I Own Britain’s Best Home

Thursday 21st May 8.00pm

The series that searches for Britain’s best home reaches its climax. For the past eight weeks, Melissa Porter, Russell Harris and Michael Holmes have explored some of the country’s most desirable properties before viewers voted for their favourite. Which property will win the coveted title of Britain’s Best Home in the final?

‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ has seen 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 hunted down some truly exceptional homes.

After making their selections, the presenters spent 24 hours in their favourite properties, getting acquainted with the features that make them unique. The series has emphasised the home as opposed to the building, encompassing the story of the owners’ relationship with their properties. The presenters have got to know the owners and their families, finding out what drove them to design and build their homes.

In the series finale, the winners from each heat will go head-to-head to win the prestigious title of Britain’s Best Home 2009. The triumphant owners will also be awarded £20,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. With a diverse selection of properties ranging from innovative new builds to stunning period conversions, the winner is anyone’s guess.

One of the most striking buildings to be featured in the final is Pete and Di’s Georgian-style new build in Norfolk. The property is a contemporary take on classical Georgian design, with a symmetrical red brick façade, elegant proportions and huge windows. But it was the incredible riverside setting and charming gazebo that really captured Russell’s heart during his stay.

The series has also explored period homes such as a lovingly renovated Regency house in the Cotswolds, winner of the second heat. Owner Alistair transformed a dilapidated wreck into the ultimate country house, with heritage colours and antiques as well as a healthy dose of 21st-century luxury. Not only is the house a sensational success, the breathtaking location and immaculate, landscaped grounds made Melissa’s visit very special.

One of Michael’s favourite properties was a mock Tudor house in Surrey. Owners Alex and Tanya had never been fans of ‘beamy’ properties until they fell for a 20th-century take on Tudor living. The clever design blends the very best of old and new – with traditional features such as leaded windows, but with a greater sense of space and light than a 16th-century original. The cosy feel and spacious grounds make it the perfect place to raise a family.

The presenters may have their favourites, but with eight awesome properties vying for the prize, the competition between the finalists is fierce. Throughout the series, Michael, Melissa and Russell have assessed the merits of some very different homes. Original design, sensitive restoration, quirky architecture and 21st-century luxuries have all been taken into account, but it is a home with real heart the devoted threesome have been searching for. Have they found it?

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?

Thursday 7th 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 stays in a New England-style house in Suffolk, Russell visits a suburban family home in Kent and Michael checks out a converted milk depot in Peckham, 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 visits Stephanie and Johnny’s New England-style house on the Suffolk coastline. Stephanie has transformed a 20-year-old modern chalet bungalow into a stunning clapboard house that would not look out of place in the Hamptons. “It looks like it’s been lifted off Cape Cod!” exclaims Melissa upon arrival. Inspired by the beautiful sea views, Stephanie spun the house around 180 degrees so the kitchen is at the rear, leading onto a beautiful, sun-drenched veranda. She also changed the layout upstairs so the master bedroom and living room look out onto the sea. A blue and white colour scheme and pebbled bathroom floors add to the nautical feel. “Stephanie and Johnny’s home has an incredibly serene atmosphere,” gushes Melissa. “It’s a unique take on the New England-style home.”

Elsewhere, Russell has a very different experience at Lottie and David’s Scandinavian-inspired family home in Kent. Unable to find a suitable house in the area for her growing brood, Lottie built the ultimate contemporary family dwelling. The three- storey house is open-plan, incorporating a vast family kitchen, four bathrooms, a study and a music room. Lottie has added splashes of colour to bring the space alive, such as the purple lining in the shelving units. With a dining table that converts into a pool table and partitions that pull out of the walls to minimise noise, Lottie really has thought of everything. “They’ve beautifully blended together the idea of aesthetics and functionality,” enthuses Russell.

Meanwhile, Michael is in Peckham, south London, visiting Ken and Julia’s converted milk depot. The couple spotted the building ten years ago, and saw the potential for a unique home that could double as a work space. The multi-purpose property combines three rented flats – which the couple used to finance the project – a huge open-plan living space, a studio, an office and a library. The couple even built three beach huts onto the roof of the old dairy as bedrooms. “They’ve created a unique live-work space that is flexible, ecological and affordable,” says Michael, impressed. Will seaside elegance, a funky family space or office living seize the day?

Thursday 30th 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 gets in touch with his creative side at an arts-and-crafts mansion, Melissa has some wholesome fun at a Georgian farmhouse and Russell gets the five-star treatment in a 19th- century town house.

‘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 heads off to an arts-and-crafts mansion in the Norfolk countryside. Built in 1905, the house has a checkered history – including a period of requisition by the army and a spell as a nursing home. It is now owned by antiques expert Simon and his teenage son, Jack. Designed around a butterfly imprint, the house has an astounding 14 bedrooms and seven bathrooms. When Michael arrives, Simon gives him a map and instructs him to pick a room for the night! Simon worked hard to put the run-down property to rights, collaborating with friends and artists to create a gloriously eclectic mix of styles. In addition to the original features he inherited, Simon has added a variety of textures, from furs and silks to African artefacts. “The imagination that’s gone into this house is mind-blowing,” marvels Michael.

Elsewhere, Melissa arrives at Ally and Gary’s Georgian farmhouse in Lincolnshire. When the couple bought the property in 2003 it was in a dilapidated state, but they realised it was the perfect home for their five children. “It’s been an amazing process. We’ve learned a lot about each other,” says Gary. The pair were keen to blend period style with 21st-century comfort. Ally stuck to a Georgian colour scheme of blues, greys and deep reds, while her use of mirrors cleverly creates the illusion of space. As the family gathers around a bonfire to toast marshmallows, Melissa is charmed by her hosts. “This place is more than fancy paint schemes and gorgeous furniture – they’ve created an atmosphere that encourages the family to spend time together,” she enthuses.

