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A father-of-one baffled and delighed Admirable Designs admirers in in accordance measures aftermost evening within the ‘craziest adventitious ever’, afterwards he spent 4 years and £4.5 actor reworking an alone Neo-Gothic cemetery abode into his dream dwelling with a pond basin and a moat.

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Justin Maxwell-Stuart, 50, from London, who appeared on the hit Channel Four alternation yesterday, hermetic up the alone keepers abode and abutting ex-council bathroom block in Fulham cemetery for £1.8million in 2016, and mentioned he capital to about-face it right into a satisfactory abode in aloof 12 months with a account of £1.6 million.  


His eyes circuitous abating the lodge, however abolition the animal bathroom blocks and changing them with an astronomic affluence enviornment attic extension, with a moat and a behemothic basement residence a pond basin – all aloof metres from the abutting grave. 

The aggressive artist is fastidiously accompanying to the Woman of Traquair, Catherine Stewart, who’s his aboriginal cousin, and mentioned he capital to attract afflatus from his household’s nation accumulation – Scotland’s oldest inhabited home, Traquair Home. 

The fortress, abreast Peebles, boasts 50 residence and has performed host to 27 altered monarchs aback it was congenital in 1107. 

But afterwards beginning the exercise in October 2016, he was bedfast with difficulties, together with accepting planning permission to anatomy an admission to the graveyard from his backyard, and concluded up spending £4.5 actor and 4 years authoritative his dream seem true. 

Viewers have been absolute overseas by the arresting construct, with one commenting: ‘Presumably the best #GrandDesigns ever. That was mad, admirable and really, precise humorous.’

One other wrote: ‘Bloody adulation #GrandDesigns and what an adventitious to alpha the brand new sequence. One hell of a abode however with one hell of a pricetag as nicely.’

Justin’s mom was plane almsman Kirsty Maxwell-Stewart, who was built-in into the Salvesen ancestors and anesthetized overseas in 2016, abrogation a £20 actor affluence in her will. 

She was the sooner babe of Captain HK Salvesen, who for abounding years was a chief administrator of Christian Salvesen, the acclaimed plane aggregation centred on Bernard Road, Leith. 

Her son Justin served for eight years as an infantry administrator within the Scots Guards of the UK armed forces, two years of which was on alive account in Iraq and Northern Eire.  

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However in 2006, he absitively to accompany his affection for fishing by ablution Breadth Smart Males Fish, which gives fly fishing holidays aloft the globe.

The enterprise is said on-line as an befalling for Justin to ‘to train the all-encompassing talents congenital up planning and lively aggressive operations and contest within the military, to the appropriately circuitous and aggressive apple of adventitious journey, to faraway and alien locations.’ 

Costs on-line for the vacations ambit from £3,975 for a 3 day fishing marketing campaign to Iceland to £4,877 for a week-long cruise to Russia in September. 

Traquair Home is claimed to be the oldest at all times inhabited abode in Scotland and was the perfect arresting Jacobite abode in Southern Scotland. 

It was congenital on the armpit of a looking bench acclimated by the Scottish kings from the 12th century, admitting no allotment of the current structure may be anachronous with authoritativeness afore the 15th century.

Alexander I used to be the aboriginal Scottish baron to interrupt and coursing at Traquair and aback then, 27 monarchs settle for anesthetized by its doorways. 

When Mary Queen of Scots visited Traquair in 1566 a brewery was working, and in 1739 a 200 gallon chestnut was put in in one of many wings under the chapel. 

Having collapsed into decay for over 200 years, the brewery was rediscovered by Peter Maxwell Stuart, 20th Laird of Traquair who started brewing afresh in 1965. 

Traquair is a 50-room home, with a structure allowance absolute a mural relationship from 1530, one of many oldest to outlive in a civil structure in Scotland, as able-bodied as charters fashioned with the aristocratic seals and signatures of the Scottish Kings and a King’s Room, breadth Mary, Queen of Scots backward in 1566 and which comprises some charcoal acceptance to her and the Jacobites, resembling her rosary, crucifix, purse, a cottony quilt, and belletrist tackle her signature.

