rand Designs returns to our screens tonight for its 21st series – just like we need it most.
Pushed back in again, those of us who find our homes less than ideal can take comfort in the trials of reckless self-builders who have been unlucky enough to encounter a global pandemic, alongside the problems of budget and marital disharmony. we’re used to enjoying the Channel 4 show.
The emergence of Covid-19 last March gave us perhaps the most raw and comparable streak in the entire race, according to longtime presenter Kevin Mccloud.
“One thing that ties all of these projects together is the extraordinary dedication of the people involved,” he says.
“We have to deal with the real-time issues that people are having and that makes all the stories a little more raw. They’re not at all smaller in terms of vision because we have some really exciting stuff, but it’s not the really big, almost commercial stuff that we present sometimes. “
Instead, McCloud says, the projects that managed to end in 2020 are those where people have been able to find ingenious solutions to the global coronavirus problem.
“People had to build during or on either side of blockages, which means this year we don’t have a lot of bigger projects, the ones with dozens of contractors crawling all over the site, because they are the ones who were severely delayed by the Covid.
“Instead, projects where people have done it on their own, stockpiling materials, being really resourceful and changing halfway when they realize they don’t have enough plaster or the right coating, these are the projects that came to fruition because people are really smart.
South West London Cemetery House
The series opens with a house in a Victorian cemetery in southwest London – one of the most budget projects in the series.
Former Army Captain Justin, who now leads extreme fishing expeditions, decides to do “something really off the beaten track”, converting the original Gothic Revival pavilion and abandoned public toilets next door into a modern and spectacular house inside the cemetery gates – which are locked at night.
As McCloud jokes, there are “Lots of neighbors but they’re all dead.”
Construction is one of the biggest budget projects in this series, with the property costing £ 1.8million with an additional £ 1.6million budgeted for refurbishment, but costs are rising rapidly, leaving Justin with two very large mortgages to pay off. Strangely enough, the project went over budget by £ 500,000 even before construction began.
The neo-Gothic house will have a moat and a chainmail lake. A six-meter basement extension with a 13-meter pool is planned, but it’s hard to find contractors willing to dig in a cemetery. “I’ve never built a swimming pool in a cemetery before,” says one builder. “It’s a little scary.”
But will the project turn into a terrifying nightmare?