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I’ve got a farm in Somerset, and I think it’s God’s own country. I love it.
– Kevin McCloud
My father, an engineer, was the gentlest man I knew.
I’m really quite conscious of clothes and the way they fit and don’t regret wearing anything. Not even the five-inch stack heels I wore with three-button high-waisters at comprehensive school. Regret is for wimps.
Building design isn’t trendy.
Your home should be about enriching the daily experience.
Generally speaking, I think that if you do anything with commitment and passion, it will come good.
When I left university, I idled around without focus for much too long.
Living an environmentally responsible lifestyle can seem like a Scrooge-like list of don’ts. Don’t take that flight, don’t buy that car, don’t eat those blueberries flown in from somewhere far-flung.
I like the absurd and the surreal: the Coen brothers, Bunuel, Kubrick.
We are borrowing money from future generations. We are borrowing the carbon impact, the resource impact from future generations to get stuff cheap now. We have swept the dirt and dust from our society under the carpet – but this carpet is on other side of the planet.
What happened in 2008 stopped people in their tracks. People stopped looking at their homes simply as commodities to exploit and starting thinking about how they might personalise that space and make them less bland and more autobiographical, and that’s healthy, I think.
Every decently-made object, from a house to a lamp post to a bridge, spoon or egg cup, is not just a piece of ‘stuff’ but a physical embodiment of human energy, testimony to the magical ability of our species to take raw materials and turn them into things of use, value and beauty.
I don’t look at what people do with their homes in terms of money, but the social and personal value of what they’re trying to do and achieve.
If you said to me, ‘Lie down on that concrete floor and fall asleep,’ I could do it. I can sleep anywhere at any time of day on any surface.
Every breath we take as human beings damages the planet.
Self-builders are the adrenalin junkies of the DIY world; it’s the equivalent of base-jumping off the top of the Gherkin to land in a paddling pool.
I spend a frightening amount of money on books.
I’m terrified of being poor, I always have been. It’s growing up as a Methodist. I’ll spend that bit of extra money to get a better seat on a train sometimes, because it’s quieter and calmer, but I refuse to spend money on clothes.
I’m quite shy. Television presents an amplified version of yourself. When I’m on camera I’m pumping more adrenaline, I’m being a bit more engaging than I am in everyday conversation, but that’s normal, isn’t it? Otherwise nobody would want to watch.
I’m not too fond of really cool design. I’ve got quite kitsch taste really, in things like tableware. I’m quite a sucker for 1930s pressed glass.
I hate negativity. I hate people who say the phrase ‘I hate’. I really don’t like the word ‘hate.’ Dislike, frightened of, terrified of, or yukky – but not ‘hate.’
Building your own home is about desire, fantasy. But it’s achievable; anyone can do it.
Because I live in the countryside, I want a building which encourages me to have a fully formed relationship with the environment. It gives me an opportunity to not just be inside or outside, but in a range of contexts.
I don’t want anything that I buy to have done any harm to anyone or anything.
Building your own house is a primal urge, one of those universal genetic drives like the need to provide for your family.
A friend of mine once wrote a silly article about all these metrosexuals like David Beckham wearing sarongs, and she described me as a ‘heteropolitan.’ I don’t know what that means. I think it was a joke.
The thing that I champion is sustainability. My terror is that suddenly we see it as a luxury, not an essential. That’s a danger.
As a property developer, I learned a long time ago to choose your battles wisely and that, unfortunately, compromise is a given.
I’ve had my fair share of colds, which last longer than they should and can cause wheezing, so I avoid people who are sneezing like the plague and am scrupulous about hygiene and hand-washing.
My favourite authors include Trollope and Dickens.