Converted farm wins House of the Year 2019 – and it cost just £335,000 to build

The exterior and interior of House Lessans (Picture: Aidan McGrath)

This house is property goals.

The three-bedroom place has just won Grand Designs: House of the Year 2019.

The house is located in Saintfield, Co. Down, Northern Ireland on the site of a former farmstead.

House Lessans cost just £335,000 to build in the beautiful countryside setting.

The house, designed by architects Mcgonigle McGrath in Belfast, was crowned the winner after beating off the six other shortlisted properties.

The award is given by the Royal Institute of British Architect to a new-build designed by architects.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: ‘House Lessans demonstrates that life-enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth.

The house is in rural Northern Ireland (Picture: Aidan McGrath)

‘Executed with incredible clarity and restraint, McGonigle McGrath has used simple and cheap materials to create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context.

‘Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality.’

It’s built out of two blocks to create an L-shape with a double-height living room and bedrooms that look over a tranquil courtyard garden.

The kitchen and snug make the most of the beautiful views with a huge wall of glass.

It’s built on a converted farm (Picture: Aidan McGrath)

To keep costs low, they used basic building materials, including cheap concrete bricks carefully laid and painted inside with flush mortar joins to ensure a perfect finish, and arranged the rooms to get as much space as possible.

Architect Kieran McGonigle (McGonigle McGrath) said: ‘It has been both a delight and a challenge to work on this project; a delight in the beautiful location in this archetypically Ulster landscape and in the simple brief, and a challenge in designing and delivering a precisely detailed and high-quality building within a modest budget.

‘The outcome, a small collection of forms in the landscape, contributes to this place and, we hope, extends our understanding of how to make buildings in our countryside.’

They used concrete bricks to keep costs down (Picture: Aidan McGrath)

Sylvia and Michael, the owners of House Lessans said: ‘Like most non-architects about to build a home we had a clear idea about what we’d like in terms of rooms but no idea about how these rooms might be arranged or what the house might look like.

‘The magic a gifted architect can work was evident from the moment we saw the initial plans and that appreciation deepened as the project progressed.

‘We feel that the house respects and indeed enhances the landscape. It is a joy to live in – from seeing the soaring bedroom ceiling on wakening, being surrounded by the gentle landscape in the kitchen during the day, to enjoying the sunset in the top room.

‘We’re delighted to be a part of the RIBA celebration of the life-enhancing potential of architecture.’

The kitchen (Picture: Aidan McGrath)
The hallway (Picture: Aidan McGrath)
The double height living area (Picture: Aidan McGrath)
The whole build cost £335,000 (Picture: Aidan McGrath)
The exterior of the house (Picture: Aidan McGrath)
There is a glass wall to maximise the views (Picture: Aidan McGrath)

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