New episode of Grand Designs sees wild festival goers tested to the limit



When savage couple Olaf and Fritha decide to embark on building a family home between a railroad track and a road, and atop a sewer, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud can almost smell disaster in the city. air.

In what is now the 21st series of Channel 4’s beloved show, invariably filled with architectural stories that swing between triumph and tragedy, this episode follows OIaf and Fritha as they tackle one of the projects. the most difficult of Grand Designs. While going through the IVF process to start a family.

The carpenter and a fabric printer plan to house their future offspring in a three-story triangular half-timbered house on a very small half-acre site in Billinghurst, West Sussex.

With a main train track on one side and a main road on the other, the main concern is noise (especially with sleeping babies). However, very early in the planning process, they realize that they are about to create their dream of a forever home over a sewer.

Exclusive preview of the new series of Grand Designs

“It was demoralizing,” says Olaf. The couple are not allowed to build above the waste pipe and have to give it a three-meter-wide birth, which makes the plot even tighter and more problematic.

“The prospects for this project are bleak, maybe that’s why Olaf and Fritha are traveling by ambulance,” jokes the narrator at the start of the episode.

McCloud describes it as a “besieged compromise” project, especially given the looming deadlines. The couple must complete the construction within 12 months, from start to finish, as Olaf has to return to his paid work. To add even more pressure, the couple happily discover that IVF has worked and that they are expecting a baby. “It’s all up to him,” says McCloud.

The budget is set at £ 160,000, but this will be tested given the cost of building this inconvenient site. After the first laying of the foundations, the couple rack up the costs and are forced to return to the bank to try and extend their mortgage to £ 240,000. At this pivotal moment, the project could come to a halt.

The “courageous self-build” will consist of a triangular shaped house with a sloping zinc roof covered with inconspicuous solar panels. On the ground floor will be the home-made and cozy kitchen. Thanks to the sliding doors, the kitchen is designed to expand into an outdoor party area with a large built-in fireplace.

The first floor is to have an office, bathroom and two bedrooms with the master bedroom in the attic on the third floor – Olaf and Fritha’s “treetop haven”.

Channel 4 / Stef Kerstall

The whole building is to be covered in white plaster, with sleek black bricks and timber, and walls tightly wrapped with materials to keep the heat in and noise out. The 17 triple-glazed windows will also help to eradicate the rumbling of the surrounding transport networks.

The shape of the plot is not the only obstacle, the design of the house is also a mathematical problem. I hate triangular buildings because of the narrow, unnecessary “naughty corners”, says McCloud. Olaf even makes a full-size wooden model of the house to determine the angles. The model itself takes seven hours to complete.

Channel 4

Unable to build on the sewers and therefore without room for a workshop, Olaf and Fritha spend £ 2,600 on a red plastic double-decker bus from 1985 that Fritha describes as a ‘drunken ebay buy’. Olaf has to stop traffic on the busy Sussex A road in an attempt to drive it down the narrow alley.

As McCloud says at the start of the show, “Carpenters are the unsung heroes of engineering.”

“It looks like it’s on a concrete ring road,” McCloud says, but, in fact, it adds to the urban-meet-rural haven the couple have created.

At the end of the episode, the veteran design presenter describes the house as “gorgeous” and “architecturally appropriate,” with clever tips for overcoming those “nasty corners,” like putting a toilet in one of the rooms. those narrow, sloping places.

At first I saw you as innocent children, festival goers and free spirits, ”says McCloud,“ in the end you are parents with a house and a mortgage.

The new Grand Designs series is on Channel 4 at 9 p.m. Wednesdays


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