First there was Downown Abbey. Then there was Sherlock. Now you can add another British television import to your list, America. Rejoice, design lovers! Britain's favorite home design show is on Netflix. Grand Designs, which features wacky and ambitious builds and renovation projects, is one of Britain's longest running property shows (17 seasons!).
Grand Designs is so popular that it has been spun-off into a number of additional series, similar to a number of America's most-beloved property shows. Grand Designs Australia and Grand Designs New Zealand premiered in 2010 and 2015, respectively.
You should probably know though that this show isn't your mother's House Hunters or Fixer Upper. Compared to American property shows, Grand Designs, offers a realistic (and sometimes brutal) look at the blown budgets, eviscerated timelines, and disagreeing spouses that renovations often leave in their wake. In fact, one ambitious Grand Designs project to renovate a dilapidated old church even led to a couple's divorce as well as two heart attacks.
Grand Designs' nearly hour-long episodes follow a home's ambitious transformation from beginning to end—er well, mostly through to their end. That's because when it comes to converting water towers, or renovating historic 16th century castles, things don't often go according to plan.
Along the way, host Kevin McCloud, a former theater designer, makes multiple visits to the property to assess its progress. A final visit is then made at the end (assuming the project finishes in time) to offer an honest critique of the home's design. On those occasions where a renovation project takes significantly longer than anticipated, the home is often revisited in another episode. Grand Designs, unlike its American counterparts, brings the episode's homeowners in from the periphery. Their stories are shared and their baggage and bad decisions are frequently laid out on display.
What do you say? Is Grand Designs your new binge watching guilty pleasure? Tell us in the comments!
h/t LA TImes