Architectural designer Dan and interior designer Nina want to build a sleek, unique family house. But the plot they’ve bought, near a beautiful estuary in West Sussex, has one major issue. It’s dominated by a swampy pond, a receptacle for local drainage. Unable to fill it in, they take the brave decision to make it central to their design. The plan is to turn it into a ginormous, biodiverse waterscape including a natural swimming pond, and float their highly ambitious sustainable house over it. The trouble is to save money Dan needs to do it largely himself, despite the fact he has limited experience with new builds - especially one set over water that needs specialist knowledge to stop it turning toxic and green.
From day one, juggling paid work, the project, and a young family proves an exhausting mission for both Dan and Nina. Struggling to stay on their 650k budget and faced by repeated lockdowns, the schedule stretches on. Two years later, instead of being finished their site is a mess and their home just an empty shell taking the brunt of the winter weather. As the cash-strapped build finally heads towards the finish line, the question remains - will their home be a sublime marriage of water, architecture, and landscape, or just an incomplete house over a Shrek-like swamp?
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