Friday, 4 February 2011

Grand design runs aground

It looks like the so-called 'curse of Grand Designs' has outdone itself this time.

Usually the curse means the homeowners - who have conveniently forgotten that we all watched the shambles that led to the creation of their masterpiece - finding that their house is worth little more than any similar home that hasn't been sprinkled with the fairy dust of celebrity.

After all, when we've seen the corners that are cut when the budgets run out, the nasty neighbours, and the 'innovative' technology that failed to deliver, why would anyone want to pay over the odds to buy a house, albeit one whose foundations are saturated with the slavering architectural enthusiams of Kevin McCloud, or damned with his faint praise - whichever is worse.

But this week comes news that the barge, featured in 2007, and planned as an environmentally-friendly home for Chris Miller, his wife, and two children, has washed up on an Essex beach - abandoned, vandalised beyond repair and, as the Guardian put it, the ultimate post-modern architectural salute to futility.

So I was wondering if the creators of the Facebook Grand Designs drinking game need to add a new section to their downloadable scorecard in addition to such classics as:

One shot:
Homeowners decide to project manage themselves.
A Kevin-to-camera monologue ends with him pursing his lips or biting lower lip.
Homeowner cries.

Two shots:
Kevin speaks flawless Italian, French, Mandarin or Swahili.
We see footage of pouring rain pooling on a concrete slab.
The homeowners are forced to make an unplanned move into a caravan.

Three shots:
Something collapses.
Kevin has a swim in the homeowners new pool.
Project is left unfinished.

How about...

Four shots:
The house ends up as a giant sandcastle bucket for Essex holiday makers.

Or even...

Five shots:
The house gets finished on time, on budget, no one has a heart attack/serious accident/gets divorced, and, with all the publicity garnered from the show, the deliriously happy couple sell it a year later for a handsome profit.

Now that would be worth seeing.