Book review: George Clarke’s More Amazing Spaces

We review George Clarke’s More Amazing Spaces, based on the Channel 4 series.


What’s it about?

Presenter and architect George Clarke visits ordinary people with the extraordinary vision to transform unusual spaces such as buses, horseboxes and basements into places to work, live and have fun. Now on Series 5, the programme focuses on people who don’t have unlimited budgets and aren’t professional craftsmen.

George says, “With big ideas, limited budgets and often no practical skills, the creators of these projects have changed their lives for the better. These stories will inspire you to look around and see what you, too, could turn into an amazing space.”

What we thought

George Clarke’s More Amazing Spaces is published by Quadrille, RRP £20

The theme of the book is ‘small spaces’, to see how much use people can make out of tiny areas. This means they’ve got to be clever about all sorts of things – planning, storage, aesthetics and all sorts of practical issues like heating.

Seeing how each person had tackled these different themes was, for me, the most interesting part of the book.

It’s not confined to the UK, either – the first chapter follows George on a roadtrip across Texas, where he spots interesting houses including one covered entirely in hammered beer cans (only in America!) and a little bee-hived-shaped adobe mud house.

Moving back across the pond, the book was split into home, garden, work and holiday spaces. In the home section is a futuristic glass building made from hexagonal ‘cells’ that link together. I particularly like the way this building could be indefinitely expanding by adding more pods, and I also liked the designer had overcome the challenges of difficult-shaped rooms – for example, a neat made-to-measure kitchen that bends round three walls, and a glass door with a wood burning stove built in, so that in summer you can swing the whole door out and have the wood burning stove on the decking instead of in the living room. Other projects in this section included a converted narrowboat and an old Airstream caravan.

Next up were the work projects, which ranged from a cream teas caravan to a mobile cinema to an optician’s ‘hut’. Here, people had made some really ingenious use of space.

My particular favourites were a converted horse trailer, now a cheese selling business, and the horsebox that had been transformed into a vintage clothes shop. Both started from unprepossessing beginnings, and in both the entrepreneurs involved had created quirky, individual spaces that were both attractive and practical.

In the trailer, originally designed to transport two horses in a slightly wedge-shaped box, the owner has found space for a tiny kitchette complete with sink, a fridge and a sales counter. With space being at a premium, he’s also added a storage loft and created an ingenious sleeping/storage space with a sort of fold-out tent that covers the original side ramp, once used for unloading horses.

As with this project as well as the horsebox, I loved the fact that the owners had retained so much of the original look and feel of the vehicle but added their own twist and some really clever details.

All-in-all, if you’d like some ideas for transforming that unused corner of your home – or you fancy driving the family across the UK in a converted double decker bus! – this book will supply those a-plenty.

Even if you’re not in the market for a project yourself, it’s fascinating to see how people have achieved their goals. I’d recommend this book.

George Clarke’s More Amazing Spaces is published by Quadrille Publishing, RRP £20 hardback. Available from Amazon. George Clarke is an ambassador for Truedor, makes of high performance composite doors.



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