Kevin McCloud

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For those of a similar name, see Kevin MacLeod (disambiguation).
Kevin McCloud
Kevin McCloud.jpg
McCloud pictured at the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Born (1959-05-08) 8 May 1959 (age 55)
Bedfordshire, England
Residence Frome, Somerset
Education Dunstable Grammar School; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Occupation Author, broadcaster and designer
Known for Presenting Grand Designs Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home
Spouse(s) Zani McCloud
Children 4

Kevin McCloud MBE (born 8 May 1959) is a British designer, writer and television presenter best known for his work on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs, which he has presented since 1999 and his residential housing development company HAB Housing.

Personal life[edit]

McCloud lives in a 15th-century farmhouse near Frome, Somerset,[1] with his wife Zani (Suzanna) and their four children.[2]

Born in Bedfordshire, McCloud and his two brothers, Terence and Graham, were raised in a house his parents had built.[3] His father, Donald, was a rocket scientist and McCloud credits his compulsion for craftsmanship, functionality and slick engineering to him.[4] McCloud attended Dunstable Grammar School, which became Ashton Middle School, and then studied the history of art and architecture at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is conversant in French and Italian.


After graduating, McCloud trained and worked as a theatre designer, then set up his own lighting design practice and manufacturing business 'McCloud Lighting' – at one point employing 26 people.[3] His work includes the carved and painted rococo-style vegetable ceiling in the food halls at Harrods, many projects in conjunction with J.J. Desmond Interiors and lighting installations at Ely Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the Savoy Hotel and the Dorchester Hotel.[5] Today he concentrates on television work, journalism and product design, including work for British manufacturers.

McCloud's first book, Kevin McCloud's Decorating Book, was published in 1990, and remains in print in five languages. The Techniques of Decorating and Kevin McCloud's Lighting Book were published in 1995, and The Complete Decorator in 1996. In 2005 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Design from both Oxford Brookes and Plymouth University. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006 and of the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) in 2009. He is patron of Somerset Art Weeks, the Carymoor Environmental Centre and the Genesis Project and he is an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature, actively campaigning to promote One Planet Living, the WWF's sustainability initiative. He is also the frontman for the home energy refurbishment campaign the Great British Refurb.[6]


McCloud's first appearance on television was as a guest presenter on Homefront on BBC Two. In 1999, he then went on to write and present Grand Designs, a programme covering unusual and elaborate architectural homebuilding projects, produced by Talkback Thames, which is now in its fourteenth series.[7] In the series McCloud always remains sceptical of the designs, continuously hoping for a house to be designed that follows the schedule properly and does not go over the estimated budget.

He also wrote and presented Grand Designs Indoors and Grand Designs Abroad. In the course of the latter series, McCloud demonstrated his fluency in French and Italian, occasionally acting as a translator for people who have houses built abroad in places where they don't know the language. He is also editor-at-large for Grand Designs magazine, and sat on the steering committee for the associated exhibition "Grand Designs Live" in 2005 and 2006.

In May 2008, McCloud took the Grand Designs series of programmes to a new level with Grand Designs Live, in which he demonstrated environmentally-sensitive construction methods on a site in the East End of London, as well as presenting a "Grand Design of the Year" competition. His co-presenters included Dave Gorman, Janet Street-Porter, Naomi Cleaver, Diarmuid Gavin and Bill Bailey.

Other TV work has included Don't Look Down, in which McCloud examined the construction of tall buildings while climbing them, on BBC Two in 2000, Demolition on Channel 4 in 2005, The Stirling Prize: Building of the Year (in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008), and Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan on Channel 4 in August 2008. His recent publications include Choosing Colours in 2003, and "Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint" in 2006. He is currently writing a consumer guide to sustainability and culture change to be published by Collins.

On 30 November 2008, he appeared as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car on Top Gear. He finished with a time of 1:45.87, second on the leaderboard behind Jay Kay, who finished with 1:45.83.[8]

McCloud presented Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour on Channel 4 during the late summer and early autumn of 2009. The four part series saw McCloud retracing the popular tour of European cities and sites of classical antiquity undertaken over the last four centuries by upper class, primarily British, young men of means, and describing their subsequent impact on British customs and architecture.

