Episode 3/9

Thursday 9th 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 viewers vote for their favourite. This week, Michael visits a Californian-style property in Dorset, Melissa spends the night in a converted train depot and Russell enjoys the country life.

‘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, Michael visits the Californian-style home of Alan and Lisa in Dorset. The focal point is a vast central atrium overlooking a huge indoor swimming pool. The house boasts four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a fully-equipped gym, a snug and an office. Alan was inspired by the hotels he visited throughout his career. “I wanted to build a house for the 21st century,” he says.

Michael is delighted by the use of space and light in the property, and with the views afforded by the glass walls. But it is the attention to detail that makes this home such a success. Michael demonstrates the many ‘James Bond’ touches, such as the fire that lights at the flick of a switch, and the use of mirrors as skirting boards. After a session in the gym and a sumptuous dinner party, Michael is full of praise for Alan’s vision. “It’s been like staying at an exclusive luxury spa,” he enthuses.

Elsewhere, Melissa heads off to bustling King’s Cross in London, where artist Lucho has brought about an amazing transformation in a Victorian train depot. The building incorporates a living area spanning the full length of the house, a library, numerous sleeping areas and a workshop where Lucho designs all the furniture and fittings. With the emphasis on creating an intimate atmosphere, Lucho has used lighting and partitions to separate the space. “It’s full of secrets and mystery and I like that,” he says. Melissa is charmed by Lucho’s exquisite style, such as the butterfly canopy and wrought iron balconies, which have transformed the exterior. Melissa has no doubts about Lucho’s development. “What he has managed to carve is nothing short of inspirational,” she gushes.

The beautiful Norfolk countryside provides the backdrop for Russell’s visit this week – a new build that took 13 years to complete. Pete and Di found the perfect plot and demolished the original 70s building in favour of their dream house. The couple designed their home along Georgian lines, with symmetrical windows and elegant proportions. The high ceilings and deep skirting boards add to the period feel, but this is also a very modern family home, with a snooker hall and TCP (teenage crash pad!). It is the gazebo that really captures Russell’s heart though. “I feel a Bill Oddie moment coming on,” he jokes, as he surveys the magical scenery. But will it be enough to clinch this week’s spot in the final?

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