Kevin McCloud, age three in his upstairs toilet. He is doing a wee as he overlooks the downstairs kitchen through a hole in the floor.
This is one of the Grand Designs presenter’s fondest memories of home renovation. And now he spends his working days traipsing through other people’s build sights bringing us glimpses of the long process of creating something unique from often a pile of rubble.
We caught up with Kevin McCloud at Grand Designs Live in London which sees about 100, 000 visitors through the doors of the Excel Centre each year.
“I think people are starting to realise that despite the economic downturn they can still afford say a new sofa,” he said of the crowds.
“But it is just a fun day out.”
In fact Mr McCloud’s children were planning to visit the event on Saturday while he had a day full of appearances and talks lined up.
One of the main topics of conversation at the event has been self-build projects or the lack-thereof in the UK.
According to Mr McCloud only about 10 per cent of homes in the UK were self-built.
Whereas is Austria this figure sits at 80 per cent and in Europe as a whole it is up at 60 per cent.
“People see a number of hurdles,” he said.
“There is the red tape when it comes to planning. It is difficult to get services onto the site such as gas, electricity, water. And to get them all in the same trench is almost impossible.
“It is also difficult to find and buy land, but none of this is insurmountable.”
In fact Mr McCloud is heading to Holland in the coming months to visit a 3, 000 home self-build scheme called Almere.
He will be visiting the site with the minister for housing Grant Shapps and many other industry experts.
They will be looking at the successes of the project, the failures and sharing this with policy makers looking to encourage UK residents to build their own homes.
It is this sharing experience which has kept Grand Designs going for so many years.
The people filmed have no incentive except the ability to share their project with the viewers which often seems to add more stress to the situation.
But despite the added element of the project more people line up every year to have their grand design on the program.
“People want to share the momentous nature of what they are doing and they like being able to chart the changes,” he said.
“Basically it is a really high-quality home video.”
We aked Mr McCloud if he would go on the program if he was not already the host and he was quick to say no with a laugh.
“But I have the added benefit of hindsight,” he said.
It is a long process to get the footage for the program with a submission being reviewed, researched and test filmed all before it even gets close to the first stage of production.
And all the way through it Kevin puts his opinion and reputation on the line.
But he wouldn’t change his job and is happy to share these designs on television.
“We have always been known to celebrate architecture and I think people know that,” he said.
We enjoyed our time with Kevin McCloud, if you want to see him in person head over to the Grand Designs Live Show for more details visit the website.
By Jessica Brown