The Best Episodes of Grand Designs

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2018

Grand Designs is a Channel 4 TV series covering unusual architectural house-building projects, presented by Kevin McCloud and produced by Talkback. The properties featured in the series vary wildly from homes underground to converted water towers, with the only common factor being that they're all rather unusual or extravagant in some way.

Revisited (2) - Sussex: The Woodsmans Cottage

#1 - Revisited (2) - Sussex: The Woodsmans Cottage

Season 3 - Episode 15

Kevin returns again to see how Ben Law's woodsman's cottage has changed.

star 8.57
7 votes
London: The Derelict Water Tower

#2 - London: The Derelict Water Tower

Season 12 - Episode 5

Kevin McCloud marks the 100th episode with one of the programme's most ambitious projects to date. Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce want to convert and extend a landmark 150-year-old water tower in central London into a luxury home. Grade II-listed, derelict and with 6ft-thick walls, it's a huge challenge for the pair, who also plan to build two structures at the base - a lift shaft connected by a series of glass tunnels, and a modern living space. The result will be a four-bedroom property over nine floors, complete with a room at the top offering spectacular 360 degree views across the capital. The tower, which is located directly above London Underground's Northern Line, was originally built for Lambeth Workhouse in 1877 and became a Grade II listed building in 2008.

star 8.44
72 votes
Buy on iTunes
Revisited - London: The Disco Home

#3 - Revisited - London: The Disco Home

Season 11 - Episode 8

Kevin catches up with Claire Farrow and Ian Hogarth who began a wild journey in 2010 to create d the ultimate fun family home, right in the heart of London, including a dance floor, dj booth and sauna.

star 8.39
28 votes
Buy on iTunes
Yorkshire: The 14th Century Castle

#4 - Yorkshire: The 14th Century Castle

Season 7 - Episode 1

Every Englishman’s home is his castle but for Francis Shaw this is quite literally true. He and his wife, Karen, and their two young daughters, bought the ruins of a 14th Century castle in Yorkshire and took on the remarkable challenge of turning a pile of stones into a beautiful home. Surrounded by rolling green fields, the location is idyllic; however, the castle itself was little more than four crumbling walls.

star 8.39
26 votes
Revisited - Hampshire: The Thatched Cottage

#5 - Revisited - Hampshire: The Thatched Cottage

Season 7 - Episode 11

Eight years ago Alex and Cheryl Reay left London for a new life in the New Forest. They bought a run down medieval thatched cottage and lovingly brought it back to life. Then just before Christmas, with Cheryl pregnant, disaster struck.

star 8.38
16 votes
Revisited - Killearn: Loch House

#6 - Revisited - Killearn: Loch House

Season 6 - Episode 6

Jim Fairfull considers himself a very lucky guy. He was out fishing with a friend when he came across a beautiful, secluded loch. It's a magical place with stunning views over the nearby hills. He got chatting to the farmer who owned it and discovered the

star 8.36
14 votes
Hackney: The Terrace Conversion

#7 - Hackney: The Terrace Conversion

Season 3 - Episode 6

After 10 years of living in a small house in east London, John and Eleni hankered after modern, open-plan living. They didn't want to move, so they decided to give their Victorian terrace home a radical redesign. The house was in a conservation area, so the outside had to remain unchanged. Inside, however, they decided to rip out everything including walls, ceilings, floors and start again.

star 8.32
19 votes
Monmouthshire: Japanese House

#8 - Monmouthshire: Japanese House

Season 13 - Episode 6

Tamayo Hussey's missed Japan ever since she moved to the UK with her husband Nigel. To stave off the homesickness they've decided to transform a forester's lodge into a Japanese house complete with roof bath, tatami room and sliding paper walls. Keen to keep costs under control, Nigel and Tamayo decide to engage only the design skills of an architect and with no previous building experience they bravely go it alone, working without any detailed drawings and fire-fighting problems every step of the way. The wood they're using for the timber frame - Japanese larch - hasn't been used for building houses before in the UK, so no one can be sure it will be strong enough, the new interior walls don't meet properly and the replacement window design can't cope with the rain. But Nigel and Tamayo are determined to overcome any obstacle to get the Japanese house they're so desperate for.

