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Live webchat with Kevin 'Grand Designs' McCloud, Tuesday 23 July, 8.30 to 9.30pm

(156 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 21-Jul-13 08:04:56

We're delighted that Kevin McCloud is visiting Mumsnet HQ for another webchat on Tuesday 23 July at 8.30pm. He joined us for a webchat back in June 2011 when he talked to about (amongst other things) Grand Designs, solar panels and dealing with bats in the attic.

This time Kevin will be joining us to tell us about his latest ventures with his company Hab Housing. As well as continuing to build beautiful sustainable homes across the UK, they are also developing a new arm that will let him guide, coax and aid people as they build their own dream home. Kevin wants to explain why he's put out a call to the masses for crowd funding investment to grow his company, Hab Housing, rather than via traditional routes.

Join Kevin to quiz him about his latest ventures, get his advice on home improvements and ask him about your favourite Grand Design on Tuesday at 8.30pm. If you're unable to make it, post a question in advance to this thread.

Vivacia Sun 21-Jul-13 14:30:51

Long term GD fan here! Your role on GD has always been as a commentator. Have you ever stepped in to prevent a disaster though?

iklboo Sun 21-Jul-13 17:46:55

What a birthday present for me!! Thanks for getting Kevin on MN as a birthday treat! grin

Kevin - are there any ideas from the participants or buzz words that just make your heart sink?

piprabbit Sun 21-Jul-13 19:35:19

<moves on to thread with tent and thermos>

TeamEdward Sun 21-Jul-13 20:46:06

Oh how exciting!
We're hoping to do our own grand design in the future, but suitable plots in our area are few and far between and very very expensive. We're on the South East coast (very near the "sugar cube" house featured on GD) and because we haven't got a "down from London" or "across from Brighton" budget it seems as though I will never be able to afford to live in the village I grew up in sad
Not so much a question really! I'll be back with one later...

LackaDAISYcal Sun 21-Jul-13 21:35:52

Hi Kevin

I'm a structural engineer by profession and though I love watching Grand Designs, it always irks puzzles me why structural engineers get no more than a cursory mention on your programme, especially as many of the projects have, in my professional view, quite an involved structural engineering input. Some more about the bones of the buildings would be good!

lalalonglegs Sun 21-Jul-13 21:50:25

Hi Kevin - another long-time Grand Designs fan here and it's become a multi-generational thing, my 9yo daughter is obsessed by it now as well. Occasionally we watch old episodes on More4 and you get very excited about things such as underfloor heating and, memorably in one episode, an electric screwdriver. Does it make you slightly depressed that the projects that are featured now are so unattainable and have become so, I'm trying to think of a polite way of saying it but can't, bloated and excessive? Budgets seem a very secondary consideration for many of the participants - would you prefer to have simpler, less grand designs which are more personal or does the nature of the beast (and land prices) mean that it's become something of a millionaires' hobby?

llll

lalalonglegs Sun 21-Jul-13 21:51:15

Also, why do people always end up getting into trouble with their windows (not fitting/arriving late/not suiting the building etc)?

Solo Sun 21-Jul-13 23:44:37

<Excited!!!>

Hi again Kevin! welcome back smile

In 2011, you advised me on loft insulation (my loft is quite low and I didn't/don't want to lose the space for storage etc. I just wondered what you think of Celotex to insulate the roof (between the rafters)? I've just recently found out about it and am considering using it. Do you think it's worth doing? better than nothing at all? It'll definitely be a DIY job for me too.

Thank you!!!

RealAleandOpenFires Mon 22-Jul-13 02:51:36

What do you think of people, who buy period properties and then gut them?

FluffDragon Mon 22-Jul-13 08:19:16

Hi Kevin, my question is, what's YOUR house like?!

MardyBra Mon 22-Jul-13 09:05:34

Dear Kevin. Would you mind awfully if I nuzzled in and nibbled your left ear lobe? Thanks in advance, Mardy.

gazzalw Mon 22-Jul-13 09:22:38

I am aware of at least one of the grand designs houses that was a labour of love for the owners but sold only a few years later. Do you think it possible that some of the owners invest spirit, body and soul into these designs to the point that they are totally 'spent' and beyond enjoying their masterpiece property once it's completed?

Solo Mon 22-Jul-13 09:32:09

shock!!! Mardy!!!

MardyBra Mon 22-Jul-13 10:19:56

Pots and kettles solo after all your lusting over Paul McKenna! wink

I thought I did ask very nicely. grin

BillComptonstrousers Mon 22-Jul-13 10:25:49

Hi Kevin, two questions, has there ever been a house that you have really really wanted to live in once it was finished?
I'm in the process of buying a rented house, it had a double extension, but the layout on both floors doesn't flow well at all. I've got so many ideas how I'd like to change it, but who do I speak to to see if the ideas are viable? A builder, or an architect? Ideally I need someone to come in and see any potential problems.
Thank you!

josiejay Mon 22-Jul-13 10:41:35

Why do so many of the couples on GD have a baby in the middle of the project? Are they quite mad??

Also please can you do more of the GD abroad shows please, I go slightly weak at the knees when you speak French...

ArtisanLentilWeaver Mon 22-Jul-13 10:57:13

Hello Kevin,

Would you consider Hab huts in rural areas on the lines of the Nordic hut idea? A Thousand huts
Will Hab expand to Scotland, Ireland and Wales?

FayTality Mon 22-Jul-13 11:28:28

Hi Kevin,

Yet another GD fan reporting in here. My all time favourite was the ski chalet in Les Gets - it's on my fantasy list of places to stay.

