Grand Designs couple change their minds at the ’11th hour’ on £300,000 home – ‘it’s going to collide’


This week’s episode of Grand Designs saw presenter Kevin McCloud follow Carlos, a life coach, and Maite, a gardener and painter on their home building project. The couple planned to build their vision for a Rioja-inspired home in northern Spain, the country in which Maite grew up. But Maite not only wants to live there, she also designs it – without any professional qualifications.

From 2015 to 2019, Kevin McCloud made repeated trips to Graven Hill, Oxfordshire, where one of the biggest self-build experiments ever seen in the UK was taking place.

Ten households were embarking on a mission to build their own homes and create a new street and McCloud followed the progress of this daring architectural endeavor over the course of a six-part series.

There was as much danger and drama as one would expect from an entire street of grand projects, with each of the participants creating their own very individual home.

Three years later, McCloud is back to check on the progress, and what started with 10 is now over 100.

As well as revisiting some of the original pioneers, it follows some of the next wave of intrepid self-builders, starting with Carlos and Maite, who have ambitious plans to build a bold Spanish-inspired home.

Maite and Carlos wanted to build a Spanish-inspired house with steel and wood panels and a pitched roof.

The whole project was budgeted at £310,000 but the couple admitted they were £30,000 short in total before they even started building.

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On Wednesday’s episode of Grand Designs: The Street, there were some “creative differences” when Maite clashed with professional architects and more turmoil when she changed her mind about the color of a major paint job at the 11th hour.

He explained: “It certainly pushes the boundaries of what is achievable. As we were putting the final coat on the medium gray color the client had chosen, she asked for some pictures to see how they were doing, only for the client to have a panic attack, not liking the color to the 11th hour.”

The couple had ordered a pair of huge windows and doors from a small workshop in Yorkshire, spending £30,000, with the owner calling them ‘very oversized and bespoke’.

But Maite worried the house was compromised, with the window worker explaining: ‘Repainting the windows and doors is a massive process in the middle of the project. It’s a production line after all, and once it starts on this production line, it has to go all the way.

Maite said: “He went to the studio, took a photo and sent it to me. And I thought, that’s not what I chose! Imagine, all that silver and color is something that’s going to collide all over the place. You want it to be perfect.

In March 2021, it looked like the problem was still not fixed, with giant windows and doors appearing to arrive on site in the wrong color.

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Maite was born and raised in Rioja, Spain, and often returned to the country to visit her parents with her partner Carlos, a life coach.

She said: ‘I’ve been here all my life, got married, had kids, then got divorced. And then I thought, I want to start over. I went to England and met Carlos. Three years later, we had another baby.

Living in the UK, Maite has devoted much of her life to raising her children, working as a gardener and furniture partner, but has always harbored a love for design, despite having no formal training. formal.

One of her sons called it “inspirational,” while Kevin agreed, “It’s inspiring since she hasn’t had any formal design training.”

One of her daughters explains: “Mom always wanted to build a house, it was always one of her dreams. Carlos supports her whatever she wants to do.

Working from a short-term rental near Graven Hill, Maite had sketched out some plans for the building with the help of professional architect Steve Chance.

She said: “I love creating spaces, it’s my passion. But I’m not an architect and I can’t do that anywhere unless I’m building my own house.

“It’s very scary, nerve-wracking to think that you’re going to use all the money you have to build your own house.”

Carlos continued, “She is unconventional in her way of thinking about work and life. She wants to follow her heart, it’s a chance to validate her natural skills as a designer.

Self-built plots are all ready with foundations and services. Maite and Carlos paid £234,000 for their land.

Admitting she has “a very clear idea of ​​what she wants”, Maite said: “The exterior will be wooden, and instead of being vertical it will be diagonal, because the building is not straight”.

However, it wasn’t long before there was another problem.

When presenter Kevin McCloud asked how the architects responded to what Maite wanted, Carlos replied, “I think creative tension is healthy when you’re collaborating. He threw some ideas at Maite and it was about what she did and didn’t want.

Kevin predicted the house would be “stunning”, clad in strips of bark and dark steel panels, while light floods in through two walls of glass.

The couple also hoped to build a spectacular kitchen-dining room, as well as a first-floor living room and three bedrooms.

Despite their ambitious plans, the couple had a shoestring budget of £280,000 and estimated they would need another £30,000 to fully complete the job.

Carlos explained: “Right now we’re going on this journey knowing that we can’t completely finish the house, so we’re going to have to move in with maybe just one bathroom, the floors, but we thought if we could arrive stage, we can take it from there.

Maite added: “If we can live there and we don’t have to pay the rent, little by little we can do one thing and then another.”

However, the irregular shape of the house caused so many complexities and the start date on site was delayed by a month.

When all the steel work was in place, they started building plywood walls and covering them with plywood. A month later, the architect Chance came to inspect it.

He said: “I’m very happy with the progress, it’s gone very fast. Getting the steel in first, in about a day and a half, really gives you the shape of the building.

“The building experience is going to be very different from a house with a similar house area.

“At one point I said to think about lowering the roof and not having a double-height bedroom, which would cut costs – but basically customers felt they had to cling to these things.

“If they said, even if we don’t have a finish and we have to put the kitchen on later, they really wanted to commit to those elements. It’s a big commitment after all.

Grand Designs, Wednesdays at 9 p.m., on Channel 4.

The episodes are also available for streaming via All 4.


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