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Kevin McCloud webchat - Monday 20th June - 1 - 2 pm

(234 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 16-Jun-11 10:09:15

He's been at the top of our webchat wish list for too long, so we're v excited to announce that we'll be joined next Monday (20th June) by Kevin McCloud who'll be answering your questions between 1 and 2 pm.

Designer, property developer, writer, eco-campaigner and television presenter, Kevin is best known for the Channel 4 series, Grand Designs. Kevin has a strong interest in sustainable building and his company Hab Housing's core aim is to construct beautiful, environmentally friendly housing. He's joining us in his role as ambassador for the Great British Refurb Campaign, which is committed to rallying the Government and business to help make every home in Britain as energy efficient as possible. The campaign is supported by Knauf Insulation, which has provided all the insulation products used in the campaign's eco-refurbishments to date.

Kevin is happy to answer questions on how you can green-up your home and eco-home design as well as chatting about his life as a campaigner, designer and broadcaster. So whilst we try to spruce up MNHQ, you put the date in your diaries to join us on the 20th. If you're not around at 1pm, please send your questions to Kevin in advance to this thread.

Fimbo Thu 16-Jun-11 10:10:48

Woo!! He is fab.

GentleOtter Thu 16-Jun-11 10:36:23

Hello and welcome, Kevin,

Is there such a products as paint on insulation?

And can brazenly ask for a kiss as it is my birthday on the 20th? smile

Thank you

HarrietJones Thu 16-Jun-11 10:39:56

Woohoo good choice MNHQ. Need to go away & think of a question now...

Hi Kevin

Love, love, love Grand Designs.

As an architect, which project did you most look forward to going back to visit?

I always remember the couple in Belfast who basically dug away the hill behind their house to make that amazing property, the wood man, whose house was amazing, and the older lady down south who built a house made of polystyrene blocks in her garden.

These people had such vision and passion for their projects - it must have been great to go back and see them living in something they had created?

ajandjjmum Thu 16-Jun-11 11:44:13

Wow - this is a good one. I think DH will be signing up to MN!!

GD is one of the few programmes that everyone in the family will watch together.

shock Oooh Kevin, I might be a little bit in love with you blush

No questions, that was all grin

aristocat Thu 16-Jun-11 12:03:35

hello Kevin - i love Grand Designs and you are amazing

can i ask is your house a Grand Design? grin

TheCrackFox Thu 16-Jun-11 12:09:37

I love Grand Designs.

Have you ever thought some of the Grand Design houses were utterly horrible but were to polite to say?

Indith Thu 16-Jun-11 12:10:29

<<swoon>>

I love Kevin. I adore that he speaks different languages too and makes an effort with those that he doesn't speak, it is so, so refreshing to see that on television. I always come over all of a flutter when he is in France or Italy and chatting away.

A question, what can you do to insulate a loft conversion? Our loft bedroom is a fairly normal loft conversion with run around storage. It is freezing, absolutely freezing in winter and of course boiling hot in summer. What can be done (cheaply!) to make it a usable space?

Spirael Thu 16-Jun-11 12:13:01

Awesome! grin And it's even on one of the days I have off from work next week, in order to do various DIY projects around the house and garden.

I'll be back! [watches thread]

Fimbo Thu 16-Jun-11 14:19:52

Which Grand Designs house is your favourite? Did the couple ever finish the barge near Rochester?

Do you style yourself? At this point do I admit buying my dh TNF McMurdo parka because of yours? <[blush}>

Fimbo Thu 16-Jun-11 14:20:06

blush

SoloIsAHotCougar Thu 16-Jun-11 14:53:59

Oooh! another GD's fan here!

I have not had my loft insulated because I have no storage space as it is, so to lose the loft as well...? no!! I also have passed on cavity wall insulation and incidentally, my Mum's house has never been colder since she had her's done and she's had cold/flu over and over since then. Coincidence?

I was wondering about the possibility in the future of having a third bedroom put on top of my single storey extension, but instead of a brick/block structure, I was thinking of a conservatory type of thing. Not sure if that would be environmentally more friendly than the traditional type and whether I'd end up freezing cold/boiling hot in the weather extremes. What are your thoughts please?

Eek how exciting! grin

DH and I loved watching your Grand Tour of Europe and are generally in awe of your talents grin

I would like to know what your favourite moment of that trip was, and my DH would like to know who made the suit you wore to film a lot of it because he covets one smile

Hi Kevin,

I live in a fairly eco friendly house in Switzerland with under floor heating and a system that burns woodpellets and recycles the heat around the house through a venting system. Therefore, to conserve energy you keep the doors and windows closed.

The problem is is the humidy. At 8% it's practically non existant! Our first winter in the house caused the family and the majority of guests respiratory problems. Our natural skin rugs are cracking and drying and an Indian dining table now has a large crevice running through the centre as it dried out.

Something we didn't even think about moving from wet and wonderful Wilts!

It's an open plan house, so to have humidifiers running would be costly, we'd need some pretty large scale numbers of them to cover each storey, and really defies the whole enery saving ethos.

Do you have any suggestions to improving humidity naturally, or in an energy saving (and money saving) format?

I'd be really keen to hear your thoughts. Thanks also for a very enjoyable program, what makes it special are the relationships you form with the home owners, and the passion you exude over the projects undertaken.

MardyBra Thu 16-Jun-11 16:04:14

Yay! Thinking women's crumpet!

chocoholic Thu 16-Jun-11 16:38:37

Another serious crush on Kevin here too blush

If I build a house, can I share a bottle of wine with you?

Ooh Kevin, you are lovely blush

My silly question is: Why does every family you visit get upduffed as soon as you start filming?

My serious question is: What would you build if you could?

GooGooGadget Thu 16-Jun-11 17:09:01

missB are you suggesting that Kevin might have some involvement wink

<plans grand design>

HarrietJones Thu 16-Jun-11 17:33:15

Missbeehiving- I was holding back on that question!

I would like to know if the one at Windermere ever got finished. We went looking for it but didn't find it.

Kevin- do you prefer the restoration 'Grand Designs' or the new builds?
Cheeky second question- how do you stay so tactful when people are making mistakes/ignoring advice?

shock

<examines dampcourse>

mousymouse Thu 16-Jun-11 18:03:49

hi kevin,
heving lived in germany where there are minimum requirements for buildings (e.g. storage space for prams/wheelchairs, halls wide enough for pushchairs, very small rooms not declared as bedrooms...)
would you be in favour of such regulation in the UK?

tbh I was quite shocked looking at properties and finding that the small 'bedroom' sometimes doesn't fit a standard single bed...

mousymouse Thu 16-Jun-11 18:07:40

unfortunately I have to pretend to work on monday, but I love grand designs, especially the environmental friendly houses.

vintageteacups Thu 16-Jun-11 18:12:48

Hi Kevin - DH and I absolutely love the programme and we're off to live in Suffolk (where we notice you've had numerous Grand Designs -is there a reason for that?) in a few weeks time but when we return to lovely Northants, we'll be doing a mini Grand Design, extending our house to provide a two storey kitchen and master bedroom extension.

My question is......

The master bedroom will have a vaulted ceiling and long velux windows but I wanted to know (as lighting is your speciality), what do you think makes the ideal bedroom lighting? I want to make lighting the statement feature of the room without compromising on energy saving ideas.

Once end will mainly be seating in front of frnech doors and a dressing area and the other for sleeping so will need lighting that works for both uses.

Thanks and I hope Grand Designs keeps on going for long into the future, smile

bluebump Thu 16-Jun-11 18:16:10

I love Grand Designs too, i've seen a couple of the finished buildings too - Shaldon and Exmouth I think they were. I also saw you at Bristol airport once waiting for someone in arrivals but my other half wouldn't let me come over and say hello grin

Sorry, no actual question that I can think of yet!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 16-Jun-11 18:17:42

my question is do you sleep with random women who post on mumsnet and think you are scrummy .

madwomanintheattic Thu 16-Jun-11 18:18:15

oo binful, that's a good one - we have similar humidity issues since moving to southern alberta and i am peering sadly at my dining table and church pew that are cracking sad

my house does appear to be fairly green. at least, the chipmunk and five squirrels that moved in two weeks ago seem to think so. clearly they don't enjoy underfloor heating outside hmm i'd love to come up with a question involving grand design's wildlife-proof roofing, but suspect it would fail the wildlife corridor building specs. <sigh>

so i'll wait for binful's q to be answered instead, and swoon mildly. <points upthread>

EggyAllenPoe Thu 16-Jun-11 18:19:54

mousy the Uk has extensive regulation for new builds.. see here for a guide.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 16-Jun-11 18:20:51

My next serious question is . I went to the grand Design house in coa[sta Blanca . The one with the massive windows and the two pools . I think they were South African . Well it really loooks amazing after it was finished . They run it as a sporting centre now . Any way back to the point . why did you not like it . ?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 16-Jun-11 18:22:47

ok I have just read that I am only allowed one question so I think I will stick to the first one thanks , lol

EggyAllenPoe Thu 16-Jun-11 18:23:28

do you think UK planning law is too restrictive and actually leads to substandard housing development due to the high cost in time & money of obtaining permissions for even small-scale projects?

