Grand Designs

10 Best Episodes of Grand Designs

Kevin McCloud follows people as they build their dream house, often focusing on modern design, energy efficiency, maximizing space and views.

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 10, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

Grand Designs - S5E4

#15 - Finnish Log Cabin (Season 5 - Episode 4)

John Cadney and Marnie Moon have never had a permanent home. For 16 years they've camped on land owned by Marnie's parents because they could never afford to buy a house in the area where they live. So John, a carpenter, rolled his sleeves up and decided to build a house for his family with his bare hands. After much searching for the right kind of house they settled on an environmentally friendly four-bedroom log cabin. The whole thing was imported from Finland as hundreds of pre-cut bits of wood. All John had to do is figure out how it all fits together!

The episode was rated 8.00 from 26 votes.

Grand Designs - S14E4

#14 - The Shipping Containers House (Season 14 - Episode 4)


A young farmer and architect in Northern Ireland hopes to make a home out of four large shipping containers welded together to form a giant cross. Patrick Bradley has come up with a £100k house design to be built out of four 45-foot shipping containers, welded together to form a giant cross and cantilevered over the top of a stream at a beautiful secluded spot on the family farm. His mum is hoping his new home will get Patrick a girlfriend. But his tiny budget is soon under threat.

The episode was rated 8.01 from 120 votes.

Grand Designs - S23E6

#13 - Dunstable (Season 23 - Episode 6)

In Dunstable, John and his wife Helen demolish an old, dilapidated house and in its place build a million-pound, high-tech, accessible glass pavilion, complete with wildlife garden.

The episode was rated 8.03 from 33 votes.

Grand Designs - S10E9

#12 - The Brittany Groundhouse: Revisited (Season 10 - Episode 9)


Kevin returns to see how Daren Howarth and Adi Nortje's project has fared four years after they decided to build an earth-sheltered home in Brittany.

The episode was rated 8.03 from 30 votes.

Grand Designs - S11E7

#11 - The Disco Home (Season 11 - Episode 7)

Claire and Ian try to build a home big enough for a disco on a small plot at the end of a London mews. But as angry locals begin to object to their plans, things start to go awry.

The episode was rated 8.04 from 28 votes.

Grand Designs - S23E8

#10 - North Devon Revisit (Season 23 - Episode 8)


In 2011, Edward and Hazel set out to build a lighthouse on the north Devon coast. By 2019, they were near bankruptcy with just a rusting shell. Three years on, has anything changed?

The episode was rated 8.06 from 32 votes.

Grand Designs - S7E12

#9 - The Glass & Timber House (Season 7 - Episode 12)

In this episode Kevin meets master carpenter Bill Bradley and his wife Sarah, whose plan is to build two identical timber houses in south London, selling one to finance the building of the other.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 10 votes.

Grand Designs - S9E4

#8 - The Eco Arch (Season 9 - Episode 4)


Kevin McCloud follows the progress of architect Richard Hawkes and wife Sophie, who are moving from London to the Kent countryside to build a hi-tech eco-friendly house with room to grow their own food. Richard also wants their new home to blend effortlessly into the surrounding countryside, concealed beneath a huge arch of clay tiles covered with earth and planted with grass

The episode was rated 8.11 from 35 votes.

Grand Designs - S12E5

#7 - The Derelict Water Tower (Season 12 - Episode 5)

Kevin McCloud marks the 100th episode with one of the programme's most ambitious projects to date. Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce want to convert and extend a landmark 150-year-old water tower in central London into a luxury home. Grade II-listed, derelict and with 6ft-thick walls, it's a huge challenge for the pair, who also plan to build two structures at the base - a lift shaft connected by a series of glass tunnels, and a modern living space. The result will be a four-bedroom property over nine floors, complete with a room at the top offering spectacular 360 degree views across the capital. The tower, which is located directly above London Underground's Northern Line, was originally built for Lambeth Workhouse in 1877 and became a Grade II listed building in 2008.

The episode was rated 8.14 from 71 votes.

