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Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud: 'Happiness is not to be found in a suburban McMansion'

In , by Sarah CarsonDec 20, 2023
Kevin McCloud in front of futuristic house

As we eagerly anticipate Kevin McCloud's speaking tour in February 2024, his recent interview with RNZ's Jim Mora has already left a mark on our perspective of housing in New Zealand and the UK.

In McCloud's reflections, two crucial points stood out, aligning seamlessly with eHaus' commitment to redefining the way we live.

McCloud's first insight dissected the prevailing trend of constructing homes merely to meet minimal standards. He shed light on the mindset behind this, contrasting it with the commendable efforts of developers, housing associations, councils, and builders who prioritise top-tier construction. Despite claims that building to higher standards incurs excessive costs, McCloud showcased instances where entities successfully delivered high-performance, energy-efficient homes. These projects, though slightly higher in cost (around 10-15% more), underscore the feasibility of creating dwellings that offer ongoing exceptional performance and the ultimate living experience.

The second gem from McCloud focused on the concept of happiness in housing design, criticising the phenomenon of sprawling suburban 'McMansions' with excessive features like numerous bathrooms. Instead, he championed the Swedish idea of 'Lagom,' meaning 'just the right amount.' This philosophy advocates for homes that aren't excessively large but perfectly sized, avoiding unnecessary extravagance.

The aha moment for us was realising that by combining these insights—high-performance homes embracing the 'just enough' ethos—the costs are comparable or even less than a mansion built to the minimum standard. Reflecting on the nearly-200 Kiwis who have chosen to build an eHaus, this approach rings true. Our homes, optimised in size and meticulously designed for efficiency, stand in stark contrast to the inflated costs associated with oversized, standard-built houses. This amalgamation of superior quality and conscientious size could revolutionise the cost dynamics of housing, presenting an intriguing alternative to conventional construction practices.

At eHaus, we've always believed in offering more than just homes; we provide a lifestyle that prioritises comfort, health, and energy efficiency. As we continue to redefine the way we live, Kevin McCloud's insights resonate profoundly with our mission. 

You can listen to Kevin's interview here, with the relevant conversation starting at 13 minutes 55 seconds.

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