Tim and Zoe Bawtree and their young family live in an elegant Regency house in Cheltenham. But lovely as it is, the four storey house is expensive to run. With the aim of becoming mortgage free, Tim and Zoe decide to sell up and build an ultra modern, low maintenance house in their large back garden.
However the garden is surrounded by grade two listed houses, and because of height restrictions, Tim and Zoe are forced to build 60% of their new home underground. This doesn’t deter them - and neither do 90 objections to their planning application from the neighbours.
The build is fraught with problems from the start. First, there's a worry that the earth from the neighbours' gardens will collapse back into the huge hole they dig for the house. Then, keen on new technology, Tim opts to build the entire house out of polystyrene and waterproof concrete, even though his builders are unfamiliar with the system.
They have to deal with a leaking basement, opposition from the neighbours, and planning wrangles. But all these problems are overshadowed when they part company with their builder and Tim and Zoe are forced to take over the build themselves.