The couple bought the plot in 2010 for £400,000 and turned it into an award-winning modern home. Its central courtyard is flanked by two gabled wings with steep rusted steel roofs, connected by a tall, glass atrium with Tim’s favourite feature, a steel staircase running up the middle. Among the quirkier details in this 4,000 sq ft home is a wooden slide that runs down to the basement playroom, carpeted in fake grass.
“We wanted to create something architecturally significant, but at all times making it a practical house for a young family, with lots of light and fun and creative spaces,” Jo says.
She admits she isn’t sure how much they spent in total. “We borrowed as much money as we could and started, so we never had a fixed budget. Bespoke design is more about controlling risks than being able to tie down fixed costs,” she says. And as structural engineers, she and Tim produced many of the drawings and managed the project themselves.
Jo says they now plan to build a new home “with the bespoke metal fabrication we used on Kew House”,
which they hope to sell for £3.8 million through The Modern House (020 3795 5920). “It hasn’t been an easy decision as we put so much into creating this house, but life moves on, circumstances change and I think at heart we are builders.”
Another couple who immortalised their self-build on the TV show are now moving on to a new line in Grand Designs-style development. Ian Hogarth and Claire Farrow’s West Kensington home became known as the The Disco House thanks to its dance floor in the basement, inspired by Hogarth’s childhood love of the Blackpool illuminations. “The disco has been such a hit that we now run a regular club night,” says Farrow of their family home, which cost £750,000 to build.
Now their attention has shifted to the Cornish town of Bude, where they have been holidaying for years and have built four terraced houses, “seconds from the sea”, says Farrow. The candy-coloured facades are once again inspired by Hogarth’s nostalgia – this time for Battenberg cake.
The eco-friendly homes, which cost £1.5 million to build, excluding the cost of the land, are made from Lego-like foam blocks called Polarwall. “We used those in London and haven’t turned on the heating for two years,” says Farrow. Features include a yoga and pilates room, bespoke ski chalet-style bunk beds and storage space for surfboards.
Prices start at £695,000 for a four-bedroom house and £795,000 for six bedrooms, listed with Colwills (01288 355828). And while the couple expected demand to come from holiday-home buyers, the first has sold to a retired couple seeking a seaside home that will entice their grandchildren to visit.