Once again, Grand Designs proved to be a surprisingly emotional experience.

“Never really been comfortable in houses that have been built for somebody else. The opportunity for individualism is limited to curtains. The idea of creating something that you can actually live in and enjoy is such a natural thing for me to want to do.”

It’s that time again. We put our feet up with a good cuppa and watched the one-and-only Grand Designs, and yet again we were taken on an emotional and fascinating journey as a couple attempt to build their quirky dream home. 

After two decades, we’re still witnessing totally unique projects, brought to us by our reliable presented Kevin McCloud. This time, the lens is focused in on a lovely couple who both used to work in commercial construction, renovating dilapidated buildings in Hungary – it was how they met!

Let’s dive in, shall we!

Grand Designs: Transforming a reservoir

When people think of an underground reservoir, they wouldn’t necessarily think “hmm, that would make a great home one day.”

It’s pretty outside of the box thinking, to say the least. Nevertheless, this couple embarked on the monumental task of transforming an underground water reservoir into a contemporary home as comfortable as the next – even more so, rather.

The project was tackled by 55-year-old building services engineer Richard Bennett and his 45-year-old partner Felicia Böhm. After discovering the concrete foundations at a spot on Hull, they quickly got to thinking of plans for a three-bedroom home with a gorgeous courtyard. For £98,000, they got to work on building their abode on the out-of-action reservoir.

Kevin is inevitably intrigued by the couple’s ambition, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t doubts expressed along the way. It’s a weird idea, and there are a couple of reasons you don’t really hear of people doing this sort of thing.

 

How did they get on?

The pair have to confront water chambers and hidden possibilities as they work to sculpt their ten-room dream home. There is the question of how to sufficiently allow sunlight to drench the home in life, which causes issues with how to take the roof out of the picture for another.

It’s been in the pipeline since 2013 with a budget of £150,000, but finally, they managed to bring their creation to life! The couple and their 9-year-old daughter Maya were thrilled with the end destination, but it was a long and problematic road to get there. Initial demolition proved to be a nightmare, and heartbreakingly, Richard was diagnosed with cancer; with blood poisoning making him iller by the day, the project was put on hold for a time. Along with budgetary concerns, it looked like their vision would come crumbling down. 

However, over the next three years (after being diagnosed), he worked to recover and eventually returned to continue with the project. “Slowly you get better and slowly you start to build your life again,” he says. After some serious work, the tradespeople are ushered in to help craft their home, which after six years beautifully stood in August 2019. 

 

Twitter reacts!

Their stunning and imaginative home has three bedrooms, a shared kitchen, bathroom, two offices and workshops and a conservatory. That courtyard is gorgeous!

Speaking of the journey, Richard expressed: “I’m privileged I got to continue working on this project.”

Over on Twitter, one viewer wrote: What a beautiful home. Such a testament to hard work and determination. I hope Richard is in good health.” Another added: “Now that is what I’d call the perfect #granddesigns and just happens to be in a beautiful place too! So happy for Richard and his lovely family.”

In other news, how long have Billy Porter and Adam Smith been together?