Grand Designs homeowner turns to Twitter for help

A HOUSE which failed to sell, despite starring on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, is to be “given away” to one lucky winner who signs up to Twitter, its owner said yesterday.

Tim Bawtree’s “underground house” in Cheltenham won acclaim when it featured on Kevin McCloud’s show in 2007 but has failed to sell.

The £800,000 (€939,500) property will be given away if a website linked to the Twitter site gets enough paid-for adverts to meet the asking price.

Owner Tim Bawtree, 38, a software company boss, said the money would be raised not by the house’s army of Twitter entrants, but by the advertisers who will (hopefully) buy space on the house’s homepage.

The page is similar to the Million Dollar Homepage, which made student Alex Tew a fortune when advertisers bought squares on a giant grid.

The Twitter site, Bawtree hopes, will “drive traffic” to the advertising homepage, and thus encourage enough companies to sign up to pay for the house’s asking price.

He needs 90% of the blocks to be filled, at £200 a block, for the offer to be activated.

Bawtree needs to raise £820,000 to cover the price of the house, costs, and a donation to the British Services’ charity Help for Heroes. A winner will then be chosen at random from the Twitter membership.

Bawtree, a father of two, said: “Similar things have been done, but there was no hook. The hook here is that people can win a house for free, which will drive traffic from Twitter to the home page.

“This house is like nothing else. You feel secluded even though you are in the middle of a town. Friends say its like being on holiday at home.”

The house partly extends under Bawtree’s garden and is heated in an eco-friendly way by ground source heat.

To sign up for the house’s Twitter feed visit

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