Georgian Properties Escape to the Country


Georgian Properties

Alistair Appleton looks back at some of the best Georgian properties featured in past series. He learns about the restoration of Georgian furniture.


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Transcript


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Today on the show we're going to be looking at one of

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the most resplendent periods of British architecture.

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It was a time when subtle hints of the rococo nestled within

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the straight lines of neoclassicism. Where Palladian palaces like this sat amongst the smooth lines

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of gardens laid out like Arcadian idylls. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, have no fear.

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By the end of this special edition of Escape To The Country, you will.

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Today we're stepping back in time to review some of the finest Georgian homes we've had in past series.

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Hold tight for some unusual interiors...

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-A bit blown-away by the wallpaper!

-Just a little bit, yeah.

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Panoramic views...

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-George, you could lie in the bath and watch the seasons change!

-A bit of a long bath, but yeah!

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And one of those all-time classic Escape To The Country moments...

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Woooh! It's fabulous!

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Plus I'll be discovering the secrets of Georgian furniture conservation.

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It's just like CSI Antiques!

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It is, indeed. Forensic science at its best.

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And I'll be given a guided tour of a classic Georgian stately home.

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-What are your favourite features about this room?

-It has to be the secret room.

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A secret room?

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Today on the show we are celebrating the architecture of the Georgian period.

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That stretches from the accession of George I in 1714

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all the way through to the death of George IV in 1830.

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Now in terms of interiors, it's all about high ceilings, big windows, lots of light, big volumes,

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quite austere style and then outside,

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we're talking about rolling countryside

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made famous by Capability Brown, the father of British landscape gardening.

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But we're not going to be talking about too many gardens today, because we're going to be

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digging deep into the world of this most beautiful architectural style.

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We've been all over the UK, looking for property on this show,

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but I have to say that some of the most attractive I've seen have to be Georgian.

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The architecture of this period was heavily influenced by the classical buildings of Rome and Greece.

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Square, symmetrical shapes, pillared entrances and a stone plinth

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above a central door are all common features of a Georgian house.

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Pleasing to the eye and elegantly spacious, Georgian houses often get

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the right reaction from our buyers.

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As you can imagine, we've seen quite a few beautiful Georgian properties

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on Escape To The Country over the years, so it's been quite difficult

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whittling them down for your delectation.

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However, our first offering takes us to the East Riding of Yorkshire

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and mother and daughter team of Amanda and Sarah.

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Now, they had £1.1 million to spend and Amanda wanted a big property

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to show off her interior decorating skills

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but I don't think either one of them at that point in the show

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were prepared for the Georgian splendour we were about to show them

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just outside the village of Laxton.

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Laxton village is in the south-west corner of Yorkshire's East Riding,

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giving easy access to Leeds, York and Hull.

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Set within extensive grounds, I was hoping

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this stunning Georgian manor house would impress Amanda and Sarah.

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Wow! This is more like it!

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I like it as well.

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This is very nice. This is probably... more or less exactly what I had in mind.

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It's a beautiful, beautiful old property. This part is from the 1700s, Georgian,

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and then in the Victorian period they extended, they had a bit

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of money in the family and they extended it forward.

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Look at the beautiful windows...

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all original sash windows from the period.

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It's just "wow", isn't it? This is sort of more what we initially kind of imagined,

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approach-wise, and you just can't hear any traffic or anything.

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It just feels really sort of peaceful.

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Deep into your own countryside!

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Let's have a look inside.

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This house really is a proper country pile,

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with generous rooms and a real feeling of grandeur.

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Oh, this is nice, isn't it?

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Look how high the ceilings are!

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That's exactly what I wanted.

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-No banging your head here!

-No banging my head, no.

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Let's go and look in the front room, it's wonderful.

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-Oh, this is great!

-Wow!

-It's good, isn't it?

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-It's just beautiful!

-It's lovely!

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It's just what we kind of imagined, isn't it?

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Yes, this is just what I had in my head that we wanted

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and it's been really nicely done as well.

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You've got the original white marble fireplace. Very simple, very much in keeping with the country style.

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That is a good fireplace.

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But the greatest feature is these incredible windows...

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floor to ceiling sash windows.

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-It's so rare to see them in their original state.

-It is. That's lovely.

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There's a second living room that's equally impressive.

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-Wow! A bigger room!

-This room is even bigger than the last one, isn't it?

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It's just a blank canvas really, isn't it?

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Especially even with the way they've decorated it,

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you can sort of envisage what you'd do with it.

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-Kitchen.

-Kitchen. And this is how kitchens used to be.

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They weren't jam-packed with fitted units everywhere.

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They decided very deliberately to keep it very simple.

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What do you think about it? It's quite unusual for our modern tastes?

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It is unusual and I think I would prefer, actually,

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go to with something a little bit more... modern, up to date.

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It would be fairly straightforward to add modern fitted units,

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but there is quite a bit of extra storage just off the kitchen.

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You've got all your washing machines and more storage in there.

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It's effectively like having another kitchen there.

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This goes through to the garage which also is a pantry.

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That's useful, isn't it?

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-And then another space here which is a gym.

-Yay!

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Wow!

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The layout of this house does take a bit of getting used to

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though the dining room is fairly conventional.

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Actually a bit of a disappointment, this room.

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It's a little bit smaller than I would have thought the dining room would have been.

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It just seems that this one has sort of been abandoned as a room that they haven't used.

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Very often in these big, formal houses, you get rooms that do get

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slightly abandoned because people don't formally dine any more.

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It just needs a bit of redecoration and care.

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I think Sarah is right, a little TLC would bring out the charm.

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It's beautiful! The whole thing... it's just great!

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-Upstairs there are even better views of the garden and grounds.

-Oh, wow!