 There’s a Roman Catholic abbey congenital in 1829, afterward the Catholic capitalism and an 18th-century library absolute added than 3,000 volumes.

Though three lairds fabricated alterations to the abode above-mentioned to the 17th century, Traquair has stricken little, architecturally, aback then. 

In 1958, just a few residence have been opened to the accessible for the aboriginal time and Traquair has aback accustomed over 1 actor guests. 

It’s presently endemic and run by Catherine Maxwell Stuart, who has lived within the alcazar aback 1990 together with her household. She moreover runs the award-winning brewery on the 5000-acre property. 

In the meantime he moreover owns a aggregation which articles the ‘world’s finest commercially offended apricot flies’, which is predicated in Thailand. 

Talking on the programme, he defined he started the exercise afterwards he and his ‘great ex spouse separated’, saying: ‘I believed, now my exercise is in agitation and chaos, I now settle for the befalling to do article off the baffled monitor. And I capital a adventitious to do article completely particular.’  


Justin seem his exercise for the exercise got here from his adulation of the cemetery, which he acclimated to airing by 4 instances a day. 

The aloft military administrator mentioned the admission to the graveyard was one in all his capital motivations in affairs the abode abode in London and, accountable to added planning permission, he hoped to put in a aboideau from his backyard to the graveyard. 

He mentioned: ‘I do not anticipate of them as my asleep neighbours, they’re aloof my neighbours. And seem the witching hour, aback they abutting the gates to the cemetery afresh it completely is my space. 

‘It is exercise to be a admirable alcazar association of assertion. And afresh my absurdity – a pool.’ 

A bounded artist fashioned out the design, with affairs to appropriately adjustment the Neo Gothic abode whereas the bathroom block could be demolished. 

Planning restrictions chock-full Justin from structure up, so as an alternative he deliberate to dig bottomward by six metres to anatomy an astronomic basement, bald meters from the abutting grave. 

There would even be an blasting beneath the abode itself and, above, a collapsed roofed enviornment attic addendum will affix it to the Neo Gothic lodge.  

Given breadth it was, there have been a all-inclusive association of planning restrictions however Justin mentioned he hoped to finish the exercise in aloof one yr.  

He defined the exercise was approaching at £1.6 million, however accepted he had alone managed to acquisition £1.2 actor to alpha the challenge.

Justin mentioned 60 per cent of the funds ‘got here from his financial savings’ whereas he was moreover ‘given a lodging by his mom’, afore accepting a mortgage adjoin the abode and his added homes, including: ‘In my apperception there’s a abhorrence I am department bottomward a hostile atramentous gap.’

Nevertheless it was not continued afore Justin hit a barrier block, with the agent larboard abashed aback builders got here aback to him with a account for the challenge.

He exclaimed: ‘£Four million? Woah! I beggarly – I do not apperceive what they anticipation I appeared like. However £Four million!?’ 

His abundance architect helped him alter the price range, however the brand new appraisal remained stubbornly aerial at £2.1 million.

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Justin alleged it ‘a little bit of a shock’, saying: ‘I have not completely fashioned out methods to pay the top invoice.




‘I aloof apperceive there’s exercise to  be a acclimation blueprint amid affairs this and a past mortgage and alive tougher.’


By October 2017, Justin started the annihilation of the bathroom block, saying: ‘What a aces feeling, we’re assuredly going, we’re off to the races.’

The agenda was continued from a yr to a added astute 20 months, which gave eight months for a specialist architect to annihilate the bathrooms and anatomy the basement, and 12 months for a abstracted architect to ample out the addendum and lodge.

Two weeks in, they began to burrow the basement, however they needed to be aerial so that they did not dig up any graves. 

The architect mentioned that ‘not anyone was blessed to work’ on the exercise due to its breadth within the graveyard, saying: ‘We settle for acquired bisected the workforce, they undertake to not project in right here.’ 

On web site, Justin’s precise abhorrence was that the aggregation acquisition a grave, with the aloft military administrator confessing: ‘One aloof must be acquainted that aback your’e digging in an age-old web site. 

‘Worst case ebook is we acquisition one in all Henry VIII’s wives.’ 

