Grand Designs in Little Downham

PUBLISHED: 14:51 02 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:25 04 May 2010

Mr Neville with his wife Masako in their hexagon-shaped home in Little Downham

Mr Neville with his wife Masako in their hexagon-shaped home in Little Downham

By ADAM LAZZARI THIS spectacular hexagon-shaped Little Downham house will feature on Channel 4 s Grand Designs tonight. Carpenter Kelly Neville, 48, has not just built a unique oak-framed, straw bale house for himself to live in with his Japanese wife Mas

An 800-year-old tree forms a central feature in the house.

By ADAM LAZZARI

THIS spectacular hexagon-shaped Little Downham house will feature on Channel 4's Grand Designs tonight.

Carpenter Kelly Neville, 48, has not just built a unique oak-framed, straw bale house for himself to live in with his Japanese wife Masako and seven-year-old son Acer, but a whole new way of life.

He said: "I've always had a dream to be able to live self-sufficiently, without relying on the big machine and that's exactly what I've done. The house is made entirely of natural materials with cedar shingles and clay plaster on the walls. It also uses very little energy, and the energy used is naturally-sourced. A heat pump provides under-floor heating from the earth and a furnace burns willow on site."

Mr Neville designed and built the house single-handedly.

Building started in June 2005 and is expected to finish next month.

The house is built off the ground, has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and two living rooms, one of which features an 800-year-old tree in the centre.

A reed bed processes waste into clean water for the garden, a rain water harvesting system provides water for the toilet and there are plans for a small wind turbine to be put in place.

Mr Neville said: "My main influences are the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic roundhouses and, through my wife, there is also a Japanese influence as the design is reminiscent of Japanese tea-rooms and temples.

"It looks great but there are also practical reasons for the design because it maximises insulation as there is less surface area to lose heat."

Mr Neville is originally from Alberta, Canada, lived in Suffolk for 12 years before moving to Little Downham to build the house.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Neville said: "I had a call from the district council's planning department about going on Grand Designs. The people making the show had just been in touch with them looking for unusual houses. They visited the house 20 times since the building started and it's been a lot of fun. I'm going to watch it on a big screen in my village pub."

* The show will be repeated on More4 tonight (Thursday) at 9pm, and will be followed by programme containing trade secrets about how people can establish self-sufficient living.

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