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Grand Designs


Chris303
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On 22/01/2021 at 15:26, Stanley said:

Really didn’t like this week’s house - the slate roof should have stopped at the walls and the windows were horrid with that same dark grey finish, it looked like a Minecraft house - also didn’t like the furniture and furnishings what little there was, zero style or taste with some shocking choice in art - that fucking lion :blink: Also that argument over the staircase was just weird, what a strange couple. 

 

I couldn't help thinking that the "argument" over the stairs was done to add some drama. It came across very strangely and felt very artificial.

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The eco ones often end up looking a bit shonky but I think the Mrs here had a very quiet and steely way about her in the background and was saying 'no way is that shite red sofa and some skip kitchen ending up in this house after I've been thru all this'.

 

Thought they ended up with a very tasteful and usable house, do wonder about that heating system though, and whether the place would be super hot in the summer too. Seemed especially hard to grasp how an ambient house is comfy at 15c inside when the more traditional rad systems need to be set 5-6c higher.

 

Wouldn't work for me, I got paranoid and was shouting at Kevin to shut the bloody doors.

 

The singing was great, straight out of some Footlights amdram society.

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Yeah I did think that about the summer. Surely the bedrooms at the back are like being in a clay oven and there's no windows to open for a bit of breeze. Maybe I've misunderstood though, I also couldn't get my head around cooler temperatures feeling warmer because they're a different type of heat.

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Enjoyed last night's episode. Older couple attempt to renovate an absolutely rotten old mill in Cornwall with nowhere near enough money. And of course that was nowhere near enough money when they thought the thing was in far better state than it actually is...

 

I'm a little biased, as I love that part of the world, and have got family down there that have been the renovation game, so this is all familiar, but it's probably been the favourite build for me this series so far. I did think Kevin was being a bit unrealistic with his disappointment that more of the building wasn't saved - fundamentally the thing was rotten and it had to be gutted, and it had be do to make a mill into a home. All in all it was a really nice build and they did exceptionally well for doing it on far too little money and trying to do it themselves as much as possible. Really good.

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I agree that Kevin was a bit unrelenting on keeping as much of the original features as possible. After all those years exposed to water damage the interior beams had the integrity of MFI woodchip and just needed to go.

 

I thought the exterior was absolutely beautiful, the interior awful. Really naff, cheap and lacking any kind of character or imagination. The kitchen was particularly bland. Kevin said as much but he always damns with faint praise the bits he dislikes.

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Kevin was especially obnoxious in this episode. If the wood is rotten the wood is rotten, no amount of purism is going to change that. He is quite good at spending other people’s money though. Saying that, the front door set alarm bells ringing right from the off at the reveal, it was incredibly naff. I’m glad they were happy as everyone loves a grafter, but it was not good inside which is a massive shame. 

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I do like Kevin and the fact he actually brings a view to this, unlike say George Clarke who you'd show your downstairs bog cupboard to after a particularly bad visit and he'd be wowed and amazed by the amazing space and how big and light it feels in there despite being small with no windows (as would his hairy gnome mate who makes things from wood all the time).

 

I wonder if he was stitched up a bit in the edit on this with all the eps having a total lack of footage for the last year of the builds - suspect there have been many eps where he's said as much on the multiple visits just not made the final cut. They needed a bit of padding and this helped bring some drama.

 

That said I do get annoyed with some of the conservation stuff - this place was an eyesore shit heap that nobody wanted to take on, externally they did a brilliant and expensive job of making it look the part - internally they looked like they ran out of money and energy a bit but I totally get that and they have to live in it. Doing all the work and living in that tiny caravan during lockdown is going to sap the life out of you.

 

Kevin would only have been happy if it was some open plan museum to the old mill I think, no consideration for them living in the bloody place.

 

That said I don't get what they fell in love with, ugly building with no windows, odd shaped plot right on a road and internally didn't look like a lot of space or light - but to each their own and thats why this show remains the daddy of this type of thing, they get the best builds & stories.

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I was really surprised that there wasn't any footage of the build after February last year. All the other builds this series had at least some stuff shot during the gaps between lockdowns, and even had Kevin doing a Zoom call with one couple.

 

Given that the last footage before that was her throwing a massive strop, about Kevin's comments, I reckon she got the hump and wouldn't let them back until it was done and dusted.

