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Grand Designs


Chris303
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I like the episodes of Grand Designs when they subvert your initial impressions of people. There was one a while ago where two toffs wanted to demolish a 1930s boat house on the Thames in west London and build a modernist temple thing. I initially wanted to hate them, but they turned out to be really funny and likeable, and the house they built was absolutely stunning. It also helped that the local residents were a bunch of petty numbskulls who launched a campaign of terror against these charming poshos for daring to demolish a horrible, dilapidated structure and build something interesting in its place. 

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I think history is riddled with people putting up gaudy monuments to themselves, don't think Grand Designs or ch4 encourages that.

 

It's nice to see somebody achieving something on a limited budget or through sheer hard work and determination, there was an Aussie one recently that took almost 5y to build and the bloke designed and did the whole thing himself, it nearly put him in an early grave as he had a stroke whilst working there and they also went way over budget, you had to root for him by the end and think he'd earned the view from the deck he was sat on, the stress and workload had nearly killed him. 

 

I'm still not sure why jeopardy is needed though to watch a build go up, unless you are solely viewing for schadenfreude purposes and hoping for the Devon one where his marriage collapsed and it bankrupt him. 

 

I don't disagree that the latest one was a fugly building and the bloke seemed a grade A cunt.

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Maybe jeopardy wasn't the right word. It's very rare that I'd want anyone to fail when they're taking a chance and trying to do something like this, it's just that money seemed like no object and the project wasn't really that important to him. It's difficult for us to care when it's just another expensive dingle dangle. Still, Grand Designs is a broad church so there's room for all sorts of builds. I think the next episode looks to be getting back to the heart of the subject matter: some calamitous amateurs trying to build a family home on some railways sidings.

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There's something interesting about overcoming problems with limited means, succeeding against the odds.

 

This build does not have that. The only problem they have is a basic engineering mistake - meaning the plan to have effectively a premade Meccano style build gets binned off and they have to do manual construction and tinkering, causing the time scale to go in the bin as well and the budget with it. Any other build, that could be catastrophic, and would require compromise elsewhere. In this build, they just throw more money at it. And they have delegated all the work to project managers, and there's no concerns about their current living arrangements because they built a house next door first.

 

When the answer to every question is just money, and seemingly that pot is to all intents and purposes limitless, there's not really much to take from it all, bar waiting to see the end product and subjectively judging it's tastefulness. 

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Good episode this week - I can never fathom how anybody can spend so much on a plot of land without even the most basic of investigations to uncover the sewer pipe that blocked them so much.

 

But aside from that the plot was just horrible wedged in like that between the road and trainline - it was always going to be a problem noise wise.

 

What a grafter & craftsman the guy was, he had that quiet unflashy air of somebody who really knew their stuff, not the gobshite plumber you get round who did their city & guilds and thinks they are then an expert on everything. 

 

In the end they ended up with something that was beautifully made and as good as possible with the restrictions, but no amount of triple glazing will block out the noise in the garden or when you open a window.

 

I also suspect they'd been watching Vikings too with their childs name, I also half suspect that batty lady will raise her to believe she's a shield maiden. 

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Having been through several IVF cycles as a couple, the pregnancy test bit made me wince. I'd already grown to like them by that point and IVR is is horrible and stressful before you try and build a house.

 

Glad it turned out well on the baby front and the house was fantastic.

 

Also, the kitchen was a marked contrast with the prior week's ultra expensive designer effort.  It gradients across the cupboards were really nice.

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Only just getting to watch last week's episode.

 

Hmm.

 

It's a lovely place, fantastic value for what they have, but equally it does kinda feel like you could have made something astonishing there, but they bit off day more than they could chew and were very keen to ditch the old at the first opportunity.

 

Overall, perfectly nice house and there's some stuff I love in it (goddamn sucker for a stone interior wall) but tinged with the thought that another owner with more money would have made more of the place and made something that venerated the old and augmented it better. But still, very good.

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I thought the Scottish episode was the bloke building something that would first and foremost look good in architectural digest mags to publicise his practice, rather than spend the money wisely gaining the maximum benefit possible from a usable family home.

 

The old bothy was total folly, as I suspect other than being a boot room on the way in they'll spend virtually no time in there at all. Accept planning called for it to remain and placed conditions on what could be built but that then just shows the site as not that suitable - unless he can now sell it on at great profit and get what they really need next time round.

