Grand Designs UK

SEMCO participates in UK’s Grand Designs

A clever space-saving budget build may be the smallest two-bedroom house one is allowed to build in London, but modern, stylish and most importantly theirs. SEMCO is proud to help them build their dream home. Follow their journey on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

Joe and Lina are a young couple living in London. The busy city is not only known for its beautiful historical buildings but also for soaring property prices and rent. Being designers themselves, it was only natural to grasp the idea of building their own home. Soon ideas started to gather and the project turned into reality. From the beginning, it was clear that it was not suppose to be like every other residential home – but a “one of a kind”.

Their lovely house was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

After meeting with Joe and listening to their ideas, we soon understood the honor we would have in playing a part in realising their envisioned dreams and give this unique home our finishing touch.

Read more about our Q&A with Joe.

SEMCO Grand Designs
Probably London's smallest two-bedroom house

It is a small house but packed with thoughtful innovations and modern design elements on the inside. It is the perfect example of how to make the most out of limited space without looking cramped. With our seamless floors, SEMCO helped to create a sense of open space. The big windows bring in natural sunlight and the light colours brighten up the interior.

SEMCO Grand Designs

Tell us a little bit about yourself , Joe.

After an education in design I have been conscious to maintain the balance of function and form. This has led me to work across the design, engineering and architectural sectors on projects for the Olympics, TfL, and an array of private clients. I have specialised in creating solutions where human interaction is paramount; be it for increasing efficiency in manufacturing, designing around natural movements, or simply improving the experience of the individual.

SEMCO Grand Designs

Why did you choose to build yourself ?

I have always had an interest for architecture and I think my end-game has always been to build my own house. In 2012 I decided to bring this venture forward, and for valid reason. Initially the high cost to buy in London made me look into alternative means to get on the property ladder, and then this quickly escalated into something more all encompassing. I have always had a great respect and believe in experience-led learning. As such I felt that in order to be able to design other people’s homes you need to have designed, and more importantly built, your own. This enabled me to analyse and adapt at every stage whilst also being fully sympathetic to all parties in the construction process. I was ‘Architect’, ‘Builder’, ‘Project Manager’ and ‘Client’. What better way to be able to sympathise with each respective person critical to building a home?

SEMCO Grand Designs

What are the key design features of your house?

The build evolved into being a bit of a personal mission to ‘design better’ and as such there are some pretty innovative solutions used! Phase-change material as hot water and heating storage, ‘floating’ concrete slabs to increase thermal performance and regulate the building’s temperature. Industrial inspired plumbing, hand built furniture, bespoke glazing, and of course using Semco on the floors and bathroom walls. All of this has resulted in a house that is 32 times more airtight than the UK regulations require, and needing only 8 light bulbs to heat the house on the coldest day of the year.

SEMCO Grand Designs
SEMCO kitchen Backsplash in its natural colour - Polished Bond

What was your concept and vision?

I have a desire for an uncluttered pallet. I believe in creating a house that is the canvas or the exhibition space for your style and your flair. As such, the approach for this house was to maximise the light available in the house, and then exploit it with a monochrome pallet. The white-grey-black scale can be used as a subtle transition like in the bathrooms with the application of  Semco in the colour Phantom on the floor and  Semco in its natural colour on the walls, or a striking contrast such as the ebonised ash kitchen with the white walls in the kitchen. On top of this foundation the use of plants, paintings, throws and individual design elements can stand out and create character.

SEMCO Grand Designs
Subtle SEMCO Seamless Stone floor in Phantom

Why did you choose SEMCO ?

Although I chose white floors for the low traffic areas such as the bedrooms and snug/lounge area to reflect as much light into the house as possible, I used the  Semco in the colour Phantom for the hallway, bathroom, wet-room, terrace and kitchen floors. This was for good reason as all these spaces are likely to get more traffic, wear and marking. The surface needed to have a high resistance to scratching and staining whilst also being waterproof and slip free. Semco ticked all these boxes whilst also being able to offer me the aesthetic I desired. The polished concrete-like finish is incredible, and the fact that every application is unique due to the individual applying it makes it essentially a work of art.

I used the natural coloured Semco for the walls of the bathroom and wet room to ensure the rooms didn’t feel to dark and closed in as they are not the largest of spaces. Even though the wall has the polished concrete texture it makes the room feel much larger than a tiled alternative as it is one seamless finish.

Semco Grand Designs Kitchen
SEMCO Grand Designs Bathroom
SEMCO Grand Designs Bathroom

For us at SEMCO it was an incredible journey to participate in. We were excited about the TV show Grand Designs since we did not know what to expect and how the finished house looked overall. In the end we were really happy that everything turned out as expected, but most importantly that Joe and Lina are happy about the results.

Have a look at our other projects!

In case you have missed the episode of Grand Designs, watch Joe and Lina’s journey to their own home in the link below.

Follow Joe and Lina on

Grand Designs

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