Posts tagged ‘Kevin McCloud’

Grand Designs ‘Wooden Box’ house for sale

News has reached us of yet another Grand Designs house for sale, which begs the following question:

If, like most participants, you’d put so much time, effort, cash and emotion into creating the home of your dreams, why would you want to sell up a couple of years later?

Yes, the recession may have been a factor for some but I wonder whether it’s ever a wise decision to throw every penny you have (or can borrow) into a property, as many of the programme’s homeowners continue to do under the watchful eye of Kevin McCloud.

Equally, perhaps it’s a bad idea to invite in a TV crew to witness your whole ‘Dream Home Journey’ warts and all if you’re then going to try and sell later on.

The latest Grand Designs home to hit the market is Longwood House in Cambridgeshire aka The ‘Wooden Box’.  It first appeared on series three of the show in 2003 and was then featured on a ‘Revisited’ episode five years later.

3-bed detached house for sale in Southwick, Cambridgeshire. Asking price £700,000. Chesterton Humberts: 0843 2829 927

As is customary in the series, many hoops were jumped before the project was completed; the house was later extended as the 2008 ‘Revisited’ programme revealed.

The property is now on the market for £700,000 through Chesterton Humberts in Stamford, but to give an idea of the number that don’t become life-long homes, there’s also…

The Curved House, Clapham

4-bed house to rent in Clapham. Rental price: £1,900 per week. Morgan Randall: 0843 2822 080

This re-design was originally about providing more living space but became a Grand Designs classic due to the planning permission problems concerning a giant tree which resulted in the curved wall.

Earlier this year, the owners decided to put the property on the rental market. Ironically, they’d decided that the house was too big for them.

Brighton Modern Mansion

6-bed house for sale in Brighton. Asking price £3.5 million. Hamptons International: 0843 2816 026

A very contemporary design with outstanding countryside views.  This property featured on the show just last year, leading people to question why it was up for sale so soon after.

No takers so far despite it having been on the market for several months.

The Loch House

5-bed house for sale near Killearn. Asking price £1.5 million. Savills: 0843 2821 599

This Scottish house sits right on the edge of Loch Lomond so you can imagine the wonderful views from the double height glass windows.

It’s another fairly recent one having featured on the programme in 2008, and again, it’s been lingering on the market for a while.

July 23, 2010 at 10:54 AM 4 comments

Why is a Brighton Grand Design being sold so soon?

Fans of Channel 4 TV show Grand Designs will recognise this super-shiny new modernist home in Brighton, which featured on our screens in April last year. But I’m surprised it’s on the market – for £3.5 million – quite so soon as I had thought the creators – local couple Barry and Julie Surtees – were going to live in the thing rather than sell it off.

The sale is also a surprise given the levels of pain the couple went through  in front of the Channel 4 cameras (and Kevin McCloud’s withering wit) to get the project finished.

But is it a liveable space? I have to admit that many of these ultra-clever, uber-contemporary properties leave me a bit cold – they just don’t seem particularly homely – but there are some pleasingly quirky elements that do tickle my Bauhaus-style fancy.

Take the fourth-floor living area called ‘the pod’, for example, with its brightly coloured, super-sized sofas and that motorbike on the wall; although I’m not sure if Kevin McCloud would have approved of such ‘mass market’ frivolity.

But it’s the wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows that I really love – and I’m astonished that Surtees can bear to leave those incredible views behind.

For more information, call Hamptons International (Brighton and Hove) on 0843 2816 026.

February 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM 7 comments

Five To View: Architect Designed Properties

For a home with the wow factor, it’s hard to beat a bespoke architect designed property.

We’ve found some fantastic examples from our listings but it’s worth bearing in mind that architects are there for everyone and not just for the grandest of designs.

Indeed, it’s thanks to the popularity of TV personalities like Kevin McCloud and George Clarke that more and more ‘normal’ people are opting to commission an architect to design or improve their home these days. Fine work, chaps.

Here are five of our favourite architectural creations from our current listings:

(Click on pics for more images & property details)

1. London SW8



2. London SW19



3. Esher, Surrey



4. Orpington, Kent



5. Bath



November 19, 2009 at 5:56 PM 2 comments

Kevin McCloud’s HAB Scheme Gets Green Light

News reaches us today that Kevin McCloud’s development company HAB (Happiness Architecture Beauty) has been granted planning permission for a 42-unit housing scheme in Swindon.

The Triangle, as it’s called, will be developed in partnership with housing group GreenSquare and should be completed by the end of 2010.

What kind of steel and glass eco-friendly extravaganza will Kev unleash on the good people of Swindon?

Err … well … look … not sure how to tell all you Grand Designs dreamers this, but Kev’s first effort is built around a village green and is based on a terrace of railway cottages in Swindon Old Town (pic below).


I quote:

The scheme consists of two and two-and-a-half storey terraces containing two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes around a central village green.

The architectural expression is deliberately low-key, deriving its character from perfect proportions, carefully-defined details, and high-quality execution.

Hmmmm. If Kev could be cloned and Kev#2 was asked to walk around this development in a hard hat and deliver his thoughts to camera I suspect he’d probably say something like this:

“Contextual sensitivity is admirable and this development, drawing on a very traditional template, is trying very hard indeed to blend in with its surroundings.

“But this project has some big questions to answer. At what point does sensitivity become timidity? At what point does homage become pastiche?

“And is it really possible to pull off this delicate balancing act without ending up with something like … well, Poundbury?”

Cue theme music. Cut to ad break. Await denoument and final judgement.




October 15, 2009 at 5:22 PM Leave a comment

Grand Designs: Earthships Genius saves lives

Anyone see Grand Designs last night? We’ve written about Earthships – homes made from tyres filled with rammed earth – several times in the past so it was interesting to see the process in action.

The couple involved said they wouldn’t get planning permission for this in Britain, but there is a development of Earthships planned in Brighton. Has it been scrapped, we wonder?

The Daddy of all Earthship developments is in Taos, New Mexico where Mike Reynolds, the wild eyed, long haired visionary who invented the off-grid tyre house, still lives.

British director Oliver Hodge recently made a brilliant documentary – Garbage Warrior - about Reynolds, an intense and driven character who rages apocalyptically in the desert like some denim-clad refugee from Woodstock.

Reynolds fought an epic battle with the local planners to build his eco-outpost, had his architecture licence taken away, and finally gained acceptance when he built homes for tsunami victims on the Andaman Islands.

He’s a contradictory, inspiring, and at times heroic figure, but he’s definitely not given to eco orthodoxies:

“If humanity takes the planet down the tubes … I’m dead! I’m just trying to save my own ass. And that’s a powerful force!”

Not quite on message with Friends of the Earth there, Mike …

Tearing down the highway on his motorbike, raging against government interference, building with old car parts  … this is an eco warrior you can actually imagine Jeremy Clarkson getting along with – and there aren’t too many of those in the world!

February 26, 2009 at 3:08 PM 2 comments

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