We bought a plot of land to build our dream home and got a terrible shock – but we had the last laugh on Grand Designs

MEET the Sussex couple who built a triangular house to tackle one of the most challenging plots ever seen on the Channel 4 show.

Olaf and Fritha Mason came up with a stylish solution to a problematic site by a main road, a railway line and a sewer.


Their three-bedroom house features a sloping zinc roof, timber frames, triple glazing and an oak staircase.

Carpenter and joiner Olaf joined forces with an architect to design a house that met the planning application and building regulations.

Olaf said: “I wanted to get my hands dirty and build it from scratch."

Building began in 2022, but work was halted after they discovered a trunk sewer that had been missed on the ground survey.

This added £190,000 on their budget.

Olaf admitted: "I didn’t know what outline planning was.

"I thought I was paying for a plot of land with permission for a square house plus a sewer diversion, but that was misleading because it wouldn’t have been economically viable."

The home measures 1,325 square feet, but there was still a lot of land leftover on the plot.

So the couple built a block driveway, a wooden deck with an outdoor kitchen, a sunken seating area and a fire pit.

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Fritha said: “At first we were nervous about building this crazy spaceship of a house.

“But everyone thinks it’s great, including our next-door neighbours, who used to own the land.

"Being beside the wooded railway embankment means that there is greenery everywhere, and most of our windows look out on to trees. That — and the fact that Olaf has built it all himself — is pretty amazing.”

Grand Designs is available to watch now on All4.


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