VIDEO: Couple complete £1m Grand Designs home in Peak District

A Youlgreave couple are enjoying a moment of triumph after their homebuilding project aired in an episode of Grand Designs, 16 years after they first set their heart on it.

The breathtaking building on the outskirts of the village cost around £1million to build, and was delayed first by a long-running planning dispute with the Peak District National Park and then by trouble securing finances.

The house has been engineered to harness natural sources of heat and light, meaning the owners may never have to pay another energy bill, and Kevin McCloud praised it as architecture of quiet determination (Photo: Arkhi)

Channel 4 presenter Kevin McCloud followed the story of Fred Baker and his wife Saffron, as they struggled to complete the energy efficient, three-storey building on a 30 degree slope.

Fred said: “We feel we’ve achieved something truly remarkable.”

The project required the excavation of hundreds of tonnes of limestone to set the house into the hillside.

From the road, it appears as a one-storey stone barn in a style common throughout the Peak District.

Fred and Saffron Baker have had two children in the time it took to build their home (Photo: Channel 4)

But on the other side it enjoys views over the river gorge and its south facing design allows the house to be totally self-sufficient in terms of energy and heating, thanks to solar panels and super-insulated window shutters.

The couple originally purchased the site with an old dairy on it for £100,000, and Fred paid tribute to Arkhi, the Congleton architects’ firm who brought their dream to life.

He said: “A key factor in this success has been the approach of the Arkhi team throughout the project. It’s rare to find this combination of ideas and pragmatic problem solving, but it is vital in producing buildings of this quality.”

Arkhi managing director Matthew Lewis said: “This was an incredibly technical build. It’s a truly bespoke home in a stunning location that we have been privileged to work on.”

The programme, broadcast on Wednesday, October 18, described how the family were determined to stay in the village and follow the tradition of Fred’s ancestor, who had also self-built there generations before.

It is available now on the Channel 4 catch-up service and online at

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