Last night saw the return of Channel 4’s architectural programme Grand Designs which sees inspired individuals build their dream home.
The show has seen an array of impressive builds across its 22 series. And the first episode of the new series is no different, as a Manchester couple learn the dos and don’ts of building your own home the hard way.
Manchester film producer Colin and his wife Adele dream of transforming the “cheapest house in Hale” into a modernist mansion that host Kevin McCloud describes as a “Swedish bombshell with curves to draw attention”.
“If I can get over challenges like getting permission to film Kim Jong-un,” says Colin, “I can deal with building a house…”
Influenced by Scandinavian style and Art Deco buildings, Colin, 52, the CEO of a film and TV production company, and Adele, 51, who is a yoga teacher, appointed the respected European architect to deliver a show-stopping design, unaware of the financial and practical hurdles ahead.
Colin is the adventurous type, not afraid to explore the more hair-raising corners of the planet with his wife Adele and their two children Billy and Polly in tow.
Colin was always the risk taker. He set up a video production company in his 20s, it grew to greater things and it’s taken him off around the world including South Korea.
He may have bent Kim Jong-un to his will, but Colin be able to focus his needy-film-producer’s eye for detail on the messy business of building a house?
Taking the family back to their routes, the couple is building their curved glass home in Hale, south Manchester near the ‘footballer belt’.
Opting not to use the D.I.Y approach, the couple hire a Swedish architect, an Italian interior design company along with a Latvian building company to make their dream a reality.
But it seemed their dream is harder to achieve than they first thought, as they learn the hard truth of why you shouldn’t pay builders everything up front.
The couple’s choice to avoid local builders and hire cheaper foreign labour and products resulted in the pair disappointed and devastated.
McCloud has seen a lot of ambitious projects over the last 22 series and it seems nothing surprising anymore, but the couple’s misfortunes do see the veteran designer tell them “I think this project is doomed.”
However, the result is ‘perfect’ and in the end ‘they’ve won’.
Their three-storey, 700sqm curved cantilevered house with 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms
“I mean, oh my god,” says McCloud, “it looks like a Scandinavian spaceship has landed and I am docking with it. Wow…
Perfectly adorned, cloaked in the swooshing curves of western red cedar cladding, already fading into a shimmering grey. The windows mirror the trees. The balustrades and the glazed ground floor seem only half there.
“The wooden spaceship hovers…” Kevin continues. “It’s perfect.
“It’s so sharp and it’s such an unusual thing here. It’s so different to any other building in this part of the world.
“It’s even got a balcony to soak up those Manchester rays…”
Wind your neck in, Kev.
You can catch the new series on Channel 4 and All 4 at 9pm every Wednesday night.