We are just about to start building an extension to our 1900s house - a full width extension that will link the kitchen and dining room, and create a living space with doors on to the patio.

My question is whether it is practical to consider trying to salvage some of the materials from the back of the existing house - for example, we have stock bricks that will be removed, and also a sash bay window to the current dining room. In an ideal world we would sell these, but even if they have no value, I would like to know if we can or should look to salvage them.

Thanks,
Fay

Hi Kevin,

Would you ever consider filming an ex LA development? I know they're not the prettiest houses, but they can be a more affordable option in expensive areas, and tend to be built well with proper spacial consideration indoors and out. We're coming to the end of an extension project that's a little bit special as it's using external insulation to improve thermal efficiency. Lots of people must be developing this part of the housing stock, but it never seems to get coverage. Would love to hear your thoughts. smile

JosieJay we had 2 babies during our project, that's how flipping long it's taken. Youngest is 16 months and it's still not finished.

I always remember that amazing Polish couple developing their house, living in a tent on site, then above their office when she got pregnant. They had two children during that project I think. Didn't he do it all himself whilst working full time too?

josiejay Mon 22-Jul-13 12:37:06

Bill I take my hat off to you! Hope your project gets finished soon!

Solo Mon 22-Jul-13 13:07:24

Yes Mardy but not on PMK's actual webchat thread! shock wink

I can see the attraction though! <whispers I love Kevins voice! grin>

Twirlyhot Mon 22-Jul-13 13:14:11

Excellent. I have finally converted DH to Grand Designs. It took a few years to wear him down. I shall go and think of a sensible question.

MardyBra Mon 22-Jul-13 13:17:01

I agree with the "forrin" speaking attraction too. I come over all heated like Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish Called Wanda when Archie starts speaking Russian.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Jul-13 14:32:07

Hello Kevin. Big fans of GD (or 'Pimp My Leisure Centre' as it's known in our house), find it very inspirational and feel confident I could pump concrete into wire cage foundations, I've seen it so often now. For wannabe home-creators like me, how about a bit more detail on the grisly business of finding plots of land, getting planning permission and dealing with NIMBY neighbours?

aristocat Mon 22-Jul-13 14:34:01

Another GD Kevin fan here, absolutely love watching the repeats smile

A memorable episode was the lady in Devon who built another house at the bottom of her garden. She was fabulous!

Can I ask who is your favourite author please and what book are you reading at the moment?

TenaciousOne Mon 22-Jul-13 16:28:49

Second Cogito's question, about planning permission. We've let two plots of land go due to worrying about getting planning permission, should we snap up land and hope or only touch land with planning permission in the hope we can alter the plans slightly?

Hi another fan here and a project manager, so I know every project has it's tense moments! My question is:

do you ever walk into a project and think, 'I'm confident that the budget matches the scope and the timescales are reasonable, there's a sensible contingency fund... this should go smoothly'? Or do you weed these mythical ones out because they make much less exciting television?

VelvetStrider Mon 22-Jul-13 19:08:47

Do you get to spend much time at your cabin that you built in the woods? What aspects of it are you most pleased with and what do you wish you'd done differently?

We're having an extension and received the first sketches this week ... The architect has gone for a flat roof, much to my surprise. I'm not keen as I've heard they're nothing but trouble. Am I being closed-minded?

OddSockMonster Mon 22-Jul-13 21:53:52

I saw you once on a train in Cambridge, and noticed how very tall you are.

Do you bump your head on doorframes very often when you're visiting all these people's quirky houses?

pippop1 Mon 22-Jul-13 23:56:00

Kevin,

Some of the houses you've reported on are fabulous but how do the owners keep them so clean? No fingerprints at all on all those acres of glass and shiny surfaces. No "stuff" out expect perhaps one perfect wooden toy. Perhaps you can show us a family house which is v v easy to look after, a bit like one of those low maintenance gardens. I look at surfaces in hotels and restaurants and try to buy commercial grade stuff if possible.

RunsWithScissors Tue 23-Jul-13 03:40:25

Hi Kevin,

We are looking to do a single story side extension to enlarge our kitchen in the next few years. It's a 1930s semi detached.

We want to incorporate as many green/energy saving ideas as we can into it. Solar panel on the roof of the extension (receives full sun throughout the day) is one plan.

We have cavity walls on the ground floor, but only single brick on the first floor. Would it be worth doing external insulation when we undertake the extension work? We investigated internal, but would lose too much space to some of the rooms (if what I have read is correct).

Would this be a wise investment if rolled into other work? Also, any other ideas to incorporate?

We love your show (was the first thing I saw on telly when I moved over to the uk 10yrs ago, and have been hooked since).

Thanks so much

blue2 Tue 23-Jul-13 05:22:57

Hi Kevin

I'd be interested on your views about altering and extending Listed buildings. We are Grade II listed and want to build out and extend the front elevation of the house, so that its visible.

In preliminary meetings, the Historic Buildings Officer has been unusually optimistic about our chances, but its early days yet!

Do you think historic buildings should be extended in a pastiche of their existing style, or would you go for a modern look? Our buildings officer wants our extension to look like an 'old dairy'!

Thank you grin

Facelikeafriendlyapple Tue 23-Jul-13 09:22:44

Hi Kevin,

We enjoyed watching "Man made home" or "man made shed" (sorry, embarrassingly can't remember title. However the sewage episode will stay with me for a long time).

We are never likely to have a big enough budget to do a full on GD, but could the ideas from Man Made Home be scaled up to work in an actual house do you think?

missmartha Tue 23-Jul-13 12:16:58

Hi there.

Is there such a thing as good taste, and if so, who decides?

