Jim Fairfull considers himself a very lucky guy. He was out fishing with a friend when he came across a beautiful, secluded loch. It's a magical place with stunning views over the nearby hills. He got chatting to the farmer who owned it and discovered the site was for sale. Within a week, he'd done a deal and bought the land. Jim runs a successful wholesale fruit and vegetable company in Glasgow and his wife, Simone, looks after their two girls, aged 11 and eight. Jim and Simone were not intending to self build. But they fell in love with this dramatic location and decided they wanted to live here.
Robert and Jane Ellis decided to convert an isolated hilltop ruin in the Forest of Dean in Herefordshire. Adding modern steel and glass they created a mouthwatering contemporary structure. They decided to keep as much of the old barn as it is. The new additions are clearly modern and new, with a clear line separating old and new. The old barn was very dark with no real windows and since planners ruled that no additional windows can be added, they had to use as much of available light as they could. The result is a surprisingly bright space, filled with lots of steel, stainless struts, glass and the best of modern furniture, where new and old are sitting in a very easy dialog.
Theo and Elaine Leijser hoped to bring a bit of Dutch style to Scotland in the building of their first family home – a colourful, contemporary three storey house, with a striking cedar clad exterior. The couple stumbled across the perfect plot overlooking the beautiful Campsie Fells near Glasgow, bought it and began to plan their dream build.
For six years Bruno and Denise Del Tufo stared at the large concrete water tower at the bottom of their garden trying to figure out what to do with it. It's a very rare object – a square water tower on stilts designed by architect Edwin Lutyens, who built it to supply the manor house nearby. It's not exactly beautiful but Bruno and Denise feel very protective towards it. When they sold their house, they were worried that someone might knock the tower down, so they decided to try and find a way to live in this huge, concrete monster.
Kevin McCloud revisits Denise (Deni) Daniel and Doug Ibbs. The couple, in their mid-50s and from Dorset, bought a 19th-century manor house in Creuse, Limousin – in central France – on a Sunday, having seen it for the first time ever on the previous Tuesday on the Internet and visited it on the Thursday. They don't mind hard work too, which is even better news because the house was a wreck.
Kevin McCloud revisits Nicky and James Dobree. Nicky was raised in France, James in Beirut – both have fond memories of the mountains as children. So it was natural for them to one day look to buy a place amongst France's tallest peaks, the Alps.
The journey moving the family, including their two young sons, Fabian and Felix, from South London to a renovated 300-year-old farmhouse in Les Gets was to have its ups and downs. It was never meant to be a permanent move. The original plan was to develop the top two floors of the chalet so the family could spend the summer there, overseeing the completion of the bottom floors. They would then be able to rent our the whole chalet in the winter months. The family were only planning to use their new home for the summer seasons.
Charting the building plans of Peter and Christine Benjamin, who are hoping to construct a small retirement home within a walled garden in the grounds of the Edwardian manor house where they used to live. The proposed property has floor-to-ceiling glass on one side, with a traditional potting shed-style exterior on the other, but Peter's ambition to design as they build causes problems.
Kevin McCloud revisits David and Anjana Devoy's who's tiny coach house was proving too small for them and their two children. So they decided to build a new house in their own garden, which was big by London standards. But this particular grassy plot came with problems. It was overlooked by huge blocks of flats, and in the middle of it stood a chestnut tree they weren't allowed to cut down. They came up with an inspired solution: they would build a curving house along the borders of their plot. What's more, they would do a lot of the work themselves.