Grand Designs: Family’s ‘exquisite’ home after £400,000 renovation – ‘it’s been tough’

Grand Designs: Kevin McCloud views refurbished barn in Kent

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During this week’s Grand Designs on Channel Four, a couple embark on an ambitious build of a modern timber-clad home in the middle of a 19th Century country estate in eastern Scotland. The couple experience various challenges and are forced to spend a further £50,000 over budget. 

Ian, who is an architect, and his wife, Jenny, bought a £225,000 plot of land on a country estate, which featured a Grade II listed bothy and a walled garden. 

The plot in Kinross-shire was surrounded by 19th Century homes.

The couple set out to convert the bothy into a home and connect it to a newly built modern black-stained timber-clad house with a 13-metre skylight corridor.

The new build featured an open plan kitchen and dining room, along with full height windows, which overlooked the walled garden. 

A snug was built with a log burner, along with a playroom for the couple’s children and the family’s bedrooms.

Due to the ambitious plans, Kevin admitted it would be “astonishing” if the couple successfully achieved their goal, while admitting it demanded a “huge amount of creativity”.

To allow the bothy to be connected to the new build, large holes had to be knocked through the garden wall.

Due to the pandemic, the building process had to be halted for 10 weeks.

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Running a business while overseeing the project proved challenging for Ian.

“It’s been tough,” he said. “Tiredness is one thing, but the stress levels have been a bit tricky to deal with.”

Original slate tiles on the roof of the bothy, which the couple had hoped to retain, couldn’t be salvaged and were replaced with natural slates imported from Spain.

The roof timbers were rotten which involved a further expense.  

Once the project was completed, Kevin described the design as “beautifully crafted”.

“It’s romantic, the whole thing is looking exquisite,” he said, adding, “it vindicates the process of doing it properly.”

Reflecting on the design of the 13-metre skylight corridor, which connected the two properties, Kevin said: “What is so brilliant with this glass roof is, if I look up, what I see is a garden wall and sky – that purity of that simple idea is still there.”

Having set an original budget of £350,000, the couple spent an additional £50,000, which increased the overall cost to £400,000.

Kevin praised the architecture of the new home.

He said: “This building gave the bothy and that wall a new meaning, it revitalised them, it gave them purpose.”

Kevin highlighted that the bold and modern design had enhanced the surrounding homes.

He added: “It goes to show that with a single strong contemporary idea you can spring the past alive.”

Grand Designs airs on Channel 4 on Wednesday

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