EggyAllenPoe Thu 16-Jun-11 18:25:08

..and that this results in high-density developments as well as a housing shortage?

EggyAllenPoe Thu 16-Jun-11 18:29:38

i think MNHQ knew it was my half birthday.

herhonesty Thu 16-Jun-11 18:34:05

Dear Kevin please settle a real hot topic on MN for us. is it worth paying the extra for premium paints (F&B, Fired earth, Little greene) or just as good getting the colour matched and saving the money....

oldgreybird Thu 16-Jun-11 18:40:44

I have noticed that most of the homes in Grand Designs seem to have hardly any books - if any. Is that really the case or do the people stuff them in cupboards away from the cameras so their arid, bare interiors don't get spoilt?! I can only think of one home that seemed to have loads of them. And why don't you ever comment when you are talking in some of the finished homes about how the sound is so hard and echoey. You just stand there with the people and you can hear it is cavernous - how do they find living with it like that? Is is something they had even thought about when choosing so many hard surfaces and having hardly any wood, fabric, artworks (or books!) to dampen it?

CroissantNeuf Thu 16-Jun-11 18:48:39

We (as a family) love Grand Designs and have a couple of questions:

-we love your 'demonstration' in each episode (you know...when you pick up a bit of wood, a nearby mug and another random object to demonstrate how a roof will/won't work). Do you yourself come up with the ideas for them and do you have fun inventing and filming them?

-11 yr old DD loves Grand Designs and would love to be an architect as a result. Is it a career that you would recommend? Or is it a role thats going to completely change over the next 7-10 years?

(PS - we saw you and your film crew in the same beach front cafe/bar as us in Falmouth 2 years ago -did you have a good lunch? wink)

franke Thu 16-Jun-11 18:57:31

FIMBO - that houseboat was in the news recently here. Quite sad.

franke Thu 16-Jun-11 19:02:52

My question for Kevin: Do all the houses you follow for Grand Designs make it into the series or are some so bad or dull that they are, in the end, not deemed worthy of an hour on C4?

My favourite was the house in the forest - I never tire of watching that episode. Also liked the Lutyens water tower. Oh and the carpenter guy who built the two houses in a back yard in S London somewhere. I don't like the ones where money is no object.

iklboo Thu 16-Jun-11 19:35:40

Do you deliberately pick 'eco' house builds because you know they'll go three trillion quid over budget?

ellisbell Thu 16-Jun-11 19:38:52

apologies if this is too specific but - I've been wondering about having some of the panels that generate electricity for the roof. However after the very dry spring we've had some cracks appear making me concerned about possible movement. How heavy are these panels and would that much extra weight on the roof make much difference? Wouldn't be able to have lots, maybe one line about 40 feet in length, near the ridge. What do you think of A frames in the garden, are they a realistic option? Are solar tiles much more expensive?

OnlyWantsOne Thu 16-Jun-11 19:39:25

Oh my god. I have a HUGE irrational crush on him.

Purplelooby Thu 16-Jun-11 20:31:50

VERY obsessed with Grand Designs - how to pick one question only? Hang on, that wasn't my question...

I'd like to know - has there been any house that went so disasterously wrong that you had didn't manage to air the show? If so I'd like to hear all about it - it'll make me feel better about my own home improvements smile

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 16-Jun-11 21:01:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GD is mashed potato in our house. Truly comfort viewing, in fact it has inspired DD1 to become an architect.

<<watches bank balance dwindle>>

What we'd like to ask Kevin, is, when you are elucidating so eloquently about some injudicious creations, do you actually just want to smither a snort at some of the ridiculousness that truly abounds? If so, please can you put an outtake show together, showing the giggles and hmm faces.

TIA.

madwomanintheattic Thu 16-Jun-11 21:28:00

blooming gophers. we had one living under the porch a few year's back and the dog scraped all the fur off her nose from spending the entire day rubbing it against concrete. the vet thought she had some sort of skin cancer. <sigh>
i did hear an urban myth that someone in the village had a gopher obstacle course on the lawn, and used to position the obstacles right above the holes and sit with a camera and wait...

i've got my very own grand design going on to patch up the holes we bashed in the wall to get the critters out though. grin much as i love squirrels, when they are climbing up your ironing board and you're mildly alarmed about the possibility of rabies, they become less desirable...

january29 Thu 16-Jun-11 21:36:10

Love Grand designs, so many favourite houses its harder to choose which would be my favourite....

But my question is what is your house like? Did you build it yourself?

MavisGrind Thu 16-Jun-11 22:46:21

Another one here who loves GD.

Kevin, what do you think about the fact that seemingly no matter how unique the properties look from the outside, the interiors seem to be increasingly samey and <kevinesque pause> well, dull?

(from someone who is currently renting an open-plan-white-space-thing and who finds it a bit souless)

FannyFifer Thu 16-Jun-11 22:49:21

Big grand designs fan here. :-)
Remember the house where they built a swimming pool right in the middle of it, was so dark and dingy and just seemed sooooo wrong. How do you manage to stay so diplomatic about it all.
Liked your programme that was in India and u were staying in the slum, really interesting. Did you honestly stay all night in the rat house, and what I really want to know is where you went to the loo??

SandyChick Thu 16-Jun-11 23:29:48

Hi Kevin. We're huge fans of both you and the show in our house. We're hoping to make it to GD Live in October. My husband especially is a big fan of yours- he even has the 'McMurdo'!!!

Are you/have you filmed the next series?? Also, I have a request if that's ok?? Could you give a 'shout out' to my husband Stephen please? He's in afghan at the moment. He'd love it if you could say hi. Thanks smile

NunTheWiser Fri 17-Jun-11 01:05:51

shock
Hi Kevin, what's been your favourite moment in GD so far? DH and I still think that the French builders reversing down the drive at breakneck speed away from the ski lodge to avoid the slightly loony English owner might be the funniest thing we have ever seen on the telly. grin
We moved to Australia last year and have really enjoyed the Grand Designs Australia series. Are there any of the builds featured on this series that stand out for you?

Anteater Fri 17-Jun-11 01:21:35

do you prefer the clash or the orchestral version of the magnificent seven?
What is the one thing you would like builders to change during construction?
What is your perfect tent?

bethelbeth Fri 17-Jun-11 02:11:45

Hello Kevin smile I have a nice topical query for you that might help a lot of folk out in this current financial climate:

We've bought a house from a company that went into administration, and so did the necessary hellish struggle to find another company to finish it etc.

We got a lot more house for our money but the finish is just not up to the standards of the original company that went bust and the company that took on the work (very reputable and well thought of) are trying to wash their hands of it all.

It could work out as another big expense for us that we hadn't accounted for if they don't fix their errors.(eg: scratched windows, hideous not to spec fireplace,cheap fittings, chipped woodwork, horrible fitted wardrobes that weren't requested, radiators in odd places (right next to fireplace) )

When buying a new house I would have expected that all these things would be ironed out but we've been given no guarantee at all that anything will be fixed. In fact it's pretty much impossible to get to the bottom of who makes the decisions what with having to contact the administrators, the builders, the contractors and now finally the independent contractors who we've had to hire to fix everything.

In your opinion, should we just take it on the nose and be glad that we got a smashing property cheaper than we should have in the first place or do you think it's worth persevering with? The new builders are basically saying that as they weren't the original architects/builders etc that they have nothing to do with any of it.

Also- all of this is your bloody fault as we are Grand Designs addicts. Shame on you!grin

Pinkjenny Fri 17-Jun-11 10:21:29

sigh I love Kevin.

<<no valuable input whatsoever>>

GetOrf Fri 17-Jun-11 10:46:52

I love Grand Designs and I am a huge fan - it is pretty much on constantly on More 4 and me and DP watch it all the time.

It is a truly excellent show, despite disagreeing fundamentally with some of the designs you never sneer or look down on the housebuilders. DP is a builder and holds you in high esteem.

Question - which is your all time favourite house design, whether from actual innovative design of the house, or because the people were so lovely. My favourites are the young couple who converted what was a 30s electricity sub station and did all the work theirselves, and also the lovely man who built a house in the middle of a wood.

Also, I am hugely interested in architecture, your Grand Tour programme was excellent. What i would love to watch would be a sort of UK architecture through the ages programme, going from old settlements, normans, medieaval cuildings and churches, tudor, jacobean, grand georgian structure, regency, victorian, edrwardian, modern day. I would love that.

