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Tired Anglesey bungalow transformed into eco dream home on Channel 4 show

01 Feb 2023 5 minute read
DIY newcomer Nia Jones paired up with roofer Mark Hughes for Channel 4 property show The Great House Giveaway

A PhD student studying plastic pollution has pioneered the transformation of an Anglesey bungalow into a state-of the-art eco home – despite never having used a drill before.

DIY newcomer Nia Jones paired up with roofer Mark Hughes for Channel 4 property show ‘The Great House Giveaway’ and ended up successfully boosting the three-bedroom property’s energy efficiency value from E to A – the best possible.

It is the first time in the show’s history that a pair of renovators have gone all out for the eco-approach, swapping traditional heating systems for greener technology in the wake of spiralling energy costs.

Hosted by Simon O’Brien, the show challenges two strangers who are not homeowners to renovate a property bought at auction within a set budget and in just six months.

If the project is successful, they both get to share the profits – if not, the house goes back to auction.

Nia and Mark working on the 70’s bungalow

Horror house

Nia and roofing firm owner Mark, from Bodedern, Anglesey, appear in the third series of the show, which is made by award-winning independent TV production firm Chwarel, based in Criccieth – co-producers of Gogglebocs, the Welsh language version of hit reality series Gogglebox.

Alongside fellow renovator Mark, the pair were given just £35,000 to overhaul the £158k property based in Rhosybol, Anglesey and create a sustainable home ready for the 21st Century.

“I think I went into it quite naïvely thinking there wouldn’t be much to do but it was a huge project to finish within six months,” said 25 year old Nia, who is tudying Ocean Science at Bangor University.

“The eco side of things was the straightforward part. It was the traditional building issues that slowed us up. There were definitely a few points where I felt that it was unlikely we’d finish at any point – let alone within six months.”

It’s the first time since the show launched in 2020 that a pair of renovators have gone all out for the eco-approach.


Dad-of-three Mark, 33, who owns MH Roofing, added: “When I walked in on the first day, I said it was the house of horrors! I thought to myself ‘I’m quitting, I’m quitting, I’m quitting’!

“Everyone was saying ‘even if it’s not the about the money, it’s an experience at the end of the day’ so once I started to think of it like that, I cracked on.

“The roof was falling down, but that didn’t scare me being a roofer myself, then I saw the ceilings were fully Artex, I knew that was going to be pricey to fix.

“None of the floors were level so we had to screed them first and then we had to take the chimney out which was crumbling. It was one thing after another.

“I found it more stressful than I thought. Having a roofing company, I was flat out with work myself. It was also the summer holidays and I have three kids! Balancing it all was the hardest thing and nothing really could get done unless I was there.”

Green features

The pair enlisted the help of leading renewable energy system provider to advise them on the latest eco technology and forked out a sizeable chunk of their budget on a raft of new green features including underfloor heating, thermal cladding and solar panels.

As a result of their investment, the property is now virtually self-sufficient and valued at around £300,0000.

Hafod’s Managing Director David Jones said: “People want to know how much a property will cost to run in the long term and with what’s going on with the price of gas, people will look at the home and realise they could live virtually off-grid.

“You can retro-fit pretty much any home with eco-friendly technology. This project was quite straight forward for us being a bungalow and only one storey as we could put underfloor heating across the whole house.

Sioned Wyn, Chwarel’s managing director and executive producer of The Great House Giveaway, said the renovation marked a bold step for the show.

“We are the first to have done this and I really thank both Nia and Mark for buying into this vision because even now, we’re still not sure if it’s going to work or whether they would have got more money the old way,” she said.

“However, conscience-wise, this is absolutely the way we should be renovating every house in the future.

“What we have now is a house with all the up-to-date energy-saving gadgets you could want – especially amid a cost-of-living crisis and with electricity so expensive.

“It will be more expensive than your average bungalow, but the cost of running this house will be significantly lower than a traditional bungalow that has gas.

“It’s a bold move for us on the show and we are so happy the contributors bought into it. They did amazingly well.

The property is now listed on the market with Dafydd Hardy Estate Agents for a cool £300,000 but viewers will have to wait and see whether Nia and Mark’s project came within budget and if they make a profit.

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