Chat with Peter Maddison

In case you missed the live web chat with Peter Maddison about the Cottage Pointer House and the Grand Designs Australia series, you can catch it again here.

Heidi20: Hi Peter, Absolutely love the show. Difficult question I'm sure, but what's been your favourite house to watch develop to completion?

Lauren52: It was a little shame that he will sell the home because of lack of finance.

Lauren52: Great house on the show tonight. Extreame views

Lauren52: We are looking at doing an extention at Humevale Vic, We are in a bush fire area with the Vic bush fires burning a few meters of our 10 acres. Do the fome / concrete walls have fire rating for bush fire areas?

Peter Maddison: Hi there, I'm not sure about fome/ concrete walls.. i'd suggest contacting the building surveyor and get specific advice on this product before you proceed

Elaine28: Great show tonight... yes shame about not being able to finance it..

Anna96: Do we have any updates on whether Drew has had to sell the house?

Jack98: Peter, what brought you in to architecture?

Peter Maddison: This is a big question! :) I never thought I was good enough to be an architect but I found a hero and mentor who inspired me to lift myself and strive over a number of years to qualify and I’ve never been happier since.

Darcy3: Hello peter, do you think he will let go of the property?

Peter Maddison: Drew's done it hard and probably stretched himself beyond his means and only time will tell. I certainly hope he can hang onto it.

Jack98: That's great! I'm only 12 but throughout my childhood I've had a love of architecture and I find the show really inspiring

Paul: Great show Peter, felt sorry for the guy on tonight’s episode but he was optimistic on his budget originally

Peter Maddison: He planned to do a new house, having a realistic apprach to the budget is critical. Drew chose not to face this square on.

Susan: What did you decide? Was the builder brave or foolish?
Peter Maddison: Nothing ever happens without people who take a risk and I admire Drew's fortitude in taking this project on. Nothing would ever happen without people like Drew.

Emma: Who were these 'private financiers'? It sounded very 'underbelly'

Peter Maddison: I don't know about the private financing but it sounds very scary!!! I think Drew was desperate and passionate about finishing his house at any cost.

Elaine28: Very true indeed ...

Tammy26: Where would you build your dream house?

Peter Maddison: Tammy, I'd probably build my dream house by the water and preferably with a premium surf break right out front. I've been a surfer all my life and I can only dream about a barrelling right hander that I could walk to. The house that suits this site would only need to be humble

Paul: Stunning house in the end, at least he got 90% of it finished.

Tammy26: What eco tips do you have for building a house?

Peter Maddison: There are many active and passive principles you can apply to a house. My biggest tip is to keep the house relevant to your needs. That is don't build bigger than you actually need,

DaisyNell: Peter you are doing a wonderful job - giving Kevin McLoud a run for his money.

Peter Maddison: Kevin is the ultimate professional and very experienced and if I can achieve a fraction of what he's done I'll be very happy.

Liz75038: Great point Peter. It seems for a family of 3 (possibly 4) it was far too big. Great that it was a 'showpiece' but building something smaller, whilst still catering to the needs of the family, would have been far more serviceable - both in terms of debt and function. Love the show - thanks very much.

Heidi20: Hi Peter, Love the program. Did you ever feel like jumping in and giving guidance to the homeowners each week? Be honest!

Peter Maddison: Each homeowner has a journey to make and they haven't engaged me to give them independant advice. If and when I'm asked I do give my opinion.

Bronwyn34: Grand Designs Australia is easily the best show on Lifestyle at the moment. Congratulations!

Anna96: Great show Peter, your attitude to finding the positives in each build makes your show. Plenty of others would focus on the mistakes and be critical of each builder’s decisions.

Lisbeth: What do you find to generally be the greatest challenge people face when building their homes?

Peter Maddison: The biggest challenge is to find a designer that can interpret the aspirations of the owner and turn that into an affordable and relevant design to suit the brief.

Susan: Hi Peter, Great show. I think Drew's house, in looks, was the best out of all the Grand Designs Australia

Claire58: Peter - watched tonight's show and was interested to hear you use the word "patternisation" (!) when refering to the pattern of the stone in the new sandstone wall. Is this actually a real word?

Peter Maddison: Claire I was never good at English and if in doubt I make words up :)

Bronwyn34: Susan, I agree. Drew's house is the best of the lot so far.

