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