Property series. Nicki Chapman helps a couple looking to start afresh in the Cotswolds. With a generous budget, they want a property with plenty of period character.
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Today, I'm part of the country as popular with tourists
as with house-hunters, spanning no less than six counties.
And this big fella here, Claudius, he's one of the main reasons why this area of England is so coveted.
With his forefathers' wool providing the foundations
for remarkable architectural legacy, his backyard is one of the most sought after escapes to the country.
In today's show I'll be helping an interior designer and her partner escape London life for
a breath of fresh air in the country, and immediately practical concerns emerge.
I'm just thinking how expensive it's going to be in curtains!
And I'll be showing them some fantastic country homes with a few surprises.
That is just the icing on the cake.
And, of course, there's the mystery house,
but will any of the properties match their country dream?
Today, I'm in the Cotswolds and, in medieval times,
this fella's ancestors were well known throughout Europe for their heavy fleeces and high quality wool.
With Cotswold wool commanding the very best prices, wealthy traders were able to invest in
the local area, building beautiful houses and stunning churches, known as wool churches, made from Cotswold
limestone, another characteristic of this area nearly as much as my four-legged friend here.
The largest of the 40 areas of outstanding natural beauty
in England and Wales, the Cotswolds lie across several counties.
On the western outskirts is the Cotswold's edge, a steep slope leading down to the Severn Valley.
It's one of the most desirable places to live in the country with property prices to match.
From modest cottages to grand houses,
it's the honey-coloured limestone that defines the local architecture.
But discerning residents are well served by the plentiful selection
of enticing shops and eateries spread across the attractive small towns and villages.
It's also a hot spot on the tourist map, bringing in millions of visitors every year.
As the new playground for celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley, Kate Moss and Kate Winslet,
you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Cotswolds was out of the financial reach of mere mortals,
but although this is a very expensive part of the country, the good news is there's never been
a better time to move here, with house prices dropping 19% since they peaked in the summer of 2007.
To you and me that means a country cottage would
cost around £440,000 at the peak, and has now dropped to around 350.
So, what should you buy?
Have a look at some of these.
If your budget is £1.95 million you could be viewing this three bedroom converted dovecote in South Rock.
The stylish refurbishment has been sympathetic to the original
building, retaining many of its appealing features.
Alternatively, this typical Cotswold stone cottage in Temple Guiting is up for grabs at £550,000.
The heart of the three-bedroom home is 18th-century with all
the features you might expect, and the modern extension provides extra space for family living.
And, finally, how about this two bedroom cottage in Bourton-on-the- Hill on the market at £396,000?
The interior incorporates a mix of modern design with more traditional
features and the garden was certainly no afterthought.
Today's buyers may well be house-hunting here at the right time,
but will their budget match their expectations? Let's find out.
Our buyers today are interior designer Karen and accountant Gary,
who live in a three-bedroom maisonette in London's Little Venice.
When they bought the property seven years ago the layout didn't work for them so, with a keen eye for design,
they undertook a mammoth renovation project.
It was a six-month project and Gary tried to keep me away from the flat because it was such a hellhole.
Six months later, it was the home of their dreams.
We have the big through lounge upstairs, which is our lounge and
kitchen and dining area, and the downstairs area has three bedrooms which leads out on to our garden.
Originally, it was £400,000. The refurbishment cost was what?
-It's been a labour of love.
We've loved really doing it.
But like anything in life, you know, sometimes it reaches a point where you've got to move on.
I would hope in the current market a realistic valuation would probably be about £850,000 to £900,000.
But, for Karen, the move may be harder than she thinks.
I have lived in this road for 26 years.
Two of my best friends live in this road and it's very much a community.
I have very mixed emotions.
As much as I love London, I'm finding it too fast now and too polluted.
I want to be able to open up my doors and just breathe the country air.
This escape to the country is driven by Karen's growing interior design business.
This is currently what I'm using as an office base-stroke-studio, come work room, and an office for Gary.
I need to be able to have shelving floor to ceiling, bales of fabric, wallpaper banks.
I've so outgrown this.
I'm desperate for a big space.
And Gary has designs all of its own.
Yeah, as you can see, it's a nice-sized garden, but we've got neighbours
either side and whilst they're very nice and we get on with them, you know, it is nice to come out
and sit down and just hear nothing and we're hoping that that's what a country house is going to give us.
So, what does their shortlist comprise of?
I think it's a minimum of three bedrooms, a nice-sized living room,
kitchen or kitchen and dining room, it doesn't really matter.
Something with character.
-The only modern build we would look is...
-Lots of glass.
A big unusual building with lots of glass and lots of light.
We haven't really done too much research.
18 months ago we went to visit some friends that were staying
in the Cotswolds and we both really loved it.
We thought it was a really, you know, quite special place, really.
Karen and Gary have put their heart and soul into their maisonette,
now it's time to find out if it's paid off.
I think this flat's in an enviable position.
It's white stucco, it's right on Little Venice, it's a garden maisonette which everybody wants.
I would value this property at £900,000.
It's a very decent valuation.
We're happy, very happy.
Yeah, our budget for looking for this property is going to be in and around between £700,000 to £800,000.
As Karen and Gary are looking for a house to replace the home they've spent the last seven years
pouring their love into, I think they're going to be quite difficult to please.
However, they're both the creative type, so hopefully they're going to be quite flexible.
