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Grand Designs

What happens when you push your ideas to their limit? Introducing our Grand Design.

Back in 2008, the journey to create the infamous Grand Designs ‘wavy wooden house’ began...  

Co-founders, Tom and Danielle, set out to create a unique build in South Cornwall that would take steam bending to new heights. Channelling the essence of the iconic Tom Raffield ethos and design aesthetic, they embarked on a monumental project that would prove to be very challenging, pushing the boundaries of contemporary architecture to their limits, all whilst every step of the journey was captured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs in late 2016.

Tom Raffield's house of steam-bent wood
The front of Tom Raffield's house of steam-bent wood

"This place has the potential to be Tom’s masterpiece; the summation of his life's work"

- Kevin McCloud, presenter of Grand Designs.
The living room at Tom Raffield's house, with steam-bent wooden walls and furniture
Inside Tom Raffield's house, with wooden walls, concrete floor and his steam-bent-wood lights

Working in unison with the environment, the project brought fresh purpose to the materials and resources offered up by the Cornish surroundings – utilising timber from the woodland, rocks from the original excavation site, and steam bending talents from the Tom Raffield team.  

From paper plans to the finishing touches, every inch of the build was thought through in meticulous detail. Whether it was the eco-concrete flooring laid underfoot, ground-source heat pumps to keep the space warm, or the wood waste put aside to create new pieces of furniture to fill their home (many of which feature in the range today) – time, consideration, and experimentation characterised every decision made, and design undertaken. A huge thank you to Chris Strike of RA Design, who helped us design the house.

the open-plan kitchen/dining room at Tom Raffield's wood house
The kitchen at Tom Raffield's house

The house was designed to bring the outside in, blurring the boundaries of nature and living – and to showcase how inspiring the natural world can be. From the ground up, the build was truly original. The low-impact concept was completed to industry acclaim, blending the beauty of nature with architectural innovation whilst bridging the gap between age-old tradition and innovative new techniques. A large-scale architectural project. A feat of steam bending craftsmanship. A test of drive and skill. The wavy wooden Grand Design has become instantly recognisable and a favourite of many.   

Although the couple have since separated, the house is still proudly part of the family and continues to be a work of art and source of inspiration.   


Two years later in 2018 and Channel 4’s Grand Designs ‘house that Tom built’ is still very much a hot topic, here’s how the infamous steam bent house has changed and continues to flourish into the future.  

Tom Raffield's steam-bent-wood house.


In 2020, four year’s on from when the build was complete, the curvy Cornish house still proves itself to be one for the books. Though transformed and matured, the wavy wooden home continues to be a celebration of steam bending. We revisit the space to discover what’s evolved and what the future holds for the incredible architectural feat.   

Interior of Tom Raffield's steam-bent-wood house.

Grand Designs episode credits: Channel 4 TV via Daily Motion.

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