GetOrf Fri 17-Jun-11 10:47:11

shameful crush here as well

Pinkjenny Fri 17-Jun-11 10:52:37

My favourite was the episode where the husband died, which is a little morbid <<gets all choked up>>

The house was so beautiful and so bright.

crispyseaweed Fri 17-Jun-11 14:11:09

Hi Kevin,
Really enjoy Grand Designs, havnt got any questions for you as I rent a house, but just want to say you are a fantastic presenter and a really nice person who clearly exudes bundles of good vibes.
Best Wishes
Jenny

EssexBonBon Fri 17-Jun-11 15:09:49

Hi Kev,

Why is conserving energy top of everyone's agenda but my sister-in-law was not allowed to replace single glazed timber windows with new double glazed wooden ones? From her point of view, the builder and the architects they looked the same but as they are in a conservation area, article 4, they had to keep the existing. Seem nuts!

My husband is in the timber window business so I get to hear about this all the time.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:26:30

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:27:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Fimbo Fri 17-Jun-11 15:43:47

Hey stop spamming Kevin's thread. angry. You need to pay to advertise on MN. Have reported.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Fri 17-Jun-11 16:30:32

My question is... would you marry me?

[Damn, I think I have just proposed to a married man blush]

redhappy Fri 17-Jun-11 16:37:06

Hi Kevin
I have just got a tv after a few years without one, and I'm totally addicted to Grand Designs.

I'm a newly single parent on a low income, and I'm VERY excited about the houses you are building very close by me in Stroud. My question is how do I get one?! Is there a list I can join or criteria I need to fill?

spowell Fri 17-Jun-11 17:14:03

Hi Kevin,

Big fans of the show andwanted to ask: We live in a two bedroom terrace and the loft is our main storage space. I’m considering insulating it as I’ve heard how much I can potentially save on energy bills but I’m concerned that I’ll lose my main storage area if I do. Do you have any advice?

Baronetdawntigga Fri 17-Jun-11 17:30:45

::Gushes quietly::

What is the single mistake that people who self build continually make (apart from under estimating the budget and generally being muppets who shouldn't be let near a hammer)?

BTW Mr Tigga and I went and had a look at La Maison De Paille as it was affectionately known by the French postman we asked directions of, we thought it faced the other way the views were stunning but we though it faced the other way and would be bigger. Mr and Mrs Sampson were out so we had a quick nosey outside left wink

Mr Tigga has a question - he'd like to know the area in France you think is best value to buy in land wise.

It'sNOTASecondQuestionAsIt'sFromMrTiggaTiggaxx

Zizo Fri 17-Jun-11 17:42:12

Hi Kevin,
Secondary double glazing for older properties, cheaper, flexible, far more aesthetic, no loss of original fabric, reversible, and draft proof, so why is this not being promoted instead of Upvc replacement glazing? Who are the best suppliers? Is this a gap in the low carbon/heritage market? Discusshttp://www.mumsnet.com/te/1.gif

Thanks Kevin.
Keep up the good work and I'll talk lime mortar with you next time! www.mumsnet.com/te/4.gif

Spirael Fri 17-Jun-11 18:32:06

I can't believe no-one has asked this yet... What's your favourite biscuit, Kevin? grin

QuintessentialShadow Fri 17-Jun-11 18:37:53

Kevin, I have done one self build beyond the arctic circle, do you want to follow in the footsteps of Michael Palin, come to Tromsø and document my next project?

I want to build a plumbing-free cottage/summerhouse overlooking the fjords, with no connection to mains electricity, and with an incinerating toilet, etc. grin

Hi Kevin, we love GD and you in this house, I have lots I would love to ask, as we have been doing up our house for what feels like forever and are still not finished , with lots of major structural work to do, and plans to buy somewhere else as soon as it is done, however the burning question my husband would like to ask is:

Have you ever felt the urge to roar loudly 'I am Kevin McCloud of the clan McCloud, AND I AM IMMORTAL!!'

(I married a highlander fan) blush

Al0uiseG Fri 17-Jun-11 21:39:50

What would you consider a fair price per square metre for a single story extension? Dh thinks that it should be between £750 - £1250 tops but our numerous quotes start at around £1600 and go up to £3000. None of them want to break down the labour costs either! Is that acceptable?

tropicalfish Fri 17-Jun-11 23:17:33

My favorite grand design program was the chap that built his house out of hay bales built in the forest.
This was probably best for style but not for comfort or luxury.
What did you think was the best grand designs home for homely comfort?

GetOrf Fri 17-Jun-11 23:51:52

Lovely photo of you on the MN homepage...

Do you realise Kevin that you are crush-fodder for an alarming number of women? grin

xiaojoiii Sat 18-Jun-11 01:46:06

Message deleted

SoloIsAHotCougar Sat 18-Jun-11 02:44:48

Spam, spam, spam, spam. <said in the appropriate Monty Python voice and tone etc>

CountThalim Sat 18-Jun-11 08:30:52

Grand Dresigns has done a couple of series abroad (either chasing mad ex-pats, or the Aussies) do you find that it is easier to build a Grand Design abroad than in the UK?

And not just for the fact that Greece and Italy have... interesting planning permission rules.

CT

HarrietJones Sat 18-Jun-11 08:51:54

question from dh(well DawnTigga did it wink)

Do you feel that more empty properties should be compulsory purchased and renovated/sold for renovation? We're watching a few local empty (listed) buildings fall to bits.

GeorgeEliot Sat 18-Jun-11 11:02:20

Kevin - I would like to ask you how green is your own house? In particular how do you heat it, and do you have solar pv or any other form of microgeneration?

We try to live low-carbon, live in a 400-year old stone farmhouse and although it's not listed, I'm really unsure about spoiling the look of it with solar panels. Have original flagstone floors too so underfloor heating not an option. WWYD?

xiaojree Sat 18-Jun-11 13:11:30

Message deleted

MapofTassie Sat 18-Jun-11 13:28:45

Kevin - DH has a man-crush wonders if you will ever come to Australia? We live in country Tasmania and our architect/builder is going to be on the Aussie Grand Designs, so DH's dream is to have you and Matty (our builder) in the same room to chew the fat/shoot the breeze etc.
He also asks: does North Face send you free jackets as you seem to prefer the brand?

missmartha Sat 18-Jun-11 14:10:39

Is it greener to use a so called 'green' insulation product such as sheep's wool, hemp, insulating fibre board etc.in smaller quantities where space is limited or is it better to use a modern high grade insulation product?

I'm thinking here of a product such as Celotex that gives you a much higher insulation value for a given thickness.

People seem to shy a way from products like Celotex because they seem less eco-friendly, but they are much more efficient insulators.

Are you better off saving more energy or saving less and using a more environmentally friendly product to do it?

Cheers

OOAOML Sat 18-Jun-11 14:50:50

Do you ever look at the vast expanses of glass and steel built by couples with small children and shudder at the thought of endlessly wiping off fingerprints?

Bundlesmum Sat 18-Jun-11 16:00:31

Hi Kevin
I inherited my mother's house smile and have rented it out to some tenants. They complained over the winter that it’s cold and expensive to heat sad They are threatening to move out before next winter and they are good tenants. The house is draughty and it’s really difficult to keep warm. What can I do that’s not too pricey that will keep the place warm with the costs of heating lower than they are now?

Sophie31 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:38:49

Hello Kevin,
I live in a large Victorian property, but it costs a fortune to heat. I'd like to get solid wall insulation installed but I don't want to risk destroying all of the beautiful internal features.
Is there anything I can do so that they remain in-tact?

Sophie31 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:43:57

Hi Kevin.
Another question for you. I love watching Grand Designs, it really inspires me to carry out improvements to my own home but I don't have a Grand Designs budget! Is there any financial help available to help me make affordable eco home improvements?

noddyholder Sat 18-Jun-11 17:50:08

Hello Kevin I love Grand Designs! I renovate houses and when we are at the demolition site stage I love to put on the hard hat and pretend to be you!grin I can do the voice and everything. What I especially like is that you seem unimpressed with high tech gizmos and people with lots of cash and are more excited by authenticity and just lovely people The guy in the woods and the couple in Lot spring to mind.

sveganss Sat 18-Jun-11 20:06:23

Hello Kevin
I live in a lovely old characterful house and would like to stay put, but am having to seriously consider moving (if funds allowed my dream would be to build a traditional style mud and stud or straw bale house, but cannot imagine even affording a plot!). After the last harsh winter I am dreading the next winter - we have oil ch (no gas nearby), solid walls and only 1/5th of the windows double glazed. Oil is too expensive to keep the house warm but no spare money to improve insulation. Even if oil were cheaper or my pockets deeper, to keep the house warm would be producing tonnes of CO2 emissions. From my research into heat pump systems (again unaffordable!) it seems that the building needs to be fully insulated for them to work efficiently. There must be SO many households in the same position - especially the elderly. Any advice would be hugely welcome!!

outnumbered2to1 Sat 18-Jun-11 22:35:46

I absolutely love Grand Designs and in fact was enjoying a discussion about the best ones today at a family birthday party. (Ben's house in the woods was voted the best with the tyre house in france a close second and the castle in Italy third). I have to ask though which is your favourite of all the builds?

