Episode 5/9

Thursday 23rd 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, Melissa visits an 18th-century cottage in Devon, Russell is bowled over by a Tudor manor house and Michael checks out a high-spec bachelor flat in South London.

‘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 Devon to visit a lovingly renovated 18th-century cottage. Originally a crumbling farm dwelling, owner Diana has transformed the dilapidated building into a fresh, chic home. “It’s comfortable, it’s cosy, it’s welcoming. I’ve created heaven in Devon!” she says. Diana has used her unique sense of style, rather than her chequebook, to create an authentic feel. Although the floors appear to be original flagstones, they are actually based on moulds taken from a stately home. Similarly, the huge dining table was fashioned from some old floorboards by Diana’s carpenter. “This home really is a refreshing take on country living,” Melissa gushes. “She’s a classy lady!”

Elsewhere, Russell arrives at Patrick and Judith’s Tudor manor house in the Suffolk countryside. The house had endured 100 years of neglect, including a period of occupation by the army, before the couple bought it in the 1970s. Patrick fell in love with the house immediately. “As soon as I got to the end of the avenue I said to the agent, ‘I’ll buy it’,” he remembers. Patrick and Judith sourced all of the furniture from auctions and house clearances. They were keen to give each of the ten bedrooms a separate identity, such as the Chinese room, which is furnished with pieces from Hong Kong. However, the kitchen retains an open fire and very little has changed since the 16th century. “Dinner by candlelight is the perfect way to round off an amazing day,” Russell enthuses.

Michael is in gadget heaven this week at the high- street pad of entrepreneur Rupert. Although the three-storey South London flat is above a shop, there is still a huge amount of space. Michael is delighted by Rupert’s use of primary colours and touchable fabrics, such as the bold wallpaper and silk blinds over the windows. His use of lighting is also particularly imaginative, subtly illuminating alcoves and shelves. After a run along the Thames, the steam room is a welcome surprise for Michael, while the roof terrace is the perfect space for entertaining. “It’s an oasis of tranquillity in a busy city centre.” Michael concludes. But with properties from the 16th, 18th and 21st centuries, this week’s winner is a tough one to call…

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