Grand Designs Australia

Grand Designs Australia

French Island Barge, Vic
Season 7  |  Episode 12  |  Lifestyle Channel  |  January 25, 2018

With his own machinery and the assistance of family and neighbours, industrial designer Mike plans to build a large spotted gum-clad home on French Island (a low key National Park island near Philip Island which has more koalas than people) with huge exposed spotted gum trusses he will build in his shed and beautifully finished internal walls of dry stacked stone reminiscent of a lofty American ranch-style cabin. He will be transporting materials to the site via his 10-ton truck from the mainland onto a commuter barge. Adding to the challenge is the fact he's doing it all off-grid. This will be a hand-hewn house built from love of a most unusual location.

With his own machinery and the assistance of family and neighbours, industrial designer Mike plans to build a large spotted gum-clad home on French Island (a low key National Park island near Philip Island which has more koalas than people) with huge exposed spotted gum trusses he will build in his shed and beautifully finished internal walls of dry stacked stone reminiscent of a lofty American ranch-style cabin. He will be transporting materials to the site via his 10-ton truck from the mainland onto a commuter barge. Adding to the challenge is the fact he's doing it all off-grid. This will be a hand-hewn house built from love of a most unusual location.

The first time Brendan Moran saw his North Bondi block, it was so steep and inaccessible he didn't bother getting out of the car. But wife Penny was undeterred. She saw the potential in the awkward L-shaped battle-axe block. Despite being hemmed in on all sides by surrounding houses and with just one skinny lane way in, they reckoned they could squeeze all they needed for them and their four kids on this block by simply going up. 

Four levels should do it, rising 14m in the air with an infinity edge pool and they're pushing building regulations to get it all in. But excavating this ex-quarry is more complicated than they think. In fact every stage of the build is hampered by the challenges of the block. Its so tight there's nowhere for the tradies to put anything, and keeping peace with the neighbours is a full time job. 

With builder and mentor Martin at the helm, Penny dons the work boots and hard hat, and gets on the tools. Her passion is building and she's all over the intricacies of the build as she juggles her life as a tradie with being a mum. After a family holiday to Thailand, she and Brendan return refreshed and inspired to make substantial structural changes they say will make their house even better. 

From changing the entire entrance to lifting ceiling heights and redesigning the pool to make it even longer and deeper, the complexity of this construction would challenge even the most seasoned builders. After numerous council applications and changes that blow their bank balance, and schedule, right out of the water, their spontaneous decision-making threatens to spiral out of control. As costs soar into the millions, there's no guarantee how or when this multi-tiered tower will ever get done.

Grand Designs Australia: North Bondi Urban Cliff, NSW

Design and technologies

Years 9-10, 11-12 Design and technologies
51:40
The first time Brendan Moran saw his North Bondi block, it was so steep and inaccessible he didn't bother getting out of the car. But wife Penny was undeterred. She saw the potential in the awkward L-shaped battle-axe block. Despite being hemmed in on all sides by surrounding houses and with just one skinny lane way in, they reckoned they could squeeze all they needed for them and their four kids on this block by simply going up. Four levels should do it, rising 14m in the air with an infinity edge pool and they're pushing building regulations to get it all in. But excavating this ex-quarry is more complicated than they think. In fact every stage of the build is hampered by the challenges of the block. Its so tight there's nowhere for the tradies to put anything, and keeping peace with the neighbours is a full time job. With builder and mentor Martin at the helm, Penny dons the work boots and hard hat, and gets on the tools. Her passion is building and she's all over the intricacies of the build as she juggles her life as a tradie with being a mum. After a family holiday to Thailand, she and Brendan return refreshed and inspired to make substantial structural changes they say will make their house even better. From changing the entire entrance to lifting ceiling heights and redesigning the pool to make it even longer and deeper, the complexity of this construction would challenge even the most seasoned builders. After numerous council applications and changes that blow their bank balance, and schedule, right out of the water, their spontaneous decision-making threatens to spiral out of control. As costs soar into the millions, there's no guarantee how or when this multi-tiered tower will ever get done.
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