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Grand Designs Australia

Time Schedule

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


Grand Designs Australia Series 6 is one of the most diverse series yet – in terms of building styles, personalities and locations. It’s an eclectic mix of architectural wizardry borne from outstanding ideas and inspirational people striving to create an environment that truly represents them.

Featuring unique builds in diverse locations, such as a home in Kuitpo, South Australia, which has been built in the shape of a leaf, a three four-storey eco-friendly house in inner city Melbourne which measures just 5 x 4 metres and a derelict vintage electricity substation in Launceston which is transformed into a modern cutting-edge home.

On the north coast of Tasmania a first-time designer and conservationist makes his priority a 30-metre eucalyptus, as he builds a wrap-around treehouse. Melbourne’s laneways see a sustainable architect with big plans to turn a crumbling red-brick warehouse into a four-bedroom house.

Once again, Grand Designs Australia brings the characters, the houses and the stories together in an insightful series of inspiration and awe.

13-19 July: Episode 8

Draftsman Nigel Eberhardt is a conservationist at heart – a passion he shares with partner Nina, a school teacher. They love the natural environment and have managed to secure one of the last remaining native bush blocks in Turners Beach, a beachside suburb brimming with neat houses and manicured lawns, on Tasmania’s north coast.

Nigel is so determined to keep it in its natural state, he plans to keep as many trees as possible and build around them. But he’s taking it one step further. He’s making a feature of the tallest tree on the site – a 30 metre eucalyptus, a tree he plans to incorporate into the build.

With a budget as small as the house, Nigel and Nina plan to spend just $260,000…a big ask for a highly detailed construction but Nigel is determined to produce a polished, crisp home with top end finishes.

Using rustic local shearing sheds for inspiration, two co-joined pavilions prized apart in the shape of a V, will be wrapped in zincalume cladding.  Add lots of locally sourced timber inside and out, and glass, featuring a spectacular skylight and a 3 metre sliding door framed in spotted gum, it will be a home designed to bring the outside in – just the way Nigel and Nina like it.

Towering overhead at the apex will be the massive gum tree that will require some serious evaluation by the local arborist. Falling limbs are a regular occurrence on this gum laden block but Nigel and Nina aren’t fazed in the least.

As excavation works begin, the very delicate process of hand digging holes for the 26 piers becomes a protracted, drawn out affair but preserving the root system is paramount even if it impacts their meager 4 month timeline.

This is Nigel’s first attempt at designing and building a house so he’s reticent about pulling it together without the expertise of an architect. As the build unfolds and pressured by his own quest for perfection, Nigel begins doubting his own decisions. Plus, he’s forced to take out some of Nina’s inclusions in order to accommodate his expensive sliding door.

Nigel’s real challenge comes in managing his champagne tastes with absolutely no contingency. It becomes a battle of creativity versus cash as he negotiates his way through the world of finding solutions and satisfying his own high expectations.

What he discovers is that scarcity often produces the most amazing results.

Episode 9

Barb Coyle and husband Bill love interesting architecture – a passion consolidated by seventeen happy years spent in their Harry Seidler-designed home in inner Canberra.

But while the late architect’s split levels and vaulted mezzanines are retro-cool, they’re causing problems for Bill. He’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and can no longer manage the stairs.

Reluctantly they have to move into a single level house but what they’re looking for proves elusive; a home with a stylish vintage aesthetic, but one that can eventually accommodate a wheelchair. The only solution is to design and build something that will suit their evolving needs, in a style that’s close to their hearts.

Enter their 85 year old architect – a key figure in Australian 20th Century architecture who’s lived and worked in Canberra for 40 years. Barb and Bill are delighted with his hand-drawn plan for their modern 70’s home – a T-shaped, north facing house with featured curves, raked ceilings, bagged walls and sloping roofline.

It’s a textbook modernist silhouette which Barbara adores, but then fine architecture is as important to both her and Bill, as a house that will meet life’s practicalities. Not one to accept the mundane, Barb has plans to use her years working with interiors to stamp her individual style on this house. Fabrics and furnishings in vibrant colour will eventually fill the rooms, but Barb has to get the house built first.

With Bill unable to move freely, Barb takes the lead overseeing developments on site first hand, learning quite quickly that the reality of building is harder than expected, especially in adhering to a woefully tight 7 month schedule.

If the house isn’t finished it’ll mean another move for Barb and Bill but with last minute tweaks to the original design and an unexpected delay on the steel for the roof and the special curved windows, it’s a foregone conclusion.

When the highly anticipated curved windows finally do turn up, Barb is hit for six once again. They’re simply not right.

With Bill’s health foremost in her mind, Barb has to manage his needs, overcome a disheartening array of setbacks and navigate a particularly sensitive relationship with her architect.

What she learns is that the fine art of vintage architecture cannot be rushed.

Episode 10

Architect Adrian Light loves the patina of old things. His partner Liz Murdoch is the polar opposite.

Despite this, they’ve agreed to invest their life savings into a crumbling historical relic in a gritty urban laneway in the hipster suburb of Northcote in Melbourne, to realise Adrian’s dream of building a one-off, show-stopping home for his family.

The trouble is Adrian and Liz have spent most of their cash purchasing the 100 year old vinegar factory and have very little left to transform it into something habitable, let alone something Adrian’s hygiene-loving  partner, will consider living in.

Despite zero experience in the building trade, Adrian decides to take up the tools in a bid to keep costs down.

Breathing new life into this building will not only take unforeseen dollars but relentless grunt work, much of it underground, thanks to a subterranean basement containing the original 22 concrete vinegar vats.

Although Liz is more repulsed by these vestiges of the past, Adrian’s determined to celebrate them and carve a new floor plan – including a state of the art architectural studio.

Squeezed between two neighbours, the party walls are the first thing to get Adrian into strife as one disintegrates and the other demands serious repair.  Then there’s the matter of the rusty old roof, 12metres high with scant visible support.  Occupied by possums and leaking like a sieve, it creates a wet, miserable site for months on end as Adrian struggles to build four new levels to finally reach its peak and replace it.

Besides the yeasty old vats, the factory has many other foibles – horse urine channels, rotting vinegar barrels, diseased ironwork and structural beams that bend like bananas, which all send Adrian into paroxysms of preservation. Liz on the other hand is more intent on self-preservation as the timeline and rental budget balloon and the family are threatened with eviction from their rental digs.

As Liz’s patience wears thin, Adrian throws himself into the project even deeper, calling on untapped physical reserves to finish the job. The problem is, he’s not qualified and his rookie’s enthusiasm lands him in deep trouble.

Finally, 12 months past their predicted finish date, Liz and Adrian are forced to consider the unthinkable – moving into a half finished building that is more Gothic horror than family home.