Grand Designs Australia

Episode Guide

Ilford Sheep Station

Series 4 · Episode 7

Thirteen years ago Meredith and Matt Bayfield needed an escape from their busy lives as doctors in Sydney so they purchased a working sheep property at Ilford in the central table lands of NSW.

Their plan is to build a house for their family of 6 on the highest point of the 1000 acre property - but not a traditional rambling country homestead. Meredith and Matt are chasing something more agricultural, simple in its styling with materials that resonate with its rural setting……materials all found or grown on their land.

But this is an off the map location and the romanticism of building on such a quintessential Aussie spot is quickly doused. Luring trades and scheduling their seamless integration is an exercise in logistics. The sheer isolation means juggling 10 cement trucks from 3 different towns to arrive on the same day.....a job that would normally be handled by the project manager. But finding one of those prepared to commute to the site is impossible so Meredith decides to take over.

The wettest summer in decades that forces trades to down tools indefinitely and a water logged site would be enough for most to chuck in the towel. But Meredith is stoic, determined to withstand the unseasonal weather - even collecting tonnes of basalt rocks from the property to clad the gabled ends of the house.

To add yet more grief, the original designer plans don’t marry with her and Matt’s vision – so they’re forced to make structural changes on the run. With no building experience, just relying on their gut feeling to get the house they want, Meredith negotiates her way through a minefield of costly variations.

Faced with escalating costs and a timeline that’s blown out by a year, this is a couple left wondering if their farmhouse will ever eventuate.


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