Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs visited a unique underground home last night – but not all viewers were impressed by the design.
Couple Dorran, 47, a naval captain, and Vereuschka, 50, spent £1 million transforming the unusual site, which sits next to a protected Saxon hill fort near Canterbury.
The couple initially entrusted a construction team to create their modern vision, but delays and rising costs forced Dorran to take the construction into their own hands.
Although they were very excited about the final results after waiting five years, not all viewers were convinced, some compared it to the home of the Teletubbies.
The latest episode of Grand Designs focused on Dorran, 47, and his wife’s 50-year-old Vereushka, a million-dollar house in Canterbury.
The project encountered some turbulence and took five years to complete. Initially entrusted with a construction team to create their modern vision, delays and rising costs meant Dorran felt compelled to take control of the construction itself (pictured before it was finished).
In the episode, host Kevin McCloud was very happy with the finished project, but viewers were less than impressed (LR Dorran, Vereuschka and Kevin)
Viewers were quick to point out on Twitter that the finished project resembled the famous Teletubbies’ home, as it’s also an underground lair.
Dorran promised his wife, who works for a pharmaceutical company, and their three young children that he would do the job himself.
Dorran split his time between the North Sea and the site, set about the formidable task and began installing interior walls himself.
In the episode, Dorran said: ‘Once you get off the coast, there’s no one to help you and everything that happens, we have to be able to fix ourselves.
“I’m really happy to take a certain risk and handle it myself, and it’s quite a challenge, that’s for sure, but it’s our duty to get the job done.
Their aim was to create an underground eco-property so in harmony with the environment that once completed it will be barely visible to passers-by, restoring the above-ground area to moorland habitat.
The Channel 4 presenter was impressed by the details of the construction as he explored the modern premises with the couple in Wednesday’s episode
With the main window above ground it allows lots of natural light to flood into the house so once underground it still feels like an above ground property
The modern design inside created a bright and spacious house and colorful modern furniture gave it a unique and stylish feeling
The large picture window overlooks the valley allowing plenty of natural light into the property to create an open airy space
The kitchen was complete with a large island and modern furnishings, complete with dark cabinets that work well in the open light space
The modern house is flat in the landscape and blends in beautifully with the beautiful Kent countryside, but viewers noted that it resembled the famous Teletubbies house
There are stairs down to the underground property and the house is surrounded by many planters on the stairs with flowers and shrubs
“What else is the option, run away, that’s not what we came for, we came here to build a family home.”
An original ten-month schedule was soon measured into years as Dorran struggled on a massive scale with engineering, earthmoving and electrics.
Dorran said: “I think I’ve found people build things in the foundation and structural phase with the feeling of ‘oh it doesn’t matter, that’s close enough, that’s fine.’
“What interests me is the technical side, the rest isn’t necessary, I think I’ve always been driven, that’s my character and personality, there’s a certain amount of will to get things right.”
Later in the project, the father of three revealed that he needed to quit his job so he could focus his efforts on the new house.
The couple also decided not to seek help from contractors, preferring not to risk the construction being “inaccurate or wrong.”
Dorran said: ‘We have decided to invest in ourselves and the ones we can rely on are us, as a team.’
The unique house has an open light office space for the family and four spacious bedrooms in the modern building
The master bedroom is flooded with light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the courtyard and sitting area
Vereschka added: “It was immense to tackle a huge project like this and I have to say, all the credit he’s due, he can just pick up anything and put his hand on it and get it done.” This was huge and at times it pushed us to the limit, but we managed to get through it.’
Kevin made the point that the pair are “probably used to a level of quality” that the “contraction industry is not used to in Britain” and the pair agreed.
Vereschka said, “If we see money going out and not much happening and timelines being extrapolated, you’re a little worried.”
Dorran added: ‘We would end up spending a lot of money and actually achieving something and if we did achieve it it would be very substandard and we wouldn’t do that.’
Vereschka admitted they spent more than £1 million building and perfecting the property, but declined to give the total cost.
Planners insisted that it be hidden several meters underground, with one window looking over the valley and underground parking
Initially entrusted with a construction team to build their million-pound underground home, delays and mounting costs left Dorran feeling compelled to take the construction into their own hands – even installing interior walls single-handedly.
She told the host, “We’re over, but I haven’t finished the spreadsheet yet.”
When Kevin pointed out that ‘about’ could mean anything from £1.1 million to £1.9 million, Dorran insisted: ‘It’s not that much. But we’ve been upgraded and I think we actually got a lot more bang for our buck.”
Their aim was to create an underground eco-property so in harmony with the environment that once completed it would be barely visible to passers-by, restoring the above-ground area to moorland habitat.
Viewers were quick to point out on Twitter that the finished project resembled the famous home of the Teletubbies.
One viewer wrote: ‘It looks like Teletubbies’ house on #GrandDesigns Sorry, not for me.’ Another wrote: ‘An underground house. Interesting.’ next to an image of the cartoon.
While someone else joked, “So that’s where he came up with the idea.” with a Giff from the Teletubbies.