49:55 | Design and technologies

Grand Designs Australia

Hillbank Medieval, South Australia  |  Season 7  |  Episode 4  |  Lifestyle Channel

Anglican Reverends Neil and Ruth have a shared love of all things Gothic and medieval. So when the couple decided to build their first ever family home in the Adelaide suburb of Hillbank, it was no surprise that the city of churches would provide plenty of inspiration. Not that they want a church-like house. Neil is chasing a barn inspired house with big heavy timber beams. So they've chosen to create a medieval manor built in the traditional way using methods from another time. The bones of the house eight huge A frames will be built by hand out of timber by a team of specialist carpenters. Thousands of timber shingles will cover the massive roof, with a two-storey high gothic glass window the centrepiece of the house. But Neil is constantly let down by suppliers and has grossly underestimated the cost of the build so work on the site stalls. When summer hits and temperatures soar well into the 40s, the exposed A-frame timber beams begin to warp and crack. They elect to use something straight off a warehouse floor insulated refrigerator panels on the roof and walls a most unlikely fit for a medieval house. Not only do they look incongruous, they are hell to work with and expensive. What ensues is a tug of war between old and new materials; between a passion for the past and unsavoury reality. With a blind faith that sees Neil try to ignore spiralling costs, he enlists the help of his family to finish his passion project, turning a build he hoped would last a few months into a five year revelation.

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