I Own Britain’s Best Home: Episode 8/9

Thursday 14th May 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 a Hampshire manor, Michael stays in a modern town house and Russell is charmed by a converted village school.

‘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 visits Sherry and Stephen’s manor house in Hampshire. The couple moved from London in 2002 in order to have more space for their son and two daughters, and the huge property encompasses a field for their pony and even a lake. “It’s real ‘Famous Five’ stuff here. It’s perfect,” says Sherry. The palatial house has seven bedrooms and four bathrooms, but Sherry has made the large space seem cosy by creating small areas and layering fabrics and cushions. Sherry also gave each of her children a budget and allowed them to do anything they wanted with their own bedrooms. “Sherry’s let the imagination of her entire family run rampant,” enthuses Melissa. “This is a proper family home with class!”

Elsewhere, Michael visits ‘Novus’, Anne and Vincent’s innovative modern town house. Having outgrown their Victorian three-bedroom semi, the couple decided to split their garden in half and build another house. To maximise the space, the couple devised a four-storey layout. Bedrooms for the couple and their children are found on the top floors, a study and L-shaped dining room sit on the ground floor, and a gym, games room and cinema occupy the basement. The full-length windows and glass-panelled staircase create a light and airy feel, while diverse fabrics, such as the suede sofas, add texture. Anne has even devised a central vacuuming system. “This home really does have every conceivable 21st-century luxury,” says Michael, as he reclines in the jacuzzi.

Meanwhile, Russell is introduced to a converted village school by artist Graham, who bought the disused property in 1981. The original space was a large hall, but Graham built a mezzanine to incorporate an extra bedroom, bathroom and study. The unique space is decorated with influences from across the globe – from African fertility symbols to Thai vases. There is also a multitude of original touches, from a floor design copied from a Venetian palazzo to embroidery on the walls made from cashmere. “I have never met anyone quite as enthusiastic about where they live as Graham,” says Russell. But with fierce competition, which dream house will clinch the last place in the grand final?

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1