A Grand Design – the smallest two-bed residence

The smallest two-bed residence

An ambitious project recently featured on TV’s Grand Designs was designed by young engineer Joe Stuart. Occupying a plot of just 9.5 x 4m, it is the smallest two-bed house allowed by London planners.

Joe was single-minded about making it super-insulated. He not only tripled the thickness of the walls but decided the triple-glazed skylight was not eco-friendly enough. Instead, he insisted on a quadruple-glazed unit weighing in at 200kg.

Joe wanted excellent wind, water and UV resistance and superior vapour diffusion. He also wanted to minimise fire risk, enhanced airtightness and thermal stability. To achieve this, Joe specified a clever combination of Tyvek® membranes, tapes and sealants.

The engineer had to quit his job to spend 15-hour days on his new home and his very patient and understanding girlfriend injected money into the build. She said: “He’s very passionate. I love him and it’s really painful for him to compromise on certain things.”

Joe explained, “I needed absolute reliability when it came to quality and performance. I know that I can have complete confidence in the long-term functionality and energy saving of the building envelope in a house that will always be very close to my heart.”

Imaginative use of building technology creates a compact yet Grand Design

Joe used Tyvek® UV Façade, a specialised all black breather membrane which allows for greater design freedom and confidence when installing behind open-jointed façades such as the elegant cedar cladding chosen here.

Other products used include Tyvek® FireCurb® Housewrap, an innovative fire-retardant breather membrane used to protect the timber frame structure and the foam-filled SIPS; Tyvek® FlexWrap NF, an ingenious concertina-style airtight tape for sealing difficult joints and penetrations (such as the bespoke windows on this project). Finally, Tyvek® Supro was used, a highly valued underlay with many years of proven durability.