Dorset Escape to the Country


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Transcript


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Behind me is the tallest cliff on the south coast of England,

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which, on a clear day, can be seen for miles.

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Where am I? Find out as we escape to the country.

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In today's show, I'll be helping a couple ditch the city suburbs

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and build a new life for themselves in the country.

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We've some happy house-hunters on our hands.

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-What a super kitchen.

-Nicki!

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Good Lord. Oh, Nicki.

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And the mystery house throws down the gauntlet of a green lifestyle.

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This week, we're in the ever-popular county of Dorset.

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And I'm in the small village of Seatown,

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which, despite its name, has never actually been a town.

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The cliff behind me is called Golden Cap

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and is formed of golden greensand which you can see at the top.

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At 626 feet,

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it's the highest point on the whole of Britain's south coast.

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Dorset not only shares borders

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with four other counties, but also looks out

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over the English Channel where you'll find England's first Natural World Heritage Site -

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95 miles of sweeping Jurassic coastline

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whose fossil-rich red sandstone and limestone harbour 180 million years of natural history.

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Dorset also has a long and industrious maritime history

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that's set to continue with the 2012 Olympic sailing events taking place in Weymouth.

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But there's much more to Dorset than its coast.

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Behind its beaches is a county rich in unspoilt countryside and picture-postcard villages.

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All a reminder of Dorset's rural heritage.

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With not even a mile of motorway in the county,

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it's a perfect place to be Far From The Madding Crowd,

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as Thomas Hardy, Dorset's most famous author, might have said.

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The houses Thomas Hardy described here in Dorset are in demand as much as ever.

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So much so that the average property price in this county

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is a whopping 27% above the national average.

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With that in mind, take a look at what's currently on the market here.

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For £1.5 million, this eight-bedroom Grade II listed country house

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in Charlton Down has been lovingly refurbished.

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Its two stunning reception rooms have open fireplaces

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and the light, spacious kitchen overlooks 1.75 acres of grounds

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which include a tennis court.

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Or you could go ranch-style with this three-bedroomed bungalow

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for £625,000 in Ferndown.

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It comes with 2.5 acres of paddock with stables.

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And there's the chance to get cosy inside by the feature inglenook fireplace.

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And at £400,000, this three-bedroom character cottage in Tincleton

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offers surprisingly modern living spaces throughout its quality kitchen and open-plan living room

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where French doors lead out to the garden.

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There we are. Some great examples of houses for sale here in Dorset.

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Let's hope the ones we show this week's escapees match their expectations. Time to meet them.

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Nigel and Frieda have lived in their large six-bedroom Edwardian home

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close to Nottingham city centre for 25 years.

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But now their three daughters are grown up,

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they feel it's time to downsize and make a new start in the country.

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This is a house for a family, not just for two people.

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We wanted to go somewhere different

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and change our lifestyle.

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Both are very open-minded when it comes to the style of properties we show them,

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but have strong thoughts on what they need in their home.

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Two reception rooms, because Nigel watches football on television quite a lot and I don't.

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-Guilty as charged.

-I don't.

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Three bedrooms minimum.

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A decent-sized kitchen.

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We both like to cook and we like the other person to be in the room

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whilst we're cooking so we can chat or do the crossword.

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-And drink a glass of wine.

-And drink a glass of wine.

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We do like to entertain. We love cooking for other people.

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Besides entertaining, how do they plan to keep themselves busy once they've moved?

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One of the things we're keen on, and we want to continue to do, is to play golf.

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It'd be important, actually, that our house was within perhaps 10 miles of a golf course.

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And a decent one.

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I sing and I would want to join a singing group.

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It's a wonderful way to make friends. It's a fantastic thing to do.

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The couple are both linguists and Nigel currently runs his own translation business from home.

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In the new house, it'd be great to have my own study as a separate room.

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Frieda needs her artistic space.

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This is my studio. It was a bedroom, one of my children's bedrooms.

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Basically, that means I have to carry everything upstairs.

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What I'd really like is an outbuilding.

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This is my piano. I love it. It's got to come with me wherever I go

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and it's got to have a really nice place to put it in. It deserves it.

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It's been around a long time.

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They're also keen to live in a more eco-friendly way.

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Here, we've got a condensing boiler.

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We've got energy-saving bulbs.

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We compost our food.

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We'd be interested in finding out more

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and looking at the possibilities of doing something with a new house,

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perhaps in terms of solar panels or geothermal energy.

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Frieda and Nigel need to know how much they have to spend,

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so we've asked a local estate agent to value their home.

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This is a wonderful six-bedroom family home with immense character, situated in an excellent plot

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in the heart of West Bridgford and, in my opinion,

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the value of this property is £550,000.

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Well, we're very pleased with Peter's valuation of £550,000.

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Our budget for the new house, ideally, would be £500,000.

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Nigel and Frieda have chosen a very popular area for their escape to the country.

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The linguistic couple want a minimum three-bedroomed detached house with enough space for an artist's studio.

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They'd also like a well-appointed kitchen and two reception rooms

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so that Frieda can get away from the football - for a budget of £500,000.

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My problem is most buyers have a pretty clear idea of what style of house they want to buy.

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Frieda and Nigel don't, which makes my life a little bit more complicated.

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So much to choose from, so little time.

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Although we'll be starting our search in Dorset,

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I think we may also need to show them

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what the county of Somerset to the north has to offer,

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where they might be surprised

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by how much more their money will get them.

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After all, houses in Somerset are on average 24% cheaper than in Dorset.

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We'll be showing Nigel and Frieda some great properties but, as usual,

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our mystery house will put their preconceptions to the test.

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And, of course, I won't be revealing the property price tags until they've had a guess first.

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Hello, Nigel and Frieda. Welcome to West Dorset.

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-Hello, Nicki.

-Are you looking forward to the next few days?

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-We're really are.

-Absolutely.

-I must admit, a beautiful part of the world.

-It is.

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Let's talk money straight away.

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Budget for this house, half a million pounds.

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A nice round £500,000.

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-We're going to keep that on the nose, are we?

-We are.

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-Hope so.

-You've set us quite a task because you love your current home, don't you?

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25 years you've been there.

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25 years since we were last house-hunting.

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-That's a long time.

-It's been wonderful.

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It's been a lovely house to bring a family up,

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but now we're moving on. The family have gone.

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And we want to get on with our lives and we want to live somewhere else and start a new adventure.

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Have a new adventure. A new stage in our lives.

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Hopefully, we'll find you something that won't make you miss your current house too much

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if we get everything right for you.

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-Let's hope so.

-You don't want too much of a project, do you?

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But you're quite open to what you're after.

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-We are.

-The brief is quite wide.

-It is!

-It is, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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So we don't have a fixed idea, for example, about style, age... We'll leave it up to you.

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-We want to be surprised.

-It's a blank canvas.

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-But not too much work that's needed to be done by you.

-No.

-No.

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Now, you're both more interested in living, well, a more green life, aren't you?

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Yes, the house we're in at the moment uses a lot of energy

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and we're looking to reduce our carbon footprint in a more energy-efficient house.

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Yes. One of our daughters works in the charity sector

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and is very keen that we should follow that sort of life,

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so we have got into it recently in quite a big way, yes.

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So we've got some great properties lined up for you to see,

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and, of course, the mystery house as well.

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-Yes, well...!

-Can't wait.

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-So shall we start?

-Yes.

-Let's go.

-OK.

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'Despite their extensive wish-list, we'll be keeping under Nigel and Frieda's £500,000 limit

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'so they won't incur the 4% stamp duty

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'which would be a hefty sum to pay.

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'They want their dream home

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'to have enough space for Frieda's piano

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'and for Nigel to watch the football..'

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Now, Frieda, I hear you've got a very good voice.

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-Well, it's not that good, actually!

