HOM­ING IN ON DE­SIGN

Pe­ter Mad­di­son has grown into his role on Grand De­signs Aus­tralia, he now feels ‘so into the groove’ that he ac­tu­ally en­joys be­ing in front of the cam­era and is hop­ing the se­ries will hit dou­ble fig­ures

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV - ANNA BRAIN

When Grand De­signs Aus­tralia launched five years ago, many had doubts whether the show, and its host Pe­ter Mad­di­son, would live up to the muchloved UK se­ries star­ring Kevin McCloud. Seven sea­sons on, Mad­di­son is serv­ing naysay­ers a hearty help­ing of hum­ble pie.

Pe­ter, I had you pegged for a bloke in his 40s, but the in­ter­net sug­gests you were born in 1954 ... can it be true?

I like the way you’re talk­ing. I love it. That is ex­actly the year. A lit­tle bit of it is not car­ry­ing a lot of weight, I’ve al­ways been very ac­tive. I’m a keen surfer and ice­berger, I like to swim about four morn­ings a week when I’m not trav­el­ling. In the ocean, no wet­suit. Stay­ing busy helps.

You must be flat out film­ing the show and run­ning a prac­tice.

The dif­fi­culty at the mo­ment is I’m ren­o­vat­ing as well. I went to my build­ing site this morn­ing and found my own mini dis­as­ter. The tiles that I’ve sealed in the shower re­cess have all turned a dif­fer­ent colour. They look like they’ve been dropped in a bath of oil. So on top of the show and my prac­tice and my fam­ily, it’s busy times.

So, what’s new for GDA this sea­son?

The hy­dro-elec­tric sta­tion in Launce­s­ton (episode two) is only the sec­ond, maybe the third ren­o­va­tion that we’ve ever done. This sea­son we’ve done two. Both old build­ings re­done as houses. The English ver­sion of GD has quite a lot of those.

Is that a shift in di­rec­tion for the show?

No, it’s what­ever we can get our hands on. We don’t put the se­ries to­gether with a theme in mind. Peo­ple ap­proach us with what­ever’s go­ing on. And you’ve got to be very pa­tient mak­ing the show. It’s lovely the view­ers can see a whole two years packed into one hour. It’s like sprin­kling magic dust on the TV.

Are you see­ing any new ar­chi­tec­tural trends?

I came up with the term free-form mod­ern last sea­son. We’re a lot more ac­cept­ing and loose with the way things are fin­ished. You’ll see it in this se­ries. Raw tim­bers, un­sanded. Bolts left ex­posed. Hum­ble ma­te­ri­als. That wouldn’t have been the case 50 years ago ... 10 years ago. Raw hon­esty.

Do ran­dom peo­ple try to tell you their reno hor­ror sto­ries and ideas?

Peo­ple are al­ways happy to get free ad­vice. Most of my friends are in the ar­chi­tect pro­fes­sion any­way, so we’re kind of a bit ar­chi­tect-ed out when we get to a so­cial event. We’re usu­ally com­ment­ing on a third per­son’s work who’s not there. But I wouldn’t go to din­ner at a doc­tor’s house and ask him about my sore wrist at the din­ner ta­ble.

How long can you see the show run­ning?

Fin­gers are crossed, I am hop­ing that we can get to dou­ble dig­its. That would be a huge mile­stone. It all de­pends on rat­ings re­ally. I’m ac­tu­ally start­ing to re­ally en­joy do­ing this, I’m so into the groove I ac­tu­ally en­joy it. When I first started I was pretty in­tim­i­dated.

Was that be­cause you were fol­low­ing in Kevin McCloud’s foot­steps?

No, Kevin’s never re­ally in­tim­i­dated me, he’s a good mate. It was more the process of be­ing in front of the cam­era, it’s not a nat­u­ral state to be in. He did years of act­ing, and was in that groove from the be­gin­ning, I’ve come to it later in life. We gen­er­ally catch up each year, he’s very sup­port­ive.

Grand De­signs, Life­Style, tonight, 8.30pm

IT’S LOVELY THE VIEW­ERS CAN SEE TWO YEARS PACKED INTO ONE HOUR. IT’S LIKE SPRIN­KLING MAGIC DUST ON THE TV

Pic­ture: ADAM EL­WOOD

Ar­chi­tect Pe­ter Mad­di­son un­der­stands all about ren­o­vat­ing glitches hav­ing had to deal with one of his own.

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