star 8.28
78 votes
Watch on Amazon
Revisited - London: The Glass and Timber House

#9 - Revisited - London: The Glass and Timber House

Season 7 - Episode 12

Kevin returns to see whether Bill Bradley has completed the work on his two timber houses in south London.

star 8.27
11 votes
Revisited - Surrey: The Victorian Threshing Barn

#10 - Revisited - Surrey: The Victorian Threshing Barn

Season 3 - Episode 13

Kevin McCloud revisits Philip Trail and his wife Angela who moved to stress-free Surrey and renovated a 150-year-old threshing barn after Philip was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

star 8.22
9 votes
South Cornwall: Steam Bending House

#11 - South Cornwall: Steam Bending House

Season 17 - Episode 3

Kevin McCloud meets Tom and Danielle Raffield, whose lifelong passion has been steam-bending wood. They've used the technique to create extraordinary furniture and lighting, but now plan to use it on a larger scale. In an attempt to escape the confines of their tiny gamekeeper's lodge, they have decided to build a wavy wooden house in South Cornwall, completed with curved cladding, twisted furniture and interior walls covered with weathered timber. With a £100,000 budget, the pair have decided to do a lot of the building themselves, and Kevin is on hand to discover whether they're up to the challenge.

star 8.21
219 votes
Weald of Kent: Arched Eco House

#12 - Weald of Kent: Arched Eco House

Season 9 - Episode 4

Kevin McCloud follows the progress of architect Richard Hawkes and wife Sophie, who are moving from London to the Kent countryside to build a hi-tech eco-friendly house with room to grow their own food. Richard also wants their new home to blend effortlessly into the surrounding countryside, concealed beneath a huge arch of clay tiles covered with earth and planted with grass

star 8.19
37 votes
County Londonderry: The Shipping Containers House

#13 - County Londonderry: The Shipping Containers House

Season 14 - Episode 4

A young farmer and architect in Northern Ireland hopes to make a home out of four large shipping containers welded together to form a giant cross. Patrick Bradley has come up with a £100k house design to be built out of four 45-foot shipping containers, welded together to form a giant cross and cantilevered over the top of a stream at a beautiful secluded spot on the family farm. His mum is hoping his new home will get Patrick a girlfriend. But his tiny budget is soon under threat.

star 8.17
118 votes
London: The Glass and Timber House

#14 - London: The Glass and Timber House

Season 7 - Episode 8

In this episode Kevin meets master carpenter Bill Bradley and his wife Sarah, whose plan is to build two identical timber houses in south London, selling one to finance the building of the other.

star 8.17
12 votes
Revisited - Isle of Wight: The Tree House

#15 - Revisited - Isle of Wight: The Tree House

Season 10 - Episode 11

Kevin catches up with Lincoln Miles and his wife, artist Lisa Traxler, who had discovered an uninspiring 70s bungalow on the Isle of Wight on a prime piece of land surrounded by unspoilt ancient woodland and were going to convert it into their dream home.

star 8.15
13 votes
Revisited - Essex: The Large Timber-framed Barn

#16 - Revisited - Essex: The Large Timber-framed Barn

Season 11 - Episode 9

Kevin catches up with Freddie Robins and Ben Coode-Adams who left their two bedroom London flat and took on the conversion of a huge Grade II listed timber framed barn in the Essex countryside.

star 8.11
18 votes
Buy on iTunes
Lambourn: The Cruciform House

#17 - Lambourn: The Cruciform House

Season 2 - Episode 5

When Rupert and Julie bought a hilltop site in the Berkshire Downs, they were determined to build a house that would make the most of the countryside and stunning views. They turned to architecture firm Roderick James, which specialises in modern design and traditional timber craftsmanship. Together with architect Hugh McGann, they came up with a house of green oak and glass, built in an unusual cruciform (cross) shape.