-Are you being modest?

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I love to sing and have done ever since I was a child, so, um...

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I belong to two groups in Nottingham.

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So it's important, when we find you your house,

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-that it's got a good community around it.

-Absolutely. Somewhere to sing.

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Somewhere I can meet some like-minded people.

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-What about you, Nigel? Have you got a voice?

-Strictly shower room.

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-Private performances only.

-Absolutely, yes.

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We kick off our property search in the south-west corner of Dorset,

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where we're heading to Charmouth, just a mile from Lyme Regis.

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This beautiful coastal village sits in an area of outstanding beauty.

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Along with plenty of independent shops, there's a real communal feel, which will appeal to Frieda.

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Our first property is this detached 1930s house right by the coast,

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so I can't wait to see what Nigel and Frieda think of it.

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-This is your first house.

-Hmm.

-Wow. It's quite pretty, isn't it?

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-How would you feel about living close to the sea?

-Love it.

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-That's what we want. Yeah.

-This house has the most amazing sea views.

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-That's what I suspected. I'd love to see the other side.

-Good. Let's go and show you.

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Well, they're really taken with the location,

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so let's take a closer look inside.

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-This goes straight into the first reception room.

-OK.

-Right.

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-Cosy.

-Very cosy.

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Got a real gas fire here, but that is what I want to point out straight away. Have a look at that view.

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-Oh!

-Wow. That's fantastic.

-That's the coastal path.

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Isn't it beautiful?

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But as a first reception room goes...?

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-Small.

-Could be a little small.

-But nice. Yes.

-Bijou?

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-Yes.

-Bijou, but with a great view.

-In the summer, it doesn't matter,

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cos you just open those doors and sit outside.

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-And we'll find plenty for you to do in the winter as well.

-Good.

-I'm sure you will.

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-Let's keep going...

-OK.

-..through here.

-Right.

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We'll check out the second reception room.

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Here is your dining room. This used to be the kitchen when the house was built,

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so the range would have been in there.

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There's currently an electric fire, but if you wanted to open it up and make a real fire, you could.

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-Again, it's got the same views.

-It's got the view, yes. Yes.

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-But in comparison to where you live now, it's a serious downsizing for you.

-It is a big step.

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Six bedrooms, big Edwardian house. It's very different, isn't it?

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It is, but we're going to have to think differently.

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We've got to have a different mindset.

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But you do seem quite realistic, I have to say.

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Yes, we are. We've got to be realistic.

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-Mm-hm. OK, well, let's see what you think of the kitchen.

-OK.

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It's pretty modern.

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-Yeah.

-Mm-hm.

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-Again, it's a fair size.

-Yeah...

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THEY LAUGH

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-I can see you adjusting while you're looking around.

-I am.

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-There's nowhere to sit.

-It's a nice, bright kitchen, but there's nowhere to sit.

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-This is the extension.

-Right.

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-This was built about 17 years ago. Round the corner, you've got the conservatory.

-Oh, right.

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With the right permission, you could open this right out.

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We'd have to think hard about that. OK.

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-Now, I know, at the moment, you haven't got an en suite.

-No.

-No.

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This house doesn't have an en suite.

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However, it does have the family bathroom on the ground floor.

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-Ohh.

-OK.

-Which is slightly unusual.

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-Yes!

-How would you feel about that?

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-I'd have to have a look at that.

-OK. Let's have a look.

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So, take a peek in there. That's your family bathroom.

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-OK.

-But it's worth bearing in mind, cos we are on the ground floor.

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-Right.

-And you've got a huge bath in the corner. You've got the bath, the shower.

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-Although it's not large, it has everything you want.

-It has.

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-Have a think about that. I'm going to take you upstairs.

-OK. We'll think about that.

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It's definitely the views that are going to sell this property.

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Upstairs certainly doesn't disappoint on that front, either.

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You've got three double bedrooms upstairs.

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A-ha.

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-I would...

-Whoa!

-I would call this the master, but you're straight to that view.

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-I didn't realise you could see the beach. Isn't that wonderful?

-Yeah.

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-And that...

-That's a walk-in wardrobe at the moment.

-OK.

-You could change that.

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With the bathroom downstairs, I know that wasn't ideal. The wall there isn't a supporting wall,

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-so you could take that out and make that...

-An en suite.

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Either an en suite for this room, or a family bathroom for upstairs.

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-Right.

-Let's look at one of the other bedrooms and then I'll take you outside.

-OK.

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So, here we are. We can't get away from that view.

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-Right.

-Again, it is wonderful.

-It is lovely.

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Bringing it back to the bedrooms and size...

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This is fine as a guest bedroom.

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What do you think, then, Nigel?

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I'm concerned about just three bedrooms, without study space.

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I'm not sure it's going to be adequate, really, when we have people visit.

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But we'll see.

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Well, the third double room is a good size

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with a basin and WC cleverly tucked away.

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Our couple could make changes to the property,

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which might be worth it for those magnificent coastal views.

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So here is your garden and, of course, that spectacular view.

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You've been itching since we first arrived...

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-We have.

-That view is superb.

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-It is beautiful.

-That is the Jurassic Coast.

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-Millions and millions of years old.

-Yes.

-Would you get bored with it?

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-Never.

-Never.

-Never?

-No.

-Not in a million years.

-We're actually in Lyme Bay.

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-Yes.

-But it is quite amazing.

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But - cos I keep pulling you back from that view to the property itself -

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this is a very mature garden, it's been looked after so well.

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-Just under half an acre.

-Really? It's a gardener's garden, isn't it?

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-I mean, it is so beautifully kept.

-Now, where we're standing,

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there isn't any studio space, but you could build a structure here. All would depend on the price.

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-Have you had time to have a think?

-How can you put a price on that view?

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It's the unknown in the price.

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-440,000?

-OK. Frieda?

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I agree with Nigel. I think the house itself would probably be, if we didn't have the view,

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about 400,000, but the view... I'd say 450.

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-OK. You're both out, actually. You're both under.

-Oh, yes.

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-The current asking price is £495,000.

-Hmm...

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-You can understand why.

-Yes.

-You can. Yeah. It is under budget

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-and we would have to do a lot to it. I need somewhere to work.

-Yes.

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And there's nowhere here.

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Why don't you take a wander, have another look

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-and I'll catch up with you in a while.

-OK. Thanks, Nicki. Thank you.

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It is a prime location. You can't fail to be impressed with those views,

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but the house, it is delightful but it is on the small side for them.

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Whether they'll change their mind - we'll have to wait and see.

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You can change a house but you can't change its location,

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and this house is under budget at £495,000, offering them...

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..and with an insulation retro fit,

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this property could achieve an energy-efficient D rating.

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-You could imagine sitting here, though, and reading the Sunday newspapers.

-You certainly could.

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The views and the garden are absolutely wonderful,

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but the house itself, unfortunately, I think that's going to be too small for us.

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-That's a nice view.

-A lovely view.

-Superb view, yeah.

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-It is the only sitting room and...

-Where are you going to go?

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-Exactly. Where are you going to go?!

-Ohh.

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It'd be a wonderful place to spend a holiday, for example, but it's not really ticking the boxes

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-for somewhere to live permanently.

-You look comfortable, Nicki.

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I am very comfortable. I could stay here all day, but you're going to drag me away.

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Time to go!

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Although they've spent time in Dorset, they haven't yet visited Lyme Regis,

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a popular seaside town with coastal walks for Nigel,

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and plenty of art galleries to keep Frieda happy.

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To find out more about the town's rich past,

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they're meeting town guide, Carl Salter.

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Away from the seafront, Lyme Regis's maze of charming medieval back streets still survive today,

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the most famous being Sherborne Lane,

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used by monks escorting pilgrims back to Sherborne Abbey, some 30 miles away.