(oh dear god - i am now public banning myself OFF my laptop on Monday as it is certain i will make an arse of myself by declaring undying love and the desire to have his babies)

xiaojdd Sun 19-Jun-11 01:08:11

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xiaojdd Sun 19-Jun-11 01:08:28

Message deleted

expatinscotland Sun 19-Jun-11 01:10:55

I read this title first as Kevin McKidd. I got all excited. Sorry. grin

poppyandsneeze Sun 19-Jun-11 06:01:54

Hi Kevin,

I enjoy watching your programme 'Grand Designs' where you often help out families who are struggling with their house build. I wonder if you can offer some advice to us:

We spent a fortune on placing a new septic tank and water treatment in the garden this year.

We have just found out that the Water board are now looking into whether or not it would be possible to dig up our garden to lay a water mains down the back garden. (to save them having to dig up all the country roads).

This pipe would obviously cause problems with the pipe laid for our septic tank and own drainage pipes for our run off. We also have an oil tank at the side of the house - so this would cause problems with putting in their mains pipe.

What can we do it object about their possible plans ? We just don't know what to do. We understand that if the Water board decide, then they can just do it, and we won't have any choice. Our dream house that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives in,is turning out to be a nightmare!!

Thank you for looking at my question, and I hope you can give me some ideas.

xiaosww Sun 19-Jun-11 12:17:41

Message deleted

BoffinMum Sun 19-Jun-11 13:17:36

Hello Kevin,

In a throwaway remark on a TV trailer a while back you said that the last time you were happy was when you were in Italy, a long time ago.

Now that is a very sad state of affairs, Kevin, and we hope to cheer you up on here. grin In the meantime, could you share with us any salacious or other details about what made you so happy, as we are all gagging for the rest of the story now.

Ta muchly,
Boff x

oricella Sun 19-Jun-11 14:21:55

Hello Kevin, I fully support the refurb campaign, but outgrowing our small terrace we've opted to build a new super-insulated home. An important thought behind our new house is for it to be just the right size to fit us all comfortably, to feel spacious, but to avoid being too big for the sake of design (and cost I admit!). I really shudder at so called ecohouses that have 200+ square meters of space and are stuffed with gadgets and houses just 2 people.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on our ever increasing need for space; should there be a limit (at least morally) to the amount of house a person could occupy both for the sake of the environment and a society where housing is often in short supply? How much house is enough? And have your experiences in Dharavi made a difference in some way you view some of the issues raised above?

many thanks

timetomoveon Sun 19-Jun-11 17:50:19

Dear Kevin

You are lovely.

That is all. (I just wish I could have thought of an intelligent question)

jimswifein1964 Sun 19-Jun-11 21:04:28

Kevin, do you have a foolproof way of making everything fit/look swish in a teeny tiny bathroom? We would love a shower, but it just wont fit, unless it covers half the window hmm
<asking the impossible, but you are a genius>

Eaglebird Sun 19-Jun-11 23:06:52

Hi Kevin.

I believe you have a biomass boiler. Can I ask what type (log / pellet / woodchip) and whether you're happy with it please?
I'm about to have a pellet boiler system installed (Solarfocus Pellet Top) and am quite excited about it.
Hopefully I'll be even more excited when the government finalises the details of the RHI payments smile
I'd love to see more publicity about biomass systems in the popular media.

Regards.
Eaglebird

RTKangaMummy Sun 19-Jun-11 23:34:30

Hello Kevin

GD is DEFFO BRILL

smilesmilesmile

Have you got a recomendation for a starter book on extending your house please?

Or a website?

smile

xiaojwww Mon 20-Jun-11 02:36:24

Message deleted

xiaojwww Mon 20-Jun-11 02:36:36

Message deleted

KateMiddletonsMum Mon 20-Jun-11 07:23:49

Hi. My question is about solar panels on the roof of our south facing semi.
Should we get them! Is it really worth it?
Are they an eyesore?
Will it affect re-sale value of house?
Do i need planning permission?
Can they be fitted around a Velux which DH hasn't put in yet
Thanks!

quercus100 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:26:09

My 13 year-old son is dyslexic and very keen to become an architect. I have heard that dyslexics make good architects as they are great at spatial awareness. Is this true?

Baronetdawntigga Mon 20-Jun-11 08:35:56

Mumsnet - can't you block this idiots IP address or something?

ReallyTiredOfTheSpamTiggaxx

BupcakesandCunting Mon 20-Jun-11 09:18:19

Hello Kevin, <swoon>

We really, really loved your Grand Tour of Europe and were sad when it ended! Please tell us that you're planning on doing something similar in the not-too-distant?

P.S Any chance of a signed book for my birthday tomorrow? wink

AtYourCervix Mon 20-Jun-11 10:49:14

Hello Kevin.

Is there any hope for a 1980s red brick box furnished entirely from Ikea?

How can I make it grand? I really want a 16th century manor.

BupcakesandCunting Mon 20-Jun-11 11:00:20

AtYourCervix grin

StillSquiffy Mon 20-Jun-11 11:11:23

Having read an interview where I'm sure you mentioned that when you engaged in new conversations, you sometimes wished people could talk to you about something other than bloody houses.......my question for you is.... given your professed love of all things French, have you ever considered moving there permanently and if so, do you have a view on the educational system your children would experience versus the UK system?

<secret stalker emoticon>

kittykitty Mon 20-Jun-11 11:16:32

AIBU to be every so slightly irritated by these government campaigns (whilst still loving Kevin obvs) They always seem to suggest we're all mad not to want to insulate our homes and make them more energy efficient, but they don't seem to take into account how incredibly expensive it can be. I'd love not to have the wind whistling through our Victorian terraced house, but I simply don't have the £2k it costs to replace each individual wooden sash window. Maybe if there were more grants available, they'd get more people signing up.

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 11:34:24

How can you properly insulate a loft which is hoaching with bats?

DiNammic Mon 20-Jun-11 11:35:27

Bonjour Kevin!
are you sponsored by NOrth face

BoffinMum Mon 20-Jun-11 12:12:19

I thought I would follow on with another question. Kevin, for those of us doomed to living surrounded by Privet Drive style architecture in thin-walled, slightly naff houses built by greedy developers in the 1980s and 1990s, land of the pastiche Victorian door handle, the stippled pastel bathroom tile, and the fake marble kitchen worktop, what can we possibly do to improve our lot, given the current financial climate? sad

Indith Mon 20-Jun-11 12:30:17

He is coming soon! Do you think he can see me? Do I need to get changed? Apply some make-up? I have a cold, what if I sneeze in his face?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-Jun-11 12:34:32

Kevin,

I want to extend our 3 bed semi so we have more living space. Only have one kid so we don't need another bedroom.

I just want to do a nice downstairs extension so we have a rear sitting room over the garden, nice high ceiling with window things in the roof. Hubby says we should extend upstairs as well but only benefit will be our main bedroom is bigger and the bathroom will be bigger. I think they're big enough already and can't face having to redo the bathroom. The two story extension will cost more but hubby says it will add more value to the house, I think he's wrong as we won't get an extra bedroom

We've been arguing for eight years about this, what should we do. Please, please help. If we do the two story extension I won't get the nice roof window thingys.

LynnCSchreiber Mon 20-Jun-11 12:39:33

Hello Kevin, welcome to MN.

I really enjoyed the Grand Designs Abroad series, as we live abroad (near Geneva) and it was interesting to see the problems that expats run into when they take their British mentality to a forrin building site.

The French chalet (with Monsieur Bastard) was great viewing, and I wondered if you knew if the chalet rental had been a success.

Do you still have a house in this area? and would you like to pop round for tea and scones the next time you are passing

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-11 13:04:43

So Kevin is here and just settling in. Fyi we've got 5 pairs of tickets to Grand Designs Live in Birmingham (in October) to give away during this chat. All you have to do is ask a question for Kevin and mail us at contactus@mumsnet.com saying you'd like a ticket. (Winners to be drawn from our hat) Nb Kevin promises to meet the winners in person!!!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-Jun-11 13:04:49

Where does the web chat take place, here?

Buddhastic Mon 20-Jun-11 13:05:04

Hi Kevin,
As we live abroad and box sets are our lifeline to decent TV and Grand Designs is our favourite. Thank you

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-Jun-11 13:05:26

Xpost

confused

Have I got the right place?

confused

Have I got the right place?

