Dad transforms cemetery into £4.5M dream home in ‘greatest Grand Designs revamp’

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now

Get a daily dose of showbiz gossip straight to your inbox with our free email newsletter

Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

A dad both baffled and stunned Grand Designs viewers in the "craziest episode ever" after he spent four years and £4.5 million transforming a cemetery into his dream home.

Justin Maxwell-Stuart, 50, from London, bought an abandoned keepers lodge and an adjoining ex-council toilet block in Fulham cemetery for £1.8 million in 2016.

Appearing on Channel 4's Grand Designs, dad-of-one Justin revealed his plans to transform the derelict land in 12 months and with a budget of £1.6 million – but things didn't go to plan.

The project took four years and cost a whopping £4.5 million – a sum that Justin admits he wouldn't have paid had he have known at the start.

Justin's dream home comes complete with a swimming pool and moat
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Get the day's biggest stories to your email – sign up for the Mirror newsletter

Read More
Related Articles


  • Inside derelict school trapped in the 1980s with lessons still written on blackboard

Justin, who is related to Mary Queen of Scots, drew inspiration from his family's 50-room mansion, Traquair House, which is Scotland's oldest inhabited house.

The aim was to knock down the toilet block and replace it with a ground floor extension, a moat and a basement with a swimming pool.

But soon after he started the project in October 2016, he ran into difficulties, with one of the most challenging being getting planning permission to build an entrance to the graveyard from his garden.

The old toilet block he demolished
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Woman discovers hidden room inside a storage cupboard at house viewing

Work was also forced to stop for a full three months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

But in November 2020 the four-bed home complete with a huge master suite, dressing room, kitchen-diner, reading room, a large lounge, as well as a cellar, a TV room with a bar and the 13-metre swimming pool, was finished.

On the show, Justin said that he began the project after he and his "wonderful ex-wife separated."

The property is beyond incredible
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Raging tenants mistakenly hit out at landlords 'tone-deaf' Christmas 'goodwill gesture'

He explained: "I thought, now my life is in turmoil and chaos, I now have the opportunity to do something off the beaten track.

"And I wanted a chance to do something really special."

While a number of viewers were put off by the creepy location, Justin has become fond of it as he says it has a special place in his heart.

He's delighted with the outcome
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Couple renovating home find 70-year-old handwritten note buried in their wall

He said: "I don't think of them as my dead neighbours, they're just my neighbours. And come the witching hour, when they close the gates to the cemetery then it really is my area. "

But one of Justin's biggest fears would be that the team would dig up a grave.

He said: "One just has to be aware that when you're digging in an ancient site.

"Worst case scenario is we find one of Henry VIII's wives."

The interior is very modern
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Couple with no DIY experience transform rundown three-bed house with just £6,000

Despite being in a "bit of a shock" at the overall cost of the project, Justin plowed on with plans.

Although he admits: "I haven't quite worked out how to pay the end bill.

"I just know there's going to be a balancing equation between selling this and a larger mortgage and working harder."

Fans were stunned by the finished result
(Image: CHANNEL4/GRAND DESIGN)

Read More
Related Articles


  • Horrified TripAdvisor users slam 'worst' hotel that 'isn't fit for a dog'

He also said that if he'd known the total sum of the project at the beginning, he never would have started it.

But fans were beyond impressed with the outcome as one said: "Bloody love #GrandDesigns and what an episode to start the new series. One hell of a house but with one hell of a price tag as well."

Another wrote: "Can't tell you how jealous I am of the man who’s converting a graveyard gatehouse into a gothic mansion WITH A MOAT on @Channel4 #GrandDesigns right now."

A third also added: "Possibly the greatest #GrandDesigns ever. That was mad, beautiful and very, very funny."

But one said: "Not a great starter episode in Covid times. With many in debt, [losing] their jobs and homes, struggling to feed their kids; GD show some numpty millionaire spending nearly 4 mill on a cemetery lodge."

And another wrote: "I rarely post on here now as whatever I think [there are] always people with opposing and genuine views but #GrandDesigns wtf is a single parent spending millions on a ridiculously huge house. I fantasise about how many could be helped instead."

What do you think of the transformation? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear all about it. Email us at [email protected]

You may also like...