Kevin McCloud revisits traditional builder Paul and his wife Carol who, back in 2015, set out to create a bold, fortress-like home on the southern edge of the wild West Pennine Moors in Bolton.
This angled, offset new house, modelled on local drystone walls, was to be Paul’s swansong in the construction industry, much larger in scale and ambition than any of his previous projects. Despite a lifetime of using traditional masonry, their new home was to be timber built, eco-friendly and energy-saving, with the stone elements reserved for a few ground-floor walls. Paul was way out of his comfort zone but with Carol, daughter Abby and friend Graeme they threw themselves into construction.
With a tight 15-month schedule and an even tighter £350k budget, they were immediately up against it. After spending a small fortune getting out of the ground, the site was repeatedly battered by torrential rain and freezing temperatures. Exhausted, but finally making progress, then the money ran out. When their schedule was up, the house was still unfinished. Instead of seamlessly fitting into its rugged setting, it sat in a muddy, scarred landscape with the interior still to complete.
Now, six years later, Kevin’s back to see if this home is finally finished, if it’s given Paul and Carol the lifestyle they wanted, and whether Paul has finally managed to put down his trowel.
Grand Designs – Wednesday at 9.00pm on Channel 4.