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-Look at that view!

-That is amazing!

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That's fantastic, it's gorgeous!

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Again, what is interesting about the house is that it's laid out

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in actually a Georgian style,

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whereas the Victorian rooms were very discreet,

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these are all joined, they're enfilade. This would probably be the husband's room,

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and then you have a dressing room for him that's linked to the lady's dressing room

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which takes you through to another bedroom which would have been her dressing room.

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This is now the bathroom so it's like a Georgian en suite.

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-Again, very sizeable.

-It's beautiful. It dwarfs the furniture, doesn't it?

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There are three more good-size bedrooms, although once again

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Amanda might want to add some of her design flair.

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Good size as well, isn't it?

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Blown away by the wallpaper?

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Just a little bit, yeah.

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There's also a study and family bathroom, but it's the grounds that are truly impressive.

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It's more than 4 acres of land.

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It's absolutely fabulous. I love it!

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-Really?

-So beautiful.

-And listen...

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All you can hear is birds! That's just what I was looking for.

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And this coppice is beautiful.

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I mean you've got the two paddocks, you've got all the land around it.

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Great garden, lawn, you've got a pond down there.

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It's just so well maintained as well. There's just nothing that needs doing.

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It's not like "Oh, it could have been a beautiful garden with work..."

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-it just is!

-So, the big question is, how much do you think it's worth?

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I mean we are in a quiet corner of Yorkshire,

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but you're still very well-connected for Huddersfield with the M62

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and you're really lucky to be so quiet because there is nothing

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to disturb your peace, and it's a beautiful house.

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I think this would be the top of the budget,

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so I think it would be around £1.1 million.

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I think it's a bit less.

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I'm going to go a bit more conservative and go 999.99.

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Well, you are both wrong.

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This property is on the market for...

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-£950,000.

-Really?

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-Wow!

-Fantastic!

-I think she's a happy bunny!

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I've been estimating how much it would cost me to do the changes

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that I want as I've been going around and that fits nicely!

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£150,000, would that do it?

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-That would more than do it!

-I should hope so!

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-So what do you think, then?

-I really like it.

-I do, I think it's perfect.

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This house is just sort of perfect in many different ways.

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It's got the land we wanted, the room we wanted.

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The rooms themselves are a perfect size. It's just not something we would have...

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-it's not a place we would have thought of...

-Looking.

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Looking for this kind of property. It's amazing!

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It's exactly what I was looking for.

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It's like he reached into my head and saw the picture and found it for me. It's just wonderful!

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Now that was a success, because they really love that property and you can see why, because those beautiful

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clean lines and geometric spaces in a Georgian property are perfect

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for an interior designer and if you've got the neo-classical bug,

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then take a look at some of these properties

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which could be yours, because they're all on the market at a whole array of different budgets.

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If your pockets are deep, how about this classic Georgian farmhouse,

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on the market at £1.2 million in East Sussex?

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Set within 14.5 acres, this four- bedroom house has some stunning gardens,

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a stable block and that most un-Georgian of features,

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an outdoor swimming pool.

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Inside, the property has been tastefully modernised and still retains many original details.

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If that's a little too expensive, then you might like this Georgian home in Yorkshire.

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It may not look big from the outside, but once you get into

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the spacious interiors, it really delivers.

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With plenty of outbuildings ripe for conversion,

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this property is on the market for £875,000.

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If that's still too expensive, then fear not.

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You can pick up a slice of Georgian rural life with this charming farmhouse in Norfolk.

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Just £350,000 will get you this home, full of original features...

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..the most spectacular being this stunning central staircase.

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To understand the full glories of living in a Georgian property

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and indeed what makes a Georgian property, I've come to Aynhoe Park, near Banbury.

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Not too shabby, huh? Although I have to say that up until about

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four years ago, it was quite shabby.

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It's been remodelled and remodelled and remodelled, but the present owner, James Perkins,

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has lavished incredible care and attention and brought it up to its former glory. Let's meet him.

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Aynhoe Park was originally built as a Jacobean house in the 1660s.

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It's been added to several times but perhaps changed most notably by Sir John Soane, in 1805.

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It was then the house was given the typically Georgian features that is has today and it's those features

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that current owner, self-made property man, James Perkins, can tell us all about.

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James, morning.

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-Hello.

-It's an amazing place! When did you purchase it?

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About three years ago, now.

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Now I know you've done an enormous amount of research to get it back to the original Georgian feel.

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Perhaps, while we're out here, what would you point out

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as being the classic Georgian features of the property?

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-The thing that is most noticeable here is the windows, of which there are many!

-Many!

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Yes, I mean the style of the windows as opposed to the normal Victorian sash window, this type,

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style of window is typical of the period. You can see that when you go up

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from the different floors, the actual window panes become smaller,

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so you get that sense of scale.

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-That's an illusion, isn't it, to make it look bigger than it actually is?

-That's right.

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It looks like everything is big about this house!

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Yeah, I mean on your right there, that was the old...

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where all the housekeepers lived and the kitchens and laundry,

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and on the opposite side, over here, although it doesn't look much like it now, that was the stables.

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-Really?

-So very smart-looking stables.

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Well, the horses and the staff lived well, didn't they? And which bits did Soane design?

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We've got the front door, the door surround, the pediment on the top and the wonderful,

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triumphal arches which are just absolutely fantastic

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and of course that's just on this elevation.

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When the Cartwright family who lived here before,

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their visitors came along, it was a tremendous statement for their friends

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about how powerful they are, how important they were and how in fashion they were with their designs.

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-So, shall we look inside?

-Let's go.

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James, it's like the British Museum in here!

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In the 18th century, the Georgians they were very big collectors

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because they were just beginning to travel the world

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and they used to bring back all these wonderful pieces

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from their travels and I think that very colourful, exciting period

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of European influences is really something I admire.

