The Best Episodes of Grand Designs Australia
Last Updated: Aug 8, 2018
Grand Designs Australia tells the stories of new homes and perhaps more importantly the Aussies who are building them. Based on the award-winning UK series, Grand Designs Australia is the first international format of the critically acclaimed show. The series charts the in-depth process of elaborate design projects undertaken by self-builders - from the initial details of blueprints, to the long and often arduous task of turning the designs into a practical living space. No design is too ambitious when it comes to creating your dream home. But discovering the hard realities that complicate your plans can often be too much to bear. Hosted by leading Australian architect Peter Maddison.
#1 - Brookfield Spotted Gum House
Season 5 - Episode 8
Millie and Andrew are bringing their dream of life on a farm to fruition, including a home that is unique. Projecting out of the landscape and clad in natural materials, it's a new take on rural living.
#2 - Dynyrnne Curved
Season 4 - Episode 10
Self confessed hippies Cole and Jane Bradshaw bought a thin sliver of land on an exceptionally steep site only a landscaper could love, in the hilly suburb of Dynnyrne in Hobart... a place they chose as much for the tight knit community it sits in, as for the location itself.
#3 - Torrens Park Modern Mansion
Season 4 - Episode 3
Hoteliers Richard and Denise have knocked down the family home in the Adelaide Hills and are re-building an even bigger version, despite the fact their kids are grown. This modern mansion will have all the bells and whistles, amid resort like luxury on 3 tiered acres overlooking Adelaide. But is this unpretentious, likeable couple creating a home or a hotel for themselves? Money may be no object but have they taken on too much?
#4 - Indented Head House
Season 1 - Episode 9
Ian McDonald and Rob Wilhelm are not building an understated new home. Theirs is a Grand Design in its most literal sense. A glass box with a roof like floating wings overlooking Port Phillip Bay on the Bellarine Peninsula – seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, cinema, games room, glass lift, glass panelled pool, rooftop garden – all the bells and whistles, all the boy’s toys. With a construction budget of $1.8 million, the question is will they burst the budget banks and by how much?
#5 - North Bondi Urban Cliff, NSW
Season 7 - Episode 1
Brendan and Penelope dream of a multi-tiered, multi-million dollar home, complete with infinity pool on the side of a cliff in Bondi. But when they constantly change plans, will it ever be finished?
#6 - Pipers Creek Strawbale House
Season 5 - Episode 9
Like many people, Dean and Sherril Lamb yearn for a simpler existence, for them and their three children. But unlike most people, they’re actually going to try and make it happen. They’ve sold their successful fruit shop and home in Warragul and bought 40acres in Pipers Creek in country Victoria ….all in the pursuit of total self sufficiency.
#7 - Verrierdale Tent House, QLD
Season 7 - Episode 3
Inland from Noosa in a lush tropical landscape sits Nick and Nicole's sail house. They have a daring design which they hope will look like a yacht moored on dry land and provide them with a true adventure in paradise.
#8 - Hunters Hill Textural
Season 4 - Episode 8
Daniela Turrin, Niran Peiris and their son Calum are doing something no-one in their historic street in the prestigious Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill has done before. They’re knocking down their old house to build a smaller one. But these are people who believe that the family that spends time together stays together – a premise that forms the core of the design of their new home.
#9 - Warburton Arch House
Season 3 - Episode 4
Tyrone & Hailey follow the advice of a feng shui expert or 'energy ecologist' throughout construction of their new house. An owner-built labour of love, their passive solar building has a curved living roof planted with native grasses.
#10 - Bushfire House
Season 1 - Episode 1
February 2009. Chris Clarke had just spent two years building his minimalist timber and steel dream home at Callignee in Gippsland when, less than a week after completion, it was burnt to the ground in the devastating Black Saturday bushfires. With nothing remaining but a concrete slab and a burnt out shell Chris was left shattered and numb. After recovering from the initial grief he was determined to re-build and re-use every last salvageable element of the original house. What he creates in the year or so following is simply remarkable. By adding sturdy recycled elements with the latest fire resistant materials, Chris sets out to produce a tough, resilient version of the original home (now dubbed Callignee One). Wearing its embattled past as a badge of honour, will Callignee Two not only face up to the Aussie bush?
#11 - Cottage Point House
Season 1 - Episode 8
Drew Muirhead is a self employed entrepreneur and man about town. He’s building a Balinese resort style mansion in leafy Cottage Point. Not one to do things by halves, Drew’s mansion will have Balinese Pavilions, an infinity pool, its own nightclub, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a steam room. It all faces a private beach with boatshed and speedboat. The biggest battle for Drew, who is project managing the build – is the steep sloping block and access.
#12 - Northcote Vinegar Factory
Season 6 - Episode 10
Owner/Architect Adrian is passionate about sustainable building. He has grand plans for turning his Vinegar Factory inside out by creating a four storey eco-friendly house complete with a series of walled rainforest.
#13 - Faraday Aussie Bush House
Season 5 - Episode 10
Before Matt McClelland’s wife Anne died six years ago, they’d been looking for a rural property to build on - a place to call home for them and for their four adult children to come to visit. So when Matt stumbled across 40 acres in central Victoria with spectacular views to Mt Alexander’s granite hill side, he knew he’d found the spot.