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:07:32

Hullo everyone!

franke Mon 20-Jun-11 13:08:30

Huzzah!!!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-Jun-11 13:08:42

Hi kevin

Indith Mon 20-Jun-11 13:08:50

<<swoon>>

Buddhastic Mon 20-Jun-11 13:09:05

Hi Kevin

Hullo right back!

<<swoons a little in an upright fashion>>

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:09:51

GentleOtter

Hello and welcome, Kevin,

Is there such a products as paint on insulation?

And can brazenly ask for a kiss as it is my birthday on the 20th? smile

Thank you

Hello GentleOtter Many happy returns! Sort of, but not sure I'd advise them. There are products available that are marketed as `insulated paint` however the improvement they offer in terms of heat- and money-saving when applied to an un-insulated wall is extremely small. Generally speaking the thicker the insulation the better, so a layer of paint isn't going to do very much.  I'm sure you already have but better to think about insulating the wall itself - simple roadmap. If you have cavity walls, fill them, if not, get an expert round to look at your solid walls as you may be able to insulate them inside or out. But, and its a big but, if you have an old building without a damp-proof course, be extremely cautious. X

GetOrf Mon 20-Jun-11 13:15:23

LOL at Monsieur Bastard, I had forgotten about him.

Hello Kevin <passes out like whippersnapper at beatles concert>

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:15:59

GentleOtter

How can you properly insulate a loft which is hoaching with bats?

Bats take presedence over human beings as residents of a building. My solution (forced on me by my ecological survey) was to build a bat loft within the roof space. It had separate entrances for different species of bat, it's lined with sarking board so they can hang and it has a heated reptile mat for long eared bats to reproduce. The pilates room is going in next week! The bat loft has a floor covered in building paper which can be collected up once a year with the droppings and the whole structure is suspended above the ceiling of the rooms below, allowing a 300mm void which is insulated with Earthwool Ecose loft roll

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:16:11

Indith

<<swoon>>

I love Kevin. I adore that he speaks different languages too and makes an effort with those that he doesn't speak, it is so, so refreshing to see that on television. I always come over all of a flutter when he is in France or Italy and chatting away.

A question, what can you do to insulate a loft conversion? Our loft bedroom is a fairly normal loft conversion with run around storage. It is freezing, absolutely freezing in winter and of course boiling hot in summer. What can be done (cheaply!) to make it a usable space?

Hi Indith , don't sneeze all over your laptop, if I were with you, I'd lend you my hanky.

If the ceiling to the roof has been finished off with plasterboard then unfortunately the only way of providing an efficient insulation solution is to take down the plasterboard, and then insulate. The roof construction itself will dictate how best to do that, maybe installing glass mineral wool between the rafters and then underling the rafters with a thermal laminate board. Or you could look at a multi-foil insulation which can fit in very small spaces. In summer, make sure you think about the ventilation you'll need - this could be as simple as opening windows on opposite sides of the building to make the air flow better. So I'm sorry but in all likelihood for a balmy year-round loft conversion you'll probably need to do some remedial work on the interiors as well.

carlywurly Mon 20-Jun-11 13:17:41

Hi Kevin, DP and I watched 3 episodes of GD back to back just this Saturday evening. That's how much we like it.. although the guy who tastelessly wrecked the ancient barns in Suffolk was absolutely horrid, and I really felt for his poor wife who didn't seem to get a say in anything.

Anyway, we were wondering, how many projects do you work on at one time?

And if you branch out into smaller projects, DP would like you to know that he is about to paint his all-white apartment in daring shades of colour. He would be happy to show you round grin Thanks

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:18:07

outnumbered2to1

I absolutely love Grand Designs and in fact was enjoying a discussion about the best ones today at a family birthday party. (Ben's house in the woods was voted the best with the tyre house in france a close second and the castle in Italy third). I have to ask though which is your favourite of all the builds?

(oh dear god - i am now public banning myself OFF my laptop on Monday as it is certain i will make an arse of myself by declaring undying love and the desire to have his babies)

My favourite is Ben Law in the woods. Why? because it was a film about a more sustainable way of life which mentioned the 's' word only once. And nothing went wrong. I'm a big fan of those projects where nothing goes wrong because building is hard enough anyway and always requires a degree of compromise. Problems just increase the number and degree of compromises. I'm just interested in projects that are exemplary and beautiful.

Can I just add, there is no way that you can get pregnant from taking part in this webinar.

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 13:18:16

<arrives late>

<faints with joy at being kissed>

Thank you.

grimreaper Mon 20-Jun-11 13:18:21

Can you recommend companies that use disabled friendly equipment. Such as kitchens and wardrobes aimed at wheelchair users? Do you have any tips for wheelchair users and storage systems? Thanks. We love your shows.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:19:02

SoloIsAHotCougar

Oooh! another GD's fan here!

I have not had my loft insulated because I have no storage space as it is, so to lose the loft as well...? no!! I also have passed on cavity wall insulation and incidentally, my Mum's house has never been colder since she had her's done and she's had cold/flu over and over since then. Coincidence?

I was wondering about the possibility in the future of having a third bedroom put on top of my single storey extension, but instead of a brick/block structure, I was thinking of a conservatory type of thing. Not sure if that would be environmentally more friendly than the traditional type and whether I'd end up freezing cold/boiling hot in the weather extremes. What are your thoughts please?

Hello SololsAHotCougar, this is the problem I've encountered on our housing scheme in Swindon. There, we are raising the height of the ceiling joists in the loft with a second layer of timber to accomodate the deeper insulation and then boarding out on top if that. An alternative would be to sling some timbers across the trusses and board out that area. You could add 270mm of glass mineral wool (100m between the joists and then 170mm laid at a right angle to the 1st layer), this can be done in conjunction with laying an extruded polystyrene boards such as Space Board around the loft hatch area and then laying chipboard on top of them. Or you can look down a natural materials route, like hemp or sheeps wool. Deeper joists would gives you an insulated loft space and a rigid secure platform to store your Christmas tree. But do run your idea past an engineer or surveyor to make sure you aren't overloading your roof structure. And make sure you leave room at the edges of the roof to let it breathe. 
 

HarrietJones Mon 20-Jun-11 13:19:30

<ingenious bat solution>

VenetiaLanyon Mon 20-Jun-11 13:20:05

Hello Kevin,

If you had to choose your own ultimate pad, would it be a) restored old house (e.g. Victorian/Georgian/older) b) barn / industrial building conversion c) brand new house of your own design? Would it have contemporary or antique furnishings, and where would it be?

Thanks smile

VenetiaLanyon Mon 20-Jun-11 13:20:48

Follow-up question; have you ever wanted to weep because of what some idiot has done to a perfectly lovely building?

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 13:21:50

Oooh! just logged in et voila! one of my question just answered!
Thank you very much Kevin! grin

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:23:04

DiNammic

Bonjour Kevin!
are you sponsored by North face

If only. I have about four North Face jackets and I've had to buy every one at full price. A rival of North Face did offer me some clothing a few months ago from there summer range. What good to me is that? I need insulation.

Indith Mon 20-Jun-11 13:24:09

Thank you Kevin.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:25:36

kittykitty

AIBU to be every so slightly irritated by these government campaigns (whilst still loving Kevin obvs) They always seem to suggest we're all mad not to want to insulate our homes and make them more energy efficient, but they don't seem to take into account how incredibly expensive it can be. I'd love not to have the wind whistling through our Victorian terraced house, but I simply don't have the £2k it costs to replace each individual wooden sash window. Maybe if there were more grants available, they'd get more people signing up.

This is very simple. The Green Deal (intended for launch Autumn 2012) is not yet even about devising the strategies for insulating our housing stock, right now it's about the funding mechanism so that homeowners do not pay anything upfront against the cost of eco refurbishing. If it works - and it could be the single most significant piece of legislation to green our homes - you will end up with a much higher performing home, a better internal air quality and cheaper energy bills. Essentially, it's a mechanism whereby your energy company or an investment company covers the cost and you invisibly repay them through your energy bill (which will still be cheaper!)

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:26:40

herhonesty

Dear Kevin please settle a real hot topic on MN for us. is it worth paying the extra for premium paints (F&B, Fired earth, Little greene) or just as good getting the colour matched and saving the money....

You simply get what you pay for. Generally speaking the more expensive the paint the more binder and the more pigment there is in it. Meaning that it will cover more, faster and to a better finish. But don't my word for it since I'm biased, ask any decorator.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-Jun-11 13:27:44

Kevin, do you think these companies offering solar panels which you have to pay for but you get cheaper energy bills and fit payments are worth it?

