New TV show seeks DIY house builders and renovators

The casting agent for Build Your Own, a new series that will air on RTÉ One TV next year, is looking for do-it-yourselfers who are currently restoring an old property or building a house from scratch.

Australian organic farmer and sustainability designer Harrison Gardner will guide attendees as they strive to build their dream home at affordable prices using alternative materials and approaches.

“I will give advice to do-it-yourselfers on how to build houses cheaply with timber frames and renewable raw materials,” says Gardner, who lives in Clare with his Irish wife Erin McClure and their young daughter.

At a time when remote working is becoming a full-time reality for many, Gardner will guide people in the use of recycled materials, alternative forms of insulation and corrugated roofs. “The Irish are scared of corrugated roofs because they think it will get noisy in the rain, but insulation is in place now so it’s not like a farm shed,” he says.

Harrison Gardner: will oversee participants in the TV series Build Your Own. Photo: Eamon Ward

Renovation of Harrison Gardiner's townhouse.  Photo: Shantanu Starick

Renovation of Harrison Gardiner’s townhouse. Photo: Shantanu Starick

With years of experience building houses from natural and “upcycling” materials at the international avant-garde construction company Earthship, Gardner set up shop in Ennistymon, Co Clare five years ago. He lives with his family in a restored stone house with a wooden extension, where he conducts short building courses. He bought the house for 80,000 euros and added a 40 square meter extension for 40,000 euros in just six weeks. The couple also renovated a two-bedroom townhouse in Ennistymon that they rent on Airbnb.

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

Casting Agent Leah Wallace says, “We want to hear from people all over Ireland whether it’s a young couple, best friends, retirees or someone renovating an old industrial area.” Future homeowners willing to take on the challenge of being filmed while building their homes can email [email protected] or fill out an application at

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