I first heard of Kevin McCloud’s plans for a new self-build project whilst exhibiting on the Lowimpact.org stand at Grand Designs Live last October. In December Optomen TV, the production company, hired me to project manage the building of Kevin’s rustic eco-cabin – the subject of a series of four Channel 4 programmes starting tomorrow evening – ‘Kevin McCloud’s Man-Made Home’.
We’re not allowed to show or describe the building before the programme, which goes out tomorrow evening, Sunday 23 Sep, at 8pm on Channel 4.
I’ve promised not to share any details of how the shed looks, but it’s been a lot of fun working on the design with Kevin. Usually I design the buildings I’m commissioned to build. This is the first time I’ve worked with someone confident enough to produce their own design. Kevin sent through CAD drawings, passed back and forth, till we got the materials and measurements as we wanted them.
Here’s a pic of myself, Brian and Katherine having a cuppa during a break in filming. Kath has been cooking for the crew on the campfire – her speciality is sourdough bread and wonderful stews. We’ve been working on-site most weeks since February, and only a fraction of the work could be seen in the programme. Lots of carving, making joints, hanging wooden shingles etc. It’s been a very interesting project, and Kevin McCloud has been great to work with.
In this series, Kevin looks at what really makes us happy. Is it ultimately creativity and simplicity? So he’s building his very own unique structure from scratch – the other end of the scale to mass-produced buildings. He wants to demonstrate the pleasure that can be derived from making things with our own hands. It was a boyhood dream of his to have a hideaway of his own. Now he’s doing it, and filling it with other interesting, home-made kit.
At the end of the series he’ll be in a better place to try to answer the question: Is simple better? And he’ll also have created a place that doesn’t require any mains electricity or other utilities.
The shed is a timber building, but the series also encompasses a range of practical topics such as biodiesel, cob building, round wood, wooden roofing shingles, coppicing, obtaining planning permission and homebrewing.
There – I shall leave it for you to enjoy on 23rd Sep, and I’ll blog again about the build after that.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's