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Grandparents forced to return to work in order to build their dream home on Grand Designs

A grandmother who dreamed of building her retirement home with her husband was left homeless and forced to return to work after receiving a countless rejections on a mortgage.

Pauline, 55, is a retired journalist while husband Godfrey, 62, works as a writer and theatre director.

The two dream of building their own dream home in Bicester, using a modern modular system, but are left frustrated as they struggled to get a mortgage.

They’re left homeless and Pauline is forced to return to work in order to get their build off the ground, admitting: ‘I’ll have to work till I drop.’ 

The couple dream of building an easy and straight forward ‘modular’ home, but are hampered by financial difficulties 

They're finally able to complete their stunning home after a two year battle to get a mortgage forced Pauline back into work

They’re finally able to complete their stunning home after a two year battle to get a mortgage forced Pauline back into work 

The grandparent’s story is featured on the final episode of Grand Designs: The Street tonight. 

The couple have lived in the same family home in Southampton for 18 years, but with their daughter Ella growing up and leaving the nest, they’re keen to downsize.

They want to swap their four bedroom, three-storey home for a modern two bedroom bungalow that would a third of the size.  

Ella said: ‘We’ve loved it here, but we need to downsize. It’s a big four bedroom house, we don’t need this much space.

Pauline and Godfrey were hampered by financial difficulties throughout their build, and at one stage were essentially homeless

Pauline and Godfrey were hampered by financial difficulties throughout their build, and at one stage were essentially homeless 

‘We have energy now, but we need to think about the future.’

Wanting to have a straight forward build, the couple decide to opt for a factory built modular home.

It allows the customers to decide every detail way ahead of construction, including flooring and paint colours.

Pauline admits: ‘Some people like to roll their hands up and get a bit dirty. That might be for some, but that’s not for us.’

The minimalist home was a downsizing effort from the couple, and was fully built in a factory before being transported and assembled on the site

The minimalist home was a downsizing effort from the couple, and was fully built in a factory before being transported and assembled on the site 

The couple are able to move into the house three weeks after it was finally built on their plot in Gravenhill

The couple are able to move into the house three weeks after it was finally built on their plot in Gravenhill 

Their modular home is essentially three wielded steel boxes. Once production begins on their home at the factory, it will only take two months to put together.  

Pauline admits they’ve opted for the modular system because it’s so straight forward.

She reveals she feels it gives the couple ‘peace of mind’, saying: ‘We know how much it’s going to cost. All the internal details we’ve been going through with a stylist.’ 

The retired couple hope the build can be completed with the money from the sale of their home, and have an initial budget of £220,000.   

The couple admitted they didn't want to get their hands dirty - and opted for a build type which would allow them to watch their home being assembled by others

The couple admitted they didn’t want to get their hands dirty – and opted for a build type which would allow them to watch their home being assembled by others 

It will be built in three stages, with the first seeing four steel frames form a well insulated base on which their home will be built.

Stage two is the construction, walls, roof, floors and plush wood on the inside.

Meanwhile the third stage is the settling and finishing of the building, with the kitchen, bathroom, light switches added to the property. 

The modules are then transported to site, and then bolted together to make a home that is ready to live in in a matter of days.  

The couple had planned to go for the modular system as they felt it was more 'simple' and would give them peace of mind. But they end up feeling stressed as they struggle to get a mortgage to start their build

The couple had planned to go for the modular system as they felt it was more ‘simple’ and would give them peace of mind. But they end up feeling stressed as they struggle to get a mortgage to start their build 

Pauline is forced to return to full time work, despite retiring, in order for the couple to afford their home

Pauline is forced to return to full time work, despite retiring, in order for the couple to afford their home 

But the couple are hindered with financial issues before the project even begins.

The sale of their home doesn’t raise as much capital as they’d hoped, and they spend a year applying for mortgages, but are continually rejected. 

They’re forced into renting a house nearby, which eats into the couple’s precious build budget. 

Godfrey is devastated, admitting: ‘It’s cost us more than £20,000 in rent and storage. I wish it hadn’t happened.’ 

Their plot is left empty for two years as they struggle to raise the capital they need to even start the build

Their plot is left empty for two years as they struggle to raise the capital they need to even start the build 

The couple, who opted for the 'easy' modular build, found it stressful trying to get a mortgage and are hindered by the finances

The couple, who opted for the ‘easy’ modular build, found it stressful trying to get a mortgage and are hindered by the finances 

Pauline is equally distraught, revealing: ‘It is hard. There have been times in the middle of the day when I just burst into tears.’

And later, unable to afford rent on their property anymore, they decide to become ‘property guardians’ in a council estate at a property awaiting demolition. 

They look after a two bedroom flat, to ensure it’s secure, for a minimal fee that is much cheaper than renting. To fulfill their property guardian status, they must also volunteer in the local community. 

As the couple move in, Godfrey emotionally admits he can’t believe where they’re ended up.

The couple hoped to enjoy their retirement in the dream home with their daughter Ella, above, and grandchild

The couple hoped to enjoy their retirement in the dream home with their daughter Ella, above, and grandchild 

It takes the couple two years to even begin construction on their property, as they struggle to raise the capital to build their home

It takes the couple two years to even begin construction on their property, as they struggle to raise the capital to build their home 

He revealed: ‘It’s strange. Juxtaposing where we lived to where we are now. It feels like a steady fall.’ 

Months later, the couple are still awaiting a mortgage offer while living on an estate.  

They’re left concerned they’ll never be able to finish their build, and consider selling the plot of land which they feel is rightfully theirs. 

Godfrey revealed: ‘It’s been made for our house and our dreams. its all in there. it would be devastating.’

After two years of trying, the couple have a mortgage approved and are able to go ahead with the build

After two years of trying, the couple have a mortgage approved and are able to go ahead with the build 

In an attempt to make getting a mortgage a little easier, Pauline goes back to working full time. 

She admitted: ‘This job came at the perfect time. I’ll have to work till I drop. But I’m taking each day at a time. Let’s see how we do.’  

But after two years the couple have a mortgage approved, and their dream begins to come true. 

Godfrey reveals:’ I finally feel I can breathe again. I never stopped believing in the project.’ 

The couple end up with a stunning white minimalist home, and are able to move in just three weeks after it was assembled on the site

The couple end up with a stunning white minimalist home, and are able to move in just three weeks after it was assembled on the site 

The home, which is essentially made from three separate box-type parts, is a bright and airy house for the pair to live in

The home, which is essentially made from three separate box-type parts, is a bright and airy house for the pair to live in 

Their ‘factory built’ home is delivered in nine lorries and put together on the plot. 

Godfrey and Pauline watch their new home arrive, with the help of a huge crane, with the grandfather admitting: ‘I always believed in the build.’

And three weeks later, the couple move into their stunning white  minimalist home with its slick and stylish, bright and airy interiors.  

They reveal they have spent £60,000 more than they meant to – but are relieved to finally be in the home they’ve long dreamed of.

And though she has to continue to work full time, Pauline admits: ‘This house encapsulates us. It is what we needed at this time and in this way.’  

And while Pauline still has to work in order for the couple to pay off their house, they admit it's a dream come true

And while Pauline still has to work in order for the couple to pay off their house, they admit it’s a dream come true 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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