Grand Designs Australia

Episode Guide

Harcourt House

Series 6 · Episode 2

For 20 years Art van Dyke and Troy West have run a B & B business at the historic Ravenswood mansion near Bendigo in central Victoria. 

But their love affair living in heritage homes has come to an end. Tired of sharing their lives with 20 odd guests, they’re longing to build something new for two and have found just the spot - 45 picturesque acres on the lower western slopes of Mt Alexander … and the land comes with its own historic granite quarry.

Charmed by the cluster of 1850’s stone cottages on the site, it’s here Art and Troy plan to build a three level, one bedroom almost brutalist contemporary concrete box, bookended by a stone cottage ripe for restoration.

While one bedroom suggests a small house, Art and Troy’s plans are for anything but, with a massive basement theatre, a huge open plan kitchen living area topped off with the only bedroom and glass ensuite on the third level.

This house will be the complete antithesis to how they’ve lived for the past 20 years…IF they can negotiate their way through the issues of marrying old and new styles and materials. The delicate task of incorporating the new structure with the old granite cottage is tricky and while Art has renovated before, this is an anxious venture into new territory. 

Tight heritage and archaeological restrictions along with permissions from parks, farming and fire departments have already cost them 4 years of planning and $80,000, so they’re champing at the bit to get going and to get it right.

When plans to sell Ravenswood come unstuck with no bids at auction, Art and Troy face the possibility of a long and protracted construction, with no free time or additional funds to invest in the new build. With the pressure mounting of ‘no sale’ at Ravenswood they are forced to split their time….but at what cost?


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