McCloud’s sil­ver lin­ing

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Out Of The Box - COLIN VICK­ERY

KEVIN McCloud must think half the peo­ple on his show Grand De­signs are ab­so­lute nut­ters.

Af­ter all, what sort of right­think­ing per­son would spend up to three years of their life and mil­lions in hard-earned cash ren­o­vat­ing cen­turies-old houses that look like candidates for the wreck­ing ball?

It must put a huge strain on the re­la­tion­ships of the cou­ples in­volved. Surely it’s a one-way road to di­vorce?

Not so, host McCloud says.

‘‘The whole process is im­mensely stress­ful, but looking back, we’ve done about 80 projects and have had only two sep­a­ra­tions that I know of,’’ he says. ‘‘I would ar­gue that far from hav­ing a bad ef­fect on a re­la­tion­ship, build­ing your own house is a pos­i­tively re­in­forc­ing thing.’’

One house is a prime ex­am­ple of the folly of some projects. Barry Sur­tees and his wife Julie de­cided to build a four-storey mod­ern man­sion. Dur­ing construction, Sur­tees had dou­ble hip-re­place­ment surgery, suf­fered a heart at­tack and un­der­went quin­tu­ple by­pass surgery.

‘‘I tell them all the time— don’t try to do it your­self. Em­ploy a project man­ager— but what hap­pens is that peo­ple al­ways ig­nore my ad­vice,’’ McCloud says.

‘‘They al­ways think theirs will be the per­fect project.’’

Ad­vice:

Grand De­signs

host Kevin McCloud.

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