Essentially what they're after is a detached house with bags of character and three bedrooms,
bright, airy reception rooms with high ceilings and definitely no beams, enough
space for their beautiful furniture and the knick-knacks they've collected from around the world,
and ideally an outbuilding which they can convert into an office, keeping work and play separate.
Karen and Gary are flexible regarding location so we're
concentrating our search close to Stroud.
Over two days, I'll be taking them on a tour of three desirable homes, but, as ever, I'll be leaving them
in the dark as to the prices until after the viewings.
The last of the three will be the mystery house, which always aims
to offer something a little bit unusual.
Hi, Karen and Gary.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Hi, Nikki. Nice to meet you.
-Welcome to the Cotswolds!
So, are you looking forward to it?
-You don't want chocolate box, do you?
And the Cotswolds is known for its chocolate-box beauty.
Then we need to find the other side of the Cotswolds.
I'm sure there's lots of other beautiful houses that are not too chocolate box.
And ideally, Karen, you want to use it as your office, as well?
It would be great to have either garages that I could
potentially convert or an outhouse or a granny annexe, anything like that that I could use for a studio.
Now, Gary, I hear you're quite laid back.
Are you going to be getting excited about these properties?
Let's hope so! I'm not going to say I'm going to jump up and down
and wave my arms in the air, but you will see some emotion and if I like it you'll know I like it.
And who's going to make the final decision if we find your ideal dream property in the country?
-We both do.
-Oh, we both will, yeah.
-I like to think I wear the pants, but
-It's a joint effort?
-It is, yeah.
-Yeah, it has to be.
That's good. We've got some amazing properties for you to see over the next few days and,
-of course, we've got the mystery property, so lots to consider, all on a budget of £800,000?
-OK, so, shall we get started?
Let's get started.
Armed with a generous budget of £800,000, Karen and Gary are looking for a property with
plenty of period character, although a typical Cotswold cottage is definitely not on their wish list.
They would like a good sized living room, a minimum of three bedrooms
and an outbuilding to house Karen's growing interior design business.
So, both of you, especially Karen, over 25 years living in the same road.
-Surely making this move is going to be a huge wrench?
It's going to be a very big wrench and it's a decision that we've been
mulling over for quite some time now and the reality of it is that my business is growing and I need space.
We're starting our property search in Chalford, a small village four miles from Stroud.
This beautiful village is typical of the area with
many houses built in the warm honey tones of the local stone.
The village lies beside the Thames & Severn Canal, which dates back
to 1789 and played an important role in the local cloth trade.
Today, the paths offer the perfect place for a relaxing stroll.
So, here is your first property.
This is a house and a half! This is absolutely beautiful.
-Very nice, very nice.
-I said I wasn't going to use that word.
-That's the last time you're going to use nice.
-The first and last time.
Are you a big fan of the sash windows, the original sash windows?
I love the sash windows. I'm just thinking how expensive it's going to be in curtains!
Practical, I like that!
-Yes, but you're the perfect...
-You see, I'm normally the practical person.
That's the first time she's been practical in years!
-Are you intrigued to have a look inside?
-Oh, can't wait.
So, here's the entrance hall.
For such an imposing front, I didn't expect stairs to be right here and quite a small staircase,
so immediately I feel everything is kind of closing down once you get inside, but I want an open mind.
Well, let me take you through to the main reception room.
Well, lovely neutral colours.
-I love that.
-A good size.
-It makes it bright and, you know, airy. I love the fireplace.
The fireplace is lovely. It's big.
It gives it space, which is really nice.
I like the feel in this room.
I feel I could sit down, have a cup of tea and relax. It's homely.
You can sit down and have a cup of tea anywhere!
Well, I suppose.
Great, and things are getting better, but Gary's going to need somewhere to make the tea,
so will that homely feel continue in the kitchen?
Instinctively, I feel a bit let down by the kitchen. It's quite small.
And what do you think of the splash backs?
They're funky. I like them.
-It just feels small.
not quite big enough for a dining table and the kitchen as one here.
I like a really big refectory table.
It will be interesting to see if there's any other workable space
in here that we could actually use as a dining room.
Before we leave, there's an extra pocket of space at the end of the kitchen which is currently used
as the utility room and just next door off the hall is the second of the three reception rooms.
It might be a bit of a squeeze for their dining table, but it's light
and bright, so could make a good study. And there's more to come.
-You've got a downstairs cloakroom there.
-But through here this might answer your problem.
-Oh, I love this room.
Oh, this is... This is... Yeah.
This is... This is so far, I think, my favourite room, yeah.
-That's a fabulous bay window, isn't it?
Potentially, you could have this as a dining room.
We could. I think it would work really well as a dining room.
I think the lovely thing here is that you could move in, for me, and I could just put down
my furniture without putting paint on the wall and getting rid of carpets.
It's all really neutral, it's all liveable.
Overall, that's quite a positive response for the downstairs and there's two more floors to go.
At the top of the stairs is the family bathroom and then
there are three double bedrooms of various sizes, enough to accommodate their visiting friends and family,
but I'm hoping they'll like the fourth bedroom I've saved for them.
So, here's your master bedroom.
It's a very nice space, a very good space.
-And high ceilings.
I noticed that as we came in. And you've got the views.
-That is a fantastic view to wake up to every morning.
-And then just through that door, take a look, Gary.
-Oh, a secret.