Rodney16: What is the best way to get a feel for the size of a house design while in the planning stage? Drew mentioned that his house ended up bigger than he thought it would be.

Peter Maddison: Rodney, suggest you physically step out the sizes of the rooms you need, be conservative because every square meter costs.

Alanna3: Peter I admire your honesty and your opinons are like you are reading my mind! I am loving the series, I hope to one day take my design skills into TV. Great job, I cant wait for next week!!

Anna96: Actually googled "patternisation" - sadly no matches Peter!!!

Petie: Do you keep in contact with people once they have finished building their homes?

Peter Maddison: Hi Petie, great question, I’ve developed some great friendships from this show which I find very rewarding. In particular, there are a couple of homeowners I now have on speed dial and speak to regularly on all sorts of matters.

Petie: That is very nice to hear! :)
Nicole: Love the show Peter, would love to see more of each completed house at the end of each episode. I understand that the show is more about the building of the house than the interiors but a quick 60 seconds would be all I'd need with my IQ pause button.

Claire58: Thanks for owning up Peter. Still love the show!

DaisyNell: Any updates on the Northern Territory house? Was he able to get it finished?

Peter Maddison: Thanks Daisynell, the whole world is intrigued by Trevor as am I! My latest contact with Trev and Francoise is that Trev's gone bush (again!) and I can't wait to get back up to Darwin to track him down and see what he's been up to. I hope he's been able to pull through.

Darcy3: Peter I have developed a platonic love for you and your love of architecture.

Deb: Those that have managed to be the project manager of their homes are all generally exhausted and dispirited at the end of the show, but Drew looked absolutely exhausted and quite sad about the whole thing, albeit proud of the finished product.

Jack98: Honest opinion - do you think Grand Designs Australia lives up to the British version?

Peter Maddison: Well Jack, I can only do what I do. Im greatly supported by a truly professional outfit here in Australia. I have a supportive employer (XYZnetworks) and an inspirational production team in Freemantle Media. And I think (quietly) we're creating a little bit of magic!

Keiran4: Must say I felt emotionally involved tonight. Felt the serenity of the place, the realxation. But then felt the stress. So close. Do you think there is a rental market at the $15k per week Drew suggested? This would certainly help him keep it.

Darcy3: thank you

Urangaline: Do you know if Drew is renting the place?

Peter Maddison: My last contact with Drew was that he was trying to get the certificate of occupancy and without this from the building surveyor he can't rent it out. I know he was very close!

Paul: How many more episodes are in this series Peter? Next weeks looks like another interesting one. Will you be doing a 'revisted' series in future do you think?

Peter Maddison: One more episode in the series to go… stay tuned!
Heidi20: Hi there Peter, Am addicted to the show and you are a wonderful host! With the benefit of hindsight, what is your top tip for anyone looking to build their dream home?

Peter Maddison: Thanks for your supportive comments Heidi. Top tips are: find a site you love, be pragmatic and realistic about your budget, find an architect that you relate and do realistic cost planning. Best of luck!

Anna96: Haven't seen British GD but it would be dfficult to match GDA given it is in our own backyard. Varying locations from Darvin, Wilson's Prom to Hawksberry River. Awesome show.

Deb: Always look forward to my Thursday nights - and hopefully this fantastic series will go on next year ... thanks for a fantastic series, we were glued every week to the TV.

Jack98: Would you rather live in a old and beautiful house like Southport or a really
modern contemporary home?

Peter Maddison: Jack, this is a no brainer!! New and modern is the way to go.

Petie: Thanks for bringing a bit of that magic into our homes on a Thursday night. :)

Tabitha: Hi Peter, the house tonight turned out beautifully. I'm looking forward to next week as it's not too far from our house! Will the series be back next year?

Andrew: I was really worried at the start of the show- Cottage Point is so beautiful - I was expecting a concrete monster. Outcome is a real contribution. Love that building -timeless.

Peggy5: Have enjoyed the program and enjoyed your honesty towards all the people participating in this great show

Eve6: Hi Peter. Love the show. I do find it a little disappointing that the homes are not completely finished at the end of each episode (house in NT). Is this due to the homeowners constraints or the shows production timeline?

