Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint for Building Your Dream Home Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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TV's architecture and design guru Kevin McCloud shares his passion and expertise in this brilliant guide to designing and building your own home, illustrated with the most memorable houses from the award-winning Channel 4 series. The book goes way beyond the confines of the usual TV tie-in. Over the 10 years that Grand Designs has been on our screens, Kevin has had plenty of opportunity to formulate his own strong views on what makes truly brilliant architecture. For the first time he can share those views fully, showing that 'houses too can be architecture' and giving any aspiring self-builder the maximum number of tools to ensure that their vision becomes reality, with the minimum amount of heartache along the way. Through three main sections -- 'Thinking', 'Dreaming' and 'Doing' -- he guides you through each stage of the self--build process, from working out what you really want, to finding a plot, obtaining planning permission, commissioning and briefing architects and builders, and implementing the build itself.Structured around fundamental locations -- urban, suburban and rural -- Kevin presents his own compendium of houses from across the UK which he finds exciting and exemplary.Some of the most successful projects from the TV series are featured, including Monty Ravenscroft's innovative house in Peckham with its retractable roof, a reinvented violin factory in Waterloo, a converted barn in Ross--on--Wye, a spectacular loch-side house on the Clyde estuary and a glass pavilion on a beach near Exeter. As Kevin says, ' Green is no longer a weird colour to be' and running throughout the book is the theme of sustainable building and how to achieve it -- not as some minority issue only of interest to those who knit their own sofas but as something which is increasingly central to how we will design, build and live in our homes. Passionate and opinionated, this book is always highly readable and engaging. For anyone who cares about design and for everyone who has ever thought about building their own home it is essential and truly inspiring reading.
About the Author
Kevin McCloud is best known as presenter of Channel 4's BAFTA-nominated ‘Grand Designs’, now in its 9th series. He writes books and articles about decoration, design, lighting and colour, and is editor-at-large of Grand Designs magazine. In addition, Kevin is a product and lighting designer and in Spring 2009 he launches his own range for John Lewis.
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Bought because we are at that point of building a new "grand design" for ourselves, it has lived up to its promise. Interesting that the other book I bought at the same time ("The Passivhaus Handbook") mentioned this title as useful for thinking through choosing an architect.
Having many designs I recognise from past "Grand Designs" being referenced is useful. At least most of us are well acquainted with the struggles and development of many of these projects.
With the lion's share of the book devoted to the "Dreaming" part of building a new house, with the initial part devoted to general thoughts on housing, and the final part to the doing of it, it could seems a little unbalanced. But as Kevin mentions this is the part we do not get to see on "Grand Designs". By the time his team are involved in filming people are at the doing stage. And the dreaming to ensure we really get the house we not only want, but also will love and that will serve us well and enhance our lives for years to come seems super important for any project. It certainly brought home to me the value of seeking out the essence of what I really want for my new house rather than just specific elements that I would have in a "Must Have" list. In other words more the way I want it to make me feel and interact with us in the future. It has lead to some re-evaluations of the size of what we really will need for the future.
By covering urban, suburban, rural and redevelopment-type projects in this section Kevin has offered suggestions and obviously opinions on what he considers important and relevant in each of these areas. It is not prescriptive really. Just thought provoking.
Reinforcing his ideas about having a really well developed team from all aspects from design to costings to construction, Kevin is really just re-iterating what he shares in "Grand Designs". But anyone who has watched these programmes will be well aware of the challenges any number of the aspiring home builders have encountered by not employing any number of such essential professionals.
A book to cover fully and then delve back into for the specifics we need and will be needing at different points in our new development.