-Go on, it won't bite.
-The en suite.
-The en suite.
So, again, not the largest en suite in the world, but workable.
Yeah, functionable. It's got everything you need up here.
I mean, you've got good light, you've got a great-sized room. I'm happy.
-I like it.
All that remains, then, is space for Karen's business.
-So, although this isn't an outbuilding, it is quite separate to the rest of the house.
And just look at that space.
I'm thinking that could be an office, but this is what I'm excited about, because if you want room
for swatches and samples of cloth you've got this room, and then
through there you've got an identical room the same size.
Oh, my goodness! That is a big space.
Cor, and it's light again. They do like their windows, but
-It's a fantastic space. It's exactly what I need.
The only downside for me is that I so desperately wanted to have it away from the main house.
-Is that for a mindset...
-So you can separate the two?
I feel that I definitely need that dividing line.
That's a fair point, but to get everything
they want, they may need to make some compromises along the way.
All that's left is the outdoor space.
-Who's the gardener in the relationship?
This is about probably as much as I... I would manage.
And you still have that wonderful panoramic view, which is spectacular.
We couldn't do an outbuilding for you for your business, but we have got you a little cave in there.
That's as much as we could muster!
And you've also got the garage there, which is big enough for a small car.
You've got the space above it.
-You could build up.
-So, you could have a studio there, in fact.
-It has loads of options, actually.
-It certainly does.
Let's look from the vantage point
-looking back at the house, because that's all food for thought.
So, all is not lost with this house, but how much will a property like this cost? It's now crunch time.
How much do you think this is on the market for?
Well, I had a thought earlier on and I'm going to stick with my original thought. I'm going to say 750.
I would say slightly lower. No outhouses, 695.
-You're going to say a lot more.
-I'm going to slightly disappoint you on this one, I think.
It's actually on the market for 800,000.
I'm slightly surprised it's that much, I have to be honest.
Do you fancy having one last look around the property?
That would be really good, if we could just, on our own, just have a little mooch around.
Have a good explore and I'll catch up with you in a minute.
-Lovely, thank you.
Karen may be shocked by the £800,000 price tag, which is at the top of their budget, but this
handsome property does have three reception rooms, four bedrooms, three attic rooms and a garage
that could be converted or extended to accommodate the business.
I like the kitchen. I think there's certainly enough work space.
I just envisaged having a big refectory table like we have at home.
I suppose there's nothing to stop us using the room there,
as I think that would be... the room next door would be the best one to have as a dining room.
Where the house is situated is really lovely. It's...
It's peaceful, it's tranquil, I'm surrounded by greenery,
it's all the things that I'm looking for in the country.
It is very much, I think, what we're looking for.
It's got character, it's got some space inside.
I suppose the only thing is for us, obviously, was a bit more space around the whole house would
have been really nice, but you can't always have everything in life.
I love this room. This is probably one of my favourite rooms.
I love the way the light streams in and the views.
The downside for me is you put everything in here that you need to use, you're going to crowd
the room in and spoil the lovely feel and space that you've got now.
There are options within the house if we wanted to change a few things around.
The rooms were a good size.
I think it's a very good first property.
Yes, I think Nikki's definitely on the right track.
-Have you seen enough?
We had a really good look around and, yeah.
-Food for thought.
Well, there's plenty more beautiful properties to see in the Cotswolds, so let's keep going. Great.
Karen and Gary are looking forward to the slower pace of life in
the Cotswolds and are keen to soak up as much of this area as possible.
So during their visit they took a trip to Bourton-on-the-Water.
Regarded as one of the prettiest villages in England,
it straddles the River Windrush, and with its series of attractive
low bridges and neat riverbank, it's certainly the picture of elegance.
This is beautiful, we wouldn't miss the water at Little Venice.
We'd have our own Little Venice in the country.
-It is like a mini Venice in the Cotswolds.
-And all the ducks as well.
The Cotswolds enjoy an architectural style all of its own,
noted for its characteristic steeply pitched roofs and dormer windows.
Many of the pristine buildings in the distinctive yellow stone date back 300 years.
It's an affluent, stylish area, and the well-heeled residents, including
some famous faces, could provide Karen with a new customer base.
I think it's absolutely stunning.
I don't know if it's viable for us to have a business here.
We just need to investigate it a bit more.
But I could certainly, certainly, certainly, 100% live here.
We continue our journey,
heading towards the outskirts of Nailsworth, four miles from Stroud.
The town grew up around the 18th-century cloth trade.
Today, it's a thriving hub with a wide selection of shops,
cafes and pubs, popular with the locals and the tourist trade.
Our next property is grade-II listed,
so let's see what they make of it.
Let's go up onto the patio,
cos I think this is the way to see this impressive house.
It's lovely. Gorgeous windows. Lovely stonework.
-It's got lots of character, bags of character.
-Nice first impressions.
And this is all south facing,
so you get all the light in the afternoon and the evening as well.
-This could be a good entertaining space.
-Keen to look inside?
-Let's take a look.
The exterior has grabbed their attention,
but how will the entrance hall fare this time?
Come on in.
I'm looking at your face, but I'm not sure I'm reading it right!
Karen, talk to me.
Um, straightaway, instinctively dark.
I just would have expected a wider, bigger space here with more light.
-At this stage, I'd say, let's look around and see what it's got to offer.
If you said to me now, let's go, and not look around the house,
I'd be off.