Peter Maddison: Eve, it's a combination of most owners underestimating the time it takes to build a home and the contingency time it takes to pick up lost productivity due to weather and other building issues. Only half the homes in series 1 had the benefit of architectural advice.

Lauren52: Drew mentioned he wanted to win a prize for his home on tonighs show. Did he win any?
Peter Maddison: The only prize Drew won for his home was a vote from me for his adventurous spirit and ability to have a go. I'm pretty sure he hasn’t entered this house in any awards yet.

Tozla: Hi Mate, Loving this series .....can't wait for next weeks episode!!

Peter Maddison: Thanks, me too!

Tammy26: Hi Peter, just wondering which was your favourite house?

Peter Maddison: Hi Tammy, I don't have a favourite because they're all so different. I admire each of the owner's adventurous spirit in series 1. They've all been on their own journey it's very difficult to compare. Perhaps time will give me the benefit of judging this more clearly.

Andrew: Don’t be too hard on Peter - the first few sereies of GD in the UK had almost none finnished!

John: I think your point about only building as big as you really need is a very important one. A large part of the appeal of this house is the location and the view which can be enjoyed just as much in some of the more humble cottages shown during the program and without the financial stress.

Peter Maddison: Ten-four John, you're onto it!

Darcy3: I have been a graphic designer for years how do you think i can "melt" or "mesh" some of my work into my "dream build"?

Peter Maddison: Engage an architect! Ha ha

Eve6: Thanks Peter. Your show really inspires me to continue to work towards one day building my own dream home

Jack98: How long until you will start filming the next season? Can't wait!

Eve6: Peter, give us your honest thoughts on the Hamptons House.

Peter Maddison: The Hamptons House was an aspiration of its owners and they were on a journey to discover this. It's not for me to say whether their dream is right or wrong but purely question it along the way.

moon: Love your house and I am very glad you used the foam, I have seen it on the UK version and I think it’s a wonderful idea for both speed and insulation. By the way, patternization does exist if you use 'z' instead of 's'.

andrew: Did I imagine a certain 1930's influence to the solid stone base of this place... sort of Bali pavilions on a 1930's base?

Nicole: Hi Peter, am really enoying the shows each week as I am renovating. Could you please let me know what timber was laid on the floors in Drew's house, it looked lovely.

Peter Maddison: Hi Nicole, Drew used merbaw for the external cladding and the floors. This is a particularly hard and durable material which should last forever. I think he got a great deal on this particular species.

berylandmary: Hey Peter, Couldn’t get into the British series but loving the Australian version. Just wondering who designed tonight’s house?

Tyson4: Hello peter, just wondering if you could tell me the name of the architect?

Peter Maddison: Richard Cole is the architect. He's a well recognised and awarded Sydney architect who is well worth contacting should you wish to build a similar house.

Steve: Hi Pete great programe, We live close to the bush not to far away and we had to comply with stringent bushfire regulations , I was looking for the same in the project tonight... not a fly screen in sight, how did you get away with it ?

Peter Maddison: Well Steve, fly screens are advisable depending on location!

Steve: I thought that the house used a really interesting blend of old and new materials to create something unique and interesting.

Lynton: Hi Peter, Is Australian Grand Designs the only other version outside of the UK?

Peter Maddison: It sure is.

Tammy26: What aspects of a house make it profitible to sell?

Peter Maddison: Complex question Tammy! Can't answer this one in a sentence. Location, design quality, architectural quality - all contribute to saleability.

Petie: Will there be a follow up show to tell us how all the home owners/builders are doing after say 12 months?

Peter Maddison: Stay tuned ...

Deb: Were you impressed with the foam/concrete formwork and its insultating properties?
Peter Maddison: Logically this material makes great sense, I just have a problem with its petro-chemical composition and the lack of traditional building skill that puts it together. I guess it's just my upbringing and heritage that makes it difficult.

Andrew: What was the roughly land worth?? With the swap thing we never found out what he "bought" it for.... hazard a guess...

Peter Maddison: I don't know the dollar value, my guess is it's worth millions!! I hope he capitalises on this value

Lynton: Congratulations on a brilliant show to everyone involved Peter. You’re the perfect match for Australian Grand Designs as Kevin is for the UK version.