I am constantly perplexed by planning decisions. Yes I work in the construction industry.

LIZS Tue 23-Jul-13 12:26:27

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you first see a GD project that it simply won't ever come to fruition, have any surprised you that they have worked out after all ?

What do you envisage as the next major innovation that every home should have in 10 years' time, as perhaps solar panels or underfloor heating were a few years back.

mariedavis241 Tue 23-Jul-13 14:10:54

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

mariedavis241 Tue 23-Jul-13 14:11:14

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GobbySadcase Tue 23-Jul-13 15:14:04

Wow Kevin you're brave after all the dribbling last time!
Do you think you'll make it out alive this time? wink

noddyholder Tue 23-Jul-13 16:28:36

Hi Kevin I renovate houses for a living and I was eondering if like me (and all the other 'housey' people I know') you are actually not that interested in your own house being that impressive? I love to turn over a property and source materials and incorporate new designs but my own taste/home is actually fairly simple and actually owning a spectacular home doesn't really light my fire

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 23-Jul-13 17:29:06

I can't make the chat tonight. It's pub quiz night

My question though is, what can we do about the demise of terraced housing in the North? For me (and you may probably disagree) these houses are well built and surprisingly spacious. Why are rows of them being left to rot? Can't we do something with them? Rip them out internally, redesign the layout and make them attractive to first time buyers and young families rather than the crap identkit 'little boxes' estates they all seem to go for?

noddyholder Tue 23-Jul-13 17:36:49

Justgive I would love to do something like that. Local councils just not interested sad

Kafri Tue 23-Jul-13 17:42:19

As a presenter, but also 'in the know', what do you do if you KNOW something just won't work but obviously it's not your project to criticise??

OscarandLulu Tue 23-Jul-13 17:58:17

Hi Kevin

We bought fairy tale period cottage two years ago as a family home. Have worked with fab architect to draw up amazing refurb and extension plan, only to find at tender the price is more than double budget always referred to and investment rqd equates to more than house will ever value at.

Much of plan includes 'greening' solutions, insulation, wood pellet boiler, thermal glass etc etc. is it your view that ...

a) estate agents are always right and property ceiling values won't change, irrespective of quality of project, changing value/importance of Greentech homes
b) does this mean that our revered historical period homes (ordinary rather than unique) will only survive the 21st C. By becoming either the most expensive properties in the world to run/maintain OR they are purchased by folk who can afford to be real altruists?

My husband and I are going through a painful and expensive exercise in de-scoping our project to make it affordable froma value pov. But I think DH would really like to sell and quit whilst we're not ahead, but not too far behind. I suppose I'm looking for a good rationale not to, other than I'm in love with the house, and don't feel it's charm and character can easily be replicated.

Love the show, lifetime fans, and keen to see progress/uptake/interest in sustainable developments....

Twirlyhot Tue 23-Jul-13 18:10:46

How many of the people are happy in their homes 5 years later?

Some people end up with a dream home that looks like it was always there, just waiting for them to find it. Others seem to have a love for the project and the process but I could easily see them getting bored once it was completed. A finished house seems too still for them.

If you go down the line of crowd funding, what would the participants gain from it?

I'd like to think of myself as being green and live in a sustainable home etc but I'm not sure that I would part with cash for a development of homes that I'm not going to live in or have a stake in...

So yes, what's your sweetener for investors?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Jul-13 20:31:19

Kevin McCloud is in the house. We're delighted he's back to answer as many of your questions within the hour as possible. Welcome to Mumsnet Kevin.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:33:13

josiejay

Why do so many of the couples on GD have a baby in the middle of the project? Are they quite mad??

Also please can you do more of the GD abroad shows please, I go slightly weak at the knees when you speak French...

I'm not going to make any more series abroad as it involve loads of travelling and it is no fun for me. I get another airline meal as my directors and researchers swan off to another Michelin-rated restaurant.

As to the baby thing, why will humans never learn to build their nest before laying the eggs? We're the only species who gets it in the wrong order.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:33:24

hey Kevin - so you ever get sick of bloody "clean lines and amazing spaces" and yearn for antimacassars and a healthy dose of velour?

GWAN , you can tell us.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:33:48

I should have said - thanks for having me this evening; and hello peeps!

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:33:55

Vivacia

Long term GD fan here! Your role on GD has always been as a commentator. Have you ever stepped in to prevent a disaster though?

I spend most of my days stepping in and offering advice – which is usually ignored. I tend to always warn people about their budget levels, and keeping within it, but people are so possessed with their own sense of righteousness any counsel I give is usually brushed aside. Of course I do spend a lot of time transferring information from one project to another and putting potential builders in touch with new projects, and ditto for new materials and technologies. I have learned that I can say almost anything to people while they are building a house and they will never be offended, such is the drive of the self-builder.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:35:10

iklboo

What a birthday present for me!! Thanks for getting Kevin on MN as a birthday treat! grin

Kevin - are there any ideas from the participants or buzz words that just make your heart sink?

Many happy returns iklboo! There are words I strike out of scripts and words I don’t like to hear people use – like “property” when referring to their own home. And the verb “create” - God creates, mankind merely “makes” or “forms”. I’m also not a fan of the noun “build”’ I always thought it was a verb.

Shakey1500 Tue 23-Jul-13 20:35:38

Hi Kevin

What did you really think of the couple who built their house in Henley and upset the neighbours? wink grin

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:35:45

BillComptonstrousers

Hi Kevin, two questions, has there ever been a house that you have really really wanted to live in once it was finished?
I'm in the process of buying a rented house, it had a double extension, but the layout on both floors doesn't flow well at all. I've got so many ideas how I'd like to change it, but who do I speak to to see if the ideas are viable? A builder, or an architect? Ideally I need someone to come in and see any potential problems.
Thank you!