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A lot of people came to Sherborne Abbey as pilgrims, hoping for a cure for whatever ailments they had.

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It was quite dangerous travelling by coach

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so they came by sea, and they would come in at the harbour, there,

0:18:590:19:02

and then the monks from Sherborne would come down here

0:19:020:19:06

and take them off. Hopefully, they'd get the cure for whatever ailment they had.

0:19:060:19:11

Dorset's very own Lourdes, then.

0:19:110:19:13

The Lepers' Well marks the spot where, 700 years ago, a lepers' hospital stood,

0:19:130:19:17

which treated all manner of medieval skin conditions.

0:19:170:19:22

Sherborne Lane leads down to the River Lym and to the restored 14th-century town mill.

0:19:220:19:27

It's new and old power sources would no doubt interest our eco-enthusiasts.

0:19:270:19:33

-So what actually powers the mill?

-It's powered by its original water wheel,

0:19:330:19:39

but also, there is another twist to it because, just recently,

0:19:390:19:42

we've gone green in Lyme, and there has been a hydro-electric turbine put in

0:19:420:19:49

so that now we produce our own electricity.

0:19:490:19:52

-Also, any extra power then goes into the National Grid.

-Really?

0:19:520:19:56

Down by the sea are yet more historic remains,

0:19:560:19:59

with the harbour, known as The Cobb, once a prosperous medieval port.

0:19:590:20:03

I'm sure Nigel and Frieda would be in there element here by the sea,

0:20:030:20:09

and luckily, our next property is just 13 miles away,

0:20:090:20:12

near the village of Loders.

0:20:120:20:14

Tucked away in quiet countryside, Loders is your archetypal rural Dorset village,

0:20:140:20:19

with pretty Hamstone cottages, thatched roofs,

0:20:190:20:23

an inviting pub and handsome church, dating back to the 12th century.

0:20:230:20:27

A mile outside the village,

0:20:270:20:29

our first house serves up a very special 20th-century take on a traditional Dorset house.

0:20:290:20:34

-Oh, wow.

-Wow.

0:20:340:20:37

-Gosh. This is different.

-It is a stunning house.

-It is stunning, yes.

0:20:390:20:43

-Architecturally designed by the current owner.

-Right.

0:20:430:20:47

It took him three years to actually build the house.

0:20:470:20:50

-OK, more intriguing.

-You're liking the look?

-That little bit there, that's...

0:20:500:20:54

That's the car port at the moment. Shall we go and explore?

0:20:540:20:57

-Yes, please.

-It certainly looks impressive.

0:20:570:20:59

Got the wow factor when we walked up that drive.

0:20:590:21:02

-From the outside.

-Let's hope we have the same inside.

-Yes, let's hope.

0:21:020:21:06

They seem intrigued by the outside

0:21:060:21:08

and I think they're going to be pretty impressed by what the inside offers.

0:21:080:21:12

-So with this house, you go straight into the dining hall.

-Right.

0:21:150:21:20

Very bright. Lovely tiles.

0:21:200:21:21

Copper slate, isn't it? They're beautiful.

0:21:210:21:24

It's like a greenhouse, isn't it? With all these...

0:21:240:21:27

All that glass. The glass wall.

0:21:270:21:30

The growth there as well.

0:21:300:21:31

And you've got double glazing.

0:21:310:21:33

Nigel, not to leave you out - I know work is important and you need an office.

0:21:330:21:37

As you can see, an architect lives here at the moment, but that could potentially be your office.

0:21:370:21:42

Indeed, yes, it looks lovely.

0:21:420:21:44

And not shut off from the rest of the house.

0:21:440:21:46

-No, that's a big enough space for me.

-That would work?

-Absolutely.

0:21:460:21:50

I'm glad all this works. Now, turn around,

0:21:500:21:53

because this is your sitting room.

0:21:530:21:55

Wow. Look at that.

0:21:550:21:57

What a lovely space.

0:21:570:21:59

It's great.

0:21:590:22:00

-Impressed as you walk through?

-Yes.

0:22:000:22:03

Definitely. It's very light, very open.

0:22:030:22:05

Modern. Nice lines.

0:22:050:22:07

-I like the wooden A-frame.

-Yeah.

0:22:070:22:09

-I'm a big gobsmacked, actually.

-It's very unusual.

0:22:090:22:12

-I can see our furniture in here.

-I feel it's got a lot of character,

0:22:120:22:16

-even though it's a new build.

-It has.

0:22:160:22:18

-Definitely.

-Good. Let's keep going, then.

0:22:180:22:21

-Through to the kitchen.

-All right.

0:22:210:22:23

It's very positive so far and I'm sure the kitchen will give them that extra space they're looking for.

0:22:230:22:28

Here we are.

0:22:280:22:31

-Right.

-Yes. Oh, right.

-So we are...? Oh, I see!

0:22:310:22:34

-So another dining area. Informal dining.

-I can see us using that a lot.

0:22:340:22:39

-Or evening, because that's west?

-That's west.

-So evening that side, morning that side.

-Light's important,

0:22:390:22:44

-I can tell, isn't it? Because you're an artist.

-So important. I don't like sitting in the dark.

0:22:440:22:49

-In the evenings, you can have drinks out there.

-Absolutely.

-On your balcony.

0:22:490:22:53

And this obviously is the kitchen.

0:22:530:22:55

It looks very pleasant. Nice exposed beams and all the rest of it.

0:22:550:23:00

-The great thing is you've got a utility room through there.

-Really?

-With extra storage.

0:23:000:23:04

-That's interesting. Right. And this little bit is lovely.

-Yeah.

-Lovely.

0:23:040:23:09

-Works well, doesn't it?

-Get the newspapers out and sit around there with a cup of coffee.

0:23:090:23:14

-It's good.

-Excellent, and you've got the downstairs cloakroom next door.

0:23:140:23:19

-Now it's time to go upstairs.

-OK.

0:23:190:23:21

Brilliant. Nigel and Frieda seem really excited by the design and layout of the downstairs.

0:23:230:23:28

We'll head upstairs and take a look at the first of the three bedrooms in this property.

0:23:280:23:33

So another unusual sized room.

0:23:370:23:39

-Yes.

-Which seems to be the theme in this property.

0:23:390:23:42

Yes. Oh, right.

0:23:420:23:46

-Talk to me.

-Two skylights.

0:23:460:23:47

I thought it was going to be bigger.

0:23:470:23:50

I suppose I'd forgotten that that was the A-frame for the lounge.

0:23:500:23:54

So there's nothing on top of that, of course.

0:23:540:23:57

-You've got storage in there so you've got a walk-in wardrobe through there.

-Right.

0:23:570:24:03

-Workable?

-Yes, workable.

0:24:030:24:05

-I think so, just.

-Just about.

-Yeah.

0:24:050:24:08

-OK. Let me show you the family bathroom that's next door.

-OK.

0:24:080:24:12

So again, you've got the unusual layout.

0:24:160:24:21

That's nice, the lovely modern bathroom furniture and the lovely big bath. That's what I like.

0:24:210:24:27

-But where's the shower?

-It's one of those hand showers.

0:24:270:24:30

-Hmm.

-Oh.

-Are you a shower man?

-Is there space to put a shower here?

0:24:300:24:35

-You could perhaps get one in there but there are other options with this property.

-Right.

0:24:350:24:40

Let's see if we can find you a shower.

0:24:400:24:42

-Follow me.

-All right.

0:24:420:24:44

I'm not giving up that easily, Nigel.

0:24:440:24:47

The second bedroom could solve that shower problem.

0:24:470:24:50

-This is a large double.

-Right.

-Out of the three.

-Yes. That's a nice size.

0:24:500:24:55

-Good size. And light.

-Yeah.

0:24:550:24:57

This could be a great studio.

0:24:570:25:00

It's got quite an artistic feel.

