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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > People > Stories > Wiltshire's Grand Design

Wiltshire's Grand Design

Wiltshire couple build there dream house in Mildenhall near Marlborough, with Channel 4's Grand Designs team following every step of the way.

Grand Designs 1

The finished house

From derelict castles to run down tug-boats, to old water-towers to eco-homes carved from the side of a hill, Channel 4's Grand Designs, proves nothing is impossible if you use a bit of imagination and have a bit of cash to splash.

Meryl and Andrew Ainslie who live near Marlborough, were featured on the most recent episode of show. The pair described as "totally unflappable" by the programme makers, decided to build a house from an old Victorian barn on their Wiltshire farm. Situated in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, where you'd have to get in a 4x4 to borrow a cup of sugar from your nearest neighbour.

Grand Designs 1

The whole farm

Using local craftsmen to build the wooden kitchen and an almost sculptural, helix-shaped staircase, that cost a whopping £40,000 the project was huge!

But Meryil took it all in her stride: "We decided to go ahead with the build after converting one barn into a gallery a few years ago.

"Even though our farm was in the countryside our house was in the village of Mildenhall, and we felt removed from the greenery of the farm. Now we are in the heart of our farm, and the heart of the countryside and we love it!"

Grand Designs 1

Inside the barn

Planning and building their new dream home wasn't easy. The couple knew they wanted a home that reflected their lives. Which offered tranquility but which also embraced the 21st Century, some thing modern, which used modern technology and used modern ways of heating and insulation.

"We wanted a barn that still had a barn effect, because we wanted it to fit in to the landscape. It is a completely new build opposite the original Victorian barns on the farm. We have the wood, the glass and zinc of the new build and then the red brick and history of the old."

Using local craftsmen was a must for the Wiltshire couple and sourcing them proved a huge joy: "Working with local artists and craftsmen, who made things just for us has been an amazing journey, a real pleasure"

Grand Designs 1

The gate that seperates the barns

Fans of Grand Designs admit time and time again, one of the best things about watching the show (apart from the magnificent houses) is witnessing the tantrums, the foot stomping and shouting as things go wrong, builders don't deliver and budgets are blown.

But this didn't happen to the Mildenhal pair. Things remained relatively calm: "We had a very clear definition of what we wanted during the build. We had a clear idea about what we wanted to achieve, and gave the builders and craftsmen a very specific brief.

"It really comes down to researching the people you work with, so you have confidence in what they are going to produce for you."

Grand Designs 1

The family outside their new home

Having a film crew following the build didn't throw Meryil or Andrew at all, Meryil describes Kevin McCloud the presenter of the show, as a pleasure to work with.

And after a few weeks living in their dream house, the reality certainly matches up to the dream

"We love living in the house, it's amazing, it's even better than we expected. To wake up get a cup of tea and watch the hares playing in the field is beautiful, we are very lucky."

last updated: 05/03/2009 at 15:56
created: 05/03/2009

Have Your Say

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I watched this show..I live on a farm in Western Australia and I dream about this house and wish we could make this confident investment in agriculture. What a wonderful family farm house.

This is my favourite 'grand deisgn' yet and has inspired me - both in relation to the way the Ainslie's conducted the project (being so calm and capable) and the result of the project being such an incredibly beautiful house

Patricia Allnutt Perth Western Australia
Love the house - it fits in beautifully. Was that the Uffington White Horse I caught a glimpse of in the background?

Brian James...........Australia
Just saw this program on 21/7/09. At first I did not think I would like it, but the simplicity of the design with the materials used has worked beautifully. The interior has a simplicity about it also,yet to me is not sterile, but has a lovely warmth and inviting feel. I could live in this home quite easily.

Jacquei Hicks
Couldn't disagree more with the comment about the Nissan Hut. I think it is beautifully serene and clearly reflects the calmness of the owners.

Patricia Jones
Didn't rate this design very highly. Looks like it started out as a Nissan Hut and then they decided to make it into site offices. To my way of thinking it does nothing to blend into the countryside....sorry!
brilliant, brilliant love evrything about the houseand as for the position stunning oh to have a plot like that and the calmness with which the whole project was executed was a joy to watch thank you all involved Debbie

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