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Grand Designs: Kevin McCloud revisits concrete house in Lewes he compared to a car park

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Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud admits he is ‘blown away’ by the transformation of a family home he once compared to a ‘nuclear bunker’ and a ‘car park’ as he revisits the property 18 months on.  

Adrian and Megan Corrigall spent 18 months creating the pioneering four-bedroom property in Lewes, East Sussex, entirely out of concrete, with their journey originally documented on a programme in 2018.

When McCloud visited the property at the end of the episode it was still not watertight and there was no heating.

Tonight, more than two years after he was last there, McCloud returns to the property to discover if the couple, who live with their children, have been able to make their stark, brutalist home feel cosy and lived in.

‘I’m really interested to see if Adrian and Megan have been able to finesse it in any way,’ he says, on the drive to the property, ‘to make up for all of those defects. I’ll be really interested to see it… 

‘They must have done some work, they must have refined it. I hope they’ve turned it into a proper piece of architecture that’s somewhere to live, somewhere that’s a delight to live in that isn’t dark and dank and dripping, but is an inspirational home.’ 

BEFORE: Adrian and Megan Corrigall spent 18 months creating the pioneering four-bedroom family home in Lewes, East Sussex, pictured, almost entirely out of concrete. Pictured, how the project looked when Kevin last visited in October 2018

BEFORE: Adrian and Megan Corrigall spent 18 months creating the pioneering four-bedroom family home in Lewes, East Sussex, pictured, almost entirely out of concrete. Pictured, how the project looked when Kevin last visited in October 2018

NOW: Kevin McCloud revisited the property in December 2020 and was pleasantly surprised by what he found. He noted that the exterior of the home (pictured) had been polished and ground down so the concrete looked more similar to limestone

NOW: Kevin McCloud revisited the property in December 2020 and was pleasantly surprised by what he found. He noted that the exterior of the home (pictured) had been polished and ground down so the concrete looked more similar to limestone

BEFORE: The couple's industrial chic property is built entirely using concrete. They raised eyebrows from Kevin McCloud when they revealed they would not polish the walls or even use paint or plaster. Pictured, the property's kitchen and reception space in October 2018, when it was still not watertight and didn't have any heating

BEFORE: The couple’s industrial chic property is built entirely using concrete. They raised eyebrows from Kevin McCloud when they revealed they would not polish the walls or even use paint or plaster. Pictured, the property’s kitchen and reception space in October 2018, when it was still not watertight and didn’t have any heating 

Determined: Adrian and Megan Corrigall originally appeared on Grand Designs in 2018 and return tonight as Kevin McCloud revisits the build to discover how much it has changed - and he is stunned by the results

Determined: Adrian and Megan Corrigall originally appeared on Grand Designs in 2018 and return tonight as Kevin McCloud revisits the build to discover how much it has changed – and he is stunned by the results  

Within moments of pulling up to the house, McCloud is amazed by the sight that greets him and declares: ‘It looks really good. It’s beautiful. It’s been polished and ground back. It’s like limestone now, it’s gorgeous. It’s concrete from another planet.’

Adrian and Megan originally paid £500,000 for the plot, razed the existing property to the ground and set aside an additional budget of between £300,000 and £400,000 to build the bungalow out of a cutting-edge concrete.

Former BMX rider Adrian, 46, explained at the start of the project that his inspiration for using concrete came from his time spent at skate parts in Scotland as a youngster.

The couple opted for a pioneering Swiss ‘nano-concrete’ to bring the dream to life. The cutting-edge technology uses micro-reinforcing bits of glass fibre and shards of stainless steel to strengthen the concrete, a technique that has never been used outside of Switzerland.

‘It’s a great big brutal concrete bunker,’ Adrian enthuses. ‘Building in concrete is a really simple way to build a house.  You’re pouring concrete, you’re not messing around with bricks and mortar, and you’re not doing any of that. 

THE KITCHEN BEFORE: The kitchen of the family home, pictured, provided an example of the industrial effect created by the untouched concrete. On Kevin's return tonight, he finds the space feels warmer and more welcoming

THE KITCHEN BEFORE: The kitchen of the family home, pictured, provided an example of the industrial effect created by the untouched concrete. On Kevin’s return tonight, he finds the space feels warmer and more welcoming

THE MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE: The couple spent £500,000 on the initial site, which included a bungalow that they razed to the ground, to make way for the unique building that featured seven different levels of concrete. When Kevin last visited the property in October 2018 it was not watertight and still had major issues to resolve

THE MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE: The couple spent £500,000 on the initial site, which included a bungalow that they razed to the ground, to make way for the unique building that featured seven different levels of concrete. When Kevin last visited the property in October 2018 it was not watertight and still had major issues to resolve

THE LIVING ROOM BEFORE: The couple opt for a pioneering Swiss 'nano-concrete'. The cutting-edge technology uses micro-reinforcing bits of glass fibre and shards of stainless steel to strengthen the concrete

THE LIVING ROOM BEFORE: The couple opt for a pioneering Swiss ‘nano-concrete’. The cutting-edge technology uses micro-reinforcing bits of glass fibre and shards of stainless steel to strengthen the concrete

‘It’s about an honest building built out of a really truly, 21st century material with an incredible history but we’re using it in its most modern way it can be utilised… And we’re doing it on a budget.’ 

