calling for entries from people who wanted to design their own home and live at Graven Hill in Oxfordshire, the largest self-build development in the UK.

Landscape architecture graduate Chris, who works in central London for a property consultancy, began planning a concept in collaboration with London architecture practice Studio Bark and submitted his plan as quickly as possible. He was delighted to find the entry shortlisted.

Chris impressed the interview panel – which was led by Karen Curtin, the MD of Graven Hill – with his ideas and agreed to be filmed for a new Channel 4 TV programme about a pioneering street of self-builders. Featured on episode 4 of Grand Designs: The Street, it was a chance for Chris and his partner Roxanne Ford to create a home, financing the project with a joint self-build mortgage from the Ecology Building Society.

Here we take a peek inside Britain’s first U-build house, featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs: The Street.

The Details

The dark exterior of u build box house in Graven Hill featured on My Grand Design on Channel 4, designed by studio bark

Image: Lenny Codd

  • Names: Chris Haines and Roxanne Ford
  • Ages: Both 27
  • Location: Graven Hill, Bicester
  • Property: Detached house
  • Bedrooms: 2
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Project started: 2015
  • Project finished: 2017
  • Size of house: 90sqm
  • Plot cost: £97,000
  • Build cost: £201,000

The back exterior of u build box house featured on Channel 4's My Grand Design, designed by Studio Bark

Image: Lenny Codd