Grand Designs Australia
About the Show
Peter Maddison presents the Australian version of the architecture show that follows intrepid individuals as they try to design and construct the home of their dreams
Series 2 Summary
More families design and build their dream homes in the second series of the Australian architecture show, presented by Peter Maddison.
Nick McKimm heads up a successful building company and, with his wife Anna, has almost made a hobby of renovating homes, selling and moving on. But with three young children, they're ready to lay down permanent roots in the affluent beachside suburb of Brighton in Melbourne.
With a combined passion for mid-century style houses, they're building a 1960s home with a twist, on a generous half-acre block.
Nick's building experience and innate desire for excellence combined with Anna's flair for beautiful fit-outs is a pairing of construction perfection, but this 60s-inspired dwelling is a first for both of them.
This will be no ordinary reproduction home: it's a custom-designed, linear tribute to the period with superior finishes of highly polished concrete and shifting glass walls.
The seemingly simple design is fraught with engineering challenges, and juggling a business while managing the construction is gruelling. Can the McKimms deliver their vision and stay true to the style they love?
Ten years ago, retired engineer Bernie Ryan and his wife Ruth packed up their three children and moved to Paynesville, a charming seaside town in Victoria's popular Gippsland Lakes region.
Bernie's a tinkerer with a huge shed filled with crazy projects started in a flurry, but all left unfinished. Needing a new house and unwilling to pay a builder, Bernie takes on the construction himself, armed with an eccentric, industrial design, a minimal budget and a cowboy attitude.
Trying to save a buck, he wheels out his old crane and ropes in a bunch of retired mates to lend a hand. Bernie's built industrial constructions and bridges before, but this is his first house, and his 'she'll be right' attitude lands him in hot water when the building inspector turns up unannounced.
Bernie tries to do as much as he can on the cheap, with the ever-supportive Ruth hopeful that he will pull it off, so the family can move from their old shed into a real home.
This is a makeshift, do-it-yourself construction that could easily end up a shambles. Will this be the one project that Bernie manages to finish or will it be left to fall into disrepair, blighting Paynesville's picturesque skyline?
Anne Potter loves all things retro: the fashion, the cars... even the hairstyles. So 10 years ago, it was no surprise when she and her husband Michael snapped up a modest 1960s bungalow overlooking the harbour in Sydney's Five Dock.
Since then, their family has expanded and, with three very active boys, they're really feeling the squeeze. So they're tearing down the old house to build their own modern version of a retro home, featuring curved steel and walls of glass with a hint of Mondrian-inspired colour.
The house will be a complete contrast to the more conservative homes that surround it. This is the opportunity of Anne's dreams. As an interior designer by trade, she's keen to be actively involved in creating her family's home.
However, as a stay-at-home mum, she's been out of the industry for 10 years, and overseeing a house construction is a whole new challenge. Can Anne master the intricacies of the job while maintaining her busy and demanding domestic schedule?
Rod Moore and Di Foggo are food fans, immersed in the holistic, back-to-nature lifestyle of Kyneton, an intimate country town in Victoria famous for its fresh produce and historic architecture.
This feisty couple never like to get too comfortable, so they're ditching their classic Victorian home and all its contents for something far more cutting-edge. They've been burnt before with budgets spiralling out of control and schedules doubling, so this time Rod and Di are determined to get exactly what they want.
They've found a two-acre block perched high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the town: just the site for their ultra-modern, fixed-price, flat-pack house. They're chasing a high-end design and a quality fit-out, along with an on-budget and on-time schedule.
However, they soon discover that the site isn't willing to give up its history so easily for their new home, proving there's only so much that can be controlled. Can they build their house within a very ambitious time limit of 168 days?
Daniel Leipnik and Andrew Preston have a long-cherished dream for the barefoot, laid-back lifestyle of North Queensland and have found just the spot outside Cairns: a hillside block bordering World Heritage rainforest and overlooking the Coral Sea.
After years planning their sea-change, they're ready to manage the construction of their new venture, which is a slick, pavilion-style abode, huddled around a pool and propped up by poles.
Their vision is for a classic resort-inspired build, tucked away in the tree tops. But project managing is tough enough if you're on site, and they're attempting the job from 3000 kilometres away in Melbourne, plus this is a first-time experience for them both.
While they believe they've left no stone unturned in planning their South Pacific-influenced hideaway, the boys can't escape the realities of the building process. A precarious driveway, tropical downpours and expensive local trades are all threatening to send the budget and schedule spiralling.
Between pressing work commitments and the tyranny of distance, can these first-timers conjure their dream house from the paper plans?