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But James' collection is not just reserved for the entrance hall.

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In true Georgian style, he has filled his home with an eclectic mix of casts and statues.

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In fact, the whole house is an Aladdin's cave

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of classical artefacts and contemporary treasures.

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Collected over 24 years and presented beautifully

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within the big spaces of this solid, Georgian frame.

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Every room's a treat. Well, this is a complete change of gear!

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So you actually live here - this is your lounge!

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That's right, yes.

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This is known as the "salon". This was the entrance hall, originally,

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but then this was completely remodelled by Soane and hence you get all these wonderful shapes.

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And incredible views!

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The striking thing about Georgian properties is that

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it was the first time the view was brought in, wasn't it?

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Yes, and in fact Capability Brown in about 1770 drew up a scheme for the house and really very much

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heavily influenced the view that you see today.

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And also, symmetrical, and that's a very key factor, isn't it?

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So this is the centre and then it goes off from both sides?

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Yep. With these central connecting rooms, it's absolutely perfect

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for hosting parties and having guests.

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That's what it was all about, wasn't it?

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That's right, so it could be for 20 people or for 200 people...

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so therefore, you just open more doors.

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Although James is hoping to open up the house to weddings and parties, I still have to remind myself

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that this is essentially his home and we're about to see one of his favourite rooms.

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Look at all these things! Amazing!

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This was the library, presumably?

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Indeed. This was all remodelled by Soane and this really is a fantastic example.

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-If you look at the cornice work, really, really unusual.

-Aah, yes.

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It doesn't look like there's been many coats of paint here in the past,

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because it's not heavily over-painted, so therefore you still get that richness of the detail

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and one of the things I have uncovered was the Soane frame, mirror frame.

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-Oh, right, that's an original?

-That was covered in, yeah, 200, I don't know, 250 years of paint.

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What are your favourite features about this room?

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-It has to be the secret room.

-A secret room?

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In the bookcase, yeah, and it's where all the family silver was kept.

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-All right! Do you tweak her nose and it opens, then?

-There we are.

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Much simpler than that.

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And behind here is the safe door.

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Aah, look at that! And now your DVD collection!

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What a house full of adventures.

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'And the adventure continues as we make our way to the centrepiece of this Georgian palace.'

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So here we have the Soane staircase and, synonymous with his work, is the Soane lantern and the purpose

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of the Soane lantern with the stained glass in is that it catches the beautiful sense of light.

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The little ring of orange glass?

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That's right, you get this wonderful colour when the sun is setting.

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Obviously you would expect to see family portraits and that sort of thing, but in my case,

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I've got a passion and love for old buildings, so I thought why not follow in Soane's footsteps

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and show off some of the most amazing architectural elements

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from across many, many periods of thousands of years.

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Well, you've done a fantastic job, because it feels like a home but obviously an incredible amount

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-of research has gone into it, but thank you so much.

-Thank you.

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For our second Georgian flashback, we're reeling back the years

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to meet George and Sam, two doctors who had £700,000 to spend on their new property.

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They wanted a bit of the Good Life with some space for some animals,

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but when Jules Hudson showed them the mystery house,

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as befits a mystery house, he wanted to challenge their ideas of big, open spaces

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and paddocks for the animals and try and persuade them to take something a little more stately.

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So, Jules' mystery house was in quaint village of Hartshead,

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only 22 minutes by car from Leeds and a stone's throw from Dewsbury.

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Hartshead itself is an old Norman settlement with plenty of history,

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but would this property's historical charm

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work on George and Sam?

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Now then, guys, mystery house time.

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What do you feel about living in the kind of aristocratic community,

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because that's what you've got here?

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-It's like a stately home!

-It is a stately home.

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It's Kirklees Hall, OK. Originally in private hands but was converted

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in the '80s to provide 15 separate houses

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and the house I'm going to show you is the second biggest one here,

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but what you do get is a fantastically well-proportioned property and something

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that is rather cosy, which I suspect is a bit more you, Sam.

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-OK, yep.

-Would that make sense?

-Yep.

-Shall we go inside?

-Yep.

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Let's go for it!

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-Now come in to the hallway.

-Oh, wow!

-Goodness me!

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You get a sense of this kind of grandeur because that's what you've got.

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You've got a chunk of pucker English country house, the sort of thing

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that most buyers could never even think of affording, but you get a slice of it.

0:19:290:19:34

Let's start in here. This is the kitchen.

0:19:340:19:36

Now then, Sam, if you don't like this, there's no pleasing you!

0:19:360:19:40

-Oh, no, it's gorgeous!

-That is...

0:19:400:19:43

-Yeah!

-Really beautifully decked-out, isn't it?

0:19:430:19:46

I think it's pretty special.

0:19:460:19:48

-Yeah, really amazing!

-And these cupboards are like a second bedroom!

0:19:480:19:52

-They're huge!

-Yeah, how much clobber are you guys bringing?

0:19:520:19:55

If you can't get it all in there, you know, you need to start

0:19:550:19:58

giving some of it away, because that's a lot of storage.

0:19:580:20:01

Now, is this moving you more, do you think in some ways?

0:20:010:20:04

Yeah. The kitchen, yeah, definitely.

0:20:040:20:06

-It's very big, it's got everything we need and it looks really nice.

-You'd find this in a magazine.

0:20:060:20:11

Yeah, you would, wouldn't you?

0:20:110:20:13

As indeed you would the rest of the house! Come through here.

0:20:130:20:16

Now you've got two reception rooms in this property. This is the first one.

0:20:160:20:21

We'll just look in here, briefly.

0:20:210:20:23

-Quite a cosy little room.

-It's lovely.

