Grand Designs

Time Schedule

Mon 13:00 | Tue 17:00 | Thu 21:00 | Fri 09:00 | Sat 11:00 & 18:00 | Sun 15:00 & 22:00

Overview

Designer and writer Kevin McCloud guides us through the trials and tribulations – physical, financial and emotional – of those obsessively trying to create a unique place to live, often over many months, even years.

This series features a dramatic modernist villa perched atop a crumbling cliff in Snowdonia, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bachelor pad made out of four shipping containers in the Northern Irish countryside and the UK’s first amphibious house on a floodplain of the Thames in Buckinghamshire.

In addition, Kevin McCloud revisits some of the series’ previous builds to see what changes have been made and discover whether the reality has lived up to the dream.

28 Sept – 05 Oct: Episode 1

Rob Hodgson and Kay Ralph plan to build an architectural monument high on a cliff top, a sleek glass-fronted house inspired by the villas of California. Their plot overlooks a beautiful national trust beach in North Wales, but to have their jaw-dropping panoramic views will mean taking the biggest gamble of their lives. Access will be incredibly difficult and expensive because of a low bridge over the narrow track to the site. Worse still, the crumbling cliff on which they want to build is often exposed to tidal surges and winds of up to 100 mph. Erosion specialists predict their stunning new home should survive for between 60 and 120 years, but just as their modernist villa starts to take shape one of the biggest storms in recent history batters the coast.

Episode 2

Product Designer Rebecca Sturrock has returned to her family home in Cornwall, with her partner Gregory Kewish and a highly ambitious plan. Together they will transform a small, damp, single-storey bungalow into a cutting edge home for them and their twin 3 year old daughters – all for just £80,000.

The design is radical, to reinforce the walls of the old bungalow and put an entirely new living space on top to take advantage of the views. The extra floor will be built entirely of super thick wooden panels engineered in Germany. It’s an experimental system, with no supporting beams, that’s never been used to self-build a home in the UK before. The two ton panels are normally assembled by a crew of specialist installers, but remarkably due to their miniscule budget Rebecca and Gregory are determined to do it all themselves. With rain and wind hammering the site however, it soon becomes dangerously clear Gregory and Rebecca have bitten off more than they can chew.

Episode 3

GP Peter Berkin and his wife Chard, an alternative medicine practitioner, have decided to build a new home at the bottom of their garden.  Problem is, right from the start they can’t agree on any part of the design – even the basic shape.Peter is a serial hobbyist who, according to his wife, never finishes anything. He wants the new house to feature a workshop where he can build a plane. He wants the house to be round. Chard however wants it to be square and practical. Peter aims to spend £400K, Chard wants to keep the budget around £200K.With Peter building as much of the house as he can himself, helped by his mates, and Chard taking control of the money and schedule, it looks like a recipe for disaster. As the house slowly goes up, round and complete with plane workshop, it’s crunch time.  Even if it ever gets finished, will Chard be willing to live in it?

Episode 4

Patrick Bradley, a young farmer and architect, has come up with a £100k house design the like of which has never been seen before in his native Northern Ireland. It’s to be built of four 45 foot shipping containers, welded together to form a giant cross and cantilevered over the top of a stream.

Patrick still lives at home on the family farm, but at the age of 33 he’s finally decided to move out and build his radical new home on a beautiful secluded spot on the farm.  The design has sent shockwaves through the family though. With shipping containers hardly famous for blending into the landscape, the thought of the most magical spot on the family’s land being blighted has put his mother into a panic. But at the very least, she’s hoping his new home will get him a girlfriend.

As the lorries, cranes and huge 45 foot metal containers arrive on site, the pressure is immediately on Patrick. Shipping containers aren’t designed to be stacked at right angles and he will have to reinforce them to avoid collapse. The whole hillside unexpectedly has to be destroyed to make room for the containers. His minuscule budget and super tight schedule are quickly under threat. And that’s before he’s even started the almighty challenge of converting what’s effectively just four big, clanking, rusty, windowless metal boxes into a warm comfortable home…

Episode 5

Film props buyer Tracy Fox and scenic artist husband Steve want to build an “urban shed” out of corrugated cement fibre board and twenty foot panels of polycarbonate sheeting. With 2 studios, 3 bedrooms and a double height communal space with walkway, all the basic building materials were to be left deliberately rough and exposed, with inside walls naked breeze block. Having discovered an old milk yard tucked away behind some flats and shops in their beloved South East London, their long held desire to build a highly unconventional family home and workspace was kickstarted.