Well Bill, I've done so much window-shopping of houses over the years that I've managed to expunge the desire to own any of them. After all,. with ownership comes responsibility. For drains, leaks and mortgages. As to your problem; consult an architect. they know how to design spaces and maximise what you've got. Builders know how to build.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:36:56

TeamEdward

Oh how exciting!
We're hoping to do our own grand design in the future, but suitable plots in our area are few and far between and very very expensive. We're on the South East coast (very near the "sugar cube" house featured on GD) and because we haven't got a "down from London" or "across from Brighton" budget it seems as though I will never be able to afford to live in the village I grew up in sad
Not so much a question really! I'll be back with one later...

not so much a question so not really an answer but....
I know! I fully sympathise. My grown up children are facing the same problem - it's pretty much impossible to envisage getting on the housing ladder at all letting alone in the place that you actually want to live. It's an issue that is very dear to my heart - and something that my company, Hab, is determined to do something about. At the moment, we're looking at ways that we make it easier for people like you to find affordable plots and build their own home. And the government wants this to happen, too. The Department for Communities – through the Homes and Communities Agency – are making land available for both developers and Has to offer plots for self-builders and there is a £30 million rolling fund currently available allows residents to group together and collectively buy larger sites.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:37:04

plus - do you think we will all rue the day we got rid of those Post war serving hatches?

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:37:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rofl @ LifeofPo

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:38:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:39:15

LackaDAISYcal

Hi Kevin

I'm a structural engineer by profession and though I love watching Grand Designs, it always irks puzzles me why structural engineers get no more than a cursory mention on your programme, especially as many of the projects have, in my professional view, quite an involved structural engineering input. Some more about the bones of the buildings would be good!

Apologies LackaDAISYcal, I try my best, and we do from time to time feature engineers. It’s a beggar because architects do like to take the credit for making buildings stand up.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:39:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:40:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:40:56

ArtisanLentilWeaver

Hello Kevin,

Would you consider Hab huts in rural areas on the lines of the Nordic hut idea? A Thousand huts
Will Hab expand to Scotland, Ireland and Wales?

Nice idea and we may explore this one. Currently we're interested in redensifying town centres with housing and addressing the way we can revitalise rural communities. The hut idea may follow though I've yet to see hut conurbations enshrined in the National Planning policy Framework..

The nearest we're getting is our plan (at Hab)to make self-build the norm and offer potential self-builders the chance to buy ready-serviced slabs from us. You can invest if you like! got to www.habhousing.co.uk for a peek at what we're proposing

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:40:58

PLUS kevin - do you ever want to say to these freaks who build houses in the middle of nowhere that they will spend their LIVES driving their kids around? - no one seems to build houses in communities, do they?

IMO that is worth as much as the house itself.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:41:44

gazzalw

I am aware of at least one of the grand designs houses that was a labour of love for the owners but sold only a few years later. Do you think it possible that some of the owners invest spirit, body and soul into these designs to the point that they are totally 'spent' and beyond enjoying their masterpiece property once it's completed?

The process of spending up to five years in planning and preparation followed by years digging tranches and building a house is exhausting and can deprive people of their spirit. At Hab we are intending to make self-build and empowering process and one which is enjoyable by de-stressing and derisking the process for self-builders. For example, we’d like to offer a ready-finished, serviced slab for people so that they don't have do their own foundations. Self-builders shouldn’t have to keep reinventing the wheel when we can do so much of the hard graft for them and allow them the pleasure of commissioning a piece of architecture. You can find much more about this via our website – www.habhousing.co.uk - and our crowd pitch website - www.crowdcube.com/investment/hab-housing-limited-13069 . We’re currently in the middle of raising a million pounds to grow the self-build side of our business and we’d be flattered if you took an interest in our business and wanted to invest. The minimum is just £100 to get involved.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Tue 23-Jul-13 20:43:31

Thank you! Had a look at the HabHousing website and will invest. smile
Good luck with the project.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:43:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:44:16

i snigger at them with their open plan; by the time the kids hit 12 they will be BEGGING FOR WALLS

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:44:23

KevinMcCloud

ArtisanLentilWeaver

Hello Kevin,

Would you consider Hab huts in rural areas on the lines of the Nordic hut idea? A Thousand huts
Will Hab expand to Scotland, Ireland and Wales?

Nice idea and we may explore this one. Currently we're interested in redensifying town centres with housing and addressing the way we can revitalise rural communities. The hut idea may follow though I've yet to see hut conurbations enshrined in the National Planning policy Framework..

The nearest we're getting is our plan (at Hab)to make self-build the norm and offer potential self-builders the chance to buy ready-serviced slabs from us. You can invest if you like! got to www.habhousing.co.uk for a peek at what we're proposing

Historically we've stuck to our patch along the M4 corridor with existing or proposed developments in Swindon, Stroud, Oxford and in the Bath / Bristol area. But one of the joys of the new strand of Hab's business - custom building - is that we'll be able to deliver them to an ever-widening locale. We'll be less geographically constrained as we can help people do their self-build dream as a part of other developers' projects across the country as well as on our own sites. One of the Hab team - Simon, beside me as I type - is based in Wales (and happens to be from Ireland) so we're looking for great options in both of those.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:44:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:46:51

LifeofPo

Dear Kevin my 9 year old had a disturbing obsession with grand designs and you. How do I prevent her from becoming an architect

You can't; it's a disease for which there is no cure. Bless her for believing in the power of design and in the great creative drive which is in all of us but permanently in the on position amongst architects and designers. Speaking as the father of an architect, may I offer my commiserations for the long hard and expensive road that lies before you.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:47:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:48:30

LadyMilfordHaven

hey Kevin - so you ever get sick of bloody "clean lines and amazing spaces" and yearn for antimacassars and a healthy dose of velour?