-I've got my work cut out.
-I'm not, I'm going to be positive.
I'd like to see the rest of the house.
Stay with me, Karen, because this property does have lots to offer.
-So you want quite a large kitchen/diner.
-Yes. Good space.
Nice, through, open, entertaining, cooking. Lovely.
-Gorgeous. The parquet floor.
-You've got the range there for your cooking. A double butler sink.
Size wise and layout, it's lovely.
You've got nice big windows which is good.
This is better, this is much lighter
and I feel like I'm no longer in a basement.
That's a relief.
At the back of the kitchen there's a utility room
and a cloakroom with the bonus of a shower.
Next for us is the sitting room.
I love the room. It's a good size.
-It's a airy feel in here.
-You have the oak floor.
I like a bit of natural flooring.
That actually is a Georgian grate in the fireplace.
-I don't actually like the surround of that fireplace...
-It's too busy, but I love the inside of it.
-You like the grate.
I do, just for detail in the room.
Let me take you to the other reception room through here.
It's currently being used as a den.
It seems strange to have this room off the main lounge.
It's not really working for me, it's not one thing or another.
One thing you could consider, obviously you'd need planning
permission because it's grade II listed,
is actually take that wall down and have all
of this as a huge reception space.
Then it would be really impressive.
You'd get all that light coming through.
And the other windows, that would be beautiful.
So there are ways to improve this space.
Back off the hall is access to a wine cellar,
but I'm not sure it comes fully stocked!
Upstairs there are six bedroom over two floors.
On the first floor there are three doubles each with fabulous
large windows allowing plenty of natural light to flood in.
So this is the largest of the three double bedrooms on this floor.
Lovely proportions because it is Georgian.
Lovely double aspect window.
There isn't an en suite in this bedroom,
I know you really wanted one.
-That door is a cupboard space.
-You know I'm not jumping up and down.
-You're very good at letting me know straightaway.
-It's body language.
I can see it straightaway.
I think it's just, so far, the house doesn't flow for me,
I can't imagine us, our things, our friends, our family in this house.
I'm getting the idea they want a character property
but with a more urban interior.
I wonder what they'll make of the bathroom across the landing.
-I love the old-fashioned roll-top bath.
-Love it, free standing.
For me, it's the nicest room so far, which is a bit bizarre to say that of a bathroom.
I'd second that. I would say this would be my favourite room.
Well, that's great news! I've found a room that you really like.
It is the bathroom.
All we need is a telly on the wall and a fridge down there and we could live in here.
That would be one way of living, Gary,
but there are three more bedrooms on the next floor.
One of them is a double and there are two singles,
one of which has an en suite.
Finally, on our tour is the outdoor space.
So the property stands in about an acre. So this is all your land here.
You do have views of the factory,
but in the summer those trees would probably cover it up.
But the one thing you can't get away from is the main road down there.
What's that? The what?!
That road and the factory over here has clinched it for me really.
-Doesn't quite work. OK. There's one more thing I want to show you.
Which I think you're going to like.
-I now have my doubts, but I'm going to show you anyway.
-I love you!
Karen seems to have made up her mind but I still want to show them
the space I had in mind for the business.
Come on through.
So as an office space does this actually work for you?
This as the concept of what we said is spot on.
Stand alone, it's fantastic. I think you've got this exactly right.
The huge downside is that we are not in love with that house.
I really thought this beautiful,
well-proportioned house with its large windows would do the trick,
but nevertheless, we need to talk price.
How much do you think a house like this is currently on the market for?
-I would say 749.
-749. OK, Gary?
I think it's going to be more like...785.
-Gary, you are closer, it's £1 under £800,000.
I know it's not the house of your dreams,
but take a final wander round
and I'll catch up with you in a minute.
-We'll have a quick look.
-Off you go.
At just under 800,000, this house is a pound shy of their maximum budget.
It has three reception rooms, six bedrooms
and a double garage with office space for the business.
-For somebody looking for a B&B this would be absolutely perfect.
All the rooms and the sizes,
-you could probably lose one or two rooms, they'd be en suite.
It does have lots of pluses, the flagstone floor,
the original Georgian fireplace was exquisite.
For the right person it will be a wonderful house.
First impressions of the property were really positive.
I liked the facade, I loved the Georgian windows
and the fact it was a Georgian building.
The disappointment came as we walked through the front door.
I expected something perhaps a bit grander.
The configuration of the house means you need to use this as your lounge.
To me the two options are the wall there comes down
and makes one big, long lounge this way.
Or you knock the wall through from the kitchen
into the other small lounge area.
The outbuildings were very good. You have the office space,
which is a separate entrance which is really good.
The room that lit my fire was the bathroom.
I'd be quite happy sitting in there, glass of champagne,
whiling away the hours.
OK, ready? Save it for later.
We'll discuss this in more detail,
-but now let's continue our search.
Visitors flock to the Cotswolds for its architecture and landscape, but Bourton-on-the-Water is
also home to a perfumery that has created fragrances for the Queen.
Owner John Stevens is hoping to appeal to our creative nature
and is going to show us how to make our own scent.
-His aromatic garden is the place to get in touch with our sense of smell.
-Have a smell of this.
Try to ignore what it looks like.
-Does that remind you of anything that's...
-I'd say curry it smells like to me.
When you said pepper, I could smell peppery, definitely, but now you say curry...
