Since 1999 the commanding, measured commentary of Britain's Kevin McCloud has been synonymous with the voyeurism of following everyday Brits embarking on their own building projects.
Quite aside from the varied approaches to design and construction that are showcased, what has reinforced the Grand Design format's overwhelming success both in the UK and here in Australia is that at the core of the subject are very human stories.
We'd challenge anyone to watch this show without becoming invested in the process on some level: straight-up poor taste, overwhelming lack of experience or a run of bad luck, we are only able to carve out our opinions and draw conclusion on the success or failure of the builds because of the unique window Grand Designs gives us into these often drawn out transformations.
Excitingly, this week, the first Season of Grand Designs Australia kicks off and is being heralded as a more than worthy spin-off. Having filmed for over a year already, we are given a quintessentially Australian flavour right from the first episode:
...from rebuilding a labour of love in the Victorian bush after it was burnt to the ground in the Black Saturday bush fires; to transforming a tiny corner car park into five level home in the urban jungle; and a cyclone proof, tropical tree house that is windowless and based on the shape of a 50 cent piece...
Ably taking the reins locally is Melburnian Peter Maddison of Maddison Architects. With over 25 years experience his own projects include a huge range of award-winning residential and commercial work, Peter's understanding of Australian architecture, climate, culture and history give the commentary and interpretative analysis a strong and insightful context.
In an era where "overnight home renovation" shows and "handy hints segments" wax lyrical on the ease of quick-fix residential "design" and bemoan the need to invest time and planning, it is buoying to see Australian content focussed on achieving quality and substance in realistic time-frames under realistic pressures.
You can't miss this!
It all starts at 8.30pm this Thursday, October 21st exclusive to the Lifestyle Channel.