-Nice working fireplace there.

0:20:230:20:28

-Oh, very good, yeah.

-Original.

0:20:280:20:30

-Still working, is it?

-Yeah, still working.

-Brilliant.

-And look at the views!

0:20:300:20:33

-Nice views out, yeah.

-That's good.

0:20:330:20:35

Now, come through here, because this is simply enormous!

0:20:350:20:42

-Oh, my goodness!

-That is huge!

0:20:440:20:47

It's a hell of a room, isn't it?

0:20:470:20:49

-Yep!

-What do you reckon?

-I love the windows. Three big windows, amazing!

0:20:490:20:53

Yeah. Really light from those... I mean it's very grand, isn't it?

0:20:530:20:56

It is! Can you see yourselves in here?

0:20:560:20:58

Is it too big, is it too grand, or is it workable?

0:20:580:21:01

Certainly it's very lovely, very pretty, but maybe a little bit too grand, the style in here.

0:21:010:21:09

It is the mystery house. Yes... The tour continues.

0:21:090:21:12

-Shall we go upstairs?

-Absolutely!

0:21:120:21:14

Come on, follow me.

0:21:140:21:15

The tour of this remarkable property takes us upstairs,

0:21:170:21:20

which is equally impressive. There are four well-appointed bathrooms and five bedrooms,

0:21:200:21:25

all lovingly decorated with a rich sense of country house style.

0:21:250:21:30

Now, come into this room because this is the master bedroom and,

0:21:300:21:36

probably no great surprise, it's pretty masterful in a property like this!,

0:21:360:21:40

-Gosh?

-Massive again, yeah!

-Yeah?

-That is...

0:21:420:21:45

-well, grand, to say the least!

-Lovely fireplace.

-Working fireplace.

0:21:450:21:49

-Yeah, really lovely.

-Yeah, really, really beautiful.

0:21:490:21:52

-And, you know, whatever size bed you guys have got or want, it will fit in here.

-No problem!

0:21:520:21:58

Loads of storage, all built-in and, you know again, glorious views and light.

0:21:580:22:03

Yeah, to wake up to that every morning must be a real privilege.

0:22:030:22:07

-Yeah.

-Yeah, it's good fun. Also, of course, another bathroom,

0:22:070:22:11

no surprise, come through here.

0:22:110:22:13

There's the en suite that goes with this one.

0:22:130:22:16

-So, same size as the...

-Yeah, almost as big as the other one!

0:22:160:22:19

Yeah, I mean, you know, and it's only the en suite,

0:22:190:22:22

but yeah, it's huge and, look, another great window.

0:22:220:22:24

George, you could lie in the bath and watch the seasons change!

0:22:240:22:27

A bit of a long bath, but yeah!

0:22:270:22:30

Yet another flight of stairs takes us up to a study area and the last bedroom.

0:22:300:22:36

Right, so, as promised, the final bedroom,

0:22:360:22:40

five of five,

0:22:400:22:42

and I love this, these stone mullioned windows,

0:22:420:22:44

right up in the gods of this property.

0:22:440:22:46

That is stunning, isn't it? Through there and the big tree

0:22:460:22:49

really sort of highlighted by that central window.

0:22:490:22:52

-Yeah, it's really sweet.

-So, what do you think?

0:22:520:22:57

Again, another beautiful property. Very big, again.

0:22:570:23:00

Yeah, massive, yeah.

0:23:000:23:02

-So yes, it's really nice.

-OK.

0:23:020:23:04

Let's go outside and have a look at the landscape that comes with it because

0:23:040:23:08

you know, it does really set it off. That's what it's about out there...

0:23:080:23:11

-18 acres of original parkland, and you get a bit of it as well!

-Amazing!

0:23:110:23:17

Now, come out here.

0:23:190:23:21

Let's go down the garden and have a proper look at this property

0:23:210:23:25

cos, architecturally, I think it's fascinating. It's a piece of history.

0:23:250:23:29

When you get back out here, you can really see how this place has evolved over time.

0:23:290:23:34

-It's quite an interesting place, isn't it?

-It's great!

0:23:340:23:37

-And your bit, is there.

-Yeah.

0:23:370:23:39

-Definite little block, yeah.

-With those four windows running across and you've got these two gables.

0:23:390:23:43

Now, as I say, the whole thing is within 18 acres,

0:23:430:23:46

stretching off into the background.

0:23:460:23:49

It rather does frame this property quite nicely and it's the formal areas that you get a chunk of -

0:23:490:23:54

the bit between that black railing and that one over there,

0:23:540:23:57

but you do have shared access to all the rest of the parkland.

0:23:570:24:01

Sort of walking...?

0:24:010:24:02

Walking, bike-riding, running around, do what you like!

0:24:020:24:05

I assume not for practical use as in?

0:24:050:24:07

That's the rub, that's the rub.

0:24:070:24:09

If you wanted pigs, etc,

0:24:090:24:11

you would have to find somewhere else to do it.

0:24:110:24:13

-OK.

-So, let's have a think about how much it's going to cost you.

0:24:130:24:18

-Oooh!

-I think it's probably going to be around 670, something like that?

0:24:180:24:24

I'm thinking around the same sort of thing, but possibly a touch lower,

0:24:240:24:28

but I think maybe if you hadn't gone for that, I might have gone for the same!

0:24:280:24:33

We'll say 650 to 660, perhaps?

0:24:330:24:34

OK. You wouldn't get it for 650, nor 660, nor indeed 670.

0:24:340:24:41

-It's on the market for 750.

-We were way out!

0:24:410:24:45

I mean it may answer your question, perhaps,

0:24:450:24:47

as to whether this is the property for you.

0:24:470:24:49

Lots to think about, lots to take on board, very interesting house.

