Jon and Gill Flewers had big plans for their plot of land in Malvern, a quiet country estate in the UK.

But Kevin McCloud wasn't afraid to ask some big, and very awkward, questions about their £600,000 ($1.1m) building plans in last night's episode of Grand Designs.

"We're trying to bring some of the ideas we saw in New Zealand here," Jon told McCloud.

"Clean, sleek lines, simple forms."


Gill agreed, saying their new family home was inspired by four years the couple spent living in New Zealand.

"We're trying to bring the spirit of New Zealand to it really. If the Kiwis can build on the side of a hill, why can't we?"

The finished home featured on Grand Designs.
The finished home featured on Grand Designs.

For many reasons, said McCloud, who could barely contain his contempt about their plans throughout the episode.

Firstly, he questioned why they'd bought the Malvern land while living in New Zealand without seeing it for themselves.

"You'd be foolish or fearless to buy a plot of land on the other side of the planet that you've never seen," he griped.

The staircase that links the house together.
The staircase that links the house together.

Then, once McCloud set foot on it, he critiqued the 45-degree slope of the hill.

"The plot they've bought here looks like a whole heap of trouble to me," he said.

"It's one of the steepest plots I've seen."


Finally, he questioned why the living areas were at the back of the house, failing to take advantage of the site's beautiful views.

They weren't the only problems for Jon, who quit his job as an RAF pilot to build the house himself after more than a dozen builders turned down the job, saying it was too difficult.

"I don't have a plan in life, but when I decide to do something, I jolly well do it and I don't give up," he said.

Inside the finished Grand Design.
Inside the finished Grand Design.

Finally, the house finished but all their money gone, Jon and Gill faced one final problem: a £40,000 bill to connect the house to water mains that they could have avoided if they'd spent £24 on a map.

"I've spent everything," said Jon. "I never anticipated it being this hard. People have said to me, 'Jon don't be down - it's only a house'.

"To me it's all the other things, the money, the career that has been put on hold for so many years, the move from the other side of the world, all those things that we gave up.

"I so hope the house is worth it."

By the end, McCloud appeared to have been won over by the "powerful" home, praising a £5000 staircase connecting its various levels.

Jon and Gill Flewers on their new home in Malvern.
Jon and Gill Flewers on their new home in Malvern.

But he still questioned why the guest room had a better view than the kitchen and main living area.

"Where would you look if you had to much too look at?" asked Gill.

"True," replied McCloud. "You'd cut yourself chopping the vegetables."

Gill admitted incorporating aspects of the New Zealand lifestyle into the home had been harder than they'd thought.

"The things we wanted to bring back that we had over there were the ability to have open plan living, we've got an amazing view, and building on the side of the hill, which they do without even blinking ... and yet it was so hard to do here. I think it completely delivers."

Jon wasn't quite so sure.

"It's been a really hard journey, mentally, emotionally, physically. It's still fresh. It's beautiful but I'm not sure it's been worth the sacrifices."

There's one thing Jon would do differently: "Go and stand on the land first."

• Grand Designs screens on Three on Tuesday nights.