Grand Designs sees a couple face what looks like an impossible challenge on tonight’s episode as they build a triangular home between a train line, a busy A-road and a sewer.
After buying the plot of land in West Sussex for £160,000, master carpenter Olaf embarked on his lifelong dream of building his own home.
However, they discovered the biggest obstacle to building on this land only after signing the deed.
‘When I found out about the sewer it was a bit demoralising,’ he explained, as it was revealed the sewer has dictated the shape of the building: a triangle.
As it was impossible to move, the couple had to work with it as they planned out their new timber-framed home.
‘We’re stuck with it. We have paid the money so we are kind of screwed,’ continued Olaf.
‘Making this land buildable has cost us a fortune,’ explained his partner Fritha.
But despite facing a series of obstacles, including being forced to increase their mortgage to cover the building costs, the couple remained positive.
‘This is just our dream,’ said Fritha. ‘We can do whatever we want here.’
With only half of the plot available to build on, Olaf and Fritha have had to use all the ingenuity they could muster to make their triangular three-bedroom house come to life.
Sturdy retaining walls and foundations to combat traffic vibrations ended up costing more than they’d hoped and the bewildering angles needed to create the sharp-pointed hand-built timber frame stretched Olaf to his limits.
As super thick soundproofing walls were installed, the budget reaches a breaking point. And along with all this, Fritha and Olaf were going through IVF at the same time.
Having been unable to build a workshop on the premises, the couple also decided to buy a £2,600 double-decker bus to serve as Olaf’s carpentry workspace.
‘It’s going to be really urban meets rural,’ teased Fritha.
It was clear that this was turning into one of the most stressful and pivotal moments of their lives, but as they unveil the finished home to Kevin McCloud tonight on Channel 4, all the hard work is finally worth it.
‘I hope that this place provides an opportunity for some our children to get more into country living,’ said Fritha.
‘To actually create it in real life was a ground-breaking moment for me and to turn something so daft into reality,’ said Olaf, who designed parts of the building using models of cardboard.
And, after returning to the building once completed Kevin remarked: ‘This is beautiful, it’s exquisite and the building is so finely tuned.’
Grand Designs airs Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.