St Albans couple’s dream home project appears on Grand Designs
- Credit: Archant
A couple’s remarkable mission to build their dream home from scratch - navigating stringent planning rules - featured on TV show Grand Designs last night.
Chris and Kayo, who would prefer to only use their first names, have spent the last 10 years working on an almost entirely carbon neutral Roman-esque house near St Albans Cathedral and Verulamium Park.
It occupies a site of nearly 6,000 sq ft, took four years to build, and blends naturally into the landscape in a shape similar to an infinity symbol. It has an under-floor heating system that means burning wood for just one hour can warm the house for a whole day.
As it is in a significant part of the city, Chris and Kayo have been in extensive discussions with numerous groups - including Historic England, St Albans district council, and St Albans Cathedral.
The couple and their children have now been living in the home for a year, and Chris said: “It’s great, to be honest it wasn’t a rushed job so it was a bit of a labour of love and it wasn’t how a developer would have done it, it was more like someone building it for themselves and doing it carefully with a lot of interest, not doing it for profit.
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“We were doing it because we loved building something of interest to the city and to ourselves - we could have done it a lot cheaper if we had done it in a simpler format.
“Trying to keep everybody happy wasn’t easy, but I think what we have turned out most people seem to think it’s nice.”
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If they can obtain planning permission, Chris and Kayo would like to install solar panels and make the build completely carbon neutral.
A dean at St Albans Cathedral has said he will bless the house.
David Lane, chairman of St Albans development and town planning company DLA, helped with the project and said: “It’s a great setting, a fantastic setting - it’s very much a one of a kind design.
“It was a tough set of negotiations, but we got everybody around the table and came up with a decision we all like.”
This is the second DLA house to appear on Grand Designs - the first was a site built on stilts in Tring.
The Channel 4 programme aired yesterday but can be seen on 4OnDemand.