0:24:490:24:53

Go on, get out of the rain, go and have a look around

0:24:530:24:55

and I'll catch up with you a little bit later.

0:24:550:24:57

-OK. This is a real typical, country kitchen, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:24:570:25:01

It's what I imagined the houses would be like.

0:25:010:25:04

Absolutely. I mean we've got an Aga, Belfast sink.

0:25:040:25:09

All of that sort of ties in nicely and I think gives it

0:25:090:25:12

a really lovely feeling, a family type feeling.

0:25:120:25:15

We really wouldn't have thought to have looked anywhere like this, but cos it's got everything...

0:25:150:25:19

It's got the kind of country living

0:25:190:25:23

but with still being close to Leeds and also not being very isolated,

0:25:230:25:26

which is one of the things that we wanted so it was a clever choice coming here.

0:25:260:25:30

This property is a fantastic family home.

0:25:300:25:34

It is set in stunning surroundings.

0:25:340:25:37

It has a real sort of little community feel because of the other properties in the same place,

0:25:370:25:42

but I don't know that it's quite for us, but, you know, that's just an individual thing.

0:25:420:25:48

I think that was a compromise too far for Sam and George

0:25:480:25:51

but it had so many amazing period details,

0:25:510:25:54

we couldn't resist putting it into our Georgian jamboree and if your mouth is watering at the site of all

0:25:540:26:01

those high ceilings and beautiful sash windows, then have no fear.

0:26:010:26:05

Take a look at these properties which are on the market right now.

0:26:050:26:09

-For our second set of houses on the market today,

0:26:110:26:13

we're kicking off with this unusual

0:26:130:26:15

slate-fronted piece of Georgian architecture in Kent for £395,000.

0:26:150:26:22

Through the front door, you're greeted by a high-ceilinged hallway,

0:26:220:26:27

with stairs leading to five bedrooms.

0:26:270:26:30

The grandeur continues into the drawing room,

0:26:300:26:33

with a marble fireplace and French windows leading to a garden full of archetypal Englishness.

0:26:330:26:40

If you have a little more to spend,

0:26:410:26:44

then £925,000 will get you this charming cottage in West Sussex.

0:26:440:26:50

Four bedrooms, a huge Inglenook and a country kitchen

0:26:500:26:54

illustrate just some of the period charm of this Georgian home.

0:26:540:26:58

A fantastic rural garden is surrounded by some incredible ancient woodlands.

0:26:580:27:03

For just £50,000 more, this impressive Georgian farmhouse

0:27:050:27:09

in East Yorkshire is on the market at £975,000.

0:27:090:27:13

Six bedrooms and three spacious reception rooms

0:27:150:27:18

are full of some unique period features.

0:27:180:27:21

There is permission to convert the outbuildings into holiday lets

0:27:220:27:26

but who would want to share the regal lifestyle this property has to offer?

0:27:260:27:30

You've bought your beautiful Georgian house so the chances are

0:27:350:27:38

you want to fill it with beautiful Georgian furniture, but remember,

0:27:380:27:41

these are artworks on legs and so they require a great deal of special knowledge

0:27:410:27:46

to keep them in good nick, so I've come here to the West Dean College

0:27:460:27:49

in West Sussex to talk to Mike Podmaninski who will initiate me

0:27:490:27:54

in the mysteries of furniture conservation.

0:27:540:27:57

-Mike?

-Alistair, how good to see you!

0:28:040:28:06

I didn't expect you to be looking through a microscope!

0:28:060:28:09

Well, this is one of my most important conservation tools.

0:28:090:28:12

What I'm looking at is a small bit of finish, a tiny little speck that's been taken from the box

0:28:120:28:18

that allows me to see that finish right up close and to help design

0:28:180:28:23

the treatment that I'm going to do to bring it back

0:28:230:28:27

to its lovely condition.

0:28:270:28:28

I can see it much better through the microscope than just with glasses on, you see.

0:28:280:28:32

It's like CSI antiques?

0:28:320:28:34

It is, indeed. Forensic science at its best.

0:28:340:28:37

Now I know that you really specialise in conservation as opposed to just restoration?

0:28:370:28:42

Conservation is a holistic approach to preservation of our heritage

0:28:420:28:46

objects that have come down to us over 200-500 hundred years.

0:28:460:28:51

We're interested in Georgian furniture. Have you got any?

0:28:510:28:54

-We do have some. Why don't you come in.

-Yeah, after you.

0:28:540:28:57

Right, this is our workshop.

0:28:570:28:59

-So you have full-time students at conservation, here?

-Yes, we do.

0:28:590:29:03

They're working with us on pieces of furniture

0:29:030:29:07

such as this Georgian chest of drawers.

0:29:070:29:10

It's actually in very good condition, structurally,

0:29:100:29:13

but there are some surface issues we're concerned about

0:29:130:29:17

such as the pushed-out veneer, some losses here.

0:29:170:29:22

What we do is we preserve evidence of use and wear

0:29:220:29:28

but we deal with areas of abuse and loss.

0:29:280:29:32

-Say, this area that has been stained by polish for 350 years...

-Polishing the handles?

0:29:320:29:39

Polishing the handles, or running their hands over it.

0:29:390:29:43

That is seen as a lovely highlight to the piece.

0:29:430:29:46

That's showing the evolution of this finish, so where we would clean it

0:29:460:29:51

very carefully, we would maintain that history of all that use.

0:29:510:29:57

So conservation keeps that story...

0:29:570:29:58

because that's like the story of the furniture, that people have been touching it

0:29:580:30:03

-and polishing it and you say you don't want to get rid of that?

-Exactly.

0:30:030:30:06

Your students learn how these things were made?

