Back-to-back, we finally caught up with Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs Home of the Year over the holiday period.
Each category had some stunning architectural gems – my own favourites were the futuristic 6 Wood Lane in north London, the tin house in Scotland and I rather liked the treehouse, being a fan of woodland environments.
The winner though was a grand design in the true sense of the word – hand made Kent pantiled roofs with the feel of an Oast house with a twist – families living close together connected by tunnels and communal living areas.
Set in 74 acres, it lacked nothing it seemed, except for some deign panache, in my opinion.
The centrepiece of the home was a large hall, which reminded me of a school assembly room, with grand piano, which Kevin McCloud described (with no sense of irony) as unpretentious.
I found that room sterile, but I can see why it won, based on its proportions and innovative architectural design.
Homes to me are more about intimacy, connecting and family.
A home needing walkie talkies to communicate doesn’t scream closeness, as practical as it may be.
My favourite was the oddball spaceship tucked amongst traditional homes in north London. It was controversial for its design, given the setting, but to me it screamed functionality and fun.
I’d love to perch in that winter garden, the rooftop atrium with skylight open, surveying all around. The floating floors would fascinate me, as would the curved staircases.
It didn’t win though – this one did at Caring Wood, Kent.
It is a home that will become more beautiful in its place as time progresses, with the owners planting over 20,000 trees and a mass of wildflowers.
Neither of the settings of 6 Wood Lane or Caring Wood would appeal to me, however, if I had millions of pounds to splash.
My grand design would be near a solid town, like Leek or Saffron Walden, set in or near woodlands with quirky design features and low running costs.
If anyone can point me to such a design, or mark a route to becoming a millionaire, I’d be grateful.