A house made of hemp? Grand Designs NZ has found the most Kiwi house ever

Chris Moller is returning as host for season two of Grand Designs NZ.
Chris Moller is returning as host for season two of Grand Designs NZ.

Is there anything more Kiwi than a house made of hemp? If so, Chris Moller and the Grand Designs New Zealand team are yet to find it.

"We're very proud to be bringing you another inspiring season that is just as exciting and diverse as season one," says Moller, who returns as host for the local take on the UK classic home building and renovation show this Sunday.

Moller offers a slightly more rugged take on the presenting style of the UK's Mr Smooth, Kevin McCloud, and he admits the show reveals much about the Kiwi way of life.

"This season we have plenty of great characters who love to roll up their sleeves. From Whangarei in the north to Queenstown in the south, these Kiwis will stop at nothing to realise their grand design," says Moller.

And he's promising plenty of diversity in the range of houses covered this season - including some that sound too Kiwi to be true.

"Among them are beautifully designed houses crafted of concrete, rusting steel and even hemp," he says. "One emerges out of an old castle ruin, while another is perched on stilts above a Wellington beach, braving the open sea."

Moller differs to McCloud in that he's a trained architect, designer and "urbanist". He's currently building his own 40sq m mini-home in Wellington.

He believes a house should be "empowering" to those living in it.

"A really good house is something that empowers you as an individual or as a family, as a bunch of people, to live in a certain way. Say you lost your job, it empowers you to be able to make ends meet, maybe to retrain, to do all of that on the smell of an oily rag," he says.

"A house should help you to get well, it should be looking after your health and wellbeing, and it should make you feel really good in the morning."

Read more: Inside the home of Grand Designs NZ host Chris Moller

He's using his own small build to encourage those who feature on the show to favour doing more than less, rather than going for costly makeovers.

"I'm trying to educate them slowly and I'm looking for more examples that are using a hell of a lot more with a hell of a lot less."

Moller also revealed to Canvas that it took the show's producers four attempts before he said yes to their offers to host the show.

"I kind of got it," he said. "I realised it's a really important platform to help Kiwis understand more deeply the importance of good design, of architecture, of our built environment, how crucial that is."

Where and when: TV3, Sunday, 8.30pm
What: Local take on UK classic gets real Kiwi

- NZ Herald

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