Impressive converted farmstead in County Down named House of the Year

The winner of Channel 4’s Grand Designs: House of the Year is none other than a converted farmstead in County Down. We’re impressed!

Amazing converted farmstead in County Down named House of the Year

This incredible three-bedroom property was recently built on the site of a former farmstead in County Down, Northern Ireland.

It has now been revealed that the L-shaped home located in the beautiful town of Saintfield has been named the winner in Channel 4’s popular television show Grand Designs: House of the Year.

RIBA House of the Year, formerly the Manser Medal, is awarded to the best example of a one-off house designed by an architect in the UK. The award celebrates excellence and innovation in home design.

The prestigious award was presented by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) last week.

The property cost only £335,000 to build

House Lessans is located in Saintfield, County Down
Credit: @Ciaranovic / Twitter

The County Down property was said to have cost £335,000 to construct, or about £1,400 per square metre. This is roughly half the cost of an average top-end self-build project.

Alan Jones, president of the RIBA, called the build a “dream home” and a “remarkable achievement.” Given the magnificence and scale of the modern family home, the strict budget that was kept for the project is phenomenal.

All of its rooms are minimal in style, but their simple arrangement, design, and quality have been praised.

The property’s name, House Lessans, is perhaps quite apt as it gives us all a lesson on how clever architecture and minimalist designs can be an incredibly cost-effective way of creating a wonderful home.

It sits on a former farming site amidst Saintfield’s beautiful landscapes

House Lessans is surrounded by beautiful countryside
Credit: @Ciaranovic / Twitter

On the vestiges of a small farmstead with a double yard, House Lessans was formed. The ruins were converted with a new forecourt, bedrooms, and living spaces, forming an L-shaped concrete blockwork with perfectly pitched zinc roofs.

Alan Jones added that the design was “executed with incredible clarity and restraint […] simple and cheap materials create a truly bespoke home that resonates with its owners and its context.”

The owners, Sylvia and Michael, wanted somewhere that their grown-up children would be happy to return to and stay. The new spacious living quarters and contemporary finishes to the interior of the build make this dream a reality for the couple.

Saintfield’s gorgeous outdoor scenery also form the perfect backdrop to this architectural ensemble. This was a key factor in the decision-making process behind where the property should be constructed.

The winner was announced by Grand Designs Presenter Kevin McCloud

The converted farmstead in County Down was named House of the Year
Credit: @Ciaranovic / Twitter

During the much-anticipated final episode of a special four-part Grand Designs series, it was announced by Kevin McCloud that the County Down property had secured the win.

The award-winning home, designed by architects McGonigle McGrath, an architectural firm based in Belfast, saw some hot competition from six other new-builds designed by architects elsewhere in the United Kingdom. However, it was McGrath’s build that shot ahead in points from the judges.

Chair of the House of the Year jury, architect John Pardey, stated that House Lessans was a “paradigm in creating relevant contemporary architecture that truly reflects its local context, vernacular and culture.”

We think House Lessans is house goals. There are many wonderful locations across Ireland for building your dream home – check out some of our favourites.