So, how many fragrances do think there is in this courtyard garden?
There's quite a few smells here, of course, depending
on the time of year, but we've got over 1,000 materials in the lab.
1,000! Cor! That's a lot of smells for us to consider.
Do you fancy making your own personal aftershave?
-Yeah, it would be quite interesting.
-Well, we'd love to have a go.
Great. Shall we follow you? Thank you.
Only the highest quality ingredients make it into John's lab.
It can take three tonnes of rose petals to make just over a litre of rose oil and it's the quality
of these oils that are key to creating a fine fragrance.
We split it up into base, middle and top notes.
So, the top notes evaporate fastest, base notes evaporate slowest and perfume is a blend
of those three types of notes and that makes the perfume balanced.
After a quick demonstration, we set to work to create our own unique blend.
It's all a bit of trial and error, getting the balance of notes right
is a question of skill, creativity and judgement.
-That one's really nice.
-I think I'll try them two.
That final drop, that was orange oil.
So, hopefully, that's the perfect fragrance for me.
But what will John's expert nose make of our attempts?
I haven't named it yet. I might call it Escape To.
That's very nice. Quite subtle.
I like the wood notes coming out through well. Very nice.
So, how has Karen done?
Geranium and the lavender
-are clashing a bit.
-I think if you took those out, I think the rest is OK.
And, finally, Gary.
That's subtle again.
Yeah, I tried to keep it a bit subtle.
Yes. And a good citrus topnote.
That's a close one between you. I think probably Gary's just got it.
Nicely blended, a well-balanced fragrance.
-There we are. Congratulations!
Thank you. Can we keep this as a memento?
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you, it's been great.
As the afternoon sun dips away, Karen and Gary take stock of the property search so far.
Chalford house that we saw, lovely, flowed nicely, light airy rooms.
Obviously the negative side was not having...
No outbuildings. I don't think the space in the loft
would be sufficient for what we want.
We definitely need an outbuilding.
Just to be away from the house,
to feel like you're going somewhere else to work.
OK, what about the Nailsworth house? The outbuilding was great.
That was great to have the garage separate, that was perfect,
that was ideal.
But the house, I have to say,
really didn't work for me from just walking in.
It was nice having the eaves upstairs and that bathroom was really nice,
that was my favourite room in the whole house.
So the ideal scenario would be to take the house from Chalford
and the out space from...
-And put them together somewhere else.
With a bit of space of land, a nice garden with that, that would be perfect.
Karen and Gary from London are looking to escape the Big Smoke
and find a new home in the Cotswolds with an outbuilding for Karen's interior design business.
They renovated their flat to their exacting standards and Karen has lived in the same road for 26 years,
so there's a good reason why this search is proving to be a challenge.
So far they've viewed two properties but having not done much research
before they're beginning to realise just how expensive this area of the country is.
And coming up:
Looking around this garden, it's really... It's just breathtaking.
We also find a space perfect for Gary.
I just want to sit down and have a drink and watch the world go by.
It's a new day on our house hunt here in the Cotswolds and I think
it's fair to say that Gary and Karen have very exacting demands.
Nevertheless, I'm going to be showing them
two very different properties today, both oozing character,
so hopefully one of them's going to hit the spot.
Our first house this morning is in Selsley, two miles south of Stroud.
The village lies in beautiful countryside
where the pace of life is slow.
Nearby Stroud would offer Karen and Gary a greater range of independent shops and cafes.
The next house is approached via a long gravel drive.
It's much more contemporary, so fingers crossed they're going to like it.
So, here's your property. What's your immediate reaction?
It's just different. It's sort of a Cotswold stone
with a contemporary twist.
That's exactly what it is. I couldn't have put it better myself!
I'm loving that wall. It really is very me.
No, I like it. I'm intrigued to get inside, actually.
Yeah? A new day has brought a fresh start, so let's hope this positivity continues inside.
Come on in.
I like this entrance.
Yeah, it feels open. It feels light.
I like the fact that you can see the garden.
-I like the floor.
-And it's a bit...
-It's nice to have something unexpected. You don't expect to see the garden.
-That's a nice little feature.
-I can't tell you how happy I am!
I literally had my fingers crossed.
-We're on a winner so far.
-We're on a winner.
On that note, we're going to keep moving forward into the kitchen...
..which is an impressive size, I think you'll agree.
Oh! And look at that view. Wow!
That is beautiful.
It's got everything you want. How could you not like this kitchen?
And I've noticed behind us, a sneaky look...
-Somewhere for our big refectory table.
So you've got plenty of space there.
It's a nice practical island in the middle, not just for the sake of it being there.
-So, you'd happily sit on these stools for breakfast?
-Could you imagine that?
-A few croissants, a cup of tea.
-I don't think I'd ever get up and go to work.
That's it, I would just sit there for the whole day just staring out at that view.
It would just be absolutely fantastic.
Jackpot! A kitchen they like! In addition there's a utility room to
hide away the white goods and, next, something a little bit unusual.
So, it's not often you can say come through to the music room,
but today, come through to your music room.
You've got, like, 180 degree view of your gardens.
-It's like a conservatory. I mean, I'm presuming this is not the lounge lounge?
I've got another reception room to show you but I think you're right, it is like a conservatory,
although it's incorporated into the main body of the house.
So, you could...
have a dining table or something and have this actually has an entertaining space.