0:25:000:25:02

It has, but we really need the bedroom space. That's the problem.

0:25:020:25:06

It would be a shame to mess these lovely old floorboards up.

0:25:060:25:10

With only the family bathroom and no shower, Nigel,

0:25:100:25:13

what you could do is actually go through because that's a stud wall.

0:25:130:25:17

There's some storage space on the other side,

0:25:170:25:20

so you could put an en suite there. It's big enough.

0:25:200:25:23

-Shower room?

-And then you've got a nice large bedroom with a bathroom.

0:25:230:25:26

-This could be the master.

-Shall we go downstairs and look at the garden?

0:25:260:25:30

-Yes, let's do that.

-That would be lovely.

0:25:300:25:33

Off the landing, there's also a useful single bedroom.

0:25:330:25:36

But now we'll make our way outside to the garden which should suit them down to the ground.

0:25:360:25:42

-So the garden's just under a quarter of an acre.

-Right.

0:25:430:25:47

-That sounds great.

-That's enough.

0:25:470:25:50

And it's nicely done. It's quite low-maintenance.

0:25:500:25:52

There's an area at the back for growing your own vegetables.

0:25:520:25:56

-Excellent.

-Got your greenhouse.

0:25:560:25:58

And just looking, this is a stunning-looking property, isn't it?

0:25:580:26:02

-It's great.

-It is.

0:26:020:26:04

With your artistic nature in mind - the car port at the moment -

0:26:040:26:07

unless you really wanted to keep it as a car port, this could be a fantastic studio.

0:26:070:26:12

Yeah, we thought of that.

0:26:120:26:14

If you put glass across the front, you've got a workroom there for you, potentially.

0:26:140:26:18

Yes, that's what's missing, really. So that is a solution.

0:26:180:26:22

So how much do you think this house is currently on the market for?

0:26:220:26:26

Hmm. Towards the top end of our budget. I'd say 480?

0:26:260:26:29

Do you know? I was going to say 480, actually. I was. I promise.

0:26:290:26:34

-It's currently on the market for £479,500.

-There you go.

0:26:340:26:39

-We are getting the hang of this.

-You are very close, indeed.

-Yeah.

0:26:390:26:43

Which would leave just over £20,000.

0:26:430:26:47

-For alterations and improvements.

-Exactly.

-Yeah.

0:26:470:26:50

-Well, lots to think about, really.

-Yes.

-Absolutely.

0:26:500:26:53

Plenty of options, so why don't you have another wander?

0:26:530:26:56

-I think we will.

-And I'll catch up with you a bit later on.

0:26:560:26:59

Thanks, Nicki. Will do. Thanks.

0:26:590:27:01

Just shy of £480,000,

0:27:020:27:04

this bespoke architectural house

0:27:040:27:07

in a lovely rural setting

0:27:070:27:09

comes in under our couple's budget and would give them...

0:27:090:27:13

It's fully insulated,

0:27:240:27:25

but if they want to notch it up to a D energy rating,

0:27:250:27:28

they could install a condensing boiler to heat the house and water,

0:27:280:27:32

cutting their bills by 30%.

0:27:320:27:35

Block off the front and use it as either studio space for you or living accommodation.

0:27:380:27:43

It's a place I really could see myself living.

0:27:430:27:46

It's a beautiful house.

0:27:460:27:48

Out there on the balcony,

0:27:480:27:51

evening meal, out there with our friends in the formal dining room.

0:27:510:27:55

Some slight concerns on the amount of space we have here.

0:27:550:28:00

Both downstairs and upstairs, actually.

0:28:000:28:03

So I think you'd agree, it's a very unique house.

0:28:040:28:07

BOTH: Certainly is.

0:28:070:28:08

-Nigel, if you can grab the door?

-Sure.

-And we'd better hit the road.

0:28:080:28:12

-OK.

-Right.

0:28:120:28:14

The Dorset town of Bridport harbours an 800-year-old tradition of making nets and rope for the Navy,

0:28:160:28:22

as the land here was one of the few places in England where hemp and flax grew successfully.

0:28:220:28:29

Besides fishing and sailing, most of England's hangman nooses were made here during the Middle Ages.

0:28:290:28:34

So that "to be stabbed by the Bridport dagger" meant to be hanged.

0:28:340:28:39

They may be using synthetic material nowadays,

0:28:390:28:42

but the rope and net heritage is kept alive by a number of local netting businesses,

0:28:420:28:47

such as Edwards, one of the oldest companies in Bridport,

0:28:470:28:51

which turned its hand to making sports nets over 120 years ago.

0:28:510:28:54

Today, it's managed by Archie Berkeley.

0:28:540:28:57

Our particular niche in the market

0:28:570:28:59

is applying the traditional finishing skills of net-making to these sports nets.

0:28:590:29:05

What type of nets do you produce here for sport?

0:29:050:29:08

We make football, for example, tennis, golf, cricket and so on.

0:29:080:29:13

There's quite a pedigree with regard to football nets.

0:29:130:29:16

Edwards was the first company to manufacture the football net in the 19th century when it was invented.

0:29:160:29:21

Wow. Have you done any famous matches?

0:29:210:29:23

-You might have heard of the 1966 World Cup final?

-I have, yes.

0:29:230:29:26

That would give you an example. Those were all manufactured here.

0:29:260:29:30

-Wow, that's quite a claim to fame.

-It is indeed.

0:29:300:29:32

'The Bridport net business might be a cottage industry,

0:29:320:29:36

'but it's thriving and worth around £7 million a year.

0:29:360:29:39

'I'm meeting Ros, who's going to show me the ropes when it comes to finishing these nets.'

0:29:390:29:44

-Hi, Ros.

-Hello, Nicki.

-Good to meet you.

0:29:440:29:46

You look hard at work there. So what are you doing?

0:29:460:29:49

-This is called shut in.

-Shut in.

0:29:490:29:51

I'm joining two pieces of net together to make the start of a net.

0:29:510:29:54

-So you can make a really long net?

-Yes.

0:29:540:29:56

It comes in sections and you're putting it together?

0:29:560:29:59

Yes. You normally get pieces of net about 20 metres long

0:29:590:30:02

and you join them together.

0:30:020:30:04

You needle through the top, then you hold it with two of your fingers.

0:30:040:30:07

Make an knot, then you come to the bottom one, do exactly the same.

0:30:070:30:12

It would take a couple of months for me to get up to speed.

0:30:120:30:16

But I couldn't keep up with Ros who joins together 300 metres of netting a day. Still, I'll give it a go.

0:30:160:30:22

-Shall I swap?

-Yes, it's like cat's cradle.

0:30:220:30:25

-So...

-Through your top mesh.

0:30:270:30:29

-That's right.

-Pull it down.

-Pull it down.

0:30:290:30:33

-To there?

-No, you've gone a bit...

0:30:330:30:35

You want to hold it with your...

0:30:350:30:37

Put those two fingers up to there.

0:30:370:30:39

God, I need more fingers. I've only got 10.

0:30:390:30:42

So this is a process that was done centuries ago and hasn't changed?

0:30:420:30:47

Yes. It's exactly the same. It's joining two bits of net together.

0:30:470:30:51

I know Bridport has such a reputation for net and rope-making,

0:30:510:30:55

but it still pays to do it by hand rather than by machine?

0:30:550:30:58

-Oh, yes, I think it looks neater.

-Yeah.

0:30:580:31:00

'It's certainly harder than Ros made it look.

0:31:000:31:03

'At this rate, I'll be here all night.

0:31:030:31:06

So with the first day of our house search at an end,

0:31:100:31:15

Nigel and Frieda take time out to reflect on the houses they've looked at.

0:31:150:31:18

So, what did you think of the house with the view?

0:31:180:31:23

In terms of location, that house was absolutely perfect.

