GRAND DESIGNS REVISITED this week had presenter Kevin McCloud revisit Somerset to look back at one couple’s journey converting an old cow shed into an off-grid home.
Kevin returned to Somerset to see Ed and Vicky Versluys and their cow shed conversation.
A year after his last visit and with the house finally complete, Kevin found out what it was like living in an off-grid home designed for animals.
Wanting to exchange city life for more simple living in the countryside, Ed and Vicky set their eyes on a semi-derelict concrete and brick cowshed in Somerset.
The couple spotted the site by accident, but fell in love with it - in particular the beautiful surrounding views.
Grand Designs Revisited: Kevin McCloud wasn't optimistic over the couple's time frame
Are we just making the biggest mistake?
The couple bought the cow shed for £220,000, and after Vicky sold her flat in London, they were left with £200,000 to spend.
Their plans included a small wind turbine on the roof, hay bales in the walls for insulation so the home retained some of the features of the barn, a small holding for pigs, chickens and vegetables outside, an area for Ed to carry out his butchering business and a pilates studio for Vicky to carry out her business.
The couple began the project in March 2015, but with their wedding in July that year, they hoped it would all be finished in six or seven months.
Kevin had a more realistic time frame however, describing the 280 square metre barn as a “simple but large” project.
Grand Designs Revisited: The beautiful views are what drew the property to the couple
He predicted it would take the couple between 12 and 18 months to finish, 10 if they were lucky.
Speaking to the cameras on her own, Vicky said: “Are we just making the biggest mistake?
“He [Ed] wouldn’t do something stupid and risk such a huge amount on something he wasn’t sure about.”
Ed, helped by a labourer friend, carried out all the building work himself, but while the couple were able to save some pennies this way, they were faced with a number of drawbacks.
Grand Designs Revisited: Ed and Vicky now run their own businesses in the home
There were unsuccessful attempts at drilling a borehole to bring in a water supply, and there were some delays with some specialist contractors and delivery of items including the windows.
Kevin visited the house a year ago to see how the home was coming along, but it wasn’t quite finished.
He said: “It isn’t little house on the prairie, it’s big house on the hill. I wanted Ed and Vicky’s off-grid adventure to finish, so I had to come back.”
So Kevin returned to the property in September 2016 to see the end the result.
The home was short of disappointment. Kevin said: "No trace of decrepid cow shed, it was now full of promise. The house is finished and ready for business."
On Sarah Beeny's show, How to Live Mortgage Free, a man transformed a caravan into a luxury home.
Information from: www.cetusnews.com