Barbara and Craig have built two companies from the ground up, so when they decided to embark on their dream home, it wasn't surprising they threw out the rule book and decided to do it their way.
David and Sarah are in love with Mt Tamborine, the place they were married 22 years ago. They're about to build a long-awaited home away from home there, on lush mountain acreage boasting a rainforest and creek.
Mike and Megan, a passionate pair of creatives, are attempting to build a modernist house on a modest footprint. Mike designed the house himself to include only what they need, and only what they use.
Peter is building an underground eco bunker that's self-sufficient, sleek and completely one of a kind. From the outside it will eventually look like a bush garden, but below ground, a man cave.
Tabitha and Chris always dreamt of living in the forest. They bought 120 acres of rainforest in Toolangi and are building a farmhouse that will be a sustainable, economical, fireproof and completely off-grid.
A tiny budget, a thirst for living frugally, and a desire to have a home that leaves a small footprint can force some radical thinking. So when electrician and stay-at-home dad Tom and his doctor wife Zewlan decided to build their new home in Ocean Shores, size was everything. Their plan is for a solar passive family home with three modest bedrooms that maximise potential views; small, beautiful spaces on a firm budget of $350,000. With the help of award-winning architects Melanie and James, they've come up with a design based on the three Ss: small, simple and straightforward. Built out of chipboard, the house will be just half the size of the average Australian home. In a simple layout, three modest bedrooms will connect to one long outside/inside corridor running the length of the house and open underneath, like a deck. The lounge, kitchen and mezzanine will all be easily closed off with huge sliding glass. Tom's biggest concern is for the finishes after the exposed chipboard is damaged by some wet weather, he's keen to get the roof on. Will financial pressure and some inclement weather force a re-think or will he and Zewlan stay true to their small house philosophy?
Anglican Reverends Neil and Ruth have a shared love of all things Gothic and medieval. So when the couple decided to build their first ever family home in the Adelaide suburb of Hillbank, it was no surprise that the city of churches would provide plenty of inspiration. Not that they want a church-like house. Neil is chasing a barn inspired house with big heavy timber beams. So they've chosen to create a medieval manor built in the traditional way using methods from another time. The bones of the house eight huge A frames will be built by hand out of timber by a team of specialist carpenters. Thousands of timber shingles will cover the massive roof, with a two-storey high gothic glass window the centrepiece of the house. But Neil is constantly let down by suppliers and has grossly underestimated the cost of the build so work on the site stalls. When summer hits and temperatures soar well into the 40s, the exposed A-frame timber beams begin to warp and crack. They elect to use something straight off a warehouse floor insulated refrigerator panels on the roof and walls a most unlikely fit for a medieval house. Not only do they look incongruous, they are hell to work with and expensive. What ensues is a tug of war between old and new materials; between a passion for the past and unsavoury reality. With a blind faith that sees Neil try to ignore spiralling costs, he enlists the help of his family to finish his passion project, turning a build he hoped would last a few months into a five year revelation.
Architect Adrian Light loves 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 Melbourne.
Dedicated collectors Warwick Noble and Melanie Hughes are influenced by mid-century American architecture. Their design is a slice of Palm Springs destined to make its mark in a suburban street in North Balgowlah.
Cate and Nick Foskett have put their high-powered careers on hold to forge a new life as winemakers and build a new home on their 150 acre property in the Adelaide Hills.
Stephen has spent 15 years at the helm of his own construction company building homes for other people. Now with his first child on the way, he's finally building his own, and the plan is to make it grand.
In the bush ranger territory of the Strathbogie Ranges, Eddie and Dot dream of a home with a magnificent 360 degree view. Can they work around the huge granite boulders to achieve their dream?
After working abroad, Sarah and English-born husband Alistair Brodie-Fraser decide to relocate back to Sarah's home town of Toowoomba, Qld. Their plan is for something that oozes heritage, a classic English farmhouse.
The Bayfields plan to build a house for their family on the highest point on their 1000-acre property - but not a traditional country homestead; they are chasing something agricultural.
Chris and Belinda bought the land next door to their existing house, just 3.9m wide: a tiny gap in a long row of heritage listed cottages in Sydney's Forest Lodge.
Darren and Ruth have found a large patch of land near the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Hidden down a laneway with no street frontage, this secret garden will be transformed into a contemporary, three-storey family mansion.
Barry and Robyn Henwood love the environment in different ways; his is a passion for green technology, while she loves turning native flora into textiles and teaching yoga. They're building a stylish beach shack to retire in, one that floats on a pair of untouched sand dunes in Aldinga on Adelaide's southern coast. Solar powered, and aesthetically pleasing, it should be the perfect fit, but Robyn is yet to be convinced. Her life is entrenched in the city so she needs some cajoling. The contemporary modest design features a pair of steel clad pods joined by a timber walkway, and surrounded by native bush. But as soon as building gets under way, the excavation impacts on the environment. Despite their best efforts replanting and shoring up the dunes, the beach scrub soon dwindles and Robyn and Barry are left pondering their next course of action. As the dunes progressively erode, the more Robyn and Barry persevere. But when their self-rusting steel cladding is battered by harsh coastal conditions, staining their deck and turning the exterior into something resembling dribbled fat, Robyn's doubts really set in. Can they restore their precious landscape and will Robyn eventually sever her ties with the city and make her project in the dunes home?
Ardent collectors Kerry and Judy have a passion for Santa Fe-style, mud houses even though they live on a sloping bush block on Sydney's north shore. Inspired by an unconventional builder who changes his mind (and their design) on a regular basis, they set out to create a home out of recycled timber and corrugated iron, rendered in clay dug up from the side of the road. It may be straight out of the American Midwest but this hybrid home will have a distinctly Australian flavour and provide an earthy backdrop for their many artistic objects, artefacts and collectables.
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