In the heart of the Midlands, Russell rolls up for a blissful stay at Charlotte and Chris’s 19th-century town house. The couple love staying in boutique hotels, but after the arrival of their first baby they decided to recreate the hotel experience at home. Russell is knocked out by Charlotte’s bold use of colour and light-reflecting materials. And with chocolates, luxurious toiletries and even breakfast in bed, Russell is left wishing he could stay another 24 hours. “Charlotte and Chris could give any hotel a run for its money. I’ve had a ball,” he says. Will artistic expression, family fun or indulgent pampering swing the vote this week?

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…

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…

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?

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.

Weekdays at 11:45am on five

The series that searches for Britain’s best home returns for a new run on Five. 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. In the opening episode, Michael visits a renovated townhouse in south London, Melissa samples an eco house in Norfolk and Russell heads to Dorset to check out a sea-view property located on ‘Millionaire’s Row’.

‘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 heads to the South London home of James, Lucy and their two daughters. The 19th-century townhouse was a complete wreck when the couple bought it. “The only way in was through a window because the rest was boarded up!” recalls Lucy. The pair set about transforming the property into a thoroughly modern and fetchingly eccentric home.

Michael enters the house to find the hallway leads down to a huge rear extension. The open-plan kitchen-diner space boasts a curving, wing-shaped roof and wide glass windows that lead out onto the garden. The owners have made clever use of high-street goods to produce inventive, eye-catching wall art.

Elsewhere, Lucy and James have created their own, highly personal studies. Lucy’s room includes examples of Victorian taxidermy, while James’s study features glass panels in the floor that look down onto his collection of antique clocks in the basement below.But the crowning feature of the property is a giant, illuminated clock designed by James and positioned in the garden outside. “This is a really great home,” says Michael.

Melissa’s house this week is a wooden new-build in the Norfolk countryside. Owner Amanda left the London rat race eight years ago to build herself a home that would be in harmony with the environment. “It’s a really nurturing place to live,” she enthuses. “It’s light, it’s airy. The outside landscape is part of your living space.” The home’s eco-friendly credentials include sustainable timber walls and flowerbed rooftops. These features help keep the house’s energy costs to just £500 a year.

Russell’s destination, meanwhile, is Sandbanks in Dorset, the fourth most expensive place to live in the world –dubbed ‘Millionaire’s Row’. Retired businessman Alan and his family live in an extraordinary modern home with a terrific sea view. The property shuns straight lines and fans out in curves from a central spiral staircase. As Russell enjoys a taste of Alan’s home and takes a trip on his boat, he reflects, “You’ve not just bought a house here, you’ve bought a whole lifestyle!” But does Alan’s home have what it takes to reach the final?

What distinguishes this series from other property shows?

Melissa Porter:‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ is the ‘Dynasty’ of property shows! The glamour of the homes, the dramas that unfold as we thrash out whose home will go through. What sort of properties feature in the series?

MP: Stuff that most of us can only dream about. Filled with gadgets and gizmos that even Bill Gates would be proud of. Hydraulic garages, depth adjusting swimming pools, biometric access capabilities, crystal-encrusted ceilings, platinum skirting boards…

Do you have a particular favourite of the properties in this series?

Russell Harris:All the properties featured have a story to tell. If I had to choose one, it would be Graham Carr’s School House in Wiltshire. You could hardly swing a cat in there, but Graham has made the most of it. It’s jam-packed with objects that wouldn’t look out of place in the British Museum. The end result is a home full of objects to appreciate and ultimately to connect with.

What particular qualities make a great home?

Michael Holmes:The people come first, naturally, but after that it is the location, including the views and surrounding environment. The house itself needs to be well designed. I think open-plan living works really well, especially combined kitchen, dining and living spaces. And simple things help create the homely atmosphere, like a real fire, flowers and pictures and pieces with personal meaning and history.

As an interior designer, have you picked up any tips throughout the series?

MP:Quality of products and finish are key to a scheme looking top notch. You don’t always need to spend a fortune.

What is your advice for renovating an old home?

MH: Know your objectives –why are you renovating? Be hard headed: don’t fall in love with a wreck that will ruin your finances. Get a friendly designer or builder on board for advice. Look for a property with a problem that is putting other buyers off, but which you can solve –such as dereliction, sitting tenants, lack of parking or just bad decoration. And don’t take on too much!

Is now a good time to be developing property?

RH:The safe option for the individual is to take a fresh look at what they have already got – their own home. Developing the space you already call home could be financially rewarding and, if not, at least you’ll have somewhere really nice to live for the next few years.

MH:People are still improving their homes, and those who are taking a long-term view, i.e. creating a home rather than speculating on making a profit, are carrying on with their projects. [As a result] TV property shows are taking a different and more thoughtful approach, with an emphasis on ‘nesting rather than investing’.

Do you hope the series will inspire viewers to transform their own houses?

RH: Yes, I do. ‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’ is like a glossy property magazine that you might flick through in the doctor’s waiting room, which provides an amazing amount of ideas and inspiration in a short space of time. The show cuts to the chase and leaves you with a head full of clever things you could do with your home. So if you want to feel inspired and to see how truly wonderful a home can be, then watch the show!

 

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