GWAN , you can tell us.

I am a big, big fan of gloom.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:48:56

KevinMcCloud

LadyMilfordHaven

hey Kevin - so you ever get sick of bloody "clean lines and amazing spaces" and yearn for antimacassars and a healthy dose of velour?

GWAN , you can tell us.

I am a big, big fan of gloom.

Check out the pjerkin shift by the way...

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:49:42

i am pleased. Strangely Scandewigian houses aren't all Ikea style- are quite folksy.

its a big mis sell

Spirael Tue 23-Jul-13 20:50:07

Hi Kevin! I was lucky enough to meet you at Grand Designs Live after getting tickets from your last Mumsnet visit. smile

We hope to get back to Grand Designs Live in the next few years - it was a fantastic day out with lots of interesting and useful exhibits. I highly recommend it to anyone else considering going!

Is your favourite biscuit still "Poor Man's Banoffee", banana on chocolate digestive with a cup of coffee, or have your tastes changed at all?

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:50:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:51:19

FayTality

Hi Kevin,

Yet another GD fan reporting in here. My all time favourite was the ski chalet in Les Gets - it's on my fantasy list of places to stay.

We are just about to start building an extension to our 1900s house - a full width extension that will link the kitchen and dining room, and create a living space with doors on to the patio.

My question is whether it is practical to consider trying to salvage some of the materials from the back of the existing house - for example, we have stock bricks that will be removed, and also a sash bay window to the current dining room. In an ideal world we would sell these, but even if they have no value, I would like to know if we can or should look to salvage them.

Thanks,
Fay

Every tiny item salvaged and reused in a building rethreads the history of the place back into itself. Especially if you can see said item. I'm a big fan of trying to salvage and reuse as much as possible because it's appropriate for the story of a place and it's pretty green as well.

LatinForTelly Tue 23-Jul-13 20:51:58

Hi Kevin,

We were lucky enough to live in a GD house for a few months. It was a modest 4 bed family house, built when the projects weren't overly grand.

The house did seem great (and you loved it on the telly); handsome, intelligently thought-out, and economical.

Trouble was, it didn't really work as a family house for a number of reasons, notably noise, ventilation and lots of hazardous drops.

I agree with whoever said a house is a machine for living in, so on that criterion, for me, the house didn't work.

Just wondering what you thought really. Has a design failed if the house isn't fit for general purpose (don't want to out self but there are pointers that other people feel the same).

Or is it a design success if it works very well for its first owners?

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:52:44

BillStickersIsInnocent

Hi Kevin,

Would you ever consider filming an ex LA development? I know they're not the prettiest houses, but they can be a more affordable option in expensive areas, and tend to be built well with proper spacial consideration indoors and out. We're coming to the end of an extension project that's a little bit special as it's using external insulation to improve thermal efficiency. Lots of people must be developing this part of the housing stock, but it never seems to get coverage. Would love to hear your thoughts. smile

I'd be really interested. I've seen some extraordinary conversions and remodelling projects of local authority housing and they sure as hell would make a good GD. We're always on the lookout for good stories so do write in to the C4 website if you know of a compelling example that is coming up.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:53:19

ArtisanLentilWeaver

Thank you! Had a look at the HabHousing website and will invest. smile
Good luck with the project.

ArtisanLentilWeaver, bless you!

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:53:43

lalalonglegs

Hi Kevin - another long-time Grand Designs fan here and it's become a multi-generational thing, my 9yo daughter is obsessed by it now as well. Occasionally we watch old episodes on More4 and you get very excited about things such as underfloor heating and, memorably in one episode, an electric screwdriver. Does it make you slightly depressed that the projects that are featured now are so unattainable and have become so, I'm trying to think of a polite way of saying it but can't, bloated and excessive? Budgets seem a very secondary consideration for many of the participants - would you prefer to have simpler, less grand designs which are more personal or does the nature of the beast (and land prices) mean that it's become something of a millionaires' hobby?

llll

Hello – I can’t fully agree with you. Yes, in every series we do feature one very expensive project; several under £500,000 and at least one good value self-build. In fact, my favourite (surpassing Ben Law’s £26,000 home in the woods) is the modern timber building on the Isle of Skye built for Indie and Rebecca in the last series, on which they spent around £150,000. Grand Designs is first and foremost about the vision, not about the budget. And you’ll be pleased to hear that as part of the series coming up this autumn (it starts early Sept) we are revisiting the modest three-bedroom chalet bungalow built by Jerry Tate in Woodbridge for his client. Also, this affordability question is exactly why I set up my company, Hab. Our fundamental aim is to apply the high design and environmental values exemplified by the best projects on Grand Designs to affordable homes. We've spent the last six years building low-cost housing which is designed by the UK's most brilliant architects. Our next venture is to look at ways to make the process of building, or part building, your own home less risky and more affordable. The aim is indeed to challenge that very perceived wisdom that building your own home is a millionaires' hobby and prove that - if managed properly - it can actually be a means of helping people to get on the housing ladder or to end up with a home that they otherwise couldn't afford. We are looking at sites where we can put in great landscaping and public realm, and then offer for sale anything from a serviced ground slab, to a building shell, to a house with scope for the customer to add their own touches at the end.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:55:03

Solo

<Excited!!!>

Hi again Kevin! welcome back smile

In 2011, you advised me on loft insulation (my loft is quite low and I didn't/don't want to lose the space for storage etc. I just wondered what you think of Celotex to insulate the roof (between the rafters)? I've just recently found out about it and am considering using it. Do you think it's worth doing? better than nothing at all? It'll definitely be a DIY job for me too.

