TV series secrets: Cliff-side home in Wales
Find out how things have progressed since the owners wowed us with this new-build on a dramatic cliff-side in Wales.
Rob Hodgson and Kay Ralph wowed with their Grand Designs new-build and dramatic cliff-side location in Wales. Rob reveals how things have progressed.
What have you been doing since the show aired?
For about six months after, we had lots of people wanting to chat with us about the house. We live along the coastal path, which has an electronic device that counts the number of visitors. The weekend after the show it not only reached an all-time high, it was double the previous record. For the past 18 months we’ve had a period of calm, although since we were shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year, we’ve had a resurgence in interest.’
Have you made alterations to the house?
‘Hardly any. Our only regret is in regards to the bathroom; we decided on a narrow tub that was chosen to fulfil a specific aesthetic. Despite the fact that we’re both quite skinny, neither of us can fit in it. That was a design decision gone too far, so at some point we’ll replace it.’
How did you find managing the build?
‘I took on the role to save money, but looking back, it was a naïve decision. There is a high level of complexity and detail involved, and if you don’t have previous building experience, there’s a danger you’re biting off more than you can chew. We opted for a design that went over our original budget, but if someone told us we could have had a different house and spent less money, we would have said no; this was the house we wanted and it was the house we got.’
What was the trickiest part of the project?
‘There is a low railway bridge on the access road, so delivery vehicles couldn’t reach the site. We relied on the local people, especially the farmers, who allowed all the materials to be transported across their land. They were very supportive and if we had a problem, they’d be out on their tractors to help. I always put a lot of energy into keeping everyone happy and on side, so when you do hit obstacles, you have a strong team of people behind you.’
Have you had any issues with the cliff-side location?
‘Prior to buying the site, we had a very comprehensive survey done by a coastal expert. He gave the house a lifetime of 80-140 years, taking into consideration the rate of erosion. Since the programme aired, the planners have allowed us to use rock to help reinforce the cliff , which has made a big difference. We haven’t lost an inch off the plot in the six years that we’ve owned it, so the house definitely isn’t in any imminent peril.’
What is your favourite thing about living in the house now?
‘We’ve always lived in older properties with lots of stuff . Living in a minimal space is calming; we breathe a sigh of relief when we enter the house. It’s the simplicity of this way of life that we enjoy the most, as well as the tranquillity of the location, close to the sea and the mountains.’