#14 - Hamilton Japanese Queenslander, QLD
Season 7 - Episode 9
Steve Minon has a fascination for things Japanese. He fell in love with the work of an iconic Japanese architect Yo Shimada, who he contacted to design a house for him.
#15 - Barossa Valley Glass House
Season 3 - Episode 7
James & Helen plan to capture breathtaking Barossa views in their elegant new home. 60 metres long, 1 room wide and virtually all glass, it looks straightforward on paper. The complicated part is building it.
#16 - Trinity Beach Pole House
Season 2 - Episode 5
Daniel Leipnik and Andrew Preston have long cherished the dream of a laid-back, barefoot life in the tropics. And they have found the ideal location at Trinity Beach near Cairns in Far North Queensland. Their ambitious new home will grace a hillside block bordering a World Heritage rainforest and overlooking the Coral Sea. After years planning this grand sea-change, they are ready at last to manage its construction. Their vision is for a classic pavilion-style pole home, nestled in the tree tops. But project managing is tough enough if you’re on site… and they’re attempting the job from 4,000 kilometres away in Melbourne, plus this is a first time experience for them both. While they believe they’ve left no stone unturned designing their South Pacific inspired hideaway, they can’t escape the challenges of the location. A precarious driveway, tropical downpours and expensive local trades are all threatening to send their budget and schedule spiralling out of control. Between pressing work commitments and the tyranny of distance, these idealists still believe they can pull off the house of their dreams. The question is, can they?
#17 - Annandale Urban House
Season 3 - Episode 6
Brett and Rees are the proud parents of three young boys and desperately need more space. They love their inner west community in Sydney's Annandale, so the plan is to build on the small empty allotment behind their apartment. The first sod has barely been turned when one of the heritage buildings on their boundary is in danger of collapsing. Exhausted by ongoing battles and a build that's months behind schedule - will Brett & Rees have enough grit and determination to see their project through to completion?
#18 - The Foxground Pavilion
Season 5 - Episode 4
After 30 years as a civil engineer, Joe Cato has built more roads than the Romans. But a few years ago he and wife Maura made the active decision to slow everything down - to sell their successful construction business, and spend more time with their three children.
#19 - Fish Creek Church House
Season 1 - Episode 7
Nothing like an impulsive act to take you down a path you hadn’t expected in life. For engineer Peter Riedel and his interior designer wife Mary, their sudden whim was to purchase an 1870’s church for $20,000. It wasn’t even upright at the time and all they got was a pile of boards. Still, it captured their imagination and a plan took shape to re-build the church on their property, overlooking Wilsons Promontory and convert it into a house. Like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle, their biggest challenge is the number of pieces missing.
#20 - Brighton Sixties
Season 2 - Episode 1
Over the years, Nick and Anna McKimm have almost made a hobby of renovating, selling and moving on. But with three young children, they’re ready to lay down permanent roots and build their dream home. A sleek, modernist, 60’s inspired family residence on a large, half acre block in Melbourne’s bayside suburb, Brighton. Nick heads up a successful building company and knows a lot about quality period reproductions - particularly classical architectural styles - and Anna has a flair for beautiful fit-outs. But as they’re about to learn, mid-century building is very different to other architectural styles and comes with its own challenges.
#21 - Maianbar Cross Laminated Timber, NSW
Season 7 - Episode 2
Sydney couple Phil and Ariana want an adventurous house, something cutting edge that hasn't been done before. This special house will cantilever out from their block and overlook the water at Maianbar.
#22 - King Island Whale Tail
Season 4 - Episode 9
Anchored in the middle of Bass Strait and subject to the ferocious winds of the Roaring Forties, King Island is about as far from the tropics as you can get in Australia. Yet artists Di and Andrew Blake have decided to build a house there after almost twenty years of living in far East Arnhem Land….2 locations literally at either end of the country.
#23 - Five Dock
Season 2 - Episode 3
Anne Potter loves all things retro - the fashion, the cars... even the hairstyles. So ten years ago, it was no surprise that she and husband Michael snapped up a modest 60’s bungalow overlooking the harbour in Sydney’s Five Dock. Since then their family has expanded and with three very active boys, they are really feeling the squeeze so they’re tearing down the old house to build their own modern version of a retro home, with curved steel and walls of glass with a hint of Mondrian inspired colour - a complete contrast to the well-kept, more conservative homes that surround them. This is Anne’s dream opportunity. As an interior designer by trade, she’s keen to be actively involved in creating their special home. But she’s been a stay-at-home mum, out of the industry for ten years, and overseeing a house construction is a whole new challenge. Can she keep across the intricacies of the job in between school drop offs, supermarket runs and cooking the dinner?
#24 - Launceston Sub Station
Season 6 - Episode 5
Seasoned renovators Mark and Karen are taking on the challenge of converting a derelict 1920's electricity substation into a cutting edge home - while preserving its history and integrity.
#25 - East Melbourne Mini-Skyscraper
Season 6 - Episode 4
Ralph Alphonso has grand plans for his 5mx4m inner city design. It will be a massive challenge on a small scale, and Ralph is adamant this eco-friendly build will not sacrifice style or luxury at the cost of the world around him.