Grand Designs

10 Worst 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 - S3E1

#10 - The Wooden Box (Season 3 - Episode 1)

'Is it a bold contemporary design or a garden shed?' John and Terri found themselves asking, halfway into their build. They had knocked down a derelict house in a beautiful rural setting and commissioned commercial architects to build them a new one. But was it too small for them, their young son and the baby on the way?

The episode was rated 6.73 from 37 votes.

Grand Designs - S13E10

#9 - The Modernist Villa: Revisited (Season 13 - Episode 10)


Kevin catches up with the story of a daring modernist home in the Andalucian hills in southern Spain.. Ten years ago Gil and Hillary Briffa decided to retire to southern Spain. Rejecting the coastal sprawl around Malaga they found a virgin plot of land up in the Andalucian hills for just £35,000. But instead of building a home like the traditional old fincas nearby, their architect son's design was a confrontational, modernist glass box, surrounded by boldly coloured connected rooms, hidden behind a giant citadel wall. Construction proved stressful. The couple put all their trust in a local Spanish builder who had never built a house like this before. The local residents didn't like it and the mayor tried to get it re-painted white. But if they could just finish the build, it promised to be the coolest retirement home Kevin McCloud has ever seen.

The episode was rated 6.73 from 11 votes.

Grand Designs - S2E8

#8 - The Derelict Barns (Season 2 - Episode 8)

Sue and Martin took a holistic approach when they converted a pair of Devon barns into a family home. They believed that the house should look like a natural part of the landscape. So they built it using environmentally sustainable techniques and allowed much of its design to evolve during the build. The oldest barn, dating from the 1600s, was built from stone and cob - a straw-and-mud mixture characteristic of Devon - while the newer, 19th-century barn was totally of stone. The older barn would have a thatched roof, the newer barn slates. A south-facing sitting room would overlook a double-height glass atrium, which would become an indoor garden, filled with citrus trees. Four bedrooms and a study would go upstairs.

The episode was rated 6.67 from 27 votes.

Grand Designs - S1E5

#7 - The Eco-House (Season 1 - Episode 5)


A Suffolk couple plan an environmentally friendly house with solar heating, grey water systems and reclaimed materials.

The episode was rated 6.67 from 48 votes.

Grand Designs - S4E7

#6 - The Oak-Framed House (Season 4 - Episode 7)

Tony and Jo, musicians with Scottish Opera, had long dreamed of a home in the countryside. They found a perfect site on the Clyde estuary in Argyll and Bute. Located in a small village on a hillside, it had glorious views as far as the isle of Arran and was less than an hour's drive from Glasgow. Inspired by local oak-framed barns, they gave architect Andy McAvoy an open brief. In return, he gave them a design that fused medieval and modern and promised a beautifully simple interior. However, the construction was anything but simple...

The episode was rated 6.65 from 23 votes.

Grand Designs - S3E4

#5 - The Victorian Threshing Barn (Season 3 - Episode 4)


For Philip and Angela, the build was part of a life change that had begun two years earlier. Just after their second daughter was born, Philip fell seriously ill, prompting the family to leave London and move back to his parents' village. Acquiring the site was easy, as Philip's parents owned it. Getting planning permission took longer, and a crucial factor in their success was that they would be restoring the outside of the barn and keeping the innovation hidden

The episode was rated 6.65 from 23 votes.

Grand Designs - S5E7

#4 - Shaped Like a Curvy Seashell (Season 5 - Episode 7)

For the last 20 years, Pat Becker has been living in a large Georgian family house overlooking the sea in Devon. Now that her family have flown the nest and the house has grown too big for her, she's decided to build a new home at the bottom of the garden. Shaped like a curvy seashell, the new house has concrete and polystyrene walls, which spiral down from the central staircase. Her architect has promised it will take only six months to build but constructing a round house is never straightforward!

The episode was rated 6.53 from 15 votes.

Grand Designs - S1E8

#3 - The Glass-House (Season 1 - Episode 8)


Kevin McCloud travels to Doncaster where Michael Hird and Lindsay Harwood are building a futuristic glass and steel house in a suburb of Doncaster.

The episode was rated 6.47 from 43 votes.

Grand Designs - S1E7

#2 - The House of Straw (Season 1 - Episode 7)

Kevin McCloud is in lslington where Jeremy Till and Sarah Wigglesworth have come up with a highly experimental design for a home/office.

The episode was rated 6.38 from 37 votes.

Grand Designs - S4E6

#1 - The Modernist Sugar Cube (Season 4 - Episode 6)


Tom and Darron wanted to build a house that would be home to them, their art collection and their two large dogs. Darron's passion for surfing meant it would also have to be near a beach. They already shared a timber beach house in a hamlet on the Sussex coast, and when a neighbour's bungalow came up for sale, they decided to buy it, demolish it and build a dazzling white modernist house in its place.

The episode was rated 6.36 from 25 votes.

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