TV house: Weathered steel-clad self build in East Sussex

Building this post-industrial riverside home in East Sussex turned out to be relatively plain sailing.

By Chanelle Moult | 11 September 2020

Building this striking post-industrial riverside home just outside of Lewes, which featured on Grand Designs in 2015, turned out to be relatively plain sailing.

grand designs tv house in lewes, east sussex

Image: Architect Sandy Rendel referenced the industrial past of the site, choosing materials with a raw finish used in a very refined way. Photo: Matt Chisnall

As grand designs go, this project was without the many dramatic twists and turns that often ensue on the TV programme. Yes, there was a marriage, a birth and a very ambitious nine-month schedule to adhere to, but rather than the typical overrun or overspending, somehow Stephen Yeomans and Anita Findlay practically cruised through their development to construct an exceptional steel-clad home on the edge of Lewes in East Sussex. So what was the secret to their success? Meticulous pre-planning – it was as simple as that.

Watch the episode: Solent, 2015

Starting on the right foot

grand designs tv house east sussex lewes - view of living space

Image: The house has triple-glazed frameless windows wrapping around an impressive open-plan living area with spectacular riverside views. Photo: Matt Chisnall

Working with the right people to produce a high-quality home was at the heart of this project, and it needed to be so: considered locally as something of a gateway to Lewes, it’s set on the edge of the historic town and is practically the first building you’re greeted by as you enter by road. As a result, there was some initial contention in the neighbourhood regarding its progressive design, but with innovative architect Sandy Rendel’s foresight and high standards, coupled with some careful, considerate planning, many of the residents who had concerns about such a prominent new local landmark were won over.

Read more: How to hire the right project team for your self build

‘I’ve renovated houses before and made the mistake of spending too much time perfecting the design, but not long enough on getting the right tradesmen,’ explains Stephen. ‘For this house I ensured that we had a really good structural engineer and project manager, who in turn recommended the builder and our joiner. It was a very collaborative process, and there seemed to be a real connection and friendship that developed on site.’