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:28:05

Zizo

Hi Kevin,
Secondary double glazing for older properties, cheaper, flexible, far more aesthetic, no loss of original fabric, reversible, and draft proof, so why is this not being promoted instead of Upvc replacement glazing? Who are the best suppliers? Is this a gap in the low carbon/heritage market? Discusshttp://www.mumsnet.com/te/1.gif

Thanks Kevin.
Keep up the good work and I'll talk lime mortar with you next time! www.mumsnet.com/te/4.gif

I’m not promoting UPVC glazing! I’m a fan of shutters, a fan of curtains. I’ve built some timber shutters and some work by Max Fordham engineers has shown that they can be as energy efficient as double glazing. What I’m looking at now is how we could build shutters from double glazing itself (this is a technique that is being trialled at the HQ of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings). Great.

BupcakesandCunting Mon 20-Jun-11 13:28:36

GentleOtter, you got a kiss. envy

grin

This is like Justin Bieber-mania for, ahem, the maturer lady.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:29:26

iklboo

Do you deliberately pick 'eco' house builds because you know they'll go three trillion quid over budget?

Both our super-eco projects actually didn't go over budget - Ben's house in the woods, and Kelly and Masako's hexagonal house were built to very tight and small budgets. Of course a lot of people do go over budget because it is only human to want the very best for yourself and your family. Three trillion happens to be the cost of implementing the IPCC's (global climate body) carbon targets so it would be a bit over the top for a self-build.

You are trying to wind me up aren't you?

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 13:30:52

I did indeed, Bup and will forever boast never wash again. grin

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:33:18

FannyFifer

Big grand designs fan here. :-)
Remember the house where they built a swimming pool right in the middle of it, was so dark and dingy and just seemed sooooo wrong. How do you manage to stay so diplomatic about it all.
Liked your programme that was in India and u were staying in the slum, really interesting. Did you honestly stay all night in the rat house, and what I really want to know is where you went to the loo??

Do you really want to know? There was a communal loo (of sorts) outside the house. Luckily and miraculously my stomach was fine the entire time I was in the slum. I did get a chest infection however, from the pollution. As to the rats, finding them in my trousers at 2.30am was the last straw. I spent three nights sleeping in two different homes in the slum (Dharavi) by which time I'd sleep a total of about 45 minutes. It was back to the hotel after that.

As to staying diplomatic, dealing with self-builders is fairly straightforward to dealing with a film crew which demands the patience of Job.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:33:54

Sophie31

Hello Kevin,
I live in a large Victorian property, but it costs a fortune to heat. I'd like to get solid wall insulation installed but I don't want to risk destroying all of the beautiful internal features.
Is there anything I can do so that they remain in-tact?

Hello Sophie31 and Svengass - I’ll answer these together as they’re similar-ish subjects. You need to be very careful – about applying any insulation to historic buildings which is not breathable and which doesn’t create cavities in the wall in which condensation and mould can form. The way old buildings work can be quite complex and walls usually need to breathe. Right now there is a lot research going into how old buildings work and this will be published over the next couple of years, hopefully through the government. This is something the Great British Refurb is very keen to drive forward research on. So hang on for now. Meantime, you could consider sealing your attic trap door, secondary glazing, and draught-proofing measures; all of which can make a big difference. Housing associations like Gentoo are experimenting with historic buildings and you could check out their websites. But I’d be cautious if you want to avoid storing up damp and mould problems. If you live in a terrace then insulating the front and back walls on your first floor, internally, is going to be less controversial than the ground floor. But whatever you do, use a breathable insulation method like mineral fibre in a stud frame. You might consider external wall insulation which can be applied to the outside face of your property’s walls - either to the complete building or individual elevations – whatever is most suitable. However, do bear in mind that if the property is listed or in a conservation area you may find you are unable to make any changes to the façade. In this instance, a hybrid system which combines both internal and external wall insulation would be worth exploring as it offers you the flexibility to adapt your approach to the project on a room by room basis. But again if you are going to go down this adventurous route do engage the services of a surveyor or conservation architect.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:36:25

BoffinMum

I thought I would follow on with another question. Kevin, for those of us doomed to living surrounded by Privet Drive style architecture in thin-walled, slightly naff houses built by greedy developers in the 1980s and 1990s, land of the pastiche Victorian door handle, the stippled pastel bathroom tile, and the fake marble kitchen worktop, what can we possibly do to improve our lot, given the current financial climate? sad

Home is what you make it. Form a community group. Tear down your privet hedges. Plant up the roundabout with wild flowers and give over half your garden to a communal space with a shared shed and vegetable plots...

Funnily enough, these are all things that my company, Hab (Happiness Architecture Beauty) is trying to weave into housing schemes that we are building. Retrofitting them into 1980s estates is maybe the next step.

madhairday Mon 20-Jun-11 13:38:58

Hello Kevin

<another GD fan, can always rely on More4>

Can I ask whether solar panels are A) really as eco friendly as they are made out to be and B) save enough money from bills as to be worthwhile?

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:40:03

SoloIsAHotCougar

Oooh! another GD's fan here!

I have not had my loft insulated because I have no storage space as it is, so to lose the loft as well...? no!! I also have passed on cavity wall insulation and incidentally, my Mum's house has never been colder since she had her's done and she's had cold/flu over and over since then. Coincidence?

I was wondering about the possibility in the future of having a third bedroom put on top of my single storey extension, but instead of a brick/block structure, I was thinking of a conservatory type of thing. Not sure if that would be environmentally more friendly than the traditional type and whether I'd end up freezing cold/boiling hot in the weather extremes. What are your thoughts please?

In answer to the second part of your question Solo. That would probably only make a usable bedroom for about four months of the year. Otherwise, as you say it will be too hot in summer and too cold in winter. A single storey extension of glass like this would still have to comply with the thermal part of the Building Regulations (the law governing what and how we build), and it would likely not be possible to do that with a very heavily glazed conservatory type extension. The short answer is no I'm afraid. Build it in timber as it's the easiest way - a lightweight structure that's easy to build and which can still be superinsulated. If you want large areas of glazing, invest in triple glazed units with a low u-value (as low as 0.7 from firms like Energain) or even units made with thin plastic laminar sheets embedded into the unit (from Shardaglass). and don't forget to add external shading to the extension over large windows to reduce overheating in summer.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:42:54

HarrietJones

<ingenious bat solution>

Yes, but expensive and it was somewhat forced on me...

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:43:35

missmartha

Is it greener to use a so called 'green' insulation product such as sheep's wool, hemp, insulating fibre board etc.in smaller quantities where space is limited or is it better to use a modern high grade insulation product?

I'm thinking here of a product such as Celotex that gives you a much higher insulation value for a given thickness.

People seem to shy a way from products like Celotex because they seem less eco-friendly, but they are much more efficient insulators.

Are you better off saving more energy or saving less and using a more environmentally friendly product to do it?

Cheers

Well, I think it's horses for courses. I've used a combination of urethane board (like Celotex) which is a petrochemical product, together with thin multi-foil insulation in a barn roof where space was scarce. I've used breathable wood fibre board on old walls and conventional mineral fibre wool in my attic as well as sheeps wool. In my site boots I have liners made from possum fur (considered a pest in Oz)

sam94 Mon 20-Jun-11 13:44:07

hi kevin, longstanding fan here(since age 10).
when i was at grand designs live in excel there was a microhab and the following year a similar instalation althought the latter was covered in shingles and looked less like the aluminium box the year before.(although ironicaly shaped more like a rocket)
these micro habitats seem to be the lowest carbon emmision footprint housing around, what do you think of the future of this sort of habitat, given that they are typicaly less than 3 X 4 metres? possibly as a city pad with your main home being in the country as they are adequate for this purpose in the space of less than 90 sq feet.

as a follow up question is there any particular reason you know of as to why these microhomes have not caught on? i recal at grand designs live that tiny metal box retailed for 50 thousand pounds,with the flatpack 4 bed house next to it being sold for 60, but i have seen countless advertised for less than ten thousand and some people boasting $6 yearly heating bills.
(some are even styled similar to your favourite grand design)

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 13:44:45

Great! thank you! Do I still need all the usual planning permissions etc for a timber structure?

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:45:25

VenetiaLanyon

Hello Kevin,

If you had to choose your own ultimate pad, would it be a) restored old house (e.g. Victorian/Georgian/older) b) barn / industrial building conversion c) brand new house of your own design? Would it have contemporary or antique furnishings, and where would it be?

Thanks smile

Well Venetia, I've stopped asking myself that question. Because a bit like a window shopper, having seen so many of other people's projects I've stopped coveting them. I'll tell you what I like: a view of the sunset; an orchard (Slack Ma Girdle is my favourite variety); a glass of something and a hammock.

NunTheWiser Mon 20-Jun-11 13:46:13

Possums are not considered a pest, they are. I'd take the bats in the loft over a possum v. roof rat fight anyday...

Hi Kevin

Do you keep in touch with any of the "projects" you've featured on GD?

