Belfast Telegraph

Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud names Northern Ireland home his all-time favourite build

Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley by his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs
Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley by his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has named a Northern Ireland home as his all time favourite property featured on the long-running home build series.

To celebrate 20 years of the hit Channel 4 programme, McCloud revealed his top five builds from the show in a commemorative episode, Kevin's Grandest Design, which aired on Wednesday.

McCloud revealed that if he was pushed to choose, a property in Co Londonderry which first featured on the programme in 2014 was "probably my favourite".

Local architect Patrick Bradley's Grillagh Water home saw 10k worth of shipping containers turned into an "architectural delight" in just under 10 months.

The unique rural bolthole, made out of four old containers and built in the picturesque Drumlamph woodland near Maghera, has won critical acclaim scooping a number of awards -  most notably a coveted Royal Institute of British Architects regional award for Northern Ireland.

Revisiting the property earlier this month, McCloud said it was as if "into the fairy kingdom has landed, quite gently, something from Battlestar Galactica" and that the innovative construction "hasn't lost it's magic".

The presenter admitted that, at the time, he had thought the project was "a disaster in the making", but architect Bradley proved him wrong, building an award-winning home for just £133,000.

Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs
Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs

"With not a single whiff of grotty shipping container, it gets top marks from me. Almost faultless," noted McCloud.

Other homes in the running for the presenter's top spot were The Water Tower in Kennington, The Glass House in Brixton, Artist Barn in Braintree and House on the Hill in Herefordshire.

After his episode aired, Patrick was inundated with requests from all over the world to design shipping container homes.

But five years on, his remains the only one he has ever designed.

"The biggest negative of the container house is people can't get it funded. No mortgage companies will fund it because they don't see it as traditional construction. It's really disappointing."

The pair agreed that it was a "gut-wrenching" scenario.

"The whole point about this extraordinary project was to demonstrate its sustainability, its versatility, its affordability. There are so many advantages," said McCloud.

While filming Grand Designs in 2014, Patrick's mother Ann put out a desperate appeal to get him a "gorgeous girlfriend".

And, much to her delight, the appeal was successful.

Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs
Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs

Patrick and his fiancee Victoria have been together for three years and are due to be married in 2020.

"The most amazing thing to come out of Grand Designs was Patrick meeting Victoria," said Ann.

"She's changed his life, Kevin. And for the better."

Agreeing, Patrick admitted that Victoria was "the missing part of the jigsaw".

Victoria said she could clearly recall watching Patrick's episode of the programme.

"I was sitting on a pink sofa with my friend in London," she said. "We both turned to each other and he was like, 'That's your future husband.'"

Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs
Self-contained: Maghera-based architect Patrick Bradley in his house, which was featured in TV show Grand Designs

"Did you fall in love with the house or with him?" probed Kevin.

"I've got both. I hit the jackpot."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph