New TV show seeks DIY house builders and renovators

RTÉ series callout for couples, pals and anyone restoring or constructing a home

 Harrison Gardner and Erin McClure at work on an old house in Ennistymon. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Harrison Gardner and Erin McClure at work on an old house in Ennistymon. Photograph: Eamon Ward

 

The casting agent of Build Your Own, a new series set to air on RTÉ One television next year is looking for self-builders currently restoring an old property or building a house from scratch.

Australian eco-builder and sustainability designer Harrison Gardner will mentor participants as they endeavour to build their dream home at budget prices, using alternative materials and approaches.

“I’ll be giving advice to self-builders on how to construct homes cheaply using timber frames and renewable materials,” says Gardner, who lives in Clare with his Irish wife, Erin McClure, and their baby daughter.

At a time when remote working is becoming a full-time reality for many, Gardner will guide people on how to use recycled materials, alternative forms of insulation and corrugated roofing. “Irish people are afraid of corrugated roofing because they think it will be noisy in the rain but now it comes with insulation attached so it’s not like an agricultural shed,” he says.

Harrison Gardner: will mentor participants in TV series Build Your Own. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Harrison Gardner: will mentor participants in TV series Build Your Own. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Harrison Gardiner’s townhouse conversion. Photograph: Shantanu Starick
Harrison Gardiner’s townhouse conversion. Photograph: Shantanu Starick

With years of experience building homes using natural and “upcycled” materials with international avant-garde construction company Earthship, Gardner settled in Ennistymon, Co Clare, five years ago. He lives with his family in a restored stone cottage with a timber extension where he runs short building courses. He bought the cottage for €80,000 and added a 40sq m extension in just six weeks for €40,000. The couple also renovated a two-bedroom terraced house in Ennistymon which they rent on Airbnb.

“I teach people the fundamentals of structures and how they work. I rarely use blocks because I don’t see a need for them. I encourage people to focus on what they have around them. Every site is different so it is about learning how to build a house that suits that site best for the lowest cost possible,” he says.

Casting agent Leah Wallace says: “We’re looking to hear from people all over Ireland whether they are a young couple, best friends going into business, retired folks or someone renovating an old industrial space.” Future homeowners willing to take up the challenge of being filmed while they build their homes can email buildyourown@motive.ie or complete an application on motive.submit.com/show/5