Sherry: No retaining walls to hold that dirt back. Surely he will have water problems later on. Isn't it best practice to have a retaining wall, then air space and then the wall of the house. Future problems?

Peter Maddison: Sherry you're onto it. Exactamondo!!! This is premium practice. Seperate the moisture from the structure.

Jdz: Hi Peter, doing a tremendous job, what's it been like to be an architect-come-tv presenter?

Peter Maddison: Hi Jdz, it's a huge challenge and way outside my comfort zone but I'm going at it full frontal. I haven't been trained in TV but I'm treating it like an enormous challenge. Hopefully, I'll improve over the next series

Heidi20: Hi Peter, As an architect, how do you feel about the owner-builder model? Do you think people can become too involved in their 'dream home' aspirations without giving due consideration to expert advice?

Peter Maddison: There's no doubt there's risk in becoming an owner/builder. It takes a certain set of skills to be able to manage the construction process. Some people are able to do this while others clearly get into trouble. My advice is to pay people that are skilled in this area and use your time to capitalise on what you're good at.

Sherry: Last year my husband who is a builder built a four storey zego house in Palm Beach on a 45 degree slope. It took them six months to pour the first slab after all the excavation and retaining walls were built

Marlene: Hi Peter, another great Great Design episode...Peter how much do oyu think the house will actually sell for if it goes on the market?

Peter Maddison: Marlene, I'm not a real estate agent and I don't know Sydney prices but I think Drew's house is a standout and provided he gets the certificate of occupancy, it should go for poltis (that means a sh*tload and I hope it does) :)
Tabitha: I'll be going now. I just wanted to say to you Peter that I'm glad they got someone such as yourself to host the show. I like your hosting style and I especially like how you make the viewer think about the different ways to build. It makes me feel a little braver in trying something different when I build. Thanks so much! Keep hosting, you're really great at it!

Peggy5: Did Drew at any stage think of putting in a lift to get from the bottom of the property to the top, a fair walk to get used to.

Peter Maddison: Peggy you're onto it! Drew had planned to put in an inclinator (railway line with carriage) but cut it out because of cost.

Brett46: Peter, this series is about Grand Designs... but at what point do you overcapitalise on a given piece of land? Are the homes in this series comparable with a home in the suburbs in this context?

Eve6: So in the end did you find the nightclub tacky?

Peter Maddison: The nightclub was surprising mild. It relied on lighting and a sound system by night. By day it became a relaxing rumpus room.

Marlene: From all the houses you've seen being designed so far Peter, are you inspired to build your own grand design borrowing from the houses you've seen?

Peter Maddison: Marlene, I would never borrow from someone elses design in a slavish way. If I had the resources, I would design my own home in a way that was totally original (perhaps a bit kooky as well).

Petie: What is the most unusual house you have seen built?

Peter Maddison: Petie, I've been in practice for decades and have seen an enormous amount of house built and published world wide. Some of my colleagues here in Melbourne are doing the most inspirational and outrageously successful houses on the world stage.

Lynton: What is the chance of a land slide if it gets really wet behind the house where it was cut out in the hill?

Peter Maddison: Lynton, I don't think the upper side of the house was reinforced or tanked adequately for me. I'd have trouble sleeping at night if it was my home

Danny9: Great show Peter....we are enjoying it a lot.

Tammy26: What did you get out of the GDA process?

Peter Maddison: Grand Designs Australia has changed my life. It's taken me from my architectural process in South Melbourne to rare, remote locations all over Australia. More importantly, I'm intimately sharing the journey with people that I've never met. Putting me in an honoured position. Where this journey is going, I'm not sure, but at this stage I'm hanging on tight for the ride. Thank you so much to everyone who has written in. It's almost the end of series one, I can't believe how the time has gone but this program is starting to build up a head of steam, which is so exciting for a novice like myself. Tune in next year because it's starting to look like a cracker!

For image galleries, video diaries and more from Grand Designs Australia CLICK HERE

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1 comment
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Posted by Peter787Report
I remember your Kingswood wagon, your love of surfing at the island, friendship with Skyhooks, and the day in 1974 (over the road from Thomson real estate in Murrumbeena) when you told me you wanted to be an architect and not a real estate agent. Great decision Pete ...well done regs Peter G