In January 2010, McCloud fronted a two-part documentary, Kevin McCloud: Slumming It, detailing a two-week stay in Mumbai's Dharavi slum.[9] In 2011, McCloud appeared on an episode of Carpool.

In September 2012 McCloud starred in Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home on Channel 4, a four part series where he constructed a cabin in the woods, with an emphasis on sustainable, locally-sourced and environmentally responsible materials and techniques. In 2013, the cabin was moved to the seaside near Watchet on the Somerset coast to film a second four part series of the show with a more "beach shack" theme. In August 2013, Kevin took part in the Blue Anchor to Minehead RNLI Raft Race, as part of the filming of the series. His raft got 20 yards off shore before being towed the rest of the way.


In early 2007, McCloud led a consortium to purchase two plots of land to build a HAB housing development on the outskirts of Swindon, Wiltshire.[10] Design work for the highly sustainable buildings began, with a planning application scheduled for May 2008. The original architects chosen for the project were Wright & Wright, but they were later dropped over disagreements over fees. This pushed the project back, with the possibility of being forced to start from scratch with new architect, Glen Howells. McCloud stated about the project's initial setbacks that "I'm not going to pull out now..." reiterating his support for the project.[11] Hab was accused of being in chaos after the exit of Wright & Wright.[12] Yet McCloud replied that there was no chaos and that he was "absolutely delighted with the way the project is progressing".[13]

In October 2009, it was announced that Hab Oakus, a joint venture between Hab and housing group GreenSquare, had won planning permission for its first housing scheme in Swindon designed by Glenn Howells. The 42-home scheme, called The Triangle, would occupy the site of a former caravan park.[14] Housing will be "environmentally sustainable, affordable". The Homes And Communities Agency, a UK national housing and regeneration agency, had already announced in April 2010 that it would back the plans by contributing £2.5m.[15] Construction of the development was completed late in 2011. The process was filmed and broadcast as part of a Grand Designs special two-part episode called Kevin's Grand Design. A website was set up about the project.[16] In his summation at the end of the programme, Kevin states that he intends to continue with similar projects. He further states that he is intending to pursue projects in Oxford,[17] Stroud[18] and is looking for other locations. Kevin's plans for the redevelopment of the Cowley Community Centre in Oxford can be found Oxford City Council website ref. no. 12/03278/ful.[citation needed]

In September 2013, HAB broke the world record for equity crowdfunding by securing investments in excess of £1.9 million from members of the public via online platform Crowdcube, beating the previous record of £1.5 million with pledges of £1,904,540.[19]

McCloud was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to sustainable design and energy saving property refurbishment.[20]

HAB Housing has, in June 2014 secured planning permission on its first custom build housing scheme - where HAB will work with prospective purchasers to tailor their homes to their family, needs and lifestyle - in Warminster, Wilts.


  1. ^ "Somerset Celebrities". Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "He hates being on telly and his own house is a tip. So why do all the girls have designs on Kevin?". Daily Mail (London). 
  3. ^ a b Building sight The Observer – 2 November 2003
  4. ^ [1] The BBC South Africa - April 2010
  5. ^ Biography at Channel4
  6. ^ "Grand Designs Great British Refurb Campaign". Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Donna Ferguson (20 October 2013). "Kevin McCloud: 'I've been unlucky with property'". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Top Gear Series 12, Episode 5 2008.11.30
  9. ^ Series information, Channel 4 website
  10. ^ Green living at Grand Designs The Sunday Times – 7 October 2007
  11. ^ Grand Redesign? – Swindon Web
  12. ^ Kevin McCloud’s own ‘grand design’ in chaos Building Design Online – 8 August 2008
  13. ^ No chaos at Hab Building Design Online – 15 August 2008
  14. ^ Swindon go ahead for Hab Building Design Online – 15 October 2009
  15. ^ HCA funding Kevin McCloud's Swindon sustainable housing Homes and Community Agency – 1 April 2010
  16. ^ "HAB - Our Mission". Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Haboakus, the joint venture between Hab and GreenSquare". Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Cashes Green hospital site in Stroud". Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 21. 31 December 2013.

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