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Following people attempting to build their own house from scratch. Sumati Bala tries to build a new home and a site for her cookery school on just £50,000.

Architectural journalist Kieran Long and architect Piers Taylor are following self-builders as they take on the biggest gamble of their lives. Yet all of them have less than £100k to spend, little or no experience and have their life savings on the line - it will not be easy.

Twice-widowed, Sumati Bala thought she had found the perfect spot to spend the rest of her life: a beautifully located cottage in need of updating just outside Berwick-upon-Tweed. She moved in and planned to run her small cookery school there but the house of her dreams soon turns into a nightmare as serious problems emerged, from asbestos to rising damp. With the house condemned, Sumati is forced to knock down the troubled cottage and try to build a new one in its place. As the bulldozers move in, she witnesses the bulk of her life savings pulled to the ground and with just £50,000 left, she has to start from scratch. Homeless, with no self-build experience or family nearby, Sumati is facing the monumental challenge alone.

To help Sumati make the most of her incredibly tight budget Kieran and Piers attempt to steer her in the right direction. Kieran tracks down inspirational properties that are relevant to her budget build, while Piers takes her to the dramatic island location of Skye to visit contemporary, affordable homes so she can see first-hand what she can achieve with a minimal budget. Can Piers persuade her to adopt his more ambitious and contemporary plans for her dream home and cookery school?

But the reluctant self-builder soon finds the demands of supervising the build overwhelming and the build grinds to a halt. Faced with the prospect of being without a home and no income, Sumati has to make some tough decisions to get her life back on track.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:09



  • 00:19


    Rolling In The Deep

  • 00:22

    The Temper Trap


  • 00:27


    Change Down

  • 00:39

    Primal Scream

    Beautiful Summer

  • 00:44


    Things We Lost In The Fire

  • 00:45



  • 00:47

    The Feeling


  • 00:49

    Emeli Sandé


  • 00:51

    Lana Del Rey


  • 00:55



  • 00:55

    John Newman

    Love Me Again


Role Contributor
Presenter Kieran Long
Presenter Piers Taylor
Executive Producer Annette Clarke
Series Editor Joff Wilson


  • Tue 24 Sep 2013 19:00
  • Wed 25 Sep 2013 20:00
  • Sat 5 Oct 2013 15:00
  • Mon 25 Nov 2013 09:05
  • Fri 4 Nov 2016 15:15
  • Mon 26 Nov 2018 13:45

Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box

"Diverging from what you know and think you already like can be pretty scary”

The £100k House: Tricks of the Trade

The £100k House: Tricks of the Trade

Homeowners are helped with their ambitious building projects