A grand design

Today I thought I’d write about my favourite television program of the week. Yes even more than Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares or Desperate Housewives, the show I most look forward to is Grand Designs… on ABC1 at 6.05pm on a Thursday… and there’s an earlier series shown on Tuesdays at 11.00am.

What I love about this show is the dreams that fuel it.

Kevin McLeod is the host and he can speak several European languages, an impressive addition to his passionate love for the subject and obvious regard for his subjects – both human and material.

Every episode Kevin follows the journeys of people who want to build their dream house. From modest budgets to magnificent, every design has vision and a story behind it. And no build is without its challenges.

We watched Tuesday’s episode yesterday of an Irish couple who were building an LA inspired mansion on a steeply sloping block. Today’s was of an English couple in Tuscany, lovingly restoring a derelict castle having coped with 4 years of Italian bureaucracy. One of my favourites was an older couple building a Roman inspired guesthouse in Southern Italy for just 19,000 pounds. Extraordinary and inspiring, and another of a couple who’d lived in a shed for over 13 years, who built this fantastic house out of wood – a bespoke kit home from Norway. It was beautiful.

Bespoke is one of Kev’s favourite words. 🙂

Now we may never build our own home – in many ways I can’t think of anything worse – but watching these people turn their dreams into brick and wood and mortar is inspiring. It’s a program of hope. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. Great to watch such positive energy, to absorb it through our telly.

Everytime I watch this show I think “You know what? We should do this show in Australia.” I’d have like to have seen it done on the house opposite us for example or my cousin’s house… both amazing houses… and they must be the tip of the iceberg.

After all – building your own home is the Australian Dream.

The question is who would be the host – could there be another Kevin McCloud somewhere down under?

12 Replies to “A grand design”

  1. I love this show! LOVE it! Never miss it. I agree it would be great to see an Australian version. I’m pretty sure the recent bespoke kit home was from Finland. Is that the one where Kevin showed the logs and how the growth rings were so close together making the wood extremely dense and hard? The one where the very large beams were all cut triple tongue and groove style and slotted together perfectly? I was SO impressed with that. If you COULD build your own dream home what would you have? I’d have a rammed earth home with triple glazed windows for weather protection, solar panels, a composting toilet system and a reed bed system for processing the grey water to be recycled on the gardens. There was one of those reed bed systems shown on an earlier show. Maybe I’d even have a windmill to generate my own power as well as the solar system. Definitely I’d have a permaculture self-sufficiency garden.

  2. You are right – it was Finland. I thought it was lovely.

    What would I have?

    Something with big beams of wood, stone, floorboards, big windows and a fireplace. How I would love a fireplace!

  3. Oh that is one of those shows that I forget to watch regularly! I watched one time where a couple converted an old mill into a lovely home – I envy these people their creativity and ability to see a home in something completely unorthodox.

  4. I watch this show to see the new houses. and to hear Kevin say ‘bespoke.’ I’ve yet to hear him say it in a language other than English, but I am a patient woman.

    We are about to embark on our own Grand Design and I’m going to blog about it. All posts relating to our own Grand Design ome under the category ‘The Bespoke Chubby’ and you will need to click on the above link to understand why.

    Our Grand Design will definitely feature wood, stone, floorboards, big windows and a fireplace… great minds and all that.

  5. I’d be happy to host the .au version. My brother-in-law is redoing the lean-to on the back of his shed. I’d be happy to do the running commentary.

    And I speak several Australian languages!

  6. Trish – I wouldn’t know if he did say bespoke in another language!
    And I will watch your grand design grow!

    Drew – we’ll call you. 🙂

    Suze – exactly – and to believe in that vision to complete it!

  7. I think my favourite was the man who built a house in the middle of a forest with wood as the frame and straw/plaster walls which ended up curved inside. The sad thing was it would have to be pulled down if anything happened to him because only he had permission to live there.
    When I see them building all those huge houses with big, big windows, all I can think of is the English winter but it seems to be okay with underfloor heating.
    I always intend to tape the show but have never remembered yet.

  8. I miss this show SO much being in the US. It’s always so interesting, and I love Kev to bits. I wish they’d show it here — 800 channels of mostly crap, including BBC America.
    When I flew here from Australia last month, Qantas has GD on its in-flight entertainment schedule. Yay!

  9. Does anyone know what the render was called that was used on the white square home. The render required no maintenance and the dirt didn’t stick to it?

    this is a great show

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