Mark Millar helps a family on a tight budget who are rebuilding a timber house into their dream family home, so the family can live off the land, and building a magical garden for their children to enjoy.
They have a very tight budget and can only afford to pay the builders until the money runs out – which they hope will be after the house is watertight. After that, they take over the building work themselves, grafting day and night to build a dream family home – while both are doing their day jobs to bring in an income to live off.
For ecological and budgetary reasons, they are recycling as much as they can. Chef Mike and food grower Lucy bought an old rundown timber house in one and a half acres of open countryside in Suffolk, in order to knock it down and rebuild it as a four-bed family home with solar panels and a jungle room to grow tropical fruits.
And outside, a productive garden for growing food, an outdoor dining area, and an area for the children to play with the animals. They have planned a self-built outdoor kitchen and large duck pond.
Mark Millar meets them as the builders are putting up the new timber frame and fitting recycled windows, which the couple have sourced for free. The house is only a skeleton and the couple have just £240,000 to build complete the job, and they can only afford the builders for a couple more months. Mark gets stuck-in, working alongside the carpenters and gets up onto the roof to help get the house watertight before the professionals leave.
Outside in the garden, which is another ambitious project, Mark helps to build a unique outdoor cooker and a unique food storage unit, made from a recycled bomb shelter. Mark is very impressed by Mike and Lucy’s hard graft, but he worries that they have taken on too much, with Lucy taking on big jobs like fitting the insulation, after the builders have left.
She works so hard that she is forced to wear a wrist splint because of the pain, while Mike tackles jobs like plumbing after learning from online videos. Mark brings his carpenter’s know-how and toolbox to help them to make their huge kitchen island out of recycled wood. Can they build their dream eco home on a very limited budget and create a productive and beautiful garden?
After an eight month build, do they achieve the bold vision they set out with? And when Mark returns for his final visit, is it the beautiful dream they wanted and could only afford by building it themselves, or did they bite off more than they could chew?
Build Your Dream Home In The Country begins Thursday 5th January at 8pm on Channel 5.