 

I really wasn't that keen on the end result, even if I'm not as much of a purist as Kevin. I know there was a lot of rotten stuff that needed replacing, but they went into with ludicrous expections and far too little money. Why even buy a place like that, if you're just going to make it look like a generic new build inside? They started off with him doing all the interior pointing and then just gave up and plastered over everything. With the foundations being as bad as they are, that's going to be a maze of cracks before the end of the year.

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  • 5 months later...

Just started watching Grand Designs New Zealand on More4, it's exactly the same as the UK version (music, shots, style) but with a different presenter but stone me its spectacular, the locations and what is being built are amazing and its so cool to see something different.

 

A bloke built his own amazing house right on the beach in the first ep of the latest season almost by hand, then a couple of hippies build a spectacular place in a site on the South island which is 2h from the nearest town.

 

There are a few eps up on demand and a couple of Australian too - one of which has possibly the most expensive build I've ever seen on the show, maybe only topped by the Devon cliff face money pit. 

 

Well worth checking out if you need some property porn to watch and Charlie Luxton's Building the Dream is a bit too basic for your tastes.

 

Why I've never watched these before baffles me, its brilliant if you can stand the accents. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

We're working thru the latest couple of seasons of the NZ version of this (More4 now also showing some new Aus eps) and every single one has been a brilliant watch.

 

The cost of building in NZ seems really high, lots goes into ground works then structure to survive earthquakes or high winds - the place is stunning but gets a lot of weather. 

 

The designs and architects are so often 'out there' though, which makes it interesting. That and the fact everybody seems to run out of cash with spiralling prices. It's not uncommon to see huge build budgets and the end results are often very bespoke and personal. Copper clad weird curved houses by the sea and a giant faux castle being recent ones we've seen. I think the castle may well be the ugliest worst build I've ever seen on a Grand Designs ever.

 

The other thing that really stands out is the trades, or to be more specific their attitude. They seem such decent hard working people wanting to do a good job and are often very highly skilled - they seem a different breed from what we get in the UK.

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I’ve watched as much of Grand Designs New Zealand as I could get hold of over the last few weeks and it is indeed spectacular in both builds and scenery. It’s much more interesting than the UK version (which I do love). Chris Moller is a really good presenter as well. I presume Land Rover have some sort of deal in place as the footage of him driving somewhere always feels like an advert for their cars. :lol:

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Yeah the whole feel of the NZ one is great, Chris Moller isn't a natural presenter but has a quiet air of knowing his stuff about him that makes up for his slightly stilted delivery, the aussie bloke in comparison feels like something from an 80s Fosters advert and apart from a hat with corks on couldn't be more Aussie.

 

Unfortunately seems Chris Moller has left the show and it's also moving channels over there. 

 

The budgets on both though are just huge, watched an Aus one last night where they built a 110m long barn with a home at one end and various business bits in between, spent north of $2m AUD. The copper beach house in NZ the other day I recall the bloke saying all in he was at about $5m NZD.

 

I don't think it's just the locations though, but the Brit ones seem very conservative in comparison. 

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In an earlier GDNZ season there’s a Tuscan Villa style house that was budgeted at $2.5 mil and came in at over $5 mil, breaking one of the owners mental health in the process. To top it off him and his wife couldn’t move into it in the end and had to rent it out. It’s shown again in the last episode of season 5. There’s definitely more stuff that ends up incomplete in Grand Designs from the other side of the world.
 

They certainly seem to have a penchant for building stuff on top off or on the side of hills out there. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just reading the description for the new one makes it look fantastic - it could top the recent Devon one where he built that multi million pound concrete shell on a cliff face.

 

Stuck record time but Grand Design fans get onto on demand and record all the eps you can of Aus & NZ - they are just brilliant. Couple in NZ balked at the idea of paying $1.2m for a doer upper and ended up building a 5 story block in the middle of town with retail, rental spaces and a huge roof terrace for $5m+, the balls on them were incredible.

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It's an incredible building buuuuut as an episode it just didn't click with me. Rich man throws loads of money at something that he didn't seem to really care about except wanting it to be big and expensive.

 

I like these programmes when there's a vision, a connection etc. but this just had none of that. It all just felt a bit obscene.