0:30:060:30:09

Yes, indeed. If you step over here, we have actually from an earlier period, sorry it's not Georgian,

0:30:090:30:16

a 17th-century stool that a student has made starting

0:30:160:30:21

literally with a log on the ground, and with only hand tools.

0:30:210:30:25

It's almost finished now. It just needs a top to be comfy.

0:30:250:30:28

-It's 17th-century because of the way it's made?

-It is in every way.

0:30:280:30:31

It just happens to have been made now and the student will now go on to work with mahogany and walnut

0:30:310:30:38

and dovetails and all those techniques

0:30:380:30:40

-that were used in the Georgian period.

-So, no nuts and bolts?

0:30:400:30:43

No nuts and bolts, no glue.

0:30:430:30:45

Once Mike's students have an understanding of how a piece

0:30:450:30:49

of furniture was made, they're equipped for the business of conservation.

0:30:490:30:54

-Alistair, this is Dave.

-Hello, Dave.

-Hi, nice to meet you.

0:30:540:30:57

-One of our conservation students.

-Wonderful! What are you doing here?

0:30:570:31:01

I'm working on this 18th-century gilt wood mirror frame

0:31:010:31:05

at the moment, which came to us with various losses to the carve detail.

0:31:050:31:09

-So these have snapped off at the side there?

-Exactly that.

0:31:090:31:12

There was some damage here and this is a piece that I carved in

0:31:120:31:16

last week and various other small pieces of damage.

0:31:160:31:19

And there's a big thing at the top missing?

0:31:190:31:23

Yeah, yeah. I mean the focal point of these mirrors is generally

0:31:230:31:26

the central section at the top there and as you can see,

0:31:260:31:31

it was all lost, so over a period of a couple

0:31:310:31:35

of weeks really, I've been researching what it was,

0:31:350:31:38

based on the existing carving that is already there.

0:31:380:31:42

This is detective work, looking at historical precedent and finding out what other people do?

0:31:420:31:47

Exactly that. It's a very exciting-looking object as you can see now,

0:31:470:31:51

but what that would have originally started out as

0:31:510:31:54

would have been as four pieces of timber -

0:31:540:31:56

a bottom, two sides and a rather larger piece at the top here, so if you can just imagine a line

0:31:560:32:02

that runs down there, that's around about the width of the original timber, and the original craftsman

0:32:020:32:08

would have gone in and relieved all of these areas

0:32:080:32:11

and carved it all away so it gives the impression

0:32:110:32:14

of a frame with the flowers and the ribbons curling round.

0:32:140:32:18

It really is a tour de force of Georgian carving.

0:32:180:32:21

There's a tremendous amount of work that went into it originally

0:32:210:32:25

and as with the stool we looked at before,

0:32:250:32:27

this is Dave's exercise in getting into the head of that original craftsman

0:32:270:32:32

and understanding how he used his hands and then putting that back

0:32:320:32:36

into the piece for the restoration.

0:32:360:32:38

It's wonderful work.

0:32:380:32:40

Thank you for showing me around and it does

0:32:400:32:42

bring these items alive and if you're living in a Georgian house,

0:32:420:32:45

actually to have these Georgian artefacts around

0:32:450:32:47

does make you feel very connected to that period!

0:32:470:32:50

Oh, it's lovely. A warm, warm feeling.

0:32:500:32:52

In a moment, I'll be showing you my all-time favourite Georgian property but take a look

0:32:570:33:02

at some of these beautiful period properties that we've featured over the years.

0:33:020:33:06

I want you to look at that.

0:33:060:33:08

Yes!

0:33:080:33:10

-Really!

-I think she likes it!

0:33:120:33:15

Now that's how exciting Georgian architecture can be.

0:33:150:33:18

For Emma and Malachi, this striking Georgian house was love at first sight.

0:33:180:33:23

It's beautiful! I'd move in tomorrow!

0:33:230:33:25

Don and Leone were put in a spin by this fantastic Georgian farmhouse...

0:33:250:33:30

-Very nice!

-It's a job to know which way to look!

-I know!

0:33:300:33:33

-That's always a good sign!

-This is lovely!

0:33:330:33:35

And Leone certainly enjoyed the Georgian period features.

0:33:350:33:39

You know I like that arch, Alistair!

0:33:390:33:41

A charming setting and beautiful interiors were helping Rosemary

0:33:410:33:46

persuade Fred to move into this period property.

0:33:460:33:49

Does this period appeal, this Georgian period?

0:33:490:33:52

-It does to me.

-Fred?

-And I do what I'm told!

0:33:520:33:55

Rosemary was even planning her family around this house...

0:33:560:33:59

-How many bedrooms did you want, ideally?

-Five.

0:33:590:34:03

OK. This has nine.

0:34:030:34:05

Ooh, right, OK! Sons and daughters had better start producing, I think!

0:34:050:34:10

When it comes to buying Georgian property, the race is on.

0:34:100:34:14

-Go back inside, have a good look and tell me what you think afterwards.

-Come on, let's run!

0:34:140:34:19

Our final Georgian treat is in Sutton Lane Ends in Cheshire and we were house-hunting

0:34:250:34:30

for a lovely couple from Manchester called Kate and Eric, and Kate was working at Manchester Airport,

0:34:300:34:36

so she needed to commute, but unusually, they also wanted space for archery and alpacas,

0:34:360:34:41

and we don't look for that very often!

0:34:410:34:44

However, we managed to find them a house that offered them that, plus some beautiful Georgian interiors.

0:34:440:34:50

The village of Sutton Lane Ends is just south of Macclesfield

0:34:520:34:56

and only a 30-minute drive to Manchester Airport.