0:31:230:31:27

-The views were stupendous.

-They were, weren't they? They were spectacular.

0:31:270:31:31

-It had a cottage-y charm to it.

-It did, it certainly did.

0:31:310:31:36

But I don't think there was enough room for us, there wasn't enough space for two of us

0:31:360:31:42

to sit separately in the evenings.

0:31:420:31:45

If that were necessary!

0:31:450:31:46

-Yes.

-And then think about me working.

-There wasn't enough room for either of us to work,

0:31:470:31:53

a study for you or a studio for me.

0:31:530:31:56

-It's going to make a lovely house for somebody.

-It will.

-But not us.

0:31:560:31:59

-The contemporary house that we saw.

-Didn't that have the wow factor?

-It did.

0:31:590:32:05

-It had that lovely open feel about it.

-It certainly gave me a good feeling inside.

-Yes.

0:32:050:32:11

-And the garden, I liked that.

-The garden was great. Nowhere near as big. And easy to manage

0:32:110:32:16

With that house, we could see the potential to make some improvements,

0:32:160:32:22

make some extensions, and get it more to what we require.

0:32:220:32:26

Let's hope tomorrow we find something

0:32:260:32:28

that has some of the good points of both the houses we've seen, and more.

0:32:280:32:33

I'm hoping there will be something more on the environmental side as well, in terms of energy efficiency.

0:32:330:32:40

-Fingers crossed.

-Fingers crossed!

-That Nicki can come up with a miracle.

-A miracle!

-A minor miracle.

0:32:400:32:45

A minor miracle, let's drink to that

0:32:450:32:48

'Nigel and Frieda want to up sticks from Nottingham to put down roots in or around Dorset.

0:32:560:33:02

'With a top budget of £500,000, they're looking for two reception rooms, a study for Nigel

0:33:020:33:07

'and an artist's studio for Frieda.

0:33:070:33:10

'SO far they've seen two houses, but coming up, Frieda resorts to some wishful thinking...'

0:33:100:33:15

I'm hoping it's going to be 499,950.

0:33:150:33:18

-Are you?

-FRIEDA LAUGHS

0:33:180:33:21

-Are you really hoping?

-I am hoping, yes!

0:33:210:33:24

And our mystery house has a whole load of hidden secrets within its walls.

0:33:240:33:28

It's the start of a new day,

0:33:310:33:33

and I think it's dawned on Nigel and Frieda

0:33:330:33:35

that although they want to downsize from a six-bedroom house by half,

0:33:350:33:39

a three-bedroom property isn't going to be big enough for them

0:33:390:33:43

and their friends and family when they want to stay.

0:33:430:33:45

So I think we're going to need to be realistic

0:33:450:33:48

and perhaps look at bigger houses offering more accommodation.

0:33:480:33:52

However, I'm not sure that on their budget of £500,000,

0:33:520:33:55

they're going to find what they want in Dorset.

0:33:550:33:58

So we're heading north to the county of Somerset to see what it has to offer.

0:33:580:34:02

I just hope this weather holds.

0:34:020:34:05

As properties can be up to 24% cheaper in Somerset than Dorset,

0:34:050:34:10

it's certainly a gamble worth taking.

0:34:100:34:13

Our next house is in the historic market town of Ilminster,

0:34:130:34:16

just 17 miles from Lyme Regis.

0:34:160:34:18

Renowned for its magnificent 15th-century minster church,

0:34:180:34:22

there would also be plenty of independent shops and market produce on our couple's doorstep,

0:34:220:34:27

and Frieda can be indulge her art and music passions

0:34:270:34:30

at the former Meeting House, now an art gallery and concert hall.

0:34:300:34:34

Our property is just a mile out of Ilminster.

0:34:340:34:38

This is your farmhouse.

0:34:380:34:40

OK. Right. The whole of this?

0:34:400:34:43

-Now, it is attached...

-Oh.

-..so that is a separate property.

-Right.

0:34:430:34:47

-But I would say, keep an open mind on this property.

-Right.

0:34:470:34:51

It's worth considering, so look at it from the outside,

0:34:510:34:55

-wait until you see what's inside.

-OK.

0:34:550:34:57

'I think they're going to be delighted by the living space

0:34:570:35:00

'and character in this farmhouse, so let's take a look.'

0:35:000:35:05

Here we are in the entrance lobby.

0:35:050:35:07

I think I'll take my shoes off, because it's pretty muddy out there.

0:35:070:35:11

-OK.

-This is obviously a newer part of the property,

0:35:110:35:15

but the wall that you're looking at, that is 250 years old.

0:35:150:35:18

Standing here, you can see that was the farmhouse,

0:35:180:35:22

and that was the mill barn - literally - the two separate doors.

0:35:220:35:26

Through there, you've got the cloakroom and the utility room.

0:35:260:35:30

Shall we start the tour?

0:35:300:35:31

Oh, yes, please, it looks fabulous.

0:35:310:35:33

Here's the drawing room, sitting room.

0:35:350:35:38

Dominated by that amazing inglenook fireplace.

0:35:380:35:41

-Incredible, it's amazing.

-Huge.

0:35:410:35:42

I think you could get your whole family in there, couldn't you, if it was cold?

0:35:420:35:47

We could! I can imagine sitting up next to that.

0:35:470:35:49

-Is that a wood-burning stove?

-Yeah, multi-fuel.

0:35:490:35:52

And if you look just to the side, that's an old bread oven which they've kept.

0:35:520:35:56

-Beautiful.

-It's a great room. Low ceilings, of course.

0:35:560:35:59

-Low ceilings, but that's OK. Not too low.

-And you've got the original beams.

0:35:590:36:04

-Yeah, they're original? Right.

-To the side, there's a large study.

0:36:040:36:09

-Good.

-So, Nigel, I'll let you explore that in a little while, but plenty of room there.

0:36:090:36:14

I know entertaining is a big part of your lives,

0:36:140:36:16

so I don't think you'll be disappointed with the next room.

0:36:160:36:19

-Nigel, we're going to follow you through the door.

-OK.

0:36:190:36:23

-Oh, wow.

-What a super kitchen.

0:36:250:36:27

Nicki, good Lord.

0:36:270:36:29

Even I'm really smiling as I walk into this room.

0:36:290:36:32

-It's fabulous.

-A beautiful kitchen.

-Absolutely amazing.

0:36:320:36:35

Look at the floor!

0:36:350:36:37

Original flagstones.

0:36:370:36:39

That is...incredible.

0:36:390:36:42

And it's light and airy, with that door and the window.

0:36:420:36:46

-I love the brickwork round the stove, there.

-Look at that stove.

0:36:460:36:50

-So a big range...

-Yeah.

-..but you'd get used to it?

0:36:500:36:54

Oh, yes, I'm always wanting more rings!

0:36:540:36:57

-Especially at Christmas.

-With all your family and grandchildren, going to keep you busy.

0:36:570:37:02

You've got a dining area there.

0:37:020:37:04

-And somewhere to sit, yes, lovely.

-Very impressed with this room.

-Good.

0:37:040:37:09

-Wonderful.

-And it doesn't end there.

-No?

0:37:090:37:11

Through here...

0:37:110:37:13

You've got another large room, currently used as the dining area.

0:37:150:37:19

That's a lovely size as well, isn't it?

0:37:190:37:21

So you could keep it as a dining area,

0:37:210:37:23

or you could make it into another reception room,

0:37:230:37:26

-and just have the kitchen as the dining place.

-Yeah, we could.

0:37:260:37:30

-Room for your piano, there.

-My piano could go there.

0:37:300:37:33

-That's important, isn't it?

-It is very important, yeah. Ideal.

0:37:330:37:37

-I'm going to move you on on that note. We're going to go upstairs, so let me lead the way.

-OK.

