Grand Designs couple achieve flat-pack home dream on grandad's land

Grand Designs viewers ‘in tears’ as couple swap their asbestos-ridden 1940s Kent prefab for a futuristic £350,000 flat-pack home – and reveal their home ‘means everything’ to them because they couldn’t have children

  • Latest Grand Designs episode focused on Rob and his partner Kate, who were living in a prefab – complete with asbestos walls – that Rob’s grandfather had built on agricultural land in Kent in the 1940s 
  • Ex farmer Rob had inherited the land and £350,000, which the couple wanted to spend on a flat-pack home that was factory-built and could be completed in around five months 
  • Emotional episode left some viewers in tears, after Kate revealed that the couple hadn’t been able to have children and so creating something together was hugely important to them 
  • The steel-clad three-bedroom home with a statement chimney went £20,000 over budget…but viewers praised the couple for making an ‘afforable’ design statement home on a modest budget 

Viewers tuning into the latest episode of Grand Designs applauded a couple who traded in a ‘damp and cold’ 1940s prefab for a modern flat-pack home – that looks far more expensive than its modest £350,000 price tag. 

The emotional installment saw couple former farmer Rob and his partner Kate living in a prefab – complete with asbestos walls – that Rob’s grandfather had built on agricultural land in Kent during the forties. 

While the site was beautiful, with a pear orchard and pastoral land everywhere, the couple had lived in the draughty home with ‘paper-thin’ walls for eight years, without modern heating and insulation.

The pair told presenter Kevin McCloud that because they hadn’t been able to have children together, creating something together was hugely important to them, deeming their new home – thought to be now worth at least double what they paid for it – ‘magical’. 

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Flat pack wow: The latest Grand Designs episode focused on Rob and his partner Kate, who were living in a prefab – complete with asbestos walls – that Rob’s grandfather had built on agricultural land in Kent in the 1940s. With inheritance, they decided to trade up, spending £350,000 on a modern flat-pack home

The 1940s home where the couple had lived for eight years before transforming the land that Rob’s family had owned. The couple had lived in the draughty 1940s home with paper-thin walls and without modern heating and insulation

The emotional episode left some viewers in tears, after Kate revealed that the couple hadn’t been able to have children and so creating something together was hugely important to them 

Interiors included a stand-alone bath in the upstairs bedroom, a statement chimney and an open-plan kitchen/diner

The inherited land that Rob’s family had gifted him would be worth around £300,000 if bought independently.

They explained that their new three-bedroom steel clad home would be built in a factory that normally focuses on social housing, and transported on a low loader to the site. 

The build went over budget by £20,000, with Rob forced to cash in his pension to pay for extras including parking the crane to drop the house, an expensive copper front door, stylish wood-burner and a fire safety misting system. 

While the exterior is a vision of amber-hued corroding steel, including a statement industrial chimney, the interior has nods to the original prefab that Rob’s grandfather had built – with glass repurposed in the couple’s new home, and a hallway and stairs that reflect the colours of their humble former house. 

The couple left viewers in tears after sharing how emotional the build had been, with Rob telling the show’s host that he just wanted to make his partner smile. 


Happy: A teary Rob told host Kevin McCloud ‘I’ve always wanted to build Kate a house – to see a smile on her face and how excited she gets, she’s wonderful’. Right, viewers said the couple deserved ‘all the happiness’

Touches: The couple used glass repurposed from their old home in smaller windows, and ensured the downstairs reflected the colours of their humble former house

McCloud saying the property offered a ‘tantalising glimpse of precise and efficient production’ that may be the future of house building in the UK

Low loader home! The flat pack house makes its way through rural Kent ahead of being placed in the farmland by a crane 

Not all plain sailing: Rob revealed he had to strike a deal with his neighbour to gain access to the site

Breaking down, he said: ‘I’ve always wanted to build Kate a house – to see a smile on her face and how excited she gets, she’s wonderful’.

And Kate was equally as tear-inducing, saying: ‘If it’s important to him, it’s important to me. 

‘Not being able to have children, so to be able to create this which is so much of us together, is different, but it’s home.’

At home, viewers were hooked. @Wandoful wrote on Twitter: ‘Probably the most emotional Grand Designs I’ve ever watched. Hope Kate and Rob have a life time of happiness in their new home #GrandDesigns.’

@heyfifi added: ‘I’m not crying…..you are……someone’s cutting onions…’

@deanosborn42 wrote: ‘What a lovely deserving couple they are. A treat to watch this one.’

The high-tech flat pack comes with a QR code, so that future inhabitants can keep track of exactly how it was built and log details of any changes, with McCloud saying the property offered a ‘tantalising glimpse of precise and efficient production’ that may be the future of house building in the UK. 

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