There were certain people who you obviously made a connection with.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:47:02

Spirael

I can't believe no-one has asked this yet... What's your favourite biscuit, Kevin? grin

Fantastic. I've been waiting for this. My favourite biscuit is... A plain chocolate digestive with half a banana sliced on top of it. It's the unrivalled combination of potassium, chocolate and sugar that gives me that hit.

NoHunIntended Mon 20-Jun-11 13:47:48

Poor possums. I am sure they consider us a pest too.

Glad you saved the bats though.

I like what you are doing re the green/eco thing, will you go the whole hog (excuse pun) and go vegan?

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:49:08

VenetiaLanyon

Follow-up question; have you ever wanted to weep because of what some idiot has done to a perfectly lovely building?

I've wept over two of them: the church in Dudley with the entombed swimming pool in the middle of it (in a bittersweet way this project saved the stained glass), and the boat on the Medway. We should never have filmed it. It should never have existed.

HarrietJones Mon 20-Jun-11 13:49:51

< must buy chocolate digestives, if dh asks I'm blaming Kevin>

Spirael Mon 20-Jun-11 13:51:53

grin That biscuit sounds delicious! I wonder what it would taste like grilled slightly, so that the chocolate had begun to melt and the banana caramelise.

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 13:53:04

Flaming hot Spirael! blisters spring to mind!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-11 13:53:10

2 quick questions if you can squeeze them in:
What in your view is the best modern prefabricated house on the market (like the huff house, which seem nice but a bit ugly?)

Any advice of how to control echoey acoustics in a room with no curtains, carpets and stone floors?

Thanks!

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:53:34

madhairday

Hello Kevin

<another GD fan, can always rely on More4>

Can I ask whether solar panels are A) really as eco friendly as they are made out to be and B) save enough money from bills as to be worthwhile?

Hullo Madhairday - our Great British Refurb mantra would say "concentrate on the cheap and easy wins first". Loft insulation, draught proofing, etc before the more expensive technologies. But, it has to be said that solar thermal heating for hot water is relatively straightforward and the payback on investment is reasonable. And thanks to the government's Feed-in-Tariff payback on photovoltaics is now possible.

A great deal has been said on the web about how PV panels never recoup their material and carbon investment but many of these rumours are based on a single flawed study from 1996. All the studies since suggest an environmental payback of between 3-7 years in use.

But to emphasise, fix the walls, floor, roof first, then look at where you get your energy from.

Crumblemum Mon 20-Jun-11 13:54:04

I actually loved the entombed swimming pool. Not for the design, but for the love the dad was showing his family, especially his son, by doing it all himself, with no money and little support. Just singleminded dedication to his family.

Def right on biscuit (although I'd lose the banana)

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 13:54:47

Actually, I'm wondering how I'd get half a banana on a digestive at all!

Hoi, Justine, stop flexing the 2 question rule!!

Follow up, my arse.

OK, I'll get my coat. I've asked two questions and you've ignored them both. I'm obviously extremely dull.

<<puts coat on and weeps>>

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:58:11

OOAOML

Do you ever look at the vast expanses of glass and steel built by couples with small children and shudder at the thought of endlessly wiping off fingerprints?

Hullo OOAOML - Yes, and at the end of a filming day, all I have to do is climb into a car and go home.

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 13:58:25

<Pats notwaving on the back>

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 13:58:46

Binfullofmaggotsonthe45

Hi Kevin,

I live in a fairly eco friendly house in Switzerland with under floor heating and a system that burns woodpellets and recycles the heat around the house through a venting system. Therefore, to conserve energy you keep the doors and windows closed.

The problem is is the humidy. At 8% it's practically non existant! Our first winter in the house caused the family and the majority of guests respiratory problems. Our natural skin rugs are cracking and drying and an Indian dining table now has a large crevice running through the centre as it dried out.

Something we didn't even think about moving from wet and wonderful Wilts!

It's an open plan house, so to have humidifiers running would be costly, we'd need some pretty large scale numbers of them to cover each storey, and really defies the whole enery saving ethos.

Do you have any suggestions to improving humidity naturally, or in an energy saving (and money saving) format?

I'd be really keen to hear your thoughts. Thanks also for a very enjoyable program, what makes it special are the relationships you form with the home owners, and the passion you exude over the projects undertaken.

The traditional solution was to use miniature troughs of water suspended near or on radiators or a stove, but you don't have either. Other than cooking rice all day I can suggest a number of small strategies; a pail of water or jug near the inlet vents will help humidify the air, as will hanging out your washing indoors!; You can manage your personal levels of hydration by drinking more of course and if you have a bath leave the water in overnight and the door open. Having lived in the Alps these are all strategies I can recommend.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-11 13:59:58

ChaosTrulyReigns

Hoi, Justine, stop flexing the 2 question rule!!

Follow up, my arse.

Oops - fair cop gov.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:00:40

notwavingjustironing

Hi Kevin

Do you keep in touch with any of the "projects" you've featured on GD?

There were certain people who you obviously made a connection with.

Don't leave and put your coat down.

Do you know, there aren't that many. I did sort of adopt David and Greta Iredale as my parents when I filmed the HufHaus and they rewarded me by giving me two old 1960s upholstered chairs.

I keep in touch with one or two people of course. But I'm an anti-social bugger.

It took a lot of considering, that comma did.

[wunk]

<<now sulks about my question, way up aboove>>

sad

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:02:49

GetOrf

Lovely photo of you on the MN homepage...

Do you realise Kevin that you are crush-fodder for an alarming number of women? grin

That makes me sound like I'm about to put in a giant mill and dispersed like chicken feed.

vintageteacups Mon 20-Jun-11 14:04:02

vintage teacups is sad as her vaulted ceiling bedroom lighting question didn't make it to the webchat sad

BupcakesandCunting Mon 20-Jun-11 14:05:16

Don't worry, teacups. I got studiously ignored too. grin

I will namechange to IAMKEVIN later and I will answer it for you. Will that help?

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 14:05:27

Blimey! look at the time already!!!

Too many capitals Buppy.

<<wags figner>>

vintageteacups Mon 20-Jun-11 14:07:01

Thank you bupcakes wink

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:07:11

Bundlesmum

Hi Kevin
I inherited my mother's house smile and have rented it out to some tenants. They complained over the winter that it?s cold and expensive to heat sad They are threatening to move out before next winter and they are good tenants. The house is draughty and it?s really difficult to keep warm. What can I do that?s not too pricey that will keep the place warm with the costs of heating lower than they are now?

Have you insulated the attic to a good depth (300mm is ideal)? Have you draught proofed (I spent £35 at B&Q on rubber draught proofing strip and it made a magical difference). And is your loft hatch sealed and secure? I'd also consider secondary glazing and thick curtains as more expensive options and if you have open fires put in a small efficient wood burner straight away. Also refer to the answers about the Green Deal as there will be financial help available next Autumn (2012) to make larger green improvements.

BupcakesandCunting Mon 20-Jun-11 14:08:05

"figner"

Get out of town.

Thanks!

They were lovely people.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:08:47

GetOrf

Lovely photo of you on the MN homepage...

Do you realise Kevin that you are crush-fodder for an alarming number of women? grin

That makes me sound like I'm about to put in a giant mill and dispersed like chicken feed.

redhappy

Hi Kevin
I have just got a tv after a few years without one, and I'm totally addicted to Grand Designs.

I'm a newly single parent on a low income, and I'm VERY excited about the houses you are building very close by me in Stroud. My question is how do I get one?! Is there a list I can join or criteria I need to fill?

Yes. If your household income is less than £60,000 per annum you qualify to join the social housing list of your local authority. So you could put your name down through the standard allocation procedure. Alternatively, we'll also be offering homes through joint ownership and Rent to Homebuy schemes. Our website - www.haboakus.co.uk - will have details as we approach completion sometime in late 2012 (we hope to start onsite this autumn).

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:10:27

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas

My question is... would you marry me?

[Damn, I think I have just proposed to a married man blush]

What kind of question is that? You use the conditional tense

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:12:10

JustineMumsnet

2 quick questions if you can squeeze them in:
What in your view is the best modern prefabricated house on the market (like the huff house, which seem nice but a bit ugly?)

Any advice of how to control echoey acoustics in a room with no curtains, carpets and stone floors?

Thanks!

Hullo Justine - don't buy prefab; buy pre-Hab. My wonderful new housing company. Haha.

As to acoustics, would you believe, some people really like that hard, echoey sound? I blame too many holidays in Spanish villas or Tuscan farmhouses.

sharp intake of breath

shock

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 14:16:25

Just off to rip up flooring to reveal my not so wonderful!! concrete floors to recreate echoing memories of long ago Spanish holiday...

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:17:41

Fimbo

Which Grand Designs house is your favourite? Did the couple ever finish the barge near Rochester?

Do you style yourself? At this point do I admit buying my dh TNF McMurdo parka because of yours? <[blush}>

I'm very proud that I'm responsible for all my own sartorial decisions. Even though most of the directors, producers, researchers and teaboys I work with all keep pleading me to go shopping and allow them to choose for me.

