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Grand Designs Street: Build Your Relationship in Catastrophic Buildings



If you ever wanted to build your own house, it might be a good idea to see the first episode in a new one Grand Designs: Street series.

Because it is assumed that one might consider doing a masterful job with zero experience in house building or project management, but there you go.

British presenter Kevin McCloud is back in Gravenhill, Oxfordshire, with two adjacent buildings in a new, "experimental" street that is a local council initiative – the owners of the lots will all build their homes, so the rules can be said to be relaxed.

It all smiles in the beginning, but this self-build has turned into a nightmare for Lynn homeowner, seen here with Grand Designs manager Kevin McCloud.

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It all smiles in the beginning, but this self-build has turned into a nightmare for Lynn homeowner, seen here with Grand Designs manager Kevin McCloud.

Lynn is 62 years old at the start of construction, but she feels she can do it because her current neighbors Terry, 65, and Olwyn, 73, will build a house next door on New Street and will share the burden. Well that's a theory anyway. We don't see Olywn doing much in practice, but he mentions going to Wimbledon for tennis.

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You have to love their positivity. "In the age of life, most people slow down, you accelerate," McCloud says.

Kevin McCloud, UK-based Grand Designs Leader, is once again standing alone in the field.

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Kevin McCloud, UK-based Grand Designs Leader, is once again standing alone in the field.

But even the recipe for disaster even theoretically seems. While Terry actually built the house, Lynn, who is alone, did not. And here it peels off.

They start in fine style. As McCloud whispers to the camera: "Look at them – gloves, high jackets, safety glasses, steel cap tops. These are self-builders in the making."

They are built with lightweight quilting blocks made from recycled cement-lined wooden pallets. The blocks don't need mortar to stay in place, so everything seems fine.

Olwyn and Terry were painted on the stairs during their construction.

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Olwyn and Terry were painted on the stairs during their construction.

But the first signs of tension happen when Terry helps Lynn with underfloor heating – they have to tie 2000 cable ties. Terry feels he expects too much from him, and Olywn certainly thinks so. (You see, he always needs her there in her place.)

Lynn also uses their tool and stores things in her sheds, and she says it was supposed to be "sharing." Terry thinks it's his fault that he thinks they could ever work together. Neighbors stop talking to each other.

"It's an erosion of the glow of optimism. Reality is beginning to bite," McCloud notes.

And the three (with McCloud) were friends at the beginning of construction. That changed - the neighbors stopped talking to each other

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And the three (with McCloud) were friends at the beginning of construction. That changed – the neighbors stopped talking to each other

To get away from it all, Terry and Olwyn head to Spain for a week, where it’s sunny and beautiful. You have to wonder why they don't live there all the time. It doesn't seem to make sense.

At home, Lynn has a problem trying to repair the scaffolding on her own. Not surprisingly, she loses the plot. "Today I am thoroughly, thoroughly followed …. It's not a good idea; I wish I never did; a bad move."

But there is worse – much, much worse.

Lynn has been practically throughout construction.

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Lynn has been practically throughout construction.

And not the pouring of concrete concrete is what goes down inside the walls. Concrete collapses through blocks and formwork and spills everywhere.

No, that translates into insignificance in addition to Lynn's roof problem – and so far both households have extra help on the spot. Lynn's builder looks toward the house from the underside of the roof and sees a lot of sky, right along the main ridge.

It turns out that the cantilever drive failed on the first floor; the beams went down and the roof at its top split apart – it was wide open, and it was an absolute disaster. The house is now structurally unlit, with tiles working on the outside being sent home.

Lynn's house has a curved tower element that references traditional oasis houses.

SCREENSHOT

Lynn's house has a curved tower element that references traditional oasis houses.

Its engineers think they have found a solution – so should they think. Did they design it? That's not clear. The question must be asked, has the council been giving these rules a little too much? How did this happen?

The team manages to raise the beams and adjust the main structure of the house. But surgery has major complications; they have to take away foreign homes to get the job done. Lynn is incredibly upset and it's heartbreaking to watch. The mistake is already projected to cost her more than £ 20,000, which means she has to sell her existing home immediately (it takes six months).

Meanwhile, the construction of Terry and Olwyn seems relatively smooth, except that Terry gets diagnosed with diabetes during his diagnosis. Exercise helps, and by the end of the show he is a very refined version of his former self.

This is Lynn's delicious area to live.

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This is Lynn's delicious area to live.

But we're not done with Lynn yet. Its construction goes from very bad to worse. She arrives on the spot to find huge holes in her concrete floor. The icy weather burst the floor pipes, ruining any hope that it would have a concrete floor. He says he starts to hate the "b ***** thing."

All street-building households pay around £ 100,000 (US $ 202,000) for their sections. Lynn intended to build her £ 175,000. But in the end, it cost her £ 400,000, and she spent all her "investments and retirement pots."

Terry and Olwyn also budgeted around £ 175,000 for their construction and managed to keep it at around £ 230,000. Terry reckons he saved £ 100,000 by doing it himself. (There's a moral to this story somewhere.)

Lynn opted for a white kitchen in her outdoor living space.

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Lynn opted for a white kitchen in her outdoor living space.

GRAND REVEAL

Grand Designs UK does not provide us with exterior photos except for a few very close details (we have included some screenshots). We wonder why this is so. Do they look so bad?

Lynn put a modern tower on the roof, which she called cruel. He is reminiscent of traditional houses with oases that he loves. And it's fair to say that her house is delicious on the inside. The house has lots of bamboo wood, including stairs and railings.

This is the home of Terry and Olwyn who has a strong asymmetrical character.

SCREENSHOT

This is the home of Terry and Olwyn who has a strong asymmetrical character.

It now has resin flooring, a balcony and large windows. But was it worth it?

"It was a very difficult, sometimes traumatic, trip that I didn't think I would end," tear gas says. "It's amazing to even be here. I don't think I could have improved on what I had. I just wish it was less traumatic to get here."

Terry and Olywn and are thrilled with their house, and that's pretty weird in a Star Trek way. They have a blue-tiled floor and glittering white walls in the living area, and purple in the kitchen. And funny capsules are sitting outside.

Terry and Olwyn have a space kitchen with purple walls.

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Terry and Olwyn have a space kitchen with purple walls.

But what about neighbor relations? "We talk, but I never think it will be as it was," Lynn says.

McCloud remains positive: "They have successfully built their homes in retirement. It's really inspiring."

At the end of it all, you have to wonder how many years have taken their lives.

Grand Designs: Street Screens at 3:30 p.m.

Olwyn and Terry love to sit in this time machine balloon and enjoy a cup.

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Olwyn and Terry love to sit in this time machine balloon and enjoy a cup.

This is a look down at Terry's and Olwyn's residential area.

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This is a look down at Terry's and Olwyn's residential area.


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