Couple has designs on a grand renovation project

Richard Ellis, presenter Kevin McCloud and stonemason Paul Foster.
Richard Ellis, presenter Kevin McCloud and stonemason Paul Foster.

A HOUSE will have its moment in the spotlight next week.

A renovation project on a home in the Morpeth area is being featured in the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs.

The show focuses on people who undertake exciting or ambitious projects to create their dream home.

The project is the longest Grand Designs ever filmed.

Stefan Lepkowski and Annia Shabowska bought a derelict mill cottage in 2006 and finally moved in for Christmas 2010.

Initally, Stefan insisted on doing most of the work himself on a budget of just £250,000.

They had expert help from stonemason Paul Foster, of Alnwick, and his employee Richard Ellis, who were initially contracted to assist with the stonemasonry aspect.

However, in the end they were on the site for two years from July 2007.

They built the stone elevation using the same techniques as the 19th century stonemasons and helping out with construction work throughout the site.

They then returned a year later to build external steps and flagged areas.

The project consisted of the conservation of the existing 19th century stone building, along with the construction of a new stone elevation to mirror the original in style while using original techniques.

There is also a steel, glass and zinc atrium to connect the two structures together with a steel and glass bridge at first-floor level.

And finally a dam was built to form a pond with a bridge over it.

Paul said: “It has been an exciting and challenging project, a definite one-off,” he said.

“It was really challenging because there were all sorts of different materials reacting with other materials. There’s steel and glass sitting against stone.

“It’s like Marmite, you are either going to love it or hate it.”

Grand Designs – House In Northumberland will air on Channel 4 Wednesday at 9pm.