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Was an odd one this - I don't judge an episode by whether I like the house or not at the end, when going highly bespoke like this it's going to be more art and gather strong reactions from people, it's meant to. I thought it looked like some new wing at a well funded museum or gallery but once inside all the crazy angular shards of the outside were nowhere to be seen.

 

Both of them seemed oddly detached from it even at the end, which I guess came from living in a perfectly nice brand new home only next door, they didn't suffer any of the peril so many do that end up living in a caravan on site, or in the poor house mortgaged up to the eyeballs for the rest of their life. The wife went from not caring less to serving up nuggets and chips in a 4 oven £125k kitchen at the end, but all the time with the air of some mobster wife who knows not to say too much about anything. 

 

Something doesn't stack up with his money, anybody that flash that quickly at that age hasn't done it financing property in Exeter for a few years, story seemed to change later that he was a developer rather than just money man. I suspect if he's put loads of money into local renovation greasing the wheels of local industry it explains how he got planning so easily to build such a monstrosity - nothing would surprise me though with town planners getting caught on the take or the bloke himself doing property as a front for drugs etc etc. 

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Nah. Not for me this one.

 

I was never going to like the house, it's just residential posing, a timber framed tacky Rolex. Ostentatious for the sake of it. A Bond villain bunker.

 

But that was all made worse for the guy building it. 33 and working in 'financial services' in Exeter, building 3 houses at the same time with a young family and he's completely unbothered when the budget for his folly grows by 200%. Half a million quid on cladding, half a million quid on the frame, no worries. Kitchen that (literally) cost more than my house. Oh and he has a garage of hobby cars worth 3,4 million? No mummy and daddy money. 10 years in the business? Nah, doesn't add up. Wouldn't add up if he was a London high flyer in a massive firm. But apparently he's made his money funding redevelopment in Exeter? Right. Sure. There must be more to it than that.

 

Interesting to note he's resigned all his directorships on Companies House this year.

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Couple of twitter sleuths been digging round - seems the main company he was at was started by his dad (sounds like family money rather than 'self made' as claimed) - the 15 companies he resigned at had assets of £5m but liabilities of £7m with no cash to speak of.

 

There is a big looking company of wealth management, accountancy etc that seems to have other people there with the family name. 

 

He's also interviewed trying to get some supercar business going if you google him.

 

I always though golden rule as wealth management was not to look too prosperous as makes clients think you taking too much from them !

 

Still doesn't answer where the funds for the build came from but he doesn't look like a self made millionaire at 35 who started with nowt. 

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I thought the guy was an absolute roaster with van Hoogstraten levels of self aggrandisement and I was willing the vulgar carbuncle to blow away in the wind. Channel 4 have such an odd obsession with the frivolity of the super-rich and I wish they'd get back to single minded old men digging out caves to live in. This was rubbish to watch.

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Grand Designs is meant to be about interesting architecture first and foremost isn't it, the stories of the participants and their lifestyles are a secondary bolted on fascination.

 

I love the eps with people chiseling out caves with teaspoons for years, or building self sufficient wooden farms over a decade that age them from segment to segment shown but there has to be a place on this show for the cunts with cash too building daft homes in graveyards or going bankrupt on cliff edges. 

 

Ch4 has a large array of property progs from George Clarke and his hairy gnome mate being wowed by sheds that are always way more spacious than they expect, to Phil & Kirsty doing their tired old thing and even Changing Rooms being back.

 

Bit unfair to say they're obsessed with the super rich, I really don't think they are unless you are just picking out those progs to watch.

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The super-rich thing was just about that slew of programmes they make about billionaires and the incredibly wealthy squandering their money. Billion pound hotel and boats and whatnot. This was just that really – there was no jeopardy as money meant nothing to him. I think it's just a shame to see them focus their attention on someone who is literally just looking for attention, if that makes sense. Grand Designs has always had a core running through it of unlikable people building monuments to themselves that will be there long after they're gone, but this was on a different level somehow. The vulgarity of erecting something like that for four people to live in was breathtaking. Even my old man, who is in no way an eco-warrior or anything like it was shocked at the material waste of it all. I think perhaps if Kevin had been more critical of the purpose of it at the end it might have sat better, but he was totally swept up in it. 

 

I think for all the faults of the George Clarke shows, there is some actual joy in there. This was all just a bit sad for me.

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