‘It’s rare’ Kevin McCloud shares Grand Design filming secrets and his favourite projects

Kevin McCloud talks about new season of Grand Designs

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Grand Designs has been on screen since April 1999 and Kevin McCloud has presented it since its inauguration. The designer and writer has been privy to some of the most beautiful building designs in the world, but he has also witnessed some mammoth construction disasters. With a shortage of building supplies and labourers, Kevin discussed how that can have a big knock-on effect on meeting the finish line. 

During a conversation with This Morning’s Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Kevin explained the duration of some projects. 

“Some projects take five years, some take three, others take 18 months,” he revealed. 

“They’re ready when they’re ready. 

“Consequently, our series could be anywhere between four and nine projects, depending on what’s done.” 

As for how a project can be affected, Kevin explained: “I can’t get a tiler, I can’t get a plumber.

“I’ve just bought a load of tile spacers and I’ve been looking at videos on the internet to teach myself how to do it. 

“And I’m going to do it myself with plumbing,” he said. “If you can, you’re looking at three to six months. 

“I think we’re all looking to be a bit more resilient now, it’s back to DIY.” 

Looking back over the years, Kevin has a few favourite houses. 

Back in 2014, for series 14, Patrick Bradley built a house out of shipping containers on his parents’ farm in Country Derry. 

With just a budget of £130,000, it took seven months for completion. 

Kevin said: “This is where engineering and steel meet landscape and it is beautiful. 

“It’s rare to come to a place and find a building that lifts the spirits, such as this. 

“This is proper architecture, a genius exercise in upcycling and, now, a powerful part of this place.” 

In the very first series back in 1991, a house was self-built by a couple after five years of clearing a £78,000 plot. 

The reason this house is Kevin’s second favourite is because: “Simon and Jasmine are heroes of the self-build community and I am proud to know them.

“It hasn’t and won’t destroy the planet, and it hasn’t cost the earth.

“It’s not just an example of how we could, and should live, this is a clarion call.” 

His third favourite house was in series three a couple of years later when Ben Law impressively designed and built a wooden abode for a measly £28,000. 

“It’s an eloquent essay about sustainability… a love story between one man and a place,” Kevin said. 

Grand Design facts 

– Each episode takes a least a year to film, however, one built took as long as 10 years

– Kevin often improvises his famous monologues on the day of filming 

– Kevin has never seen a fully finished episode as he refuses to watching himself on TV 

– The show is broadcast in 189 territories worldwide 

– Kevin has only ever visited IKEA once – he bought a rug

– Hollywood legend Meryl Streep is a self-confessed Grand Designs ‘addict’. 

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