0:37:370:37:43

'We've got a definite thumbs up here,

0:37:430:37:45

'so let's see if I can get them excited by what's on offer upstairs.'

0:37:450:37:49

-Heavens, look at that!

-How's that for a landing?

0:37:490:37:52

Well, that's just unbelievable.

0:37:520:37:54

There's a lot more to it than you think.

0:37:540:37:57

-You get to appreciate the whole length of the property.

-You do.

0:37:570:38:00

'Leading off this impressive landing is a light, spacious family bathroom,

0:38:010:38:05

'and all four bedrooms, including two well-decorated doubles,

0:38:050:38:09

'perfect for when their daughters come to stay.

0:38:090:38:12

'And would this third bedroom be large enough for their guests?'

0:38:120:38:16

-This is the smallest of the smallest.

-The smallest?

0:38:160:38:20

-The smallest.

-But it's a great size!

-Yup.

0:38:200:38:23

For a guest room, it's just perfect.

0:38:230:38:25

-Yes, lovely room.

-It's lovely, and it's the smallest.

0:38:250:38:29

-It's the smallest.

-Oh, show us some more.

0:38:290:38:31

Well, now it's time to see where you both would be.

0:38:310:38:34

So, Nigel, if you want to lead the way, keep going along the landing.

0:38:340:38:37

'At the end of the landing is a real treat of a master bedroom for them.'

0:38:390:38:46

Ah, so this is your bedroom.

0:38:460:38:50

-Lovely.

-It's spectacular, isn't it?

0:38:500:38:52

-Really. That's the chimney, is it, from downstairs?

-That's it,

0:38:520:38:56

-that's the inglenook. It's a great feature, isn't it?

-It is.

0:38:560:38:59

-As it travels through the house.

-Yeah.

0:38:590:39:02

And there's the bonus of a large en-suite with bath, and Nigel's beloved shower.

0:39:020:39:08

Frieda seems bowled over by the ample space and beautiful features in this house,

0:39:080:39:14

and it doesn't end there.

0:39:140:39:15

I can't wait to show them what they get outside.

0:39:150:39:19

So here is your garden.

0:39:190:39:20

I can't believe it.

0:39:200:39:22

-But it's a little bit more than just this garden.

-Right.

0:39:220:39:26

If you look straight ahead to where the stable block is,

0:39:260:39:29

-and then take your eyes to the left, all of that is your land.

-Really?

0:39:290:39:35

-2.5 acres.

-You're joking.

-You've got the chicken run there.

0:39:350:39:39

-Chickens!

-Are you going to have chickens?

0:39:390:39:41

I'd love to have chickens, I really would.

0:39:410:39:44

-To get fresh free-range eggs, that would be great.

-Plenty of space for a vegetable patch.

0:39:440:39:49

If you look, there is a carport there.

0:39:490:39:51

The owners have got permission to have that extended and made into a proper structure.

0:39:510:39:56

Possibly a studio for you, Frieda.

0:39:560:39:58

-If that's not enough, can you see where the willow trees are?

-Yes.

0:39:580:40:02

-That's an island.

-Uh-huh.

0:40:020:40:03

-I can see the bridge.

-You've got the River Isle going through - you've got your own island!

0:40:030:40:08

You know the rich and famous? It's the done thing to go and buy your own island? There you have it.

0:40:080:40:13

-We would have to put a duck house on it!

-Exactly.

0:40:130:40:16

How much do you think this house is currently on the market for?

0:40:160:40:20

I'm going to guess it's going to be £540,000.

0:40:200:40:23

-Over budget, you're saying?

-Yeah.

0:40:230:40:25

I'm hoping it's going to be 499,950.

0:40:250:40:29

-Are you?

-FRIEDA LAUGHS

0:40:290:40:31

-Are you really hoping?

-I am hoping!

0:40:310:40:34

If you've bought this property, with all this land,

0:40:360:40:40

you would have £5,000 change.

0:40:400:40:43

Really? Out of 500,000?

0:40:430:40:45

-You were close.

-Oh, Nicki!

0:40:450:40:47

£5,000. Which could go towards...

0:40:470:40:50

-Sheep!

-ALL LAUGH

0:40:500:40:53

The artist's studio!

0:40:530:40:54

It's not going to go towards an artist's studio.

0:40:540:40:58

So, yeah, £5,000 change.

0:40:580:41:00

You should go and have a look around the grounds, and then go back and take a look at the second property.

0:41:000:41:05

-Definitely.

-Have a real think.

0:41:050:41:07

-We'll do that, thanks.

-Off you go. Go and check out those sheep.

-OK.

0:41:070:41:12

Well, what a surprise.

0:41:120:41:14

A few reservations when they first arrived, but as soon as you walk through that door,

0:41:140:41:19

that farmhouse sells itself, and all of this, it's a bonus.

0:41:190:41:23

Under budget at £495,000,

0:41:230:41:27

this stunning Somerset farmhouse

0:41:270:41:29

was definitely worth crossing the border for.

0:41:290:41:32

It has...

0:41:320:41:33

The grounds already have planning permission

0:41:450:41:47

for an out building,

0:41:470:41:48

so Frieda would get her studio.

0:41:480:41:50

They could also retrofit

0:41:500:41:52

a condensing boiler

0:41:520:41:53

for their water and heating,

0:41:530:41:54

which could bump

0:41:540:41:56

this property's energy efficiency rating up to a D.

0:41:560:41:59

How amazing to have all this land.

0:42:010:42:03

-And a river! And a picnic table on the island.

-Brilliant.

-It's brilliant.

0:42:030:42:08

I'm really glad we've come over the border to Somerset,

0:42:080:42:11

because I think you get a whole lot more for your money.

0:42:110:42:14

-This could be my study.

-Big enough for you?

0:42:140:42:16

Absolutely, yeah, it's fine. I could see myself working there.

0:42:160:42:19

I could certainly see us living here.

0:42:190:42:23

It's got everything we could ask for.

0:42:230:42:25

It's absolutely wonderful, and we would very seriously consider moving here.

0:42:250:42:30

-Hi, Nicki, is it time to go?

-It is, I'm going to have to drag you away.

-OK.

0:42:300:42:35

So far, all our properties have been packed full of individual charm,

0:42:390:42:43

but what they had in character, they lacked in eco-features.

0:42:430:42:48

Retrofitting is a practice where energy-saving devices are fitted

0:42:480:42:52

to an existing property to reduce its carbon emissions.

0:42:520:42:55

With this in mind, Nigel and Frieda are meeting Charles of the Ecos Trust Charity

0:42:550:43:00

to learn what they could add to their home.

0:43:000:43:03

Over a third of a house's heat escapes through the walls,

0:43:030:43:07

so good insulation is vital.

0:43:070:43:09

Here we are.

0:43:090:43:10

This is what we are using.

0:43:100:43:12

-We are using sheep's wool insulation.

-Sheep's wool?

-Yeah.

0:43:120:43:15

That's interesting.

0:43:150:43:17

Now, that's really thick.

0:43:170:43:19

Yeah. It's a great product to use on walls on older houses.

0:43:190:43:24

-Where has that come from, Charles?

-That's from Cumbria.

-Oh, right.

0:43:240:43:28

You have a lower carbon footprint using these materials,

0:43:280:43:31

-because you don't use energy to produce them.

-No, the sheep use theirs.

-Yes!

0:43:310:43:35

BOTH: Absolutely.

0:43:350:43:37

-And then...

-And then you've got this?

0:43:370:43:39

Yes, which is wood fibreboard. So you've got that, plus the sheep's wool,

0:43:390:43:44

wrapping up the whole frame, making it really warm.

0:43:440:43:47

In the UK, £8 billion of energy is wasted every year

0:43:470:43:51

because of bad insulation and poor heating systems,

0:43:510:43:55

but Chris shows Nigel and Frieda how solar energy can be harnessed to make savings.

