Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Christmas Books: Kevin McCloud's 43 Principles of Home

Here is my final Christmas Book, by Kevin McCloud of UK Channel 4's Grand Designs (amongst other things).

I thought that this was going to be a lightweight, "eye candy" kind of book, but I was wrong. Pictures are good, but are few and far between.

He is very interested in "good" design and architecture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is heavily into sustainability.

Here are some of the pictures from the book.

If you saw Grand Designs then you will recognise this next picture as the home of Ben, the charcoal maker. Ben lives in a wood in Suffolk, coppicing and tending the forest and making charcoal. Previously he lived in a variety of temporary caravans and tent-like treehouses, but eventually he got almost unheard of planning permission to build a house in the wood. He cannot sell the house or pass it on, and if he stops working the wood, he has to demolish the house.

Grand Designs has many very expensive houses built to huge budgets. Turns out though that this is Kevin's favourite. In the TV show, Kevin asks Ben about the price of the house, and claims that it is a very cheap house because the budget is only something like £23K. Ben replies something like - that is a LOT of money for me. He gets friends to help him build the house, paying them in hospitality and sustainable building skills training. When Kevin goes back to visit him a year or so later, the house is complete, and a wife and little baby have arrived in the wood. Everyone loves this house, and it is easy to see why.
All in all, a great book, but not if you are looking just for eye candy.

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