Belfast Telegraph

One house sure to float your boat: Grand Designs films at Maghera home made of shipping containers

By Amanda Ferguson

A Northern Ireland house made from four shipping containers is to feature on Channel 4's building programme Grand Designs tomorrow night.

After designing and putting together Grillagh Water House, architect Patrick Bradley, from Maghera, has now moved in.

The 34-year-old is loving every moment of living in his unique rural bolthole, which is adjacent to the picturesque Drumlamph woodland.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that while the 1,236sq ft project – in an area known to locals as Pixies' Paradise – had an initial budget of just £100,000, he ended up spending £130,000 to make his dream a reality.

"I lived on the family farm and wanted to start my own house," Patrick said.

"I got approval quite quickly and proceeded to cost everything to ensure I could afford it.

"I have only been self-employed for a few years, so I found financing it quite difficult.

"I loved the house but was coming in way over budget, so I thought of other methods of how I could do the house.

"I researched the plausibility of using shipping containers, so the primary structure is four 45ft shipping containers."

The containers were covered with a dark grey-coloured expanded metal and natural Corten steel, helping Patrick's achieve his vision of the house being "a piece of art or sculpture nestled into its surrounding landscape".

The ambitious architect explained it was important for him to use local suppliers for the two-level property, which has two bedrooms and open plan living, kitchen and dining areas.

"I wanted everybody to get the best out of it," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "The containers came from Walco Containers in Banbridge. All the suppliers and contractors were local, such as MBK Contracts for the interiors fitting. The main contractor of the house was Thornton Roofing in Toome.

"Really and truly, the project would not have been a success without them.

"They are known for their roofing, but they also do architectural steel work, cladding, glass balustrades... they can do it all."

Patrick also revealed how the Grand Designs team was blown away by his vision and had been filming with him all year.

"They thought the house was absolutely crazy," he said.

The architect, who is also a part-time farmer, moved into the stylish Grillagh Water House last week after living with his mother, his father and his sister on the family farm.

"My idea was nice architecture in the rural countryside but great to live in," he said

"It stands out like sculpture but blends into the landscape."

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