-I think it would work fantastically well.
-It would look wicked.
I really do like this space. I love all the glass.
It really works for me.
Great. Well, you want to know where the sitting room is, it's actually
on another level and I know you like your stairs so follow me.
To the left there's a small study office and in here.
Here's your sitting room.
Our sofas and big pieces of furniture would work really well.
-I really like that fireplace.
-That's local stone, as well.
I like that. It's really simple but very elegant. I'm just not sure...
I don't know what it is, I just...
It's my... My immediate reaction is just that there's something to do
just with that wall that's just sort of bothering me slightly.
It almost feels that it's sort of coming down on you.
Oppressive for you?
A little bit but it could be my claustrophobia.
I probably need to go in and out a few times just to see if I...
if I feel the same.
Moving swiftly on, it's time to start the tour of the five bedrooms in this house.
So, up here you have the guest bedroom and it's also an en suite.
-Just through there. And through here is the master bedroom.
You've got a little en suite there, which works well.
-So, this would be yours.
-My initial reaction is I think this ceiling's too low...
-I quite like the shape of this section here.
You've got some storage there and I've got to mention the shutters,
I mean, beautifully done all the way around.
I like that sort of colonial feel up here.
Well, the shutters are approved but the ceiling is too low.
Will the rest of the house be able to win Karen over?
The quirky nature of this property means the remaining three bedrooms are on the lower ground floor.
So, we're now in the lower part of the house.
You've got a family bathroom there,
another bedroom, but what I was originally thinking was this part could actually be
-converted into your office stroke storage room but having seen the negativity upstairs...
You could actually convert this part into a master bedroom and put your guests upstairs.
It would be nice to go out from your bedroom into a little patio area.
That could be a nice feature.
So, there are options and it doesn't end there.
Outside, the carport and garage could be converted
for a large office and storage area for all Karen's materials.
Round the corner, the walled garden has been beautifully landscaped.
There's a manicured carpet of grass, a patio for alfresco dining and a little water feature too.
Looking around this garden, it's really...
It's just breathtaking and it's very rare that you see a garden of this standard.
The garden is quite magnificent and it is a stunning house,
which leads me to ask you how much is currently on the market for?
I'm going to take a flyer and say it's on at about...
-I'll stick, I'll say about 820.
Well, Gary, you're closer
but it is actually on the market for £795,000.
so £5,000 under budget.
-Are you, why?
I think because of the garden, because of...
The driveway's fantastic. It's got lots of unique features.
And the space, there's an awful lot of space outside.
Do you want to go and have another look and I'll catch up with you in a minute?
This time, Karen and Gary over estimated the £795,000 price tag
that accompanies this immaculate house.
It has a large kitchen/diner, five bedrooms, a carport and garage
that could be converted into a business premises and a beautifully maintained landscaped garden.
I keep coming in and out of this room and that wall is still perturbing me slightly, the way it slopes down.
It's just not doing it for me.
The entrance is phenomenal.
I mean, it's pretty impressive as you drive down with the old wall
and the long drive, so first impressions are very, very good.
When I walked into the house, I noticed the light just flooding in from all the windows.
I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it.
I think the kitchen is wow and obviously the sort of conservatory/room.
That will make a great dining room.
I absolutely love this space.
It brings the garden inside almost.
It does. I think this is by far my favourite space.
There's a double garage and the space next to the garage that hasn't actually been developed at the moment
and I could just see a really stunning glass fronted studio
with all my fabrics and wallpapers and paints and, yeah, I was very excited about that space.
-So, have you seen enough of the house?
-We have, yeah.
We've had a good look round.
I've got more to show you, so let's get back on the road.
With Karen and Gary's passion for design we couldn't let their trip
to the Cotswolds pass without visiting the Kelmscott summer house
of William Morris, the father figure of the arts and crafts movement.
So earlier in the week they took a guided tour
with property manager Tristan Molloy.
Arts and Crafts artists rejected the opulence of the Victorian era
and urged a return to medieval design and craftsmanship.
This house contains an outstanding collection of Morris's
possessions and works, including furniture, textiles and ceramics.
Here we are straight in to the old hall or the dining room, and
the dining room which the Morrises would have eaten in as well.
I don't think Morris himself would have sat
on these delicate chairs, which were a Sussex chair,
designed and produced by Morris and co.
These fabrics, are they all William Morris fabrics?
Yes, this is the Strawberry Thief design.
It's said that on one occasion staying here
he was waiting his turn to use the three-seater privy.
On the ground around him were the strawberry plants and he saw
a thrush come down and nick a strawberry in its beak and fly off.
Apparently, he was inspired to run in
and pencil out the design for Strawberry Thief.
-It's amazing what ideas can come to you in the most unusual places.
The green room has a beautiful fireplace
complete with Morris's own tiles.
It also holds two of the printing blocks
he used to produce the kennet chintz design.
The house is full of treasures close to Morris's heart,
like the very bed in which he was born in 1834.
We're now into William Morris's bedroom.
Wow, what a tiny bed, it would make for a very cosy evening.
William himself loved it so much he wrote a poem about it,
For The Bed At Kelmscott.
May, his daughter, in the early 1890s,
took the text of the poem and embroidered that into the pelmet.
And then the bedspread is Jane Morris's work.
-Does it appeal to you as an interior designer?
-There are aspects.
I love all the tapestries.
