Lammas — A Pioneering Ecovillage in West Wales
And Kevin McCloud takes Grand Designs there this evening:
Grand Designs - All 4
The press has been very interested:
Grand Designs UK house built for £27,000: Kevin McCloud presents new TV series | Property | Life & Style | Daily Express
Couple start building three-bed home with just £500 on Grand Designs | Daily Mail Online
Grand Designs couple build three-bedroom eco-house using re-claimed materials despite starting with just £500 in the bank
This couple built a three-bedroom family home for just £27,000
26 OCT 2016 BY KATHRYN WILLIAMS
Made with recycled goods and reclaimed material, they started with just £500 in the bank and are being featured on Grand Designs
They started with just £500 in the bank but finished with a three-bedroom family home called ''the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere".
Simon and Jasmine Dale, who live in the sustainable community of Lammas in rural Pembrokeshire, made their gorgeous eco-home with reclaimed materials including glass and timber and insulated it with sheep's wool.
Their project features on tonight's Grand Designs, where presenter Kevin McCloud told viewers: "This won't be a cramped hobbit house, but a spacious, solid, three bed, low impact family home."
He called it ''the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere".
The finished product
The couple had a dream of living off the land with their children, Elfie and Cosmo, in Lammas, a pioneering sustainable village.
In return for the right to build on open farmland, they had to prove that they had become self-sufficient on their seven acre plot within five years, or be forced to move on.
What were their plans for their new home?
On top of their south facing plot, Simon planned to excavate 12 feet into the hillside and build a retaining wall along the back, made from sandbags filled with the excavated earth.
Floors would be made from rammed earth, polished and hardened with linseed oil, and the structure from round timber poles, using wood grown, felled, prepared and sawn by Simon.
The same poles were set to make up the roof, covered by a damp proof membrane and a sheep's wool insulation. There was grass on top for further insulation.
How long did the project take?
With just £500 with which to launch the project and delays caused by Welsh winter weather, the construction of the couple's Hobbit-esque dream home took four years.
The couple have a smallholding at the property
Simon had to postpone work in 2012 due to the wet weather, but in the spring of 2013 he was able to start work on the retaining wall - made by filling hundreds of yellow sacks from eBay that cost 7p each - with clay, sand and fine stone.
Plans to move the family into the property by autumn 2013 did not come off as thye needed to set up a small business, a condition of living at Lammas, and the delay in constructing the main building was holding them up.
A decision was made for the main building work to be postponed until their greenhouses were up. During this time Simon took on consultancy work and Jasmine ran horticultural courses to beef up their original £500 fund.
By the end of the project, four years after their initially intended starting the construction process, the Dales estimate their amazing home cost £27,000 to build - including £5,500 on sheep's wool insulation and £5,000 worth of vegetables to feed the volunteers who helped them out.
Was it worth it?
At the end of the project, Simon said: "I don't think I could quantify it, but I can feel it in my heart when I walk around at the end of the day and see the bats flying round and hear the birds sing.
"It's been hard and I wasn't asking for an easy life. I like challenge. To put in a hard day's graft and be tired at the end of the day. That exhaustion is a nice feeling."
This couple built a three-bedroom family home for just £27,000 - Wales Online
Episode 15: Rachel Shiamh's Strawbale House
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