By April 2018, the basement partitions have been actuality congenital however Justin mentioned he ‘had just a few structure modifications’, saying: ‘What was declared to be a basement alongside the abode has now offended right into a abounding dig beneath the home.’

He mentioned he ‘hadn’t costed it’, including: ‘Within the digging section, the banknote remains to be right here. It is aback we get to the furnishings, that is aback I am a bit nervous.’  

4 months on,  the aggregation tried to abutment the anatomy with metal, and have been clumsy to alpha project on the basement due to fears the capital abode will collapse.

However by February 2019, the carapace of the basement was assuredly full, with Justin adage the exercise had gone manner over his estimated time.

He mentioned: ‘I had it in apperception that it might be a yr and a bit. And that was afar out.’

The aloft enviornment and match out look started in April 2019, with Justin confessing he ‘wakes up with a algid diaphoresis on considering, “Have I fabricated an enormous error?”‘ 

He mentioned: ‘We’re about at £1 million. It looks like an big-ticket aperture within the floor. I might say £1.5 actor is breadth I urge for food to be.’

When Kevin advised him the exercise may quantity £4.5 actor in whole, Justin mentioned: ‘I’ve gone too far into it, it is a case of leveraging adjoin added property. 

‘I am abbreviate by possibly one million. The issues are alive and so they accumulate me alive like they might anybody else.’ 

The alone manner he may accomplishment the exercise was by demography on addition £1 actor of debt. 

However in July 2019, Justin’s dream hit addition above roadblock aback the board advised him he could not settle for absolute admission to the cemetery from his backyard. 

Justin was devastated by the information, confessing it had been one of many above affidavit he had invested within the abode home. 

Because the anatomy ploughed into its ultimate phases, the father-of-one mentioned he was afraid that the basement means be too darkish, saying: ‘I’m exercise anxious.  

‘It is axiological we get this proper. We’re at a look breadth the quantity of the exercise is completely beginning to come up up. [I’m thinking] Is that this authoritative sense?’  

Chatting with Kevin about the price, Justin mentioned he had remortgaged two of his backdrop to recommendation him armamentarium the blow of the challenge, saying: ‘I am not alike exercise to soak up the abstraction it is exercise to quantity addition £100,000. You settle for a belongings for a cause, and I settle for deployed it.’ 

But, aback the Covid-19 disaster hit, all project chock-full for 3 months.

In July 2020, Kevin revisited the positioning, with Justin reply the communicable had had an astronomic appulse not alone on the construct, however moreover on his livelihood. 

He mentioned: ‘I settle for spent the aftermost three months autograph abandoning letters, allurement if they will adjourn their stress. All of the pressures of aggravating to get this affair completed…’

However by November 2020, Justin managed to finish the exercise as Kevin accepted the aloft military administrator for authoritative the anatomy as ‘beautiful’, including: ‘It is so aberrant to acquisition within the centre of London. What’s august is the amplitude and the ablaze and the looks into the backyard.’ 

The house boasted 4 bedrooms, together with an astronomic adept residence with en-suite and bathrobe room, a account allowance as able-bodied as a beauteous lounge and kitchen-diner.

Kevin in contrast the massive basement to a ‘Playboy Manor’ with an absurd wine cellar, an enormous TV allowance with its personal bar, and the 13 accent pond pool.  

Justin mentioned he was ‘delighted’ with the property, adage he was: ‘Not a aristocrat of the way, however a gatekeeper.’ 

In the meantime Kevin pushed the aloft military administrator to altercate his banking scenario, saying: ‘Let’s minimize to the chase. You are all in now – for £4.5 million?’

Justin defined: ‘It is not a quantity I am satisfactory with. It was a rollercoaster already I began. It has been a alarming banking rollercoaster.’

He mentioned he would ‘by no means’ settle for began it if he had accepted it might booty 4 years and £4.5 million. 

Viewers branded the adventitious ‘among the best Admirable Designs ever’, with one commenting: ‘What a considerable adventitious of Admirable Designs tonight, wonderful dwelling.’


One other wrote: ‘Good Admirable Designs. There was by no means already a anticipation he’d not end.’

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