Episode 2/9

Thursday 2nd April 8.00pm

The series that searches for Britain’s best home continues. Melissa Porter, Russell Harris and Michael Holmes spend 24 hours in some of the country’s most desirable properties before the public vote for their favourite. This week, Melissa visits a Regency house in Gloucestershire, Michael explores an art deco party house and Russell spends the night in a barn conversion in the Cotswolds.

‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ sees a team of three presenters travel the length and breadth of Britain in search of the nation’s best residence. Property consultant Melissa Porter, property developer Russell Harris and property journalist Michael Holmes have the expertise and the eye to hunt down truly exceptional homes.

After making their selections, the presenters spend 24 hours in their favourite properties, getting acquainted with the features that make them unique. The series emphasises ‘the home’ as opposed to ‘the building’, and aims to encompass the story of the owners’ relationship with their properties. To this end, the presenters get to know the owners and their families to find out what drove them to design and build their homes.

Each programme features three properties of different types and offers tips on how to recreate their styles. At the end of the show, viewers have the opportunity to vote for their favourite. The winner from each heat will go through to the final, where one property will be awarded the coveted title of Britain’s Best Home 2009. The winning owners will also be awarded £20,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.

This week Melissa is in Gloucestershire to visit Alasdair and Justin’s exquisite Regency country house. The pair fell in love with the house and decided to make it their own. “It was like stepping into Narnia,” recalls Alasdair of the first time he saw the house.

Classic design is the key to the success of this property. Each of the bathrooms has been given a uniform look, with bespoke vanity units and lime floors. Reconfiguring the layout was essential for the property to function as a modern home, and the original tack room has been transformed into a stunning master bedroom. “Exposing wooden beams is a great way of showing off period features,” says Melissa approvingly as she tours the house. But nothing can prepare her for the delight of her bathroom – the bath is so vast it takes 30 minutes to fill up. “I feel like a princess,” she says, as she finally takes the plunge.

Elsewhere, Michael visits an art deco property on the South Coast. Built in the late 1930s, it had a reputation as a party house. Michael’s first sight when he enters the house is an elephant made from Indonesian drift-wood. “Something tells me I’m going to really enjoy being a guest here,” he says. Each of the nine bedrooms has its own identity, from Oriental and traditional English themes to the ‘bunk room’, which is papered with old maps. But the most dramatic transformation is the 1970s-era extension, which has been turned into a dramatic double-sized kitchen. As 17 people gather for dinner, Michael has no doubts the house is keeping up its reputation. “I can almost hear the echoes of those West End revellers!” he enthuses.

Meanwhile, Russell visits a barn conversion in the Cotswolds. When Marianne and Ed moved in, the site was a virtually derelict series of courtyards and spaces. “There were still sheep running around,” recalls Marianne. As the needs of the couple and their daughter grew, so did the house. Russell particularly appreciates the kitchen extension. “It’s a great piece of subtle architecture,” he says. And with no less than 97 concealed storage areas, this is one room that will not become cluttered! But up against the country house and the party house, the barn faces stiff competition to be crowned Britain’s Best Home.

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