Risky busi­ness

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - LU­CAS TOWNSEND Grand De­signs, ABC1, tonight, 7.30pm

ROBERT Gaukroger is an op­ti­mist.

Well, he’d want to be with plans to ren­o­vate a home to more than quadru­ple its size on a di­min­ish­ing bud­get while liv­ing with his young family on site.

In tonight’s Grand De­signs, hosted by Kevin McCloud ( pic­tured), Robert and Milla are re­de­vel­op­ing an 1980s house in the Lake District. But the rad­i­cal build is risky and their bud­get very tight.

When the cou­ple find a plot over­look­ing Lake Win­der­mere in the Lake District Na­tional Park, they reckon they’ve hit gold.

There is al­ready an ugly ’ 80s house on the site. But rather than knock it down, Robert plans to in­cor­po­rate this into a new de­sign which will quadru­ple its size.

Three large linked ex­ten­sions will be added and, to cap it, an enor­mous and com­pli­cated domed grass-cov­ered roof will be con­structed over the en­tire house.

Pas­sion­ate about sustainability, Robert also de­signs his own sys­tem of heat­ing.

He builds an enor­mous spine wall in the build­ing, lined with a lat­tice­work of pipes which will carry wa­ter heated by so­lar pan­els and a wood burn­ing stove. The idea is it will act like an enor­mous stor­age heater, if it works.

But in a build full of risks, the big­gest of all is start­ing with only $ 100,000 of the $ 400,000 bud­get in place. To make mat­ters worse, as con­struc­tion kicks off, Robert and Milla are soon in­tro­duced to an evil vil­lain, the GFC, and their eter­nal op­ti­mism is all that keeps them sane through the whole saga.

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