star 8.11
28 votes
Devon: Shaped Like a Curvy Seashell

#18 - Devon: Shaped Like a Curvy Seashell

Season 5 - Episode 4

For the last 20 years, Pat Becker has been living in a large Georgian family house overlooking the sea in Devon. Now that her family have flown the nest and the house has grown too big for her, she's decided to build a new home at the bottom of the garden. Shaped like a curvy seashell, the new house has concrete and polystyrene walls, which spiral down from the central staircase. Her architect has promised it will take only six months to build but constructing a round house is never straightforward!

star 8.11
30 votes
South Yorkshire: The 1920's Cinema

#19 - South Yorkshire: The 1920's Cinema

Season 13 - Episode 1

Kevin McCloud follows a project to renovate and extend a classic 1920s cinema in Thorne, South Yorkshire. With little knowledge of restoration, Gwyn and Kate boldly set about turning the dilapidated building into a family home using masses of concrete after taking advice from an architect friend. The couple are hoping to create a hydraulic glass wall that opens up one side of the house to form a UV-filtered canopy, and there are also plans for a white roof extension that resembles a diving board.

star 8.04
113 votes
Hertfordshire: The Computer-cut House

#20 - Hertfordshire: The Computer-cut House

Season 12 - Episode 2

Kevin McCloud meets a pair of civil partnered university professors who have decided to build their first home from scratch. In addition to all the complications this usually entails, they have also enlisted the services of industrial designers who have developed a new computer-assisted method for cutting precision-engineered building blocks from scratch. However, though the technique may be clever, its creators have never created a building before - meaning everyone involved with the project is taking a giant leap into the unknown.

star 8.01
81 votes
Buy on iTunes
Revisited: Woodbridge: The Modest Home

#21 - Revisited: Woodbridge: The Modest Home

Season 10 - Episode 12

Six years ago Lucie Fairweather and Nat McBride began to build an affordable eco home in Woodbridge for themselves and their two young children. However, their journey was to be about more than bricks and mortar. Just before they got started, Nat discovered he had cancer, and after just a few months he passed away. Lucie decided to carry on with the project Nat had devised. Kevin McCloud returns to find out just how life has moved on for Lucie and to discover whether her wonderful and striking house has become part of the landscape.

star 8.01
15 votes
West Cumbria: The Adaptahaus

#22 - West Cumbria: The Adaptahaus

Season 10 - Episode 7

Alan Dawson has invented his own way of making a house, with every piece put together on site in days. But it must all fit perfectly. Only then will Alan know if his unique house works.

star 8.01
37 votes
Directors: Ned Williams
Writers: Kevin McCloud
Lizard Peninsular: The Scandinavian House

#23 - Lizard Peninsular: The Scandinavian House

Season 10 - Episode 6

Kevin meets interior designer Kathryn Tyler, who has decided the best way onto the property ladder is to design and build her own house in her parents' back garden in Falmouth.

star 8.01
40 votes
Writers: Kevin McCloud
Buckinghamshire: The Inverted-Roof House

#24 - Buckinghamshire: The Inverted-Roof House

Season 3 - Episode 5

Tom and Judy wanted more than just a home for themselves and their two children. On a site of outstanding natural beauty in Buckinghamshire, they set out to build an ambitious house - a symphony of angles, glass walls and exposed steel, with a dramatic inverted roof. Tom made himself site manager and main contractor. He had no experience but he liked a challenge - and, after all, how difficult could it be?

star 8.00
20 votes
Marlow: The Floating House

#25 - Marlow: The Floating House

Season 14 - Episode 7

Andy and Nicki Bruce try to build an experimental flood-proof floating house on an island in the River Thames. But building such a complex design on a site with limited access is not easy. Andy and Nicki Bruce's amphibious house, the first of its kind in the UK. Their architect has come up with an ambitious, experimental design that has never been tried on a river bank in Britain and no one knows whether it will work. The Bruces decide to build on a site on a small island in the river. But it's not long before the project becomes bogged down in the logistical challenges of building such a complex design on a small island that is only accessible by a narrow footbridge.

star 8.00
93 votes