[favourite episode answered earlier, ta]

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 14:17:48

shock at Justine's dungeon.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:20:23

quercus100

My 13 year-old son is dyslexic and very keen to become an architect. I have heard that dyslexics make good architects as they are great at spatial awareness. Is this true?

Without wanting to generalise or sound like an expert, it depends on your son's abilities as both an artist and a mathematician. And the degree of his dyslexia. Many architects are indeed dyslexic but I suspect that their abilities as architects are influenced by many factors.

Good luck to him though.

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:27:02

Eaglebird

Hi Kevin.

I believe you have a biomass boiler. Can I ask what type (log / pellet / woodchip) and whether you're happy with it please?
I'm about to have a pellet boiler system installed (Solarfocus Pellet Top) and am quite excited about it.
Hopefully I'll be even more excited when the government finalises the details of the RHI payments smile
I'd love to see more publicity about biomass systems in the popular media.

Regards.
Eaglebird

I'm a fan of biomass but my own boiler wasn't without its problems. Talking to other owners of larger scale installations it seems that most boilers take about six months to bed in and thereafter require more maintenance and love than your average oil boiler. My machine powers a farm and runs on chipped waste pallets which are supposed to arrive free of nails, staples and stones. Truth is the machine often spits out a horrible metal bogey and then stops.

As I understand it, smaller scale wood pellet burners are becoming more efficient and more suitable to the domestic scale. Two words of warning though:don't buy imported pellets from the Baltic because they're from trees that were downwind of the Chernobyl plume so you'd be burning nuclear fuel; and be ready for your Austrian-built machine's readout to speak perfect English up until the moment it goes wrong, when it will revert to barking German.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-11 14:27:24

Thanks so much to Kevin for joining us and cutting it fine to catch his train in order to answer a few extra questions. Great set of questions and Kevin enjoyed our spread so we think it was a huge success grin. Thanks to all those who emailed us for the tickets and we're pleased to announce that ChaosTrulyReigns, Spirael, CountThalim, Madhairday and Gentleotter have each won a pair of tickets to the Grand Designs Live.

We'll be posting more about Grand Designs Live later today.

wimpybar Mon 20-Jun-11 14:29:50

haha he's funny! good webchat grin

KevinMcCloud Mon 20-Jun-11 14:31:13

Thank you all for the really intelligent questions and comments. You've put me through my paces and it feels a little bit like a viva exam sitting here.

I'm told you've given me a reasonably easy time, and I'm really grateful for that!

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 14:31:18

Thanks Kevin and MN for getting him in grin

Spirael Mon 20-Jun-11 14:31:32

shock grin Yay! Thanks, MNHQ and Kevin!

Thank you Rachel, that's wonderful.

smile

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 14:32:30

shock

OMG, thank you!!!

Fimbo Mon 20-Jun-11 14:33:11

Ooh thanks for answering my question. Well done to the winners of the tickets. OMG you get to meet Kevin in rl. <<<<scream>>>> grin

HarrietJones Mon 20-Jun-11 14:33:21

You'll have to ask him back MNHQ!

CountThalim Mon 20-Jun-11 14:34:20

@_@ I won?

Starts digging out the plans for the Canadian house he's been working on... I may need to update these in time for the show...

CT

madhairday Mon 20-Jun-11 14:42:40

<faints>

I've never won anything on here before!!
Soooo excited!

Thankyou!!!!! smile

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jun-11 15:59:55

As promised a bit more about Grand Designs Live which returns to Birmingham at the NEC from Friday 7th until Sunday 9th October 2011.

"With over 500 exhibitors showcasing the latest interior products, free consultations, and 7 areas dedicated to every room in your home, Grand Designs Live is the ultimate consumer home show, boasting everything needed to build and furnish a home under one roof."

The five lucky winners have VIP tickets and will be given the chance to meet Kevin in person envy. We'll PM you all shortly with more details. Please do report back and tell us your thoughts.

For those not lucky enough to win tickets, mumsnetters have been offered a special 2 for 1 discount on show tickets (just £14). Book online at www.granddesignslive.com or call 0844 854 1348 and quote GDLMN + Kids go free.

SoloIsAHotCougar Mon 20-Jun-11 16:02:01

It's in Birmingham?! oh dear... sad

Fimbo Mon 20-Jun-11 16:12:09

Mmmmm just about doable as a daytrip for us and at £14 is not bad. Dd would be most excited she loves Grand Designs and is forever designing houses!

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 16:53:08

There are wild celebrations and excitements in the Otter household today and I can't believe they are VIP tickets.

Birmingham is a bit away although I would walk there in my wellies because Kevin kissed me. <on McCloud nine emoticon> grin

madhairday Mon 20-Jun-11 18:33:31

I know GentleOtter - also still reeling here! Wonder what VIP tickets entail, apart of course from meeting Kevin smile [smug grin]

OOAOML Mon 20-Jun-11 18:37:33

OOh my question got answered and there was me all busy and not online, tsk pesky children....

LynnCSchreiber Mon 20-Jun-11 18:54:02

Oh, what a great birthday present, GentleOtter. Happy Birthday from me and Daphne too.

Great webchat, even if Kevin didn't take me up only offer of tea and scones. Maybe I should have offered fine single malt.

Ooh, yes, I'll echo the birthdayness to you GentleO.

grin

Who knows, we may cross paths at GDL in our VIPness!

<<sincerely hopes GentleO isn't 21 today>>

[gimmer]

Mme, perhaps he saw through the innocent offer of scones and tea, realising it actually was a lure for some hanky pankiness?

grin

GentleOtter Mon 20-Jun-11 21:26:08

21 plus VAT. wink

<passes round birthday cake and champagne>

<<accepts kind offer>>

[clink]

xiaoqss Tue 21-Jun-11 01:10:30

Message deleted

xiaoqss Tue 21-Jun-11 01:12:09

Message deleted

xiaoqkk Tue 21-Jun-11 12:24:58

Message deleted

xiaoqkk Tue 21-Jun-11 12:25:26

Message deleted

xiaoqkk Tue 21-Jun-11 12:28:34

Message deleted

Nobody's reading it anymore you gurt big doilies.

[grr]

GentleOtter Tue 21-Jun-11 14:01:34

I am.grin

I had to check that it was actually true, this morning. It was one of those 'did I imagine that happened' moments. <screams with excitement>

Do you think xiaqukk was offering to help us with Style and Beauty suggestions for meeting Funky Kevin on the day? I mean, some of his offers seemed quite snazzy and of course, completely genuine. Not

We could have turned up looking like 1970's porno stars if we had ordered his wares.

bless.

madhairday Tue 21-Jun-11 15:25:06

grin

Oh yes, we shall have to confer about what to wear meeting Kevin.

If I see you Chaos I shall just keep wunking.

Would be fun to go on the same day and meet up with some of the other MN winners.

Oh Lawks, you can't wunk at me, DH doesn't know about my deep-seated wunking habit!!

blush

grin

madhairday Tue 21-Jun-11 15:40:26

grin

I shall keep mum

[wunk]

GentleOtter Wed 28-Sep-11 20:09:09

Not long now!

Is the NEC massive? <has no idea and thinks Ikea is vast>

Spirael Sat 08-Oct-11 18:20:05

ChaosTrulyReigns, GentleOtter, CountThalim and I met Kevin McCloud today at the NEC. grin We shared his favourite biscuits with him over a champagne breakfast... Photograph of Kevin (+ biscuit!) is in my profile. smile

Kevin is lovely, every bit as handsome in RL as he is on TV. He posed for photographs, signed books and was a perfect gentleman. [swoons]

Thanks for the competition, MNHQ! (Hope you're not too jealous. wink)

Spirael Sat 08-Oct-11 18:23:32

Oh, by the way... He said he'd like to come back and do another chat sometime... wink

GentleOtter Mon 10-Oct-11 10:55:07

We were all whisked through the crowds and taken straight to the VIP lounge for coffee and champagne.
Kevin McCloud was delighted to receive chocolate digestives and bananas from Spirael and he shared with all of us plus showed Chaos's dds how to make a banana penguin!
We all discussed his live chat on MN (and how he would love to come back..) he wanted to know the questions we asked then spoke about them.
Our meeting felt unhurried and relaxed.

We then posed for photographs and he was gently ushered away by his PA but he would have been happy munching biscuits and sitting with us all morning.

Kevin was gorgeous, charming and really sweet with the children plus he made us all feel comfortable and special. My only gripe is that I could not take him home to keep.wink

It was so good to meet Spirael and her family and the absolute highlight of my day was meeting Chaos and her dds who were all lovely. We hope to meet them again in the not too distant future.smile

Thank you RachelMumsnet, Marie and Kevin for making the experience possible and memorable.

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