And for me I can definitely see, over the years,
I've taken ideas from William Morris.
The attic rooms hold striking tapestries
and simple furniture that add to this significant collection.
This house was dear to William Morris's heart.
I hope we can find a house that will make Karen and Gary just as happy.
I feel I've gotten pretty close but so far none of the properties
I've showed Karen and Gary have quite hit the mark.
So, I've decided to throw them a curveball.
Yes, it's the mystery property and knowing their fondness for quirks, I've decided to show them something
with plenty of Cotswold character and unique features in abundance.
So, we're on our way to the mystery property.
-This is where I always get very excited.
-Dum dum dum!
-Dum dum dum!
-So do we.
-What would you love to see?
I'd love to see a nice detached property in the middle
of its own little bit of land, no-one overlooking us.
-Olympic size swimming pool. George Clooney living on one side, Brad Pitt on the other.
It's time to reveal our mystery house.
It's in Kelmscott, a short drive from Kelmscott Manor.
Unfortunately, though, I'm not aware of celebrity neighbours.
It's a quiet, peaceful village where nature sits on the doorstep of the attractive housing stock.
It couldn't feel more different to their central London location.
Our mystery property is a converted schoolhouse that is packed to the rafters with quirky features
that hopefully will appeal to Karen and Gary's sense of fun.
I love that bell.
-That's a sound that takes me back.
Well, here is your mystery property.
What are your first impressions?
I like the Cotswold stone. It's...
It doesn't look too big but I've got a feeling
it's going to be bigger inside than it looks on the outside. One of those houses.
Yeah, first impressions, not too bad.
-So, you're ready to go inside and have a look?
-Yeah, we are.
So, come through into the hallway.
-You can hang your coat up there, if you like.
-Oh, thank you, yeah.
So, Gary, what are your first impressions?
It sort of looks a nice little cottage from outside and that's the feel you get when you come in here.
-I don't like the entrance hall at all.
It feels very small and enclosed and quite dark.
It is dark. We've got the door open so we're getting a lot of light in
but normally it would be a lot darker than this.
And you've got the slate on the floor.
I love that. I do like that, yes.
Well, at least that's something.
Just off the hall to our right is the first of the four bedrooms
in this house and the family bathroom too.
Next stop is the lounge diner but what will they make of it?
Oh, no! No! My worst nightmare! I hate spiral staircases.
-Oh, do you?
-I absolutely hate them.
So, what does a spiral staircase do for you?
It's just really... It just breaks up a room in the most unpositive way.
I'm going to have to hold your hand, aren't I? You're going to be going up there.
I'm going to take you away from that staircase, shield it with my body,
so we can look at the rest of this room.
I mean, it's a good reception room, isn't it? It's a good sitting room this side.
It's a nice size and, you know, plenty of windows and light coming in.
-Do you like the mullion windows, stone mullion?
And you've got the wood burner there,
which is a bit of a feature but it could be a working fireplace
as well and it's obviously made of local stone.
I love the hearth. I love the stone around the hearth. I think that's...
-I'd sooner have it as a working fireplace, personally.
Immediately off the lounge is another bedroom which has the beauty
of dual aspect windows but now it's time for Karen to face her fears
and head up that spiral staircase.
Now, just mind your head as you come up
because this is the master bedroom
and also the en suite.
So, you've got the master bedroom through there
-and in here is your bathroom.
-I love the bathroom.
This space is lovely.
It's a complete contrast to downstairs and this is something that I really like.
It really does have a lovely feel up here.
-I like the space very much. Great.
-It works well.
Good, let's leave on a high.
Karen, after you. We'll go down and see the kitchen.
I thought this room couldn't fail to impress but will it be enough?
Quite... Quite a generous sized kitchen, no?
-It's a fair size.
-It is a fair-sized kitchen, I'm not going to disagree with you.
-In proportion to the house.
-Yeah. This kitchen just needs to be, in my opinion, just reconfigured to be...
-To be better utilised as a kitchen.
-Yeah, I mean, it's not... I agree.
It's not the biggest kitchen but it's not a small kitchen. It's not that bad a size.
-Are you going to let me have that one?
-I'll let you've that one.
Thank you. Well, at least Gary is coming round to my way of thinking.
Off the kitchen is the utility room which has access to the garage
and just to the side is a second staircase that leads up to the final bedroom.
Let's see what Karen thinks of it.
I hate the ceilings, too low, too cramped, too claustrophobic.
You could probably take this higher, actually, listening to it.
You've got a little en suite here and I tell you what they have put in which I think is fantastic,
the marble radiators, so it's a quirky radiator.
It's quite nice. No, it's quite a nice touch.
But again, if you have family to come to stay or friends and you wanted to keep them separately.
-You can hide them away!
-You could hide them in here and just make sure they're not very tall.
And then because we are in the country and you have the most spectacular views,
they might decide they don't want to go for a walk.
They might decide they want to just appreciate it practically where they are
and if they did that they'd just have to go through this door.
How is that for a view?
-I love this. Oh, God!
Nikki, you've surpassed yourself.
I mean, it's the perfect area for entertaining, for drinks in the evening.
No, there was always... I don't know what it is, there's something about
a balcony or terrace that just makes you want to sit down, have a drink and watch the world go by.
You've got the farmhouse there, you've got the cottages there and you can actually watch
the locals tending the vegetable patch there, that's all allotments.
