Paul & Blanka

Frustrated with exorbitant rents and lack of suitable self-build plots in Oxfordshire, Paul and Blanka decide to take advantage of the opportunities at Graven Hill and self-build their own eco-house, their way.

Paul and Blanka have two young sons and live in a rented house in Oxford. They’re building the lowest cost, most sustainable house on the street for an impressive budget by using relatively low-tech, but time-consuming, techniques, with Paul planning to do a lot of the work himself.

However, while the materials are cheap, their handcrafted hempcrete house costs a lot more in labour than they had imagined. With time dragging on, the family are forced to live a nomadic lifestyle for the time it takes to build the street’s most eco-friendly home.

The eco-credentials of this house, the time given to its construction, and the amount of work Paul single-handedly puts into the project are nothing short of remarkable, but they will require a huge amount of tolerance and patience from his family, as they wonder whether their separation from Paul as he works on the build will ever result in their dream of family togetherness.

Catch Paul & Blanka on Grand Designs: The Street on Thursday 18 April, 9pm, on Channel 4.

The details

Check Paul & Blanka’s Pioneer page after the episode airs to find out more about their build.

“Graven Hill offers a lot of things, but the simple fact it provides availability is just a quantum-leap forward in terms of housing in this country.”

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