Episode 4/9

Thursday 16th 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 mock Tudor cottage in Surrey, Melissa is wowed by an intriguing new build in Dorset and Russell investigates a Cotswold stone conversion.

‘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 is off to Surrey, where Alex and Tanya have turned a mock Tudor cottage into their dream home. “I looked at Alex’s face and thought, ‘Oh no he likes it’,” laughs Tanya as she recalls their first visit to the house. However, she was soon persuaded by the amount of light and space in the property. The original architect cherry-picked the best features from the Elizabethan era, such as the leaded windows and wooden beams, but the high ceilings and large windows owe more to the 1930s than the 1580s. Michael also draws attention to the beautifully detailed chimneys and quirky brickwork. “It’s an imaginative, subtle reinvention of a classic style,” he says.

Elsewhere, Melissa meets Anthony and Harriet, who have created a country house in Dorset that incorporates a working farm. Although the house has the appearance of a 19th-century mansion, it was actually completed just 13 years ago. Anthony built the house himself, and it is decorated with his huge collection of ornaments and furniture. “I’m a great believer in jumbling up different styles, like a big bowl of porridge,” he says. Anthony has also used trick-of-the-eye features, such as architectural wallpaper, to heighten the sense of grandeur. Despite a tricky encounter with a chicken the following morning, Melissa is full of enthusiasm for the couple’s outlandish vision. “This home is a celebration of Anthony and Harriet’s individual passions. That’s why it’s so special,” she declares.

Meanwhile, a converted stone bungalow wins Russell over when he visits James and Charlie in the Cotswolds. James’s first battle was to get planning permission for the extension to the original bungalow. To help blend the two buildings, James sourced stone from three different quarries and enveloped the original building. As the property is in a conservation area, he also reproduced local features such as the mullioned windows. And with both a snooker and cinema room, the house is perfect for entertaining. “I’ve really enjoyed my stay,” Russell enthuses. “It’s been indulgent and entertaining.” With three very different properties in the running, this week’s finalist is anyone’s guess…

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