The Kevin McCloud Interview & Grand Designs Live Ticket Giveaway

Last week I was lucky enough to be given the change to interview the wonderful Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame. To say I was a little nervous was an understatement, and I’m not really sure what Kevin made of me. However, this isn’t about me, it’s about the wonderful Kevin! So do read on to hear what he has to say about all things Grand Designs, including his career and a few behind the scenes snippets. And if you’re interested in going along to Grand Designs Live in May, you might like to enter the giveaway to win a pair of tickets too.

kevin mccloud interview

Q: You have a design and architecture background, but I’m intrigued to find out how you became involved in TV work and Grand Designs in the first place? Was it a natural progression, or completely out of the blue?

Kevin said that it had all been an amalgamation of events that led to him appearing on Grand Designs back in 1999. He hadn’t planned a career in TV and had concentrated on his design work, firstly working as a theatre designer and then retail design. In the 80’s he set up a very successful design studio which lasted for over 20 years, where they had a team of 25 staff and even did their own glass blowing and had a forge. After having written a few successful book on lighting and decoration, he was approached to work on TV, which he did for several years alongside running his business. In 2002, he sold up though, and worked solely on his tv career. But something was missing; it wasn’t enough and so he developed HAB, a housing development consortium which has now led to his being honoured with an MBE this year.

Hab was established by the writer, designer and broadcaster Kevin McCloud. It stands for Happiness Architecture Beauty. We build houses that make people happy; that keep people warm in winter and cool in summer and generally comfortable and cheerful all year round. We work with brilliant architects and landscape architects to make places that look great and work well, and have lots of outdoor space for people to play, chat, lie in the sun, throw a good party, grow their own food.

Q: Grand Designs has been on our screens since 1999, I was wondering how featured projects have changed throughout that time? Has the more recent economic downturn affected the types of projects/builds that are put forward on the show?

This question led more to a fascinating discussion about the changes within TV, as well as the obvious changes within the economy and property development. Back in its infancy, Grand Designs was groundbreaking. Do you remember shows like Changing Rooms? Well they were all about mocking design really, and often created havoc for the homeowner. Grand Designs was, and has always been about celebrating design and the risks that homeowners take. Participants, or Grand Designers were initially skeptical about the show and how they would be portrayed, but it wasn’t long before they were won over. Running a documentary like this for an hour was different too, but look at how many other ‘makeover’ shows are now following the same format!

Q: How do you go about selecting projects for each series?

As you might expect, there’s a lot of due diligence that goes on in the background, checking out things like planning permission before they get to the shortlist. Researchers put together a short film of all the proposed developments, which Kevin and the Grand Design production team watch, in order to make their final decisions. We went on to talk about the team behind Grand Designs, some of whom have left to have a family and now returned. It seems like a very tight unit indeed, which I guess is reflected in the quality of the show.

Q: Is there any one particular project or build that stands out in your memory from the programme? If so, why? And do you have a favourite?

Ok, so maybe a little bit of an obvious question, but I was interested to know if, firstly Kevin remembered the builds, and secondly, what he might choose.  He actually referenced the project on the Isle of Skye, built by Rebecca and Indi, in such incredible surroundings as one that had stayed with him.

Architecture is as much about place, as it is about people.

The final question came from Miriam, a blog follower and fan of the Love Chic Living Facebook page:

Q: I was intrigued to see how moved he was by the man who built the woodman’s cottage (the man who’d lived in a tent for ten years) which is not what springs to mind when I think of ‘great’ architecture. Is it the architecture of a building or the passion behind its creation that is more significant?

A great question that gave Kevin the opportunity to show his passion, and love for architecture. Firstly, he took issue with Miriam’s statement and talked about Ben, who had created wonderful pieces of woodwork from the resources he had around him, using skill, patience and care. He talked about the tremendous integrity in what he had achieved, and that in Ben’s case, the architecture was much deeper than what he had simply created. He has taken architecture back to its historic roots, and had a strength and purity to it.

A building without passion is not great architecture

I couldn’t help be moved and drawn along by Kevin’s eloquent explanation of what made this cottage to special and important.

Without passion we have the worst kind of architecture, and the best of it is only created by human energy.

Showering praise on all Grand Designers, Kevin thanked all of them for being experimentalists, for taking design to the edge of its margins and for taking risks that others don’t dare.

Kevin McCloud will be at the 10th Grand Designs Live, 3-11 May at the Excel, London.