0:43:550:44:02

Here's one of the skylights that we're going to be using on the roof.

0:44:020:44:05

-Right.

-That will create a sun space. These are double-glazed,

0:44:050:44:09

argon-filled units - they'll reduce the amount of heat loss during the winter.

0:44:090:44:13

Are you going to be using solar panels as well?

0:44:130:44:16

Yes, we'll use solar thermal panels,

0:44:160:44:18

so that will provide heating for the hot water in the house,

0:44:180:44:22

so we're combining passive solar heating with active solar heating.

0:44:220:44:29

Maybe this is the sort of thing you could use when you move?

0:44:290:44:32

It could be, we'll certainly think about it, thanks for showing us.

0:44:320:44:35

-It's been fascinating.

-Pleasure.

0:44:350:44:37

We've shown Nigel and Frieda a variety of properties, but now it's time for the mystery house.

0:44:390:44:45

The couple are environmentally aware,

0:44:450:44:47

and hoping with this final property to see one or two green credentials.

0:44:470:44:51

Little do they know.

0:44:510:44:53

'Our mystery house takes us to the village of Stawell,

0:44:530:44:56

'close to the Somerset Levels.

0:44:560:44:59

'An array of architectural house styles are tucked away in the village,

0:44:590:45:03

'from chapel conversions to grand period properties,

0:45:030:45:07

'but nothing quite like our 21st-century mystery house, with its bang up-to-date green credentials.'

0:45:070:45:12

-This is the house I want to show you, because you wanted a house with eco-features, didn't you?

-We did.

0:45:120:45:18

How about an eco-house?

0:45:180:45:20

-Sounds fascinating.

-Definitely.

0:45:200:45:22

-Looks really different.

-Very, very different.

0:45:220:45:26

-Unusual.

-Unusual.

0:45:260:45:27

-Unusual.

-Unusual.

-Two things I want to point out as we're standing here,

0:45:270:45:32

the front of the house is north-facing, so the windows at the front are much smaller.

0:45:320:45:37

They're triple-glazed, with argon gas, which keeps the heat in.

0:45:370:45:42

Also, if you look at the front of the lawn,

0:45:420:45:44

underneath that manhole is a huge, huge tank -

0:45:440:45:49

2,500 litres that can hold - all which comes off the roof.

0:45:490:45:52

-Rainwater.

-Exactly. That is for the toilets and the washing.

-Right.

0:45:520:45:57

-So let's step inside and I'll show you around.

-OK, thanks.

0:45:570:46:01

'This timber-framed eco-house is super insulated

0:46:010:46:04

'and includes a wall cavity filled with powdered recycled newspaper, but that's just one example.'

0:46:040:46:09

So come on in. I must admit, this is a first for me, an eco-property,

0:46:110:46:16

and I find it really exciting. Obviously, we're in the hallway.

0:46:160:46:20

Down there, you've got the utility room and the downstairs toilet,

0:46:200:46:24

and to the left, you've got a study, and that faces to the north.

0:46:240:46:28

-But I want to take you straight into the living area.

-OK.

0:46:280:46:33

So, as you can see, open-plan living.

0:46:350:46:38

Yes, very light, very light and airy.

0:46:380:46:41

-You've got ceramic tiles on the floor.

-These are ceramic, are they?

0:46:410:46:45

Yeah. They've got a special thermal material underneath them,

0:46:450:46:49

so in the summer, it keeps the property cool and in the winter it retains the heat.

0:46:490:46:54

Where that sculpture is, that's actually going to be an automated wood-pellet burner.

0:46:540:46:59

You can see the pellets at the side.

0:46:590:47:01

That's going to be installed on that plinth by the builders,

0:47:010:47:04

-and that's going to provide most of the hot water and heating for this property.

-Right.

0:47:040:47:09

Most of it will come from there.

0:47:090:47:11

Of course, wood is a renewable resource, isn't it?

0:47:110:47:14

It is. And the better news is it costs between £200 and £300 a year in wood pellets,

0:47:140:47:19

so once it's installed, that's the only cost you're going to have for that.

0:47:190:47:22

-How does that compare your house?

-That is... Oh!

-Excellent.

0:47:220:47:26

That's probably our monthly costs.

0:47:260:47:27

-That's what I was thinking. That's a big difference, isn't it?

-Absolutely.

0:47:270:47:33

So you've got your open-plan living, you've got your dining area here.

0:47:330:47:36

The kitchen is next door, here.

0:47:360:47:39

-Mmm-hmm.

-Right.

0:47:390:47:41

-Not a largest of kitchens.

-That really doesn't matter,

0:47:410:47:44

because you've an extension of it here to sit, so that's fine.

0:47:440:47:48

-Energy-efficient white goods here.

-A+ energy-efficient!

-Yeah.

0:47:480:47:52

-You have beech tops and you have pine - all sustainable forest material.

-As you'd expect.

0:47:520:47:57

'There's a second study for Nigel or Frieda to make their own,

0:47:570:48:01

'with French doors leading out to the garden.

0:48:010:48:04

'Going upstairs, the carpet is made from sisal, a renewable plant fibre.

0:48:040:48:08

'But now let's look at the four bedrooms in this eco-house.

0:48:080:48:11

'First stop, the master.'

0:48:110:48:13

So it's quite bare at a moment because it's only just been built.

0:48:160:48:19

-Yes.

-Yes, it looks a bit sparse.

0:48:190:48:21

-Imagine it with all of your belongings and everything.

-Yes.

0:48:210:48:26

-Yes!

-Would it be full?

0:48:260:48:28

It would, it would, yes.

0:48:280:48:30

-This is all cupboard space?

-Yes. Actually, this house has a lot of cupboard space.

0:48:300:48:35

They've thought about that.

0:48:350:48:36

-That's good.

-It makes a big difference, doesn't it?

0:48:360:48:39

-And you've got the view outside of the agricultural land and farm next door.

-Right.

0:48:390:48:44

-Yeah, that's lovely, and a balcony.

-Yeah.

0:48:440:48:47

-You've also got an en-suite.

-Oh, fantastic!

0:48:470:48:50

Take a look. Go on, after you.

0:48:500:48:52

-Oh, right.

-Ample room?

-It's good.

-Ample room, yeah.

0:48:560:48:59

And a nice shower.

0:48:590:49:01

Eco-taps, which aerates the water.

0:49:010:49:03

-Yes, so you use less.

-You use less. Have you got those at home?

0:49:030:49:06

-Yes.

-Very good, I'm impressed.

-We've already got them.

0:49:060:49:10

-Right, I've got more to show you.

-OK.

0:49:100:49:14

There are three other bedrooms, including two bright single rooms,

0:49:140:49:17

one which leads onto the balcony.

0:49:170:49:20

The family bathroom has the all-important shower cubicle and a bath.

0:49:200:49:26

But we'll go through to size up the fourth bedroom.

0:49:260:49:30

-This is the second largest of the four bedrooms.

-Right.

-OK.

0:49:300:49:34

So big enough to get a double in.

0:49:340:49:36

-Yeah, just.

-You can envisage that.

0:49:360:49:38

You've got storage there.

0:49:380:49:40

-Yeah.

-It's got that beautiful balcony.

0:49:400:49:43

Yes, it's lovely, on to the orchard there, it's beautiful.

0:49:430:49:46

'I get the feeling Frieda and Nigel admire the green credentials

0:49:460:49:50

'of our mystery eco-house, but I wonder whether they've really clicked with it.

0:49:500:49:54

'Still, they're very open-minded, so maybe the price will clinch it.'

0:49:540:49:59

So here's the garden.

0:50:000:50:02

As you can see, it's been landscaped but not planted.

0:50:020:50:04

That won't be a very big job, will it?

