A couple reacted angrily to Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud’s criticism, telling him “we don’t give a s***” about others’ opinions on their property.
In a project that lasted more than 17 months, Leigh and Richard aimed to restore an old flour mill into a liveable home.
The episode airing tonight (February 23) – which was originally broadcast in February last year – features Leigh and Richard embarking on the ambitious task to renovate a derelict flour mill into a spacious cottage on a small budget.
One of the couple’s main ambitions was to transform the cottage whilst preserving many of the mill’s original features.
And, with the couple being complete novices to the process of house transformation, their early plans hit a number of hurdles.
Initially hoping to keep 80% of the original wooden beams, Leigh and Richard were forced to replace every single one with new timber in order to improve the building’s structure.
“We won’t have any money at the end of it, but we’ll have a lovely home,” Leigh admitted. “Failure isn’t an option here.”
The couple even moved into a caravan inside a garage for months in order to preserve their finances for the build.
And tensions reached a high when Kevin McCloud questioned the amount of new features the couple had inserted.
“Outside you can read the narrative history of this building, inside, however, it’s a work of fiction,” Kevin said.
Visiting the property, Kevin observed: “New floor, new ceiling, new joists and beams, new walls because you’re plastering the walls, new windows… internally, it’s going to be a new building?”
Richard initially accepted these observations but argued a change was needed, noting: “Purists will be horrified, but actually if you look at them they were unusable.”
But later on, Leigh had harsher words for the visiting presenter, telling her husband: “Conservation, lovely idea, but you can’t save everything.”
Richard agreed, adding: “I think we’ve gone to a lot of trouble to save things that we didn’t need to."
Leigh continued: “It‘s a significant building we have saved, and to be honest, I don’t think an outsider standing here is in a position to make a judgement.
“And, really, I don’t give a s**t about what they think.”
Kevin responded drily: “Well, that’s me told.”
And, despite their bickering, both Kevin and the couple were happy with the finished outcome.
“Everywhere you look there’s a little bit of history, a little story, a remnant of its use, it’s just so romantic,” Kevin admitted, returning to the cottage at the end of the build.
"I've never cared about a building as much as the mill, and I think this is going to be home for a long time," Leigh reflected.
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