Thank you!!!

Hello Solo – it’s definitely worth doing! Payback on this sort of work is almost immediate, with cash savings in your pocket after about a year’s bill savings. You need to make sure you’re insulating very the underside of the rafters as well as between them, as otherwise heat will seep through gaps, and even through the rafters themselves. As to Celotex, it has impressive insulating abilities, but we (at my company Hab) err towards natural materials like wool, cork, hemp, recycled newspaper, etc. You can infill between the rafters with such earthly bibelots. You just need to make sure that you don’t compromise the ventilation in the roof space in doing this. Best to consult a surveyor if you’re not sure. If in doubt and you want to do it yourself, the easiest solution is just to insulate the floor rather than inside the rafters. Here are several patented systems out there that could help with this.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:55:33

VelvetStrider

Do you get to spend much time at your cabin that you built in the woods? What aspects of it are you most pleased with and what do you wish you'd done differently?

Yep,. I spent two nights in it last week. And will be doing so again next week. This is on account of the fact that it is now moored on its wheels at a caravan park on the north Somerset coast where we're filming series 2 of the SHED - On Holiday. The series goes out early September alongside the new series of Grand Designs. I'll tweet when I know the exact dates.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:56:53

LifeofPo

Did the guy in the woods get in a huff when you decided the house in Skye was your new favourite?

No, he got in a Huf

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:57:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:57:30

ha! po you got POWNED

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:57:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 20:58:02

RealAleandOpenFires

What do you think of people, who buy period properties and then gut them?

Personally, I think that buildings of any age, if they have charm, derive that charm from a thousand tiny details and if you remove them you remove the reason for buying it in the first place.
There a few principles – one of them is that works to an old building ought to be reversible and I believe that adding to a building - changing it – is like adding a chapter to a book. But you mustn’t bowdlerize the story such that the narrative no longer makes sense.
But it isn’t always clear-cut. The state of the property may be such that it’s irrecoverable to its original level of delight. Unfortunately, sometimes to save and revivify these nuggets of our housing landscape radical approaches are necessary. We’re refurbishing an old Victorian hospital building on our development in Stroud and are experiencing in real time the tough choices.
 

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:58:51

oh i hate the original features fascists

plastic windows all the way, man

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 20:59:39

@lifeofpo

get with it grandma

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 20:59:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:00:40

LatinForTelly

Hi Kevin,

We were lucky enough to live in a GD house for a few months. It was a modest 4 bed family house, built when the projects weren't overly grand.

The house did seem great (and you loved it on the telly); handsome, intelligently thought-out, and economical.

Trouble was, it didn't really work as a family house for a number of reasons, notably noise, ventilation and lots of hazardous drops.

I agree with whoever said a house is a machine for living in, so on that criterion, for me, the house didn't work.

Just wondering what you thought really. Has a design failed if the house isn't fit for general purpose (don't want to out self but there are pointers that other people feel the same).

Or is it a design success if it works very well for its first owners?

Firstly, I'd fiercely defend the series for continuing to champion modest projects. The channel may not use them in its advertising but every series of GD has a scattering of accessible, beautiful, small projects; it's just that, of course, they're less memorable than the ridiculous, overblown ones.

Secondly, I'd say that any project has to serve the people that commissioned it and buildings are about time and people and place. There is absolutely no guarantee that a house build for one person will be built for another - we film bespoke projects that fit like a bespoke suit sometimes. I would, however, judge a developer-built home as unfit for purpose if it only suited one household in its lifetime.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:00:56

FluffDragon

Hi Kevin, my question is, what's YOUR house like?!

It’s old; and I’ve retrofitted quite a lot of green technologies to it. It was build in the 16th century out of the stone and the oak from the fields around it – so I suppose that makes it something of a Jacobean eco-house.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:03:15

missmartha

Hi there.

Is there such a thing as good taste, and if so, who decides?

I am constantly perplexed by planning decisions. Yes I work in the construction industry.

Nope, there's no such thing as good taste; just taste. Your taste is different to mine, and my taste and my taste is different to mine ten years ago. There's good design, and there is quality in making things and these are recognisable by all of us. But taste is shifting, deceptive and misleading.

As to planning; every planning decision is always going to be very specific and contextual. It is also often going to be personal and influenced by the taste of the planning officer as much by their professional judgement and local planning policy.

RealAleandOpenFires Tue 23-Jul-13 21:04:31

Ty for answering. grin.

--Will watch old GD episodes later, so I can shout at the people making a right pig's ear of their project. wink

Itscoldouthere Tue 23-Jul-13 21:05:23

Hi Kevin

So I looked into Solar panels but they are so ugly, I can't put them on my roof where they will be seen.
I saw some solar roof tiles at GD Live much nicer, do you think in 5/10 years people will not want to buy houses with ugly solar panels?

LatinForTelly Tue 23-Jul-13 21:06:32

Fair enough. Thanks for answering grin

GentleOtter Tue 23-Jul-13 21:07:55

Hello Kevin,

We were lucky enough to meet you at Grand Designs through Mumsnet and thank you for being so lovely to everyone. My children refuse to eat bananas unless they are made into a 'Kevin penguin'.

What was the inspiration behind the HabHousing?

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:08:06

mrscumberbatch

If you go down the line of crowd funding, what would the participants gain from it?

