Peter Maddison in a scene from the sixth season of Grand Designs Australia.
Peter Maddison in a scene from the sixth season of Grand Designs Australia. Rhiannon Slatter

Peter Maddison's inspiration from afar

MENTION hand-glazed bricks, polished concrete or downpipes and you're likely to see a blush of excitement on the cheeks of Grand Designs Australia presenter and architect Peter Maddison.

He's been caught "talking dirty" to his UK counterpart Kevin McCloud in the ads promoting the sixth Australian series of the show and - in what's been a whirlwind of popularity - Maddison's still not sure how it all came about.

"I still don't know why (I first became involved)," the Melbourne-based architect told APN.

"I never got to the bottom of it ... who dobbed me in."

Before the first season aired in 2010, Maddison said apparently a wide net was cast, taking in "architects, designers, builders, anyone" around Australia in the search for a suitably qualified person to front the Aussie version of Grand Designs.

"I received an email and I usually say yes to everything and worry about it later. So that's what I did. I said yes," he said.

"I went for a screen test and about two months later I was offered the job.

"I'd never seen the show but I kind of knew about it."

But Maddison said taking the job changed his life.

Grand Designs has taken Maddison around the country, introduced him to new friends and provided inspiration for his own architectural projects - not that he's ever directly "stolen" an idea.

"Everything you do and see does influence you a little," he said.

"Some of the stuff has an influence, but you don't change your handwriting; you don't change your style."

In the first episode of the new series, which aired on Thursday, Maddison offended an owner by calling his dream home in East Melbourne "a big cubby house".

But his comment doesn't end in fisticuffs, as Maddison said he had developed a good rapport with the building's owner, Ross, during the course of filming.

"I like to stir the owners a little bit," he admitted.

"I get on well with most of the owners. In fact, I'd classify Ross as a mate now.

"I've been back to the house a few times and had drinks with Ross. I've taken friends and family there on separate occasions ... the idea of building your own skyscraper on such a small footprint is very appealing."

This year is extra busy for Maddison.

As well as filming for Grand Design and running his business Maddison Architects, he is also renovating.

The family has moved out of their mid-century home they've lived in for 15 years to allow the work to be done.

"It's costing a lot more and it's taking a lot longer than I thought ... but it's coming along," he laughed.

The plan is to renovate being sympathetic to the home's unique 1960s styling elements while adding a fresh touch.

Will he film the process for Grand Designs?

"I don't know that I would. A little bit of intrigue is a good thing."

Grand Designs Australia airs Thursdays at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on The LifeStyle Channel.



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