However they quickly ran into unexpected costs and end up spending £50,000 over budget, forcing Adrian to head off-shore on deep sea diving jobs to bring in extra cash.

‘We have had an absolute nightmare, we’ve got credit cards and god knows what up to our eyeballs,’ Megan admitted in one desperate moment. ‘We were pushed into this position where we couldn’t do anything.’    

During one visit, when Kevin learned the walls were not going to be polished, the presenter observed: ‘It’s pure and uncompromised… 

‘An aesthetic however, which is also going to be governed by the connotations of concrete, because underneath the questions of aesthetics lies a fundamental question: Could you live in a car park?’

When the presenter returned for a final visit in October 2018, upon seeing the almost-finished house Kevin branded it ‘unwelcoming’ and ‘a fortress, like an electricity substation’, although he ultimately appreciated what the couple had wanted to do. 

The building made way for small alcoves and pockets of space

Adrian and Megan added their own personal touches to make the house feel homely and less industrial building

THE PROPERTY BEFORE: The building made way for small alcoves and pockets of space. Adrian and Megan added their own personal touches to make the house feel homely and less industrial building, as seen left and right

THE GARDEN BEFORE: The outdoor swimming pool was created in a matching concrete setting to the house, each line flush with the angles of the house. Kevin returns to find the garden more mature and perfect for entertaining

THE GARDEN BEFORE: The outdoor swimming pool was created in a matching concrete setting to the house, each line flush with the angles of the house. Kevin returns to find the garden more mature and perfect for entertaining 

On his return in December 2020, Kevin was far more effusive, and said he was ‘blown away’ by how the couple had transformed the space into a family home. 

Adrian and Megan have added stylish furniture, quirky artwork and personal touches to create a modern bungalow that feels lived in and well-loved.

They use heavy curtains instead of doors between the bedrooms and have added skylights to flood the home with natural light – one of Kevin’s favourite features. 

‘The bunker is full of joy,’ Kevin notes. ‘They’re great rooms, they’re great high ceilings,’ he declares as he tours the space. He adds: ‘I am blown away by this transformation.’ 

Grand Designs airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 4  

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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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Over 40 complaints made about ‘unsuitable’ books on English curriculum

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Some books being studied by Junior Cert and Leaving Cert English students feature “disturbing and sick content” and material that is “clearly unsuitable for minors”, complainants have told the Department of Education.

The department has received more than 40 complaints on the issue in recent months, with one email to Minister Norma Foley describing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood as “nothing but sadistic, upsetting and of no moral learning or value to students”.

The acclaimed dystopian novel is based in a patriarchal totalitarian state where women, or handmaids, are forced to produce children for commanders.

One “concerned parent” said they were “perturbed” that their teenager was studying the novel Room by Irish author Emma Donoghue.

‘Questionable’

They said many of the topics in the book were “questionable” and that greater consideration should have been given before the book was “forced upon sensitive people in this day and age”. The Booker-shortlisted story is told from the perspective of a young boy held captive in a small room with his mother.

The emails, released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, were from parents, one of whom said they were “appealing to and begging” the department to change the curriculum.

One parent expressed “shock and concern” about the prescribed reading lists, citing a perceived “lack of vigilance regarding the age appropriateness” of some books. “The material is offensive, abhorrent and clearly unsuitable for minors,” they said.

The curriculum could “only be described as the sexualisation and desensitising of our children… there needs to be an investigation into this whole sordid affair”, another complaint said.

‘Enslaving’

One person said the book list was “enslaving” students to “abominable ungodly content”, while another sarcastically suggested there was “nothing to stop” Fifty Shades of Grey, the bestselling explicit erotic romance novel, being added.

Some emails were directed towards Ms Foley personally, and called for her to be fired and “held directly responsible”. The department’s response stated that the curriculum at all levels was considered to be for all learners “regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic background, gender or orientation”.

It said it was important that each book was viewed “in its entirety rather than being reduced to particular sections which may be especially controversial”, and that the texts had “strong literary pedigrees” and featured on curricula internationally.

There were also several emails sent to the department in defence of the curriculum, predominantly from students.

The text-list working groups for each subject, convened by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, are comprised of teachers, third-level lecturers, staff from relevant support agencies and experts in children’s and young adult literature. The curriculum did not change this year though the Minister said it would be reviewed in the coming months.


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