Stealing Inspiration from the Best Grand Designs Industry News 31st July 2014 | By Liberty Are you a property developer looking for inspiration for your latest project? Well, you may want to tune into Channel 4 favourite, Grand Designs. It’s filled with innovative ideas, and can teach you what works and what doesn’t. Here is our pick of the best Grand Design projects throughout the 15 years the show has been running. Could you use any of their ideas? Crossway, Kent Crossway house was one of the UK’s first zero carbon and AA rated homes. Built by young architect, Richard Hawkes, and his wife Sophie, the home is a labour of love derived from their desire to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in London. This home features many design firsts and even has sensors linking to Cambridge University, who monitor the building. The property is heated through its large south facing triple glazed windows, which make the most of the sun, as there is no conventional heating system. The couple also grow their own food and try to be as sustainable as possible. The Crossway episode featured on Grand Designs in February 2009 around the same time as the property was completed. Could you develop a property that combines cutting-edge technology with an environmental conscience? A simple step is to add grass to your roof like this eco arch – it’s a great insulator and will provide some lovely green space. The Water Tower, Kennington This build teaches property developers to think outside of the box, to use their imaginations and to make the most of the older, derelict buildings we have across the UK. You never know, it may make you a bob or two – this home is now worth a staggering £6.5million. Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce discovered this 150 year old water tower in central London and instantly fell in love with it. It was grade II listed and it had 6ft thick walls, meaning this landmark would stand the test of time, and was ripe for investment. An innovative design proposed for two modern glass extensions to the base, with a living space nicknamed ‘the cube’. Completed in 2012, this structure contains 4 bedrooms and a living space over 9 floors, with an awe inspiring view from its 360° viewing room. Could you develop a similar building in your area? Visit one of our property development finance brokers and we’re sure you’ll get a good deal for improving your local area. Cloontykilla Castle, Southern Ireland Sadly, due to the recession, this project still sits unfinished, but it is still worth a mention for its shear dream like aspirations. Who wouldn’t want to live in a castle? Cloontykilla Castle featured on Grand Designs in 2012, when actor Sean Simons bought the ruins, where he once played as a child. His aim was to transform it into a theatrical home built for a king. With gargoyles, a turret Jacuzzi and, of course, what every castle needs, a recording studio in the basement. Despite being promised millions from the bank, after 2 years the property is unfinished. This is mostly because Simons had no help from an architect and very few drawn designs, he frequently changes his mind, meaning walls must be knocked down and rebuilt, he ignores planning permission and his contractors walked out. If there is one thing to be learnt from this episode, it is to do your research and plan out your project. Or you may end up throwing away money. These are 3 very different properties, all innovative and inspiring in their own ways. Are you planning an exciting new venture? Get in touch to discuss your finance options so you can create a building that might in turn inspire others.