0:34:560:34:59

Eric and Kate wouldn't go thirsty with a choice of pubs to look after them,

0:35:010:35:06

and if they needed to walk off a hearty pub lunch, then there's always

0:35:060:35:10

the Macclesfield Canal, with stunning views of surrounding countryside.

0:35:100:35:16

With their budget of £950,000, I had high hopes for this property.

0:35:160:35:22

This is your property.

0:35:220:35:25

-Oh, right!

-What are your first thoughts?

0:35:250:35:28

It's quite splendid, really!

0:35:280:35:30

I quite like the look of it from the outside.

0:35:300:35:32

It used to be the toll house for the silk road to London.

0:35:320:35:34

-Did it?

-Down to London.

0:35:340:35:36

Right, it's got quite a bit of history, then?

0:35:360:35:39

-Let's have a look.

-OK.

0:35:390:35:41

-So we're heading into the loft.

-OK, thank you.

0:35:440:35:47

-Wow!

-What do you think of that?

-That's fabulous! Oh, look, an island!

0:35:470:35:54

-Isn't that lovely!

-Yes, that's absolutely gorgeous, I love it!

0:35:540:35:58

That absolutely fits the bill.

0:35:580:36:00

-It's quite a change of gear when you come inside. Very contemporary.

-Absolutely!

0:36:000:36:03

-And quiet!

-And quiet, yes.

-And that is a spectacular kitchen.

0:36:030:36:07

That is beautiful, it really is pretty.

0:36:070:36:09

-Very nice.

-And here is your island. You wanted an island, I give you an island.

-Absolutely fabulous.

0:36:090:36:14

-And two sinks!

-Marvellous, beautiful.

0:36:140:36:16

Big butcher's block which you can pull out and clean.

0:36:160:36:19

-Oh, yes, look!

-Fabulous!

0:36:190:36:20

It's a wonderful kitchen.

0:36:200:36:22

You've got a nice little sitting area there,

0:36:220:36:24

so you can sit and chat to your friends while they're cooking.

0:36:240:36:27

-Yep..

-That's nice.

-And lots of nice features.

0:36:270:36:29

There's a filter water tap on that sink over there, right, and this is something I really like.

0:36:290:36:34

I'd buy the house just for this.

0:36:340:36:36

You want your cup of tea, it's fine.

0:36:360:36:38

You put your tea bag in your cup and then, hey-hey...

0:36:380:36:44

non-stop hot water!

0:36:440:36:46

Oh, that is brilliant!

0:36:460:36:48

-Boiling hot water on tap.

-Where is it coming from?

-Wow!

0:36:480:36:51

-Is it from the Aga?

-Yeah, it's heated from the range. That's fantastic!

0:36:510:36:55

-That's brilliant!

-Yes!

-We could move in here.

0:36:550:36:58

-Yes, definitely.

-Definitely!

0:36:580:37:00

The hi-tech kitchen has gone down a storm but there's plenty more to see.

0:37:000:37:04

Behind the kitchen is a light and airy study and well-equipped, spacious utility.

0:37:040:37:10

-All your white goods here, big American washer.

-Utility room...

0:37:100:37:14

-Loads of storage space.

-Lots of free...

0:37:140:37:16

Loads of space to work, absolutely!

0:37:160:37:18

But before I reveal the rest of downstairs, I want to win them over

0:37:180:37:22

with the upstairs, where there are four generous bedrooms.

0:37:220:37:25

In the original late-Georgian/early- Victorian property, these would have been

0:37:250:37:30

the grandest rooms because then the front of the house

0:37:300:37:32

would have just been onto a gentle sort of horse-track.

0:37:320:37:35

Now in contemporary times with the busy road, the master bedroom moves to the back of the house.

0:37:350:37:40

Right, yes, yeah.

0:37:400:37:41

On the way to the master bedroom is the family bathroom.

0:37:410:37:45

So the bathroom is a little small but if you come down into what they're using as the master bedroom,

0:37:450:37:49

it's got it's own little en suite with a sort of wet room/shower.

0:37:490:37:53

Right.

0:37:530:37:54

Well, it's not huge. It's not as big as the house...

0:37:540:37:57

It's almost as big as the two other bedrooms, isn't it?

0:37:570:38:00

-This actually would have been the servants' part.

-Right.

0:38:000:38:02

-Not the grand part.

-This is just the sort of house I dreamt of!

0:38:020:38:06

I've saved the best till last.

0:38:060:38:08

My gosh, is there more?

0:38:080:38:09

Of course there's more!

0:38:090:38:12

Back downstairs is the stylish sitting room.

0:38:120:38:14

-This is just...

-This is absolutely fabulous.

0:38:140:38:19

-It's much more contemporary.

-Absolutely fantastic, isn't it?

-It's absolutely top-notch!

0:38:190:38:25

-So you've got this see-through...

-I love it!

-Both sides open, gas-effect fire.

0:38:250:38:29

That's so contemporary. It really is.

0:38:290:38:33

Even though it's an old house, it just fits so well.

0:38:330:38:36

-But if you like that room, you're gonna love this one!

-Oh, my gosh!

0:38:360:38:40

Woo-hoo!

0:38:400:38:42

-This is absolutely magnificent!

-Good gracious!

0:38:420:38:46

-This...

-Oh, it's lovely!

0:38:460:38:48

Is one of the most impressive winter gardens/orangery/greenhouses I've ever seen in my life.

0:38:480:38:53

Absolutely spectacular, isn't it?

0:38:530:38:55

-It's absolutely brilliant. It's perfect.

-Yeah.

0:38:550:38:58

-This was actually designed by Joseph Paxton who built the Crystal Palace.

-Really?

0:38:580:39:03

And although it's been renovated, the struts and the outside columns

0:39:030:39:07

are the original parts of the orangery.

0:39:070:39:09

-Who would have thought?

