Kevin McCloud Interview: The Grand Designs host talks TV success and sustainable building

The Grand Designs’ Editor in Chief reveals how he got into the world of television and why he believes the show is so popular

Kevin McCloud hiding behind a grand designs magazine

The name Kevin McCloud is synonymous with architecture and sustainability, and his musings on house building have inspired many of us to dream, or even attempt, our own grand designs.

After a degree in History of Art and Architecture at Cambridge and a stint as a theatre designer, he ran a furniture and lighting studio, before the opportunity to present a new television show came along in 1998.

Read on to find out how he started out in his TV career and his thoughts on sustainability. 

How did you start out in TV?

kevin mccloud's favourite tv houses Ben Law's woodland home

Image: Stephen Morley

‘I tried a couple of television projects before Grand Designs, but it was the first serious offer I got. I was happy with the success of the first and second series, but it was during the third one that I knew we were onto something special. We got 5.3 million viewers for the episode featuring Ben Law’s eco home, which beat everything else on television that evening.'

Why do you think Grand Designs has been such a success? 

micah elaine jones grand designs live grand theatre birmingham 2017

Image: Bircan Tulga

‘The show has universal appeal because we all want to shape our environment. Our homes are the most important places in our lives – that’s where we frame our relationships. Building a house is the last big adventure that we all think we can go on, even if we never will. That’s the appeal of Grand Designs – it could be any of us.’

How important is sustainable home building?

twenty first century chalet grand designs tv houses kevin mcclouds favourite houses

Image: Thearle Photography

‘Sustainable construction has been an agenda for me for many years. The difficulty is that there are many other things that go alongside it. It’s not just about the carbon footprint of a building; it’s about how we live and what we consume in the long term.’

Have you any building projects in the pipeline?

kevin mccloud with a hard hat outside a building construction on grand designs tv show on Channel 4

‘I have built my own house, but I’d like to think I’ve got more projects left in me. Making a home, whether you’re starting from scratch or just buying cushions, is so fundamental to the human condition – it’s the only time we really let our creative juices flow in a tangible way.’ 

See Kevin on stage at Grand Designs Live on 5th - 18th May 2018 where he'll be dishing out his stellar advice and ideas to help kick-off your own self-build project.

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