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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.

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?

GleamingHeels Mon 22-Jul-13 18:22:25

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?

Longtalljosie Mon 22-Jul-13 21:09:47

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


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

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

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.

mrscumberbatch Tue 23-Jul-13 19:47:36

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


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.

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