Kevin McCloud: who is the Grand Designs House of the Year presenter, who is his wife and where does he live?

McCloud spent a year in Tuscany, Italy before studying History of Art and Architecture at  Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Kevin McCloud has presented Grand Designs for over two decades (Picture: Channel 4)

Grand Designs writer and presenter Kevin McCloud has been showcasing Britain’s most innovative, creative and inspiring builds on our televisions screens for over two decades.

Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

From his first series of Channel 4’s Grand Designs in 1999, he has travelled around the world to visit beautiful homes in unusual places, as well as hosting his annual competition, House of Year.

For 2021, houses in the UK-wide contest include a renovated 14th-century Cumbria fortress and a Norfolk Water Tower.

McCloud presents the show and always speaks with such insight and clarity about each home he visits, leading many to ask what his background is and where a man with such insight might live?

This is everything we know about Kevin McCloud’s qualifications, career and where he lives.

Is Kevin McCloud an architect?

McCloud grew up in Bedfordishire with his two brothers, Terrence and Graham. He attended Dunstable Grammar School where he achieved his A Levels before leaving for a gap year in Tuscany.

While working in the Italian region on a farm, he enrolled at t the Conservatory of Music in Florence, where he studied singing for one year.

Florence is home to some of the world’s greatest and most recognisable Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s "David" statue, Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo basilica.

Despite his passion for music, he was visited in Tuscany by one of his former teachers who persuaded him to move back to England and study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Initially, he enrolled to study languages before changing to philosophy and ultimately graduating with a degree in history of art and architecture.

It was at Cambridge that he formed friendships with fellow TV personalities, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

McCloud was the costume designer for their comedy troupe, Footlights.

Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Kevin McCloud all attended Cambridge together (Picture: BBC)

Following his graduation from Cambridge, he trained as a theatre designer and worked on projects such as the set design for 1980s rock group Harvey and the Wallbangers.

He went on to set up his own lighting design practice and manufacturing business ‘McCloud Lighting’, in which time he designed the carved and painted rococo-style vegetable ceiling in the food halls at Harrods and lighting fittings at Ely Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the Savoy Hotel and the Dorchester Hotel.

It was in 1999 that he made his television debut, as a guest on BBC Two show ‘Homefront’, before writing and presenting Grand Designs.

He has since presented all 21 series of the show, as well as spin offs such as Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home and Escape to the Wild, both featured on Channel 4.

Aside from presenting, he has also written four interior design and decorating guides.

Where does Kevin McCloud live?

McCloud lives in Frome, Somerset, where he raised two of his four children with his second wife.

Fans of his shows likely wonder how imaginative his own abode must be, considering the vast number of transformations he has been privy to.

However. McCloud has never led cameras behind his own four walls and is unlikely to evr give viewers a glimpse of his own home.

He told the Daily Mail in 2010: "I don’t think I’m a celebrity. If I welcomed people into my lovely home every week in the pages of a magazine they’d soon see how incredibly dull it is. It’s important to maintain a bit of mystique.”

A rare picture of McCloud with his then wife and their two young children, as well as McCloud’s son from a previous relationship, at their Somerset home

The father-of-four also opened up about his own preferences when it comes to design, “"I’m terribly fastidious. I like symmetry and neatness, but my house is as chaotic as any other family’s,” he told the Telegraph.

McCloud previously lived with his two youngest children, Milo and Elsie, and ex-wife Suzanna.  He also has two children from previous relationships, Hugo and Grace. His eldest son, Hugo, has also begun a career in architecture.

McCloud announced that he had divorced in 2019, after 23 years of marriage. He was reportedly dating businesswoman Jenny Jones, as of June 2021.

Who decides the winner of ‘House of the Year’ 2021?

While 62-year-old McCloud has over three decades of experience working in design and understanding how to produce the perfect ‘set’, he is not a judge on the show.

The decision is made by three judges, who visit the long-listed homes vying for the Royal Institute of British Architects 2021 House of the Year award.

This year’s judges are:

Amin Taha - Born in Berlin, Taha has lived in various locations around the Uk and currently sits as chairperson of Groupwork, an employee ownership trust. Predominantly made up of architects. His work pursues an interest in tectonics, the essential choice of materials and how/why we might bring them together in the making of architecture.

Cany Ash - Co-founder of Ash Sakula Architects, Ash is one of the UK’s leading housing and regeneration architects. Cany serves on a number of Design Review Panels and is an External Examiner at Kingston, Cardiff and Westminster Universities.

Kieran McGonigle - winner of the RIBA 2019 Award, McGonigle is co-founder of practice McGonigle McGrath, with Aidan McGrath. Both were previously directors of award winning studio, Twenty Two Over Seven. The practice is currently working on new commissions both in Ireland and throughout the UK. Recently, Kieran has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Queen’s University’s first PhD by Practice in Architecture.

Grand Designs: House of the Year is a four part series for Channel 4, airing weekly from Wednesday 17 November at 9pm.