To be in with a chance of winning 2 tickets to Grand Designs Live, tweet this message:

I want to go to Grand Designs Live and see design guru Kevin McCloud with @GDLive_UK via @lovechicliving

then leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.

Closing Date: 25th April 2014 11.59pm

UK Entries Only

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

  • The prize is a pair of tickets to Grand Designs Live. There is no cash alternative.
  • Entrants must tweet the message and leave a comment.
  • All steps listed above must be followed to ensure the proper qualification into the competition
  • UK Entrants only
  • Competition closes on  25th April 2104 11.59pm
  • The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted by email.
  • Winners must respond to the email within 7 days or forfeit the prize. Another winner will then be chosen.
  • The prize will be sent by the PR company. 
  • Love Chic Living’s decision is final

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Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Jackie Foster
    April 6, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    I’ve Tweeted @jackiefoster50 Thanks for the Great Giveaway

  2. simon oakley
    April 6, 2014 / 2:34 pm

    done it I would love to go

  3. nicola bull
    April 6, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    done it all would love to get the opportunity to go

  4. michelle banks
    April 6, 2014 / 5:47 pm

    i tweeted x @michellebanks14

  5. Alana Beautyman
    April 6, 2014 / 6:21 pm

    I have Re-tweeted and commented.

  6. Kat Glynn
    April 6, 2014 / 6:22 pm

    Tweeted as @testedbykat – already following 🙂 x

  7. Hannah Ingham
    April 7, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I’ve tweeted it! 🙂

  8. Tasha Corder
    April 7, 2014 / 9:25 pm

    I have tweeted – @littlebean0709

  9. Miriam
    April 7, 2014 / 10:18 pm

    Thank you to choosing my question to ask Kevin. I’m pleased, and in all honesty, not surprised with his response – I’ve been watching Grand Designs too long to think Kevin is only about design. I also loved Ben’s cottage, especially when they revisited it a few years later to see how things had moved on, it must have been so satisfying to build your own home and then develop it to incorporate your new family!

    A great interview Jen!

  10. Amy Walsh
    April 8, 2014 / 8:06 pm

    Ive tweeted! Would love to win this! Always watching grand Designs

  11. Ben
    April 8, 2014 / 10:48 pm

    Consider it re-tweeted!!

  12. claire woods
    April 10, 2014 / 9:38 pm

    done as @clairewoods32

  13. Will Grimsey
    April 12, 2014 / 4:43 pm

    tweeted! hope I win

  14. Kirsty Fox
    April 12, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    I have tweeted – @bloomingfox

  15. Becci smith
    April 13, 2014 / 10:38 am

    I just tweeted

    @BecciSmith85: I want to go to Grand Designs Live and see design guru Kevin McCloud with @GDLive_UK via @lovechicliving

  16. Jo Godfray
    April 13, 2014 / 3:06 pm

    I tweeted! @JoGodfray

  17. Greig spencer
    April 15, 2014 / 8:58 pm

    ENTERED, thanks guys @greigo_uk

  18. Allan Fullarton
    April 21, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    Tweeted – @fullarton121

  19. Sami Williams
    April 22, 2014 / 12:49 pm

    This is a show I really want to see as we have just moved into our dream home an old victorian detatched house which used to be an old parsonage and it has all the period features intact, however it needs redecorating and I am need some serious inspiration as I want to keep it as genuine as possible.

  20. james darrington
    April 23, 2014 / 6:09 pm

    Just tweeted for the competition, fingers and toes crossed:D

    April 24, 2014 / 7:28 am

    I Have Tweeted @irenebolton19

  22. Penelope edwards
    April 24, 2014 / 1:33 pm

    I’ve tweeted @unicorndeva Fingers crossed.

  23. Francesca Gubbay
    April 24, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Tweeted. Thanks @francescagubbay

  24. Kirsty Woods
    April 24, 2014 / 5:13 pm

    Tweeted @kirstywoods32 Thank you

  25. Debbie Preston
    April 24, 2014 / 8:58 pm

    Have tweeted @DebbiePreston4

  26. sj wesley
    April 24, 2014 / 10:26 pm

    I’ve tweeted! @sjwesley0

  27. Terrie-Ann Wright
    April 25, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    done it 🙂 MrsLefty2811

  28. Annaloa Hilmarsdottir
    April 25, 2014 / 11:14 pm

    I have tweeted as @Cosmonauty

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  31. Upen
    October 30, 2014 / 7:05 am

    Me too have twitted it @rajkumbh.

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