Our grand design for Grand Designs!

Most people would be delighted to live in a charming old boat-house by the Thames, but not Lysette and Nigel Offley. They decided to knock the whole thing down and start again – with a new house that took inspiration from the river with waves and curves – and a huge glass porthole of a roof-light.


Their plan to build a dramatic new cutting-edge home by the River Thames proved difficult, costly and not very popular with their neighbours.

And just a few weeks into their project, the problems begin. They couldn’t find a contractor willing to tackle the difficulties of building over water; their architect unexpectedly left and the costs came in much higher than anticipated.

Not only that, but they then decided on a minimalist garden to match the dream home they were building. With no previous experience.

And of course, along came Kevin McCloud and the CH4 Grand Designs team to film the whole thing!

To assist the couple, Student of the Year (2011/12) of the Oxford College of Garden Design, Ana Mari Bull, produced the fabulous garden design already seen by viewers.

To complement this design, we made a frameless firebox and combined it with our EF5000 weatherproof gas burners and touch-sensitive controls. DSC_0170 (1)

Building our gas fireplace into a masonry enclosure integral to various other feature structures within the long, but narrow, garden created a natural focal point for entertaining or just chilling with a glass of wine.

​First broadcast in October 2012, the garden wasn’t actually finished in time for the show, but it is now in absolutely pristine condition, as you can see by viewing the images on this page or the larger gallery on our website.


Full details of the different types of outside fireplace that are available can be viewed here.

We believe that Kevin will be going back to see the finished article some time this year.

So, hopefully, we’ll see you soon on Channel 4!


About Urban Fires

Tony Young is a product designer and has more than 30 years of experience in the fireplace industry, amongst them the creation of several significant and innovative new decorative gas fire genres - from the Wonderfire AirFlame ceramic burner of 1984 (which remains in production at Dimplex), the award-winning 1988 Vermont Castings Intrepid gas stove, another UK award-winner the Galaxy Roxy, the Next Design Neon and Brilliant Fires Storm designs, plus multiple award-winners, the current Acquisitions X-FIRES flueless fires range. He writes for industry magazines.
This entry was posted in Outside fireplaces, outside fireplaces london and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Our grand design for Grand Designs!

  1. Amos Beer says:

    Loved the post, loved the firebox

  2. The garden’s looking absolutely stunning and the fireplace is a great focal point. Thank you 🙂

  3. Eunice says:

    Hello Lysette, I hope you can help me with this question; I watched the programme of your house being built and I was wondering where did you buy the tiles that you used on the outside of the building? Your home is beautiful ! Can you please give me the name of the German company that produced those tiles? Many thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s