Grand Designs - S22E2

#6 - Billingshurst, Sussex (Season 22 - Episode 2)


Kevin McCloud meets master carpenter Olaf, who is facing the biggest challenge of his career - creating an oasis for himself and partner Fritha on a small slice of land in West Sussex, which happens to be surrounded by a mainline railway and a busy A-road. Not only that, but half of the plot can't even be built on due an underground mains sewer. All they're left with is a very small triangle on which to build their future life together. With £190,000 in the bank, Olaf and Fritha must use all the ingenuity they can muster to make their triangular three-bedroom house come to life.

The episode was rated 8.16 from 64 votes.

Grand Designs - S7E1

#5 - The 14th Century Castle (Season 7 - Episode 1)

Every Englishman’s home is his castle but for Francis Shaw this is quite literally true. He and his wife, Karen, and their two young daughters, bought the ruins of a 14th Century castle in Yorkshire and took on the remarkable challenge of turning a pile of stones into a beautiful home. Surrounded by rolling green fields, the location is idyllic; however, the castle itself was little more than four crumbling walls.

The episode was rated 8.19 from 31 votes.

Grand Designs - S9E13

#4 - The Woodsmans Cottage: 2nd Revisited (Season 9 - Episode 13)


Kevin returns again to see how Ben Law's woodsman's cottage has changed.

The episode was rated 8.20 from 10 votes.

Grand Designs - S7E11

#3 - The Tuscan Castle: Revisited (Season 7 - Episode 11)

Kevin McCloud meets a couple who bought a ruin and moved to Italy in 1999, hoping to start work building their dream home in Tuscany. Since then they've spent all their time trying to get planning permission, but finally, after four years, they are about to start work. And it's an epic project: they have bought a derelict 1,000-year-old castle in the Tuscan hills. Now, the couple face their biggest battle of all: rebuilding this massive ruin into a comfortable and luxurious five-bedroom home.

The episode was rated 8.24 from 17 votes.

Grand Designs - S17E3

#2 - Steam Bending House (Season 17 - Episode 3)


Kevin McCloud meets Tom and Danielle Raffield, whose lifelong passion has been steam-bending wood. They've used the technique to create extraordinary furniture and lighting, but now plan to use it on a larger scale. In an attempt to escape the confines of their tiny gamekeeper's lodge, they have decided to build a wavy wooden house in South Cornwall, completed with curved cladding, twisted furniture and interior walls covered with weathered timber. With a £100,000 budget, the pair have decided to do a lot of the building themselves, and Kevin is on hand to discover whether they're up to the challenge.

The episode was rated 8.24 from 198 votes.

Grand Designs - S13E6

#1 - The Japanese House (Season 13 - Episode 6)

Tamayo Hussey's missed Japan ever since she moved to the UK with her husband Nigel. To stave off the homesickness they've decided to transform a forester's lodge into a Japanese house complete with roof bath, tatami room and sliding paper walls. Keen to keep costs under control, Nigel and Tamayo decide to engage only the design skills of an architect and with no previous building experience they bravely go it alone, working without any detailed drawings and fire-fighting problems every step of the way. The wood they're using for the timber frame - Japanese larch - hasn't been used for building houses before in the UK, so no one can be sure it will be strong enough, the new interior walls don't meet properly and the replacement window design can't cope with the rain. But Nigel and Tamayo are determined to overcome any obstacle to get the Japanese house they're so desperate for.

The episode was rated 8.31 from 75 votes.

Search for TV shows...

About Series with Sophie

Welcome to our community!

We are a community of women who are passionate about our favorite series and want to share that passion with others.

Our mission is to create a space where women can discover new content, connect with like-minded individuals, and engage in meaningful discussions about the series we love.

We believe that everyone should have access to reliable and trustworthy information about their favorite shows, and we strive to be the premier destination for women seeking that information. Whether you're looking for recaps, fan theories, or just want to connect with other fans, we've got you covered.

So join us and be a part of our growing community of series enthusiasts!