Olaf Mason launches self-build workshop - Grand Designs Magazine
Olaf and Fritha from Grand Designs outside the triangle house with Kevin McCloud

Olaf Mason launches self-build workshops

The master carpenter behind the Grand Designs triangle house wants to help more self-builders

By Victoria Purcell |

Grand Designs viewers were gripped as Olaf and Fritha Mason grappled with one of the trickiest self-build plots ever seen on the show. Sandwiched between a railway line, busy main road and a sewer, the resultant triangle house was a triumph of determination and craftsmanship.

The couple were navigating the taxing build while also undergoing fertility treatment (joyously, baby Lagertha made an appearance at the end of the show). Their openness, charm and tenacity — alongside Olaf’s exemplary carpentry skills — won them a place in the nation’s hearts.

Now, aspiring self-builders can learn from the grand designer himself, as Olaf launches a series of self-build workshops.

Olaf's triangle house in Billingshurst, West Sussex, from Grand Designs

Photo: Jefferson Smith

Self-build workshops

Taking place at TV’s most famous triangle house, located near Billingshurst, West Sussex, on Saturday 6 November 2021, the workshop is open to those at any stage of a self-build project.

The first event will take place in the Masons’ kitchen, but they will eventually be held on Olaf’s famous double-decker bus workshop – a drunken eBay purchase that the couple had a heck of a job manoeuvring into place on Grand Designs.

Grand Designs viewers were gripped as Olaf and Fritha Mason grappled with one of the trickiest self-build plots ever seen on the show. Sandwiched between a railway line, busy main road and a sewer, the resultant triangle house was a triumph of determination and craftsmanship.

The couple were navigating the taxing build while also undergoing fertility treatment (joyously, baby Lagertha made an appearance at the end of the show). Their openness, charm and tenacity — alongside Olaf’s exemplary carpentry skills — won them a place in the nation’s hearts.

Now, aspiring self-builders can learn from the grand designer himself, as Olaf launches a series of self-build workshops.

Olaf's triangle house in Billingshurst, West Sussex, from Grand Designs

Photo: Jefferson Smith

Self-build workshops

Taking place at TV’s most famous triangle house, located near Billingshurst, West Sussex, on Saturday 6 November 2021, the workshop is open to those at any stage of a self-build project.

The first event will take place in the Masons’ kitchen, but they will eventually be held on Olaf’s famous double-decker bus workshop – a drunken eBay purchase that the couple had a heck of a job manoeuvring into place on Grand Designs.

Image: Olaf and Fritha's impressive triangle house was a real labour of love. Photo: Jefferson Smith

Olaf, a master carpenter for 25 years, had always dreamed of building his own home. His experience of project managing his own self build has made him passionate about helping others to go confidently along their journey.

The aim is to entertain and inspire while meeting other self-builders and discussing topics from the initial dream to building your team, scheduling, budgeting, ordering materials, managing expectations and making your house as sustainable as possible.

Olaf’s first self-build workshop runs from 9.30am-4pm on Saturday 6 November 2021. Tickets are £90. Coffee, cake and a home-cooked lunch will be served. To book see eventbrite.com. For dates of upcoming workshops, email [email protected]. For more on Olaf’s work, see masoncarpentry.construction


The wisdom of hindsight

Grand Designs magazine asked Olaf if there were three things he wished he knew before embarking on his self build project:

  1. I wish I knew how difficult it is to get a mortgage if you and your partner are self employed
  2. I wish I had understood more about the intricacies of solar power systems
  3. I wish I had realised that not everyone works to the same high standards that I do

For more advice on self-build from grand designers, read Build your own house with tips from the experts
Click here to catch up with the latest series of Grand Designs on All4
Lead image: Channel 4

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