0:50:040:50:07

No. Not a massive garden, but you didn't want a lot of land.

0:50:070:50:10

-That's true, yeah.

-Is it big enough?

0:50:100:50:14

-What do you think?

-I think this would be great for a busy young couple

0:50:140:50:17

that want an extremely low-maintenance garden,

0:50:170:50:21

but I think we'd probably want a bit more space outside.

0:50:210:50:25

What do you think? How much is it currently on the market for?

0:50:250:50:28

It's quite difficult to assess the...

0:50:280:50:32

extra cost involved in the energy-saving measures.

0:50:320:50:35

I would guess 440,000.

0:50:350:50:40

I'd put it probably a bit higher than that at about 460.

0:50:400:50:43

-460,000? OK.

-460.

-460?

-Yeah.

0:50:430:50:48

-The current asking price...

-Yes?

0:50:480:50:51

-..is £399,000.

-Oh, really!?

-399?

-Yep,

0:50:510:50:54

so well under your budget and four bedrooms,

0:50:540:50:59

-plus the two studies downstairs.

-Right.

0:50:590:51:02

You could say it's competitively priced to encourage people to look at eco-houses

0:51:020:51:08

-Why don't you have another wander around?

-We will, thanks.

0:51:080:51:11

At £100,000 under budget, it's certainly worth another look.

0:51:110:51:15

-It certainly is.

-And I'll meet you in a little while.

-OK, thanks, Nicki.

0:51:150:51:21

A whopping £100,000 under budget.

0:51:210:51:25

It offers...

0:51:300:51:31

Loads of eco-features,

0:51:370:51:39

and an impressive B energy efficiency rating,

0:51:390:51:42

which only 5% of UK properties currently have.

0:51:420:51:46

-One big, open-plan space.

-Yep, it's what we've got.

-What do you think?

0:51:460:51:51

Well, in principle, it's a great way of using limited space, but we do like to have our own space.

0:51:510:51:56

I'm very, very impressed with the eco-features in the house.

0:51:560:51:59

I was disappointed with myself, in a way, that I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped I would.

0:51:590:52:05

What do you think, Frieda? Is the garden big enough?

0:52:050:52:07

Honestly?

0:52:070:52:10

-I don't think so.

-No.

0:52:100:52:11

I'm not sure that I can see us having this as our home.

0:52:110:52:17

But I can imagine other people enjoying it - particularly younger people.

0:52:170:52:21

So all done and dusted?

0:52:230:52:25

Well, you've certainly given us a lot to think about with this one.

0:52:250:52:29

Good. Well, let's find somewhere nice and quiet

0:52:290:52:31

-where you can gather your thoughts together.

-OK.

-Sounds good.

0:52:310:52:35

Well, our house hunt is at an end,

0:52:380:52:40

and I think the range of properties we've shown Nigel and Frieda

0:52:400:52:44

have given them a lot of different options to think about.

0:52:440:52:47

Nigel and Frieda have seen a variety of properties over two counties,

0:52:520:52:56

and I wonder if any of them have tempted the couple to get their chequebook out.

0:52:560:53:01

Well, there's only one way to find out - let's go and ask them.

0:53:010:53:04

-Well, Nigel and Frieda, it's certainly been a very enjoyable few days.

-It's been great.

0:53:080:53:13

But how do you think it's gone for you? Dorset and Somerset.

0:53:130:53:18

-All in one go.

-Two for the price of one.

-Yeah.

0:53:180:53:20

Fantastic, it's been a lovely, lovely few days for us as well.

0:53:200:53:24

So shall we kick off with the gardener's cottage by the sea,

0:53:240:53:28

with that amazing garden?

0:53:280:53:30

What did you think about that?

0:53:300:53:32

It's a pretty amazing view and garden and, really, that was stunning.

0:53:320:53:39

What a way to start. Absolutely beautiful.

0:53:390:53:43

But the living accommodation, unfortunately, just wasn't big enough.

0:53:430:53:48

Simply not big enough. Charming but not big enough.

0:53:480:53:50

We looked at a new-build, architecturally-designed, can you remember your first impressions?

0:53:500:53:56

They were very positive. We really liked the...

0:53:560:53:59

I did anyway - I really liked the design from the outside and I took to it immediately.

0:53:590:54:05

-It was stunning, wasn't it?

-It was spectacular.

0:54:050:54:08

Downstairs was fine.

0:54:080:54:09

The sitting room was beautiful and there was an nice little study and a nice place to eat.

0:54:090:54:14

But we needed another room, really, and there was nowhere for me to work either,

0:54:140:54:19

so it wouldn't have been perfect.

0:54:190:54:22

A new day, and a property which, I think it would be fair to say,

0:54:220:54:27

caught your eye pretty instantly as you walked through the door - the old farmhouse.

0:54:270:54:32

As soon as we walked through the door, we were really impressed.

0:54:320:54:35

We were sucked into that house, it had an emotional pull.

0:54:350:54:39

It sort of said, "Come into my home..." You know, it was...

0:54:390:54:44

"You'll be comfortable here." It almost spoke to you

0:54:440:54:47

-as you walked in through the front door.

-I like that.

0:54:470:54:51

-It gave you that mmm feeling.

-Absolutely, it wanted you to go in,

0:54:510:54:55

and that was a very friendly atmosphere, you know?

0:54:550:54:58

Obviously a very happy family home.

0:54:580:55:00

And you were pretty surprised at the grounds,

0:55:000:55:04

all 2.5 acres that you didn't need!

0:55:040:55:07

Exactly! That was a bit of a surprise to both of us, I have to say.

0:55:070:55:12

Now, something completely different, and I think this is always the fun part, is the mystery house.

0:55:120:55:18

A slight curveball, very different,

0:55:180:55:21

but what this house brought was those real green values,

0:55:210:55:24

-being an eco-house.

-Absolutely.

-Definitely.

0:55:240:55:27

-What did you both think?

-In terms of the energy efficiency, its green credentials if you like,

0:55:270:55:32

it was fantastic.

0:55:320:55:33

Unfortunately, for us, it wasn't big enough again, really.

0:55:330:55:37

And it didn't grab us the way the farmhouse did.

0:55:370:55:42

I think it will definitely appeal to some people, but just not to us.

0:55:420:55:47

-What's the next step going to be?

-Well, Nicki, we love the farmhouse,

0:55:470:55:52

so I think we're going to give that some more thought.

0:55:520:55:57

We like it so much we are seriously thinking about taking it further.

0:55:570:56:01

Well, that's great news, I'm absolutely delighted.

0:56:010:56:04

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed.

0:56:040:56:06

Can I say thank you? You've been tremendous these last few days.

0:56:060:56:10

You've been so open-minded and receptive to everything we've shown you.

0:56:100:56:14

You've shown us wonderful things, you've been a fantastic guide.

0:56:140:56:17

-It's been great fun.

-Keep in touch, won't you? Let us know how you get on.

-We will.

0:56:170:56:21

It's been a real pleasure showing Nigel and Frieda the properties,

0:56:240:56:30

partly due to their open-mindedness and being open to our suggestions.

0:56:300:56:35

Although they had set their heart on Dorset, it's clear Somerset was a revelation.

0:56:350:56:40

One thing is clear, we've given them plenty of food for thought.

0:56:400:56:44

See you next time.

0:56:440:56:45

If you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

0:56:450:56:50

or England and need our help,

0:56:500:56:51

please contact us through our website...

0:56:510:56:54

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:150:57:18

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:180:57:21

Nicki Chapman helps a retired couple flee Nottingham for the Dorset countryside. They are after two living rooms, at least three bathrooms, an artist's studio and a study - all within walking distance of a village. With such an extensive wish list, will they manage to find what they want and still keep below the 500,000 pound stamp duty threshold?


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