-Oh, my gosh!

0:39:090:39:11

Just driving past the front of the house.

0:39:110:39:14

Think of the parties!

0:39:140:39:15

This is... I was just going to say the same thing!

0:39:150:39:17

This is a party room.

0:39:170:39:20

-It's so brilliant!

-It is.

0:39:200:39:21

This is, absolutely.

0:39:210:39:24

Now, outside.

0:39:240:39:25

Well, my gosh!

0:39:250:39:27

This is absolutely fantastic! Which bit is ours? I can't believe it!

0:39:270:39:32

Just put it this way.

0:39:320:39:34

The lake is yours.

0:39:340:39:35

Wooh, wooh, it's fabulous!

0:39:350:39:39

The geese are yours.

0:39:390:39:40

If they'll stay!

0:39:420:39:43

-What about the sheep?

-The sheep are yours.

0:39:440:39:47

No, oh, there's some alpacas! Ooh, look!

0:39:470:39:50

That is absolutely amazing!

0:39:500:39:52

Don't say I don't listen to your wish-list!

0:39:520:39:55

That is absolutely perfect!

0:39:550:39:57

-It's got everything!

-Oooh! What's the matter?

0:39:570:40:00

Why can't we have it?

0:40:000:40:02

It's a glorious bit of property.

0:40:020:40:05

-Isn't this abs...

-You've got almost 6 acres.

0:40:050:40:07

-Come on, let's meet your alpacas!

-Aah!

0:40:070:40:11

The more formal gardens and terraces near the house open out to fields

0:40:110:40:16

and paddocks, providing plenty of room for ducks,

0:40:160:40:20

sheep and those all-important alpacas.

0:40:200:40:22

-They're quite willing to sell these with the property.

-Really?

-Yes.

0:40:220:40:26

-Beautiful faces.

-I think every country estate should have one!

0:40:260:40:29

-Hello!

-Absolutely! And they're very self-sufficient...

0:40:290:40:33

-look after themselves!

-They're hilarious, yeah.

0:40:330:40:36

You just shear them every year, and that's it!

0:40:360:40:40

-This is your river.

-No way!

0:40:400:40:44

-This is excellent!

-This is outstanding, absolutely outstanding!

0:40:440:40:50

Basically you have fishing rights all along this bank

0:40:500:40:53

-and your property goes into halfway across the river.

-Isn't it beautiful?

0:40:530:40:57

Oh, it's just like a fairytale...

0:40:570:41:00

-it's gorgeous!

-Here's the crunch.

0:41:000:41:04

What? Oh, no!

0:41:040:41:06

-This is almost 6 acres, about 5 and a half acres of land.

-Right.

0:41:060:41:10

How much do you think this is on?

0:41:100:41:12

Please don't say 675!

0:41:120:41:15

-I'd say yes, it was over 950, definitely over that! What do you think?

-Yes, well I'm going to say...

0:41:150:41:20

-I think I'll say 950, because you knew that was our budget.

-Right.

0:41:200:41:25

You're being hopeful, with that. I like that. Optimist is good.

0:41:250:41:29

It's actually on at 985.

0:41:290:41:31

-Really?

-Mmm-hmm.

-For all of it?

0:41:310:41:33

-All of it!

-That's fantastic!

0:41:330:41:36

-Well..

-I think it's worth every penny.

-You've got to bear in mind...

0:41:360:41:39

-what you have got to bear in mind is all budgets are negotiable.

-Exactly!

0:41:390:41:43

They have actually brought it down from over a million, so why don't you have a wander.

0:41:430:41:47

I know you just want to play with the alpacas, but you should go inside,

0:41:470:41:49

take in the full scope of the property and I'll meet you here, talking to Fru-Fru and Fi-Fi.

0:41:490:41:56

-Is that what they're called?

-That's what I've called them.

0:41:560:41:59

-OK.

-I think they're both men, actually, but still!

0:41:590:42:00

Fru-Fru, Fi-Fi!

0:42:020:42:05

My first impressions of the outside of the house, I didn't think I was going to like it,

0:42:060:42:10

so I was surprised, because when you came through the front door

0:42:100:42:13

and you came straightaway into the kitchen.

0:42:130:42:16

I mean the kitchen is really my thing, and you couldn't help but love it.

0:42:160:42:20

I'm absolutely amazed! This is just an outstanding property.

0:42:200:42:23

It ticks all the boxes, to use an overworked cliche.

0:42:230:42:28

-This is an "us" room, really.

-It is.

0:42:280:42:31

-It's an "Eric and Kate" room, yeah.

-It's got everything we want.

0:42:310:42:34

The outside space was, to me, unbelievable. I was speechless.

0:42:340:42:39

Look at these little guys, they look like pigeons with webbed feet!

0:42:390:42:46

-Oh, it's lovely!

-Thank you very much indeed.

0:42:460:42:49

It's lovely, absolutely gorgeous!

0:42:490:42:51

That was a beautiful Georgian property,

0:42:540:42:56

although I'm not sure how "period" the alpacas were!

0:42:560:42:59

It brings us to the end of our stroll through the orderly and symmetrical world

0:42:590:43:04

of the Georgians, and I hope that we've inspired you

0:43:040:43:07

to go out and love this most spectacular period

0:43:070:43:10

in British architectural history,

0:43:100:43:12

and make sure you join us next time for more Escape To The Country.

0:43:120:43:16

And if you'd like to Escape To The Country yourself

0:43:180:43:21

and need our help, please contact us through our website...

0:43:210:43:24

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:440:43:47

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:470:43:50

Alistair Appleton looks back at some of the best Georgian properties featured in past series. He learns about the conservation and restoration of Georgian furniture and tours the mansion of a man devoted to all things Georgian.


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