Grand Designs Australia

Episode Guide

Claremont Origami

Series 5 · Episode 3

Why would an architect at the pinnacle her career and creative powers ditch the drafting desk, don steel cap boots and take up a blowtorch? Because for Ariane Prevost, that’s exactly the antidote to a lifetime of designing houses for other people – 102 in fact.

With three adult children Ariane and husband Neil are ready to downsize – but Neil needs a little arm twisting. Wrenching him out of their existing house won’t be that easy. They’ve been living in it for just a year…  but Ariane has found the ideal block – just 400 square meters in the conservative suburb of Claremont.

Here she’s got big plans for a new house….…only no one quite knows what those plans are…including Neil. What Neil does know, is that Ariane will be taking on a trilogy of tasks: architect, client and builder, so with no one to answer to but herself, her plan is to make it up as she goes along.

There is only one self imposed rule but it’s a big one - the budget must not exceed $500,000. But how do you do that when your plans are non-existent and the temptation to indulge your imagination is limitless? Ariane is determined to find a way to build her little hand made treasure - and that takes skill, creativity and grit. There is no directing from the side lines in this project. Ariane is a force to be reckoned with – on site very morning at 5am, making breakfast for her co-builders, on the tools with all the trades and designing as she goes.

But beneath the freewheeling attitude Ariane has a serious mandate: to create a home that will blur the lines between inside and out with seamless living and outdoor areas, flexible sleeping quarters and a multi-use rooftop space.

Her methods are as unconventional as many of her materials, from 6 metre high jetty piles scavenged from a jetty, to patterned brickwork made up on the fly – this is a house like no other.
Ariane’s quirks are peppered throughout this house…but no one is quite prepared for her folly – the origami showpiece that sits on top. In true Ariane form, it’s not a concept that exists on paper, just in a rudimentary handmade cardboard model. The end result is bound to have the neighbours divided.

While Ariane has supreme confidence, can she pull off this unconventional house with non-existent plans, convince Neil that smaller is better AND  survive the grueling 70 hour weeks she’s putting in to get it done?


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