It's great. When you just turn a corner and you find something in a house that is so unexpected...
-It's just... It's great.
At last the tide has turned.
The view from up here is great but it's time to take a closer
look at the garden as I have a surprise in store for them.
Anybody for a sauna?
-Yes! And it's even got a radio and CD player here.
That is just the icing on the cake.
-Well, that's put a smile on your face.
-Oh, it has.
So, let's talk money now.
How much do you think it's currently on the market for?
I would probably say... 680.
I'll say 695.
695. Well, Gary, you're actually closer
-because this property is on the market for £750,000.
That's... Yeah, that's remarkable.
-It's an expensive part of the world.
-But do you both want to go and have another look around and I'll join you on the way out?
-OK, I'll see you in a minute.
Karen and Gary substantially underestimated the value
of this converted schoolhouse, which is on the market for £750,000.
It has a kitchen-breakfast room, three to four bedrooms with a large
master en suite, a roof terrace for soaking up the views and a sauna.
At 50,000 under budget, there's plenty of spare cash
to move that spiral staircase and perhaps extend the kitchen.
It's a nice sized room. There's lots of nice little features to it,
but I know you can't live with the staircase. I don't think I could, in truth.
The setting is beautiful. I mean, really, really quite stunning.
The landscape, the countryside, it's quiet, it's tranquil.
It's everything you want for, you know, living in the country.
The whole cottage in a way is quite interesting, both in a positive and a negative way.
The lounge area had some great features with the stone windows.
I do agree with Karen. I think the spiral staircase spoils what is a lovely room.
It is such a lovely space and it's so interesting.
I love the marble radiator, the floor, this bath is fantastic.
It's a nice-sized garden, nice space, reasonably private
and you've got the great outlook over the fields.
What they say about the sauna? Well, what more can anyone ask for?
-What are you up to?
-I found a working pump!
-You don't get many of these in a garden.
-So, have you seen enough of the mystery property?
You've got a lot to think about.
It's time to head home and you can gather your thoughts.
-Let's get a drink.
Karen and Gary's £800,000 budget isn't stretching as far as they'd
imagined, so there are big decisions to be made.
Well, it's certainly been a rollercoaster few days with Karen and Gary.
Now, there have been some highs.
There have also been some spectacular lows but it's time now to find out what they think
about those properties and whether this part of the country is really going to be right for them.
So, Karen and Gary, what an entertaining few days we've had.
Now, the first property that we saw was in Chalford.
It was the Georgian house with the Victorian extension.
It was stunning. It was everything that you would imagine a house to be in the Cotswolds.
I think the entrance hall, for me, was a little bit of a letdown.
I was expecting something a lot grander because of the...
The front of the house was so wide and the building was so imposing.
Then you open the front door and it's just such a tiny hallway. It just...
It didn't seem to fit with the house at all. It flowed nicely, didn't it?
Yeah, it did flow. It had a feel of being a home, which was a big plus.
Let's talk about the property in Nailsworth.
Grade II listed Georgian house. How was that for you?
I think we both really liked the front of the building
and there was a very nice outbuilding.
But when we went through, I think we both felt
that the inside of the entrance just let the house down.
I almost have that instant like/dislike.
I think we got that!
We've looked at a lot of properties made of that stunning Cotswold stone.
This time we looked at a new build in Selsley. What did you think about that one?
Well, that was a new build. The entrance was pretty impressive
because it had that Grade II listed wall surrounding the whole property and the garden was fantastic.
-You really liked that house, didn't you?
For a new build they've done a very good job.
Would it be fair to say that we got close with that property?
-Oh, gosh, yeah.
-I think so, yeah.
It was beautifully done.
There was certainly enough space outside to make a very nice studio.
So, we have to finish with the mystery property in Kelmscott.
-It was a nice property but just not for us.
The staircase, how can we forget the staircase?
We can't, really.
The sun deck was fantastic.
I loved that. And I also loved the bathroom.
It just seemed like it belonged somewhere else.
It would have been nice to have got the property from our perspective and got it in its raw state.
We have seen some stunning properties.
For various reasons they haven't been right but what's the next step for you two?
I think we'll have to go away and perhaps either rethink our budget
because the outside space is so very important to us.
Yeah, we've either got to rethink the budget or...
-Change our requirements.
Or a bit of both.
-I am sorry we didn't manage to find your dream property.
-We did try.
-You probably have, it's just that they were all mixed up in different properties.
If you could have amalgamated two of them you probably would have had our dream house.
-Well, we've certainly got you thinking.
-Mm, you have.
Thank you again and we wish you all the very best with your continued search.
-Thank you very much.
It's been an interesting journey and a real eye-opener with a few surprises along the way.
Clearly the Cotswolds is where Karen and Gary want to find their new home.
It's also a smart move for Karen's business.
Now, to find exactly what they're after I think they may have to up their budget but something tells
me with their vision they'll eventually find that dream home.
And the latest from Karen and Gary is that they have decided to stay put in London and rent
a studio space for Karen's business until they decide their next step.
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Nicki Chapman helps a couple looking to relocate their business and start afresh in the Cotswolds. However, they designed their London maisonette from scratch, so finding the right property will not be easy. Armed with a generous budget of £800,000, they are looking for a property with plenty of period character - but not a typical Cotswold cottage. They want a big living room and a minimum of three bedrooms, as well as an outbuilding to house their growing business.