His house is a mess, he studied Opera and has graced our Grand Designs television screens for more than two decades. And now TV host Kevin McCloud is setting his sights on a new challenge right here in New Zealand.
“What I love about New Zealand is that… [while] no country in the world is perfect [and] no society is perfect, but there’s a lot of stuff in New Zealand which is really good,” he told Seven Sharp.
“There’s this glorious relationship which I really respect between indigenous populations and their sacred sites around the country.” He said. “The history of building in Māori culture, and the way in which Māori culture [and] Māori design philosophy is quite similar to that of ‘one planet living’.”
The BAFTA award-winning broadcaster, writer, environmentalist, and amateur balloonist (yes, you read correctly), is taking to the live stage with his new show, Home Truths.
Complete with unfiltered chat, possibly some singing if you’re lucky, and all the things Kiwis have grown to love about designing a home, McCloud said his new gig is one of his favourite projects he’s signed up for.
“At its best, New Zealand architecture sits lightly on the planet. It comes back to the resource thing, but it’s got this lovely delicacy. This lightness of touch which I really respect,” he gushed.
The show will also include a Q&A session where audience members can ask McCloud any burning question they might have.
Budding home designers might even get just the tip they need to make their new house shine — or not let their budget blow out.
McCloud said he was obsessed with New Zealand and its architecture, so it kept him coming back.
“New Zealand is an extraordinary place where luckily I feel very welcome,” he said.
“I like the can-do attitude that people have. It also has this fantastic energy about it, which is very appealing. So, I’m looking forward to returning with my brand-new show”.
What’s with the obsession with toilets?
If Kevin MCloud from Grand Designs says it is true, it must be.
McCloud said it was important to keep things simple when designing your home and not to pour too much money into toilets and kitchens that are usually refreshed regularly.
“A really important idea I want people to think about is the idea of ‘just enough’, which in Swedish is ‘lagom’,” he said.
“You don’t over-specify, you don’t overblow your life”.
When it came to toilets, McCloud was particularly irked.
“All you have to do is add up the total number of people in the average home and then add up the total number of flushing toilets, it’s that simple,” said McCloud.
“It’s got to the point where we’ve got more flushing toilets in most houses than people.”
His show Home Truths will be in Auckland at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre on Monday, February 5, in Wellington at the Michael Fowler Centre on Tuesday, February 6, and in Christchurch at the Town Hall on February 7.
Tickets are on sale at www.fane.com.au/KevinMcCloud.
Five things you didn’t know about Kevin McCloud
1. He studied opera and won a place at Florence’s Conservatory of Music.
2. After university, he retrained and worked as a theatre designer. He designed sets and costumes for the band Harvey and the Wallbangers and even a West End Show. Once.
3. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2014, for services to sustainable design.
4. His favourite piece of architecture might be the rebuilt facade of the library at Ephesus in Turkey.
5. He converted his Land Rover to run on recycled vegetable oil.