Inside Kevin McCloud’s ‘favourite ever’ Grand Designs house which cost just £130,000

  • The house in County Derry, Northern Ireland, featured on series 14 of the show 
  • Conceived by architect Patrick Bradley, his plans initally divided opinion

From restoring a 600-year cave house in the countryside to renovating an old water tower in central London, Grand Designs has seen its fair share of intriguing projects. 

Having hosted the show since 1999, Kevin McCloud is not just a familiar face to viewers, but has also had a wealth of experience in witnessing property building, restoration and redevelopment over the past 25 years. 

When choosing his ‘favourite ever’ house to have featured on Grand Designs, McCloud gave an interesting response to viewers. 

Professional architect Patrick Bradley divided opinion when he announced plans to build on a plot of land on his parents’ farm in Slaughtnell, County Derry. 

Farmer and architect Patrick Bradley created this home in 2013 and the £133k dream home is made entirely out of four shipping containers and located in Derry, Northern Ireland. Kevin dubbed it ‘probably’ his all-time favourite 

Patrick's home is located over a stream at a beautiful and secluded spot on the family farm and the four shipping containers form a giant cross

Patrick’s home is located over a stream at a beautiful and secluded spot on the family farm and the four shipping containers form a giant cross

Patrick decided that a spot on his family farm would be the perfect place to build this impressive project from ship containers, which many deemed impossible. Pictured with Kevin

Patrick decided that a spot on his family farm would be the perfect place to build this impressive project from ship containers, which many deemed impossible. Pictured with Kevin

At the time, Kevin thought the project was a disaster in the making, with the potential to ruin an idyllic spot on the family farm. Patrick faced a desperate uphill struggle to win over his doubters. But Kevin was won over from the project which he later called 'almost faultless'. Pictured, the living room now with spectacular views

At the time, Kevin thought the project was a disaster in the making, with the potential to ruin an idyllic spot on the family farm. Patrick faced a desperate uphill struggle to win over his doubters. But Kevin was won over from the project which he later called ‘almost faultless’. Pictured, the living room now with spectacular views

‘They all agreed I could build on a picturesque area with a stream bubbling through it,’ Mr Bradley told Grand Designs.

‘But my idea was for a bold contemporary home made of boxes balanced on top of each other. They thought it was a bit wild, and my mother was worried that I was going to ruin her favourite view forever,’ he added.

Strapped for cash when it came to building materials, Mr Bradley came up with an ingenious solution to save money, by choosing to he upcycle four shipping containers to create the new home’s frame. 

Although containers are extremely strong when stacked on top of one another, Patrick’s plan to stack them in a cruciform arrangement across the weakest point was a cause for concern. 

Building the property in such a way required a new steel skeleton – which had to be by steelworkers elsewhere – so that the weight of the containers could be supported centrally.

Patrick said that he was extremely nervous when the containers were arranged into their final layout, which was a boom-or-bust moment for a project that took nine months to complete back in 2014.  

‘This was probably one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of any of the houses I’ve built,’ he said. 

Fortunately for Patrick, he said that they turned out to be ‘as solid as a rock’. 

The pioneer has continued his innovative work and has since built a shipping container studio clad in gold which he can work from (pictured)

The pioneer has continued his innovative work and has since built a shipping container studio clad in gold which he can work from (pictured)

After the initial programme aired, Patrick (pictured) was inundated with requests from all over the world to design container houses for others

After the initial programme aired, Patrick (pictured) was inundated with requests from all over the world to design container houses for others

Featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with an area of 115 metres-squared, the property was built was just £130,000. 

Even Patrick’s family – who had their doubts at first – were wowed by the end result.

‘[My mother] didn’t visit until it was completed,’ Patrick explained. 

‘But the minute she saw the finished building she loved it. She’s round every day for tea and to look out on her treasured view.’