Grand Designs

When I was off sick from work a few years ago, I got addicted to the programme Homes Under the Hammer - daytime TV's like that when you're ill, I always knew I was well enough to go back to work when it ceased to be interesting. It wasn't the auction room tension or the 'yes you too can become a property developer and get rich quick' message which attracted me to the programme, in fact I always cheered when the property was actually bought to become someone's home. I preferred looking at the more unusual and interesting (sometimes unsellable) properties that tend to go down the auction route rather than via the more familiar estate agent sales.

I love auctions - some of my unusual planters and indeed plants and trees in my garden have been bought this way. You can find bargains too, as long as you do your research first and don't get carried away by the thrill of bidding. I've seen many examples of the latter both at the auctions I've attended locally and on the programme.

I peruse our local paper each week to see what's coming up in the next auction round. That way I spotted my dream garden a while ago, even if it was totally impractical seeing it was thirty miles away and had no living accommodation attached. Like a lot of people, I secretly hanker after a stone-built cottage, but of course being on the edge of the Cotswolds here, that means they're prime property and cost a small fortune. An addiction to Grand Designs hasn't helped either and I'm also a sucker for anything involving enormous chunks of solid English oak.

So the only way to fulfill my dream is via the auction route and to buy a 'project' - for that read requiring a lot of work. Naturally it's also got to have a decent slice of land to go with it, so I can design and build my dream garden cum veggie plot cum orchard. I think I've found just the thing this week - an isolated cottage not far from here, complete with garage, stables and just over 2 acres of land. Now how do I persuade NAH it's his dream too?


  1. Hello VP! I love that program on the BBC. I had my daughter working in the Cotswold for a year and made a few visits and the landscape there is just gorgeous I think, but on the other hand I love so many parts the countryside of the British Isles it is lush and green. / Tyra

  2. We bought this place in 1986, a part converted stable block and coach house. It's been a work in progress ever since, we have added a 5 room 2 storey extension, moved the kitchen and bathrooms, raised floors, reinstated fireplaces and chimneys, underpinned almost all of it as it was built without foundations, and so on - we now have a unique home, that is totally our own. The only thing it lacks is the 2 acres you also hanker after, but around here that would require a substantial lottery win (prices are higher than the Cotwolds). We have slept for months without windows, whilst we restored the originals to their former glory, we have lived for weeks on end with no bathroom or kitchen too. We raised two kids whilst we were doing all this and both managed to keep down a job too! My advise to anyone wanting to live the dream is do it; I could never have afforded a home like this unless we had done it the way we did.

    Go for it!

  3. I hope you're successful convincing him VP.

    Greenfield Village in Michigan, USA, has an original Cotswold cottage from the 1600's on the grounds. It's an amazing piece of history that inspires the imagination. Without even considering the land, what a wonderful area it would be to live amongst buildings like that, so beautiful and so full of history, character, and charm.

  4. Hi VP, that is quite a dream and miraculous that it could come true! I do hope you are persuasive, turn on the charm, woman! We will eagerly await the outcome.

  5. I hope your dream comes true. It's also handy that it's not too far away.
    As for the persuasion bit - how about hypnosis!

  6. I love Grand Designs too. I suspect that programme and It's not easy being green are partly responsible for our move to Canada, as it slowly dawned upon us that there was no way we were going to be able to afford to do what we wanted to and stay in the UK!!

  7. I am currently in love with this

    I know it isnt the nicest looking bungalow, but with a little love it would be ideal for me. Unfortunately it is out of my price range. I can but dream... One Day, one Day....

    Lol if lots of people click on the link they will think lots of people want to buy it! No that is nasty of me.

  8. I sometimes watch that program too, and I like it very much as if you walk in all those beautiful gardens and houses.. Last year we were in England and saw beautiful gardens in the Cotswolds too. I really enjoyed being in England again.Thanks for your visit!

  9. I just saw your slide in the sidebar in the original view. It's gorgeous!

  10. Hey, I work with, a non-profit that works in Africa. I saw that you were on the NaBloPoMo list, and we'd love for you to blog about our new campaign on Nov. 24th. The campaign is centered around this idea – at Mocha Club, we have always cared about building an accurate perception of both the challenges that Africans face, and the BEAUTY of Africa. We need bloggers to help get the word out. Please email me if you would be interested in hearing the details!

  11. Sorry, my email address is barrett [at] mochaclub [dot] org.


  12. Hi VP
    The cottage has been our dream twice. The first one we did up and sold just as it was really finished in a bid to reduce our outgoings and here we are doing it again!
    Be careful I think it's addictive.
    (Our cottage is the banner on our blog, a cob house)
    Rgds & good luck!

  13. I'm sure you'll find some way of persuading him - it's what women do.

  14. We have bought our dream and I would echo zoe and say just go for it. Hard work but worth it every day.

  15. Hmmm...I bet he wants to be convinced, after all he is the same man that brought home the honey, right! I do hope your dream can be realized!


  16. I can't imagine what your garden would look like if you had even more room, VP! The property sounds like a possible dream come true; I hope NAH agrees.

  17. Oooo yeah I love the before and after shots on those programmes!! LOL!

  18. Grand Designs is one programme that I've always enjoyed watching! xx

  19. Sounds great, leave no stone unturned to persuade NAH that he desperately needs to buy this property. ;-)

    Two acres, 2 whole glorious acres, just think what you could do with that.

    BTW my favourite programme about houses is Escape to the Country.

  20. Tyra - I wonder where your daughter was in the Cotswolds?

    Zoe - crumbs, I'm not sure we could take on as large a project as you did! I'm most impressed at what you've achieved.

    GG - It os indeed lovely and how nice you've been able to sample a slice of it.

    Frances - yes, a miracle's what I need. Episode 2 coming up shortly.

    EG - hypnosis is probably my only hope ;)

    Amanda - sounds like you're settling very well into your new home :)

    SOL - everyone needs a dream don't they?

    Reader Wil - so glad you've visited near here and enjoyed it so much. Come back soon!

    Barrett - hmm, you may be autogenerated, but I'll leave you here as it looks like you're benign. Not sure how much I can add to your cause though.

    Glanbrydan - I'm so glad you commented. I was wondering if your cottahe in your blog's picture was a cob house.

    Colleen - how true. But I know it's got to be right for both of us. Just for 1 won't do.

    Elizabethm - oh how lovely. That's why you're busy planting so many tulips then :)

    Gail & Rose - so do I!

    Helena - they're great aren't they!

    Flighty - there's a lot of us who think the same.

    Yolanda - I know, the 2 acres is what's really doing it for me. There was an episode of Escape to the Country filmed near here a couple of years ago...

  21. It sounds idyllic VP - I hope that you can persuade Mr VP that it just the perfect spot for you both. My other half is a 'Grand Designs' addictee too. We built our bungalow some twenty years ago or so. Given half a chance he would embark on another construction project - his dream is a round house in the country. My main consideration would be the garden.

  22. Anna - sounds lik eyou'd both be up for another project if the right opportunity arose...


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