Grand Designs Live House of the Year
Grand Designs Live, the slightly addictive t.v. show about house renovations, has named its Voters' Choice Home of the Year, 2008. Winner of the Best Conversion category, Black Sheep House went on to beat off all the other contenders to win the overall prize. That is quite a feat because some of the other houses were far more sophisticated, designer, and stylish. Instead voters went for a sweet hippy house on a remote corner of the Hebrides islands overlooking the sea. Its turf roof and gently curved stone walls blend into the surroundings; so much so that the house cannot be made out in an aerial photograph.
The husband of the two-some is a professional dry-stone waller, so he was able to do all the stone work himself with occasional help. He started with 3 stone walls and a tin roof; the remains of a sheep shed. He left the original walls in place and added to them to extend the height of the building and double its original size. A turf roof was installed, with the sod being hand-cut and lifted up by ladder, piece by piece. The turf weighed several tons, so this part of the work took three to four months of physical labour. At one point it was almost lifted off by strong winds. It was all done on an extremely low budget, which didn't turn out to be enough, of course, so the place is now rented to tourists. If you are looking for an award-winning, exotic, remote getaway, here's the place.