What makes a house a home? Kevin McCloud discusses the 20 houses on the short list for RIBA's House of the Year 2015 as well as his own ideal property.
You might think, after 14 series, that Grand Desigs would be running out of projects to film; that the pool of families prepared to reveal the details of not just their bathroom grouting but their wallets and marital tensions would be running dry. 

But no. To kick off the latest Channel 4 series of the show – the 15th – the programme-makers filmed the boss of a cleaning company commissioning a house that was so enormous it would barely fit inside the Olympic Stadium. It looked like an airport terminal plonked onto the West Sussex countryside. Kevin McCloud, who has presented the show from the very start, found it hard to disguise his lack of fondness for the building.

“I felt diminished by it, rather than exalted,” he tells me. “I felt slightly cowed by it, but only because it was so perfect.”

The main problem – apart from the vast scale and use of resources – was that while it was an amazing house, it just wasn't very homely.

The subtle distinction between the two is explored in McCloud’s latest project, which is Grand Designs on steroids. Called Britain’s Best House, it is a four-part look at what used to be called the RIBA Manser medal, a long-running prize for architects. It’s the equivalent of the Stirling Prize for new domestic spaces and the winner will be announced in the final show.
The 20 houses include grandiose, modernist villas and dinky, clever, two-bed homes, squeezed into the tightest of spaces. Grillagh Water House in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, is constructed out of four shipping containers stacked on top of each other, on a budget of no more than £135,000. Possibly the most ambitious is the Flint House in Buckinghamshire, a giant wedge of a building that looms up from the ground and has a river running through the sitting room.

For all the stunning shapes, ingenious light wells and eco-friendly windows these buildings display, McCloud is clear what makes a house a home: “It’s autobiography. Going around many of these buildings, many of them have been freshly minted. For example, the owners have yet to fully reclaim the building. So you get to see these very architectural spaces, which are very impressive but sometimes not fully populated.

“And then other buildings where families have been there for a couple of years and there are kids’ drawings on the walls, where things are a bit scuffed and daily life has taken its toll, and you’ve built this patina up. Some buildings are better at accommodating this than others. But it is autobiography that makes a house a home.”

There is a nice touch in the first programme when he goes around a former farm building in Somerset that has been converted into a sleek Alpine lodge. He discovers a chaotic, jammed-full storage room at the back of the house. “Aah. This is what every modernist home needs: a junk room,” says McCloud to camera.
To read more go to : - https://www.bebee.com/producer/@claire-cardwell/kevin-mccloud-britain-s-best-houses-of-2015