 

It's also like nobody doing these builds has ever watched one before either as some form of research - when do old buildings ever get taken apart and reveal themselves to be in perfect condition and not in need of expensive remedial works. 

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3 hours ago, Fargo said:

Is there an episode this week ?

There is indeed.

 

As for last week's episode, I'm not sure I'd want to live on an estate where everyone has an opinion about your house and willing to tell you about it. 

 

The fact some of the neighbours actually sorted out the garden was one of the best examples of middle class passive aggression I've seen in a while.

 

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7 hours ago, Gotters said:

I thought the Scottish episode was the bloke building something that would first and foremost look good in architectural digest mags to publicise his practice, rather than spend the money wisely gaining the maximum benefit possible from a usable family home.

 

The old bothy was total folly, as I suspect other than being a boot room on the way in they'll spend virtually no time in there at all. Accept planning called for it to remain and placed conditions on what could be built but that then just shows the site as not that suitable - unless he can now sell it on at great profit and get what they really need next time round.

 

It's also like nobody doing these builds has ever watched one before either as some form of research - when do old buildings ever get taken apart and reveal themselves to be in perfect condition and not in need of expensive remedial works. 

Wasn’t the bothy a bedroom for their daughter? 

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I thought that was a great one/two of episodes. If they'd have asked me, I would have moved in with the mad ambulance couple. Genuinely moving to see such nice people achieve what they did and I love watching a proper grafter. The narrative arc of the bothy botherers was fantastic too and what they ended up with was stunning. I think that guy must have had cast iron clangers to stay the course when it looks for the world that he'd vandalised such a beautiful plot.

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This week's episode isn't the greatest build ever, but the final result might be the best house on the show, to my taste, in a while.

 

The build was... Well. It's dominated by the thing that makes the build unique, the pond, and it's a fantastic thing... But the problem is they've tried to make that fantastic thing alongside a great house with barely enough money to make the house and without any guarantee they actually had that money. Which of course they ultimately don't, making the whole thing even more strained. Which, in any other build, would lead to the pond being parked and the money directed to the house to get that done. Instead they overspend on plants for the pond and build a tennis court(?!). 

 

But, at the end, it is spectacular. I would move there in a heartbeat. Adored it.

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Ha! We just caught up with it and were both saying that, everything considered, it's one of our favourite ever Grand Designs.

 

I love everything about it. The pond was just 🥰

 

For me, I'd much, much rather live there than in that ridiculous house at the start of this series where all that seemed to matter was that it was BIG and EXPENSIVE.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Archetypal self made 1970s/80s Essex bloke finally came to Grand Designs this week - I wasn't sure if 'retired marketing executive' was a euphemism for the former Repton boys club boxer who had retired to Spain and proudly displayed a copy of Lenny McClean's Guvnor on his bookshelf. He didn't really seem like somebody to organise a media buying campaign truth be told, maybe roadside billboards at a push ?

 

A great build to watch with something interesting going up and plenty of personal drama/interest - I didn't really like the end result or location that much but kudos for it not looking like all the other interior styled end results, even if the interior was bloody horrible. 

 

I did like the bit near the end where he wound up Kevin over the budget. 

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6 minutes ago, Mr Do 71 said:

The exterior was bloody ugly too. 

 

Yep, and Kevin kept going on about that bloody cantilever bit but I didn't really get the point of it, it gave him a gloomy shaded flood prone bit of walled garden which came at huge expensive in the steel work and pilings required to support the forces it exerted on the building. The same balcony built normally would have cost far less.

 

I know he bought the site with planning and plans in place, shame they never mentioned the price of that, 7 acres there with planning would have been very pricey, I suspect the appeal to him was having 7 acres of bog land to help his former associates dispose of corpses. 

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The guy was a walking/talking cliché wasn’t he? You could have got very drunk playing a drinking game with every “I’m a fighter”/“Work hard and play hard”/ bit of nonsense he kept coming out with. 

 

The house was terrible in the end. The cantilever idea was nice but it was ruined by the ground floor wall which compromised the effect. The execution just looked really pedestrian. When they did the aerial shots at the end it just reminded me of a floating caravan. 

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