For nine years, Michael and Sandy Rutledge have been making the weekend pilgrimage to their lush, 21-acre property in Gladysdale, one hour east of Melbourne. Now they're leaving the city for a permanent change and the chance to build a new family home on their plot.
First they have to agree on a design. Sandy has a passion for old-world European, inspired by her travels overseas, whereas Michael's a techno whiz who likes sleek, contemporary homes. Can their architect marry their differing tastes with definite ideas of his own?
One thing everyone agrees on is that this should be a house with a sense of permanence which will stand the test of time, thanks to thick walls encased in dry stone.
However, it seems the place can't even manage its first season, as continual wet weather causes delays and flooding. Before the work is even finished, they have to face the unthinkable: the house isn't waterproof!
Despite their best efforts, it's an ongoing battle against the elements. Can they curb the leaks and deliver the stone fortress Sandy's been dreaming of?
Living in the very dry city of Adelaide has made Mike Dare and his wife Lowen Partridge passionate about conserving water.
Like many people they decided to put a couple of water tanks in their new house, but their tanks are different from most - they'll support an entire house hanging off them, with the roof acting like a giant funnel.
Mike has 40 years' experience of design and engineering work on some of Adelaide's most prominent buildings, and now he's turning his expertise to creating something that looks great and can be lived in.
Mike has total control, acting as architect, engineer and project manager, but he can't control the weather, the schedule, his walling company going broke, and - most importantly - his wife's opinion of the colour grey...
Art teacher and sculptor Laurie Smith and his wife Renee Hoareau, a web designer, are zealous art lovers. After five years of intensive searching, they have found the ideal plot of land to create their 'sculpture in space', at Yellingbo in Victoria.
It's almost as if the land was designed for them, a couple who'd appreciate its rare quality - a veritable sea of red alluvial soil on which they plan to build their new home.
Their intention is to construct a space to create works and display them, along with their existing extensive collection, in a domestic gallery that will be inspirational, both inside and out. It's no surprise that their design influence comes from the arts, in a simple, very pragmatic way.
In what's essentially a cube-shaped construction of steel, stone and glass, the building is a celebration of light and space that pays tribute to some identifiable artistic references. The 25m sandstone facade with its tricky curved window is reminiscent of a well-known state gallery.
However, handing over artistic licence to a construction team is a big deal for Laurie and Renee, especially after an oversight during one of the first jobs on site - pouring the concrete.
It's an early reality check that tests their ability to let go and trust. Will they manage to go with the flow and end up with the art house they so desperately crave?
For adventurous, outdoorsy couple Greg Kay and Trish Knight, their current house on Hobart's exclusive Battery Point waterfront is in the perfect spot.
When the time came to downsize, they didn't want to go too far, so they bought the block next door. Council restrictions changed their plans completely, and overnight it turned into an epic upsizing adventure.
The old cottage on the site was integrated into their design to create a home with two distinct personalities: historical cottage at the front and modern house made of glass, timber and exposed concrete at the back.
However, what was going to offer the best of both worlds soon turns into a logistical headache. Steep, narrow, restricted access, stubborn blue stone bedrock and a rogue sewerage pipe are just the start of the problems.
Greg's contracts done on a handshake, his relentless stubbornness for quality and an architect given free rein could lead to complete schedule blow-out.
If the budget spirals out of control, Greg and Trish will be faced with their biggest and most ironic issue yet: whether or not they can afford to live in their new home.
In February 2009, Edd and Amanda Williams lost everything. As the Black Saturday Bushfires swept through Steels Creek, in Victoria's Yarra Valley, it destroyed their home of 30 years.
Determined to stay with the land and community they love, they chose to rebuild, but this time they wanted a house that could withstand anything the bush could throw at it, so they designed a bunker.
With the help of their son, who is an architect, they dreamt up a house that would be almost completely embedded in the landscape. A robust concrete construction, it would only have natural light on one side. Fire proof it might be, but not light and airy.
Their organic planning process results in an eclectic mix of ideas. Cue Roman-style ventilation, high-tech solar tube skylights, and intricate architectural features inspired by their native England.
They want a cutting-edge appearance that looks like it's always been there. They're building during the wettest year in a century, and the fire-ravaged environment creates a site that's either a quagmire or rock-solid clay.
But while the pressure to move in is relentless, the stress of managing the many trades only slows progress. Will the prospect of spending a third freezing winter living on site become reality?
Grand Designs Australia synopsis
Peter Maddison presents the Australian version of the architecture show that follows intrepid individuals as they try to design and construct the home of their dreamsEpisode Guide >
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