Right from the off their choice of industrial style materials rarely used before in domestic houses proves more than just aesthetically challenging. They think their minimalist building should be cheap to build, but every estimate Steve and Tracy get from contractors is three or four times more money than they have. The yard remains untouched for over a year until they meet Romas and Remi, a young firm of builders who boldly decide to take on the challenge of building it for just £300k.

However the foundations cost tens of thousands more than expected and fitting together their unique palette of materials proves no easy task. As the shed-like house takes shape, Steve and Tracy are forced to make design compromises to keep the budget under control. Project manager Tracy has to go back to work and construction slows to a snails pace while they wait for a bank loan to arrive. It’s a huge struggle, but Tracy and Steve are determined to keep faith with the minimalist industrial design they’ve set their hearts on…

Episode 6

Natasha Cargill wants to build a home shaped like two enormous periscopes for herself and son Lucas. To get planning permission on her beautiful Norfolk countryside plot however, she has to ensure not only that the materials used are sustainable, but also measure the amount of transportation diesel used to deliver them. The planning controls are so rigid in fact that even details like the type of portaloos the builders use and the size of her bath have to be monitored. If the strict criteria are not met, Natasha won’t be allowed to live there.

Placing huge amounts of trust in Wilf, a young designer and family friend who hasn’t designed a house before, Natasha has just £330k to spend on both land & construction – very little for such a complex house. With just 6 months to build and little contingency to fall back on, it’s not long before the pressure to not just complete the house, but build it according to the numerous planning constraints, starts to take its toll…

Episode 7

Software executive Andy and garden designer Nicki Bruce want to build the UK’s first amphibious or “floating” house of its kind. They’re desperate to live on the river Thames, but worried about the ever present dangers of flooding. So their architect has come up with an ambitious, experimental design that will see the whole house magically rise up with the flood waters up to a full 3 metres. This clever engineering solution has never been tried on a riverbank in Britain before and no one knows whether it will work or not.

When the Bruces came across a dilapidated bungalow on an island in the Thames it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. The only problem was, the island floods on a regular basis. Their solution, not to put their new home on stilts like some of the surrounding houses. No, they want to future proof the place against climate change by building it so that it can float as high as the flood waters for decades to come. Budgeted at £1.2m, the bold if slightly bonkers plan is to dig down deep below the water line to create a concrete dock in which a three story concrete hulled home can rest. When the island floods, river water fills the dock through the landscaped river frontage and over 250 tons of house should theoretically rise above the destruction.

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. The island is only accessible by a narrow footbridge. To get the heavy machinery and building materials needed across the 100 metre wide river, a mothballed NATO chain ferry is bought back into service – which promptly sinks taking a digger with it. They then change contractors before excavation for the dock has barely begun. Just as it looks like engineering work can start in earnest, the river decides to flood the site for weeks. Months behind schedule, Andy and Nicki’s quest for an idyllic island life is in danger of getting marooned…

Episode 8

Kevin McCloud revisits a memorable restoration project in the remote Creuse region of central France. Back in 2003, when Denise Daniel and Doug Ibbs gave up everything in the UK to start a new life abroad, they couldn’t have known what was ahead of them.

Episode 9

Kevin McCloud revisits a unique Japanese-Welsh fusion home in the Wye Valley. Tamayo Hussey has missed Japan ever since she moved to the UK 15 years ago with her husband Nigel. To stave off the homesickness they decided to turn the property into a one-of-a-kind home, complete with roof bath, tatami room and sliding paper walls.

Episode 10

Marine Captain Jon White and his wife Becky were living happily in a small cottage when in June 2010, while serving in Afghanistan, Jon stepped on an improvised explosive device, losing three limbs. Every part of their live