I'd like to think of myself as being green and live in a sustainable home etc but I'm not sure that I would part with cash for a development of homes that I'm not going to live in or have a stake in...

So yes, what's your sweetener for investors?

The answer is money. We're not a charity and we're selling 20% of our business for £1.5 million. In return for a 5% dividend after three years, and an intention to multiply the company's value within five years. And we're not asking you to invest in homes; but rather to invest in the business. We're about halfway to our minimum investment level (£1M) on www.crowdcube.com/investment/hab-housing-limited-13069

gollygosh123 Tue 23-Jul-13 21:08:31

what became of the spanish multi colour?

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:10:36

GentleOtter

Hello Kevin,

We were lucky enough to meet you at Grand Designs through Mumsnet and thank you for being so lovely to everyone. My children refuse to eat bananas unless they are made into a 'Kevin penguin'.

What was the inspiration behind the HabHousing?

The inspiration was a desire to see penguin bananas populate this country and to rid the land of soulless, badly-designed, poorly built housing schemes that looked like they could be anywhere. And which leaked heat and just encouraged people to climb in their cars.
So, it was anger that got me going. And a belief in community, sustainability and a more banana-filled future.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:12:47

LifeofPo

Plastic windows are shite, you have to replace, wood last centuries

Guys, please relax. The big problem with plastic windows is when you take them out and have to landfill them (when they proceed to douse the environment with chlorine and other nasties). Meantime, they are efficient and if you've got them, they're there.

GentleOtter Tue 23-Jul-13 21:13:16

grin

We look forward to seeing HabHousing in Scotland - hopefully on Community bought land.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:14:54

Spirael

Hi Kevin! I was lucky enough to meet you at Grand Designs Live after getting tickets from your last Mumsnet visit. smile

We hope to get back to Grand Designs Live in the next few years - it was a fantastic day out with lots of interesting and useful exhibits. I highly recommend it to anyone else considering going!

Is your favourite biscuit still "Poor Man's Banoffee", banana on chocolate digestive with a cup of coffee, or have your tastes changed at all?

Aha, the biscuit question. What I have been waiting for all week. Yep, my firm favourite remains the plain chocolate digestive carefully layered with 5mm thick slices of firm banana. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:17:13

MardyBra

Dear Kevin. Would you mind awfully if I nuzzled in and nibbled your left ear lobe? Thanks in advance, Mardy.

I would absolutely mind. Only my right ear is available for nibbling.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:17:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:18:07

Itscoldouthere

Hi Kevin

So I looked into Solar panels but they are so ugly, I can't put them on my roof where they will be seen.
I saw some solar roof tiles at GD Live much nicer, do you think in 5/10 years people will not want to buy houses with ugly solar panels?

A lot of local authorities won't allow them in conservation areas or on listed buildings. I put some on the ground, or you can investigate the panels which look more like slate tiles. In any case the technology is advancing very quickly and I suspect the products being installed right now will look pretty chunky in a few years time. But the prices are coming down and the Feed-in-Tariff, though reduced, is beginning to make sense again.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:19:03

hold on!!!

i have just glimpsed the rather fragrant simon Mcwhirter,

iklboo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:19:41

Thank you for the birthday wishes & replying <swoons into glass of birthday fizz>

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:19:58

LifeofPo

{Boaks at banana digestive travesty}

You get potassium, an energy boost, slow release carbs, chocolate, and with a coffee a good caffeine hit as well. What's not to like.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:20:06

i like a man with a casual attitude to facial hair removal

iklboo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:20:20

<swoons into glass of birthday fizz>

iklboo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:20:58

Swoons into glass of birthday fizz

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:21:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Itscoldouthere Tue 23-Jul-13 21:22:28

Yes, but for now it feels like a heavy financial investment into a tech that is becoming old/changing... a difficult decision especially as I want to be green (but live in a conservation area) when bringing back to life a house thats been very neglected.

HenWithAttitude Tue 23-Jul-13 21:22:32

Is their a time period of building that you really hate <living in 1966 built house>

LatinForTelly Tue 23-Jul-13 21:26:46

Indeed, Life of Po

I quite want to ask a (related) question about the rigidly literal interpretation of the Scottish vernacular by Councils / local architects, but I know nothing about architecture. And I am a bit tipsy. And its 9.26.

Itscoldouthere Tue 23-Jul-13 21:27:40

Kevin are you having a biscuit break?

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:28:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:29:09

RunsWithScissors

Hi Kevin,

We are looking to do a single story side extension to enlarge our kitchen in the next few years. It's a 1930s semi detached.

We want to incorporate as many green/energy saving ideas as we can into it. Solar panel on the roof of the extension (receives full sun throughout the day) is one plan.

We have cavity walls on the ground floor, but only single brick on the first floor. Would it be worth doing external insulation when we undertake the extension work? We investigated internal, but would lose too much space to some of the rooms (if what I have read is correct).

Would this be a wise investment if rolled into other work? Also, any other ideas to incorporate?

We love your show (was the first thing I saw on telly when I moved over to the uk 10yrs ago, and have been hooked since).

Thanks so much

You sound like ideal candidates for the Green Deal. Yes it does make sense to retrofit and insulate if you're going to be doing work anyway, especially to an existing house. Be very careful of internal insulation, especially at ground floor level because of the risks of condensation and mould. Cavity and external insulation however are more straight-forward. And remember that the most valuable alterations that you can make are often the dullest; things like draught-proofing and loft insulation. And a new piece of research came out a few weeks ago which shows that homes that have been retrofitted and cheaper to heat are worth as much as 16% more than their unimproved neighbours. We're just launching an initiative with the insulation experts Mark Group called Grand Designs Future Living (granddesignsfutureliving.co.uk) which is aimed at householders who want to improve the efficiency of their homes.

