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Grand Designs



Grand Designs
Its one of Channel 4s hit property shows that attracts millions of people keen to watch the warts and all journey of the self-builder as they battle to create their dream home under the watchful eye of design guru Kevin McCloud.
Grand Designs is so loved by the British public it has even spawned a spin-off five day annual exhibition at Birminghams NEC (October 11 to 15 this year) offering inspiration and tips for those contemplating their own house building journey. 
To celebrate the nations continuing love affair with property, heres a look at some of our own Grand Designs.
New lease of life for agricultural site
Hillwicket was built on the site of an eyesore derelict and decaying former agricultural building near Childs Ercall in Shropshire. Hillwicket is an outstanding and innovative sustainable family home that carefully and sensitively blends into the existing agricultural landscape.
We based our design around the original form of the existing building, which was dubbed The Mushroom Farm.
We felt that any replacement building within the grounds of the site should accurately reflect both the form and use within the site whilst being of striking architectural interest. 
Our design used simple geometry around the form of a traditional pitched barn to echo the heritage of the site. We also used a zinc standing seam roof in-keeping with the agricultural palette yet offering a contemporary look. 
To ensure that the finished house wasnt overbearing, we added a glazed break in the centre of the house, which had the additional benefit of flooding natural light into the heart of the property.
We also configured the eaves lines to maximise views out of the property whilst controlling sun glare into habitable rooms such as the bedrooms. The clever use of projecting rooflines on the gable end led to a useable balcony to the master bedroom whilst again controlling solar gain into the house.
The green credentials of the house include a renewable heating system using a borehole ground source heating pump and photo voltaic panels providing energy. Aluminium doors and windows provide a very efficient triple glazing system home and maximum heat retention. We also designed Hillwicket ˜fabric first so it was insulated to the highest possible standard.
Outside, it was important to get the screening and landscaping right on this former agricultural site for the householder and neighbours. Screening and landscaping was used to ensure that play equipment and household items such as washing lines did not clutter the open site. 
A timber clad screen alongside the highway sat on the footprint of the original farm building, which was broken to allow framed views through the site, again reflecting the original openings within the building.
Reinstatement of an existing farmhouse, Womerton, South Shropshire
This was a Grand Design on a budget “ in fact, it was featured on the BBC TV show, The House 100k Built.
The brief was for an innovative cost effective design to replace an existing substantial farmhouse, nestled in the South Shropshire Hills. Although the site wasnt part of the neighbouring Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we were keen to be sympathetic to the unique local landscape while creating a striking new home.
Our team came up with a strong architectural response that reflects the landscape the house in sits in. The design was carefully drawn up to ensure that the mass and impact of the new build on the local landscape was less than that of the original farmhouse 
Made of up three distinct blocks with two connecting collars, the house is highly insulated and designed to track and maximise south light. The mono pitched roof harvests rainwater and provides ambient heating in winter and cooling in the summer. Solar photo voltaic panels provide hot water. The external facade was chosen for its sympathetic sustainable finish, creating a farmhouse for the future.

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