EmmasMumHelen Tue 23-Jul-13 21:30:12

I am a huge fan of Grand Designs and hope to see swathes of your company's housing across the country to become what should one day be referred to as 'Windsor HAB'!
However, and notwithstanding your current refurbishment project, should we not be retrofitting the thousands of properties which are currently sitting empty rather than building new? The decision to bulldoze the terraces in Liverpool today is a point in question.
PS. Don't forget to come and see Preston Bus Station before it too gets demolished!

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:31:22

LatinForTelly

Indeed, Life of Po

I quite want to ask a (related) question about the rigidly literal interpretation of the Scottish vernacular by Councils / local architects, but I know nothing about architecture. And I am a bit tipsy. And its 9.26.

Beats me. The brilliant architect Richard Murphy, based in Edinburgh, keeps having really good architecture turned down by planners who want to see bungaloid, fake crofter cottages everywhere in Scotland.
PS - use "bungaloid" to improve your architectural credentials

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:33:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:34:28

EmmasMumHelen

I am a huge fan of Grand Designs and hope to see swathes of your company's housing across the country to become what should one day be referred to as 'Windsor HAB'!
However, and notwithstanding your current refurbishment project, should we not be retrofitting the thousands of properties which are currently sitting empty rather than building new? The decision to bulldoze the terraces in Liverpool today is a point in question.
PS. Don't forget to come and see Preston Bus Station before it too gets demolished!

As far as I'm concerned Preston Bus Station won't get demolished. It's too good. And you're right about refurbishment because most of the 26 million homes in the UK will still be here in 2050. The difficulty with the overcapacity of housing stock in parts of northern England is that jobs are not currently where the houses are. It's a complicated issue but one fundamentally of supply and demand, in the right place. Meantime, there aren't enough homes in the south.
We could move several million people northwards, or maybe we could invade France. Again.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:35:49

LadyMilfordHaven

i like a man with a casual attitude to facial hair removal

LadyMilfordHaven, I know you're not referring to me as I like to keep everything in trim.

Itscoldouthere Tue 23-Jul-13 21:37:04

Didn't Westminster have a plan to move lots of their expensive council tenants to Peterborough... don't think it went down well from either side!

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:37:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:37:34

HenWithAttitude

Is their a time period of building that you really hate <living in 1966 built house>

Ooh, hate's a strong word. I'm not so enamoured with stuff built after the 70s, but maybe we'll look back in 30 years with fondness at the quality and design of our housing stock of the late twentieth century. Or maybe not.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:37:40

* arches eyebrow*

everything?

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:38:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmasMumHelen Tue 23-Jul-13 21:39:30

Thank you, Sir. Keep up the good work. Hope to get me one of your self-builds in my back garden one day!

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:39:34

that wasn't me.
* sips Gin sling*

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:40:00

70s houses had not only hatches but ace gardens

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Jul-13 21:40:04

Thanks to all those who've joined us tonight for the webchat and big thanks to Kevin and SimonHabHousing for venturing into MNHQ tonight to answer your questions.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:40:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:41:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:41:48

and i love kevin you, Po

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:42:22

simon - say something QUICK - Mccloud has hogged the WHOLE SHOW

Spirael Tue 23-Jul-13 21:42:23

Bye Kevin! See you again next time. wink

KevinMcCloud Tue 23-Jul-13 21:44:13

It's 9.30 and it's now time for me to go and drink something with my hairy sidekick Simon.
Thanks to everyone and especially to the fragrant LadyMilfordHaven and clearly tipsy LifeofPo for your contributions. It's been really good fun at this end. I will sign off with another entreaty to visit our crowdcube page if you're interested (www.crowdcube.com/investment/hab-housing-limited-13069 ). Or visit our website - habhousing.co.uk

All strength to the Mumsnet network of chintz and bifold door lovers everywhere (and even plastic windows).

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Jul-13 21:44:58

LadyMilfordHaven

simon - say something QUICK - Mccloud has hogged the WHOLE SHOW

Simon says: He's always like that but thanks for noticing me x

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 23-Jul-13 21:45:33

thanks Kevin - we find it best not to mention her problem. @po

LifeofPo Tue 23-Jul-13 21:49:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

This is the funniest web chat ever. grin

TeamEdward Tue 23-Jul-13 23:42:52

grin

MardyBra Wed 24-Jul-13 00:42:38

Fuck it. I not only missed this, I won't for the wrong bloody ear.

Nice friendly and very informative chat though.

MardyBra Wed 24-Jul-13 00:43:01

thanks thanks

Solo Wed 24-Jul-13 10:34:34

grin@ Mardy! I missed it too sad

Thanks for the advice though Kevin (in case he comes back to read) smile

MardyBra Wed 24-Jul-13 10:46:51

Sorry had wine last night. Appropriate swearing and autocorrect filter were faulty.

LadyMilfordHaven Wed 24-Jul-13 17:09:36

he bloody loved it.wink

Fantastic WebChat smile

lurkerspeaks Wed 24-Jul-13 19:12:27

Damn. Missed this. Howver I do now have a tenuous link to Kevin.... I live in a Richard Murphy property.

I can testify to the fact that good design can make you happy. I love coming home even on grey horrible days (frequent occurence here in the frozen north) and I can't understand why Scottish local authorities are so nervous about allowing modern design in. At some point 4 in a block pebble dash houses were modern albeit not very avant grade!

MaxinePeakedistrict Wed 24-Jul-13 20:30:46

Thanks, Kevin.

Love the humour grin

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