Property series. Nicki Chapman tries to help a couple find a house big enough to accommodate three teenage boys and three rottweilers in rural Dorset.
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What is a seaside holiday without a beach hut, I say.
Today, I'm in the south coastal county that started
the great British love affair with these little iconic beauties
that pepper the British coastline. So where am I? Let's find out.
Today, we'll be helping this couple swap their urban lifestyle in Poole
for a more rural existence in the Dorset countryside.
-We'll be impressing them with period cottages.
-I'm speechless in a way.
And trying to tempt them with acreage.
That is your land. There's three acres.
But will our mystery house prove too good to resist?
From traditional day huts to radical reinvention,
Dorset's south coast is blessed
with more than its fair share of beach huts
which is appropriate as Bournemouth is their birthplace.
Edwardians built them either side of the pier in the early 20th century.
Once a mere humble shed, they now can command huge prices.
They are the perfect place for admiring this magnificent coastline.
But it's not just great views and golden sand
that gives Dorset the wow factor.
Sandwiched down on the south-west coast of England
between the counties of Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire,
perennially popular Dorset
currently ranks third in England for overnight stays,
with an impressive 2.3 million visitors last year.
The sweeping stretches of protected Jurassic coastline
were England's first natural World Heritage Site
and create a draw for tourists
who marvel at the natural rock formations
and look for the ancient fossils which put this coastline on the map.
And if it's countryside you're after, Dorset does not disappoint.
With no cities or motorways at all and few large towns,
it's resolutely rural and the landscape is spectacular.
In fact, 44% of the county is officially designated
an Area of Outstanding Beauty.
Small market towns and villages dot the landscape,
epitomising the English country idyll
with their neat rows of cottages.
All this beauty, it comes at a price.
Dorset is in the top 10 most expensive places to live
and we're not just talking beach huts.
The average detached property here
costs up to 25% more than the national average
and 8% more than neighbouring Devon.
But, if you're thinking of moving here, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Take a look at these.
For £1.5 million you could appoint yourself
head of the old school in Manswood.
A six-bedroom conversion sitting in 1.8 acres of land.
With a three-bedroom separate cottage thrown in for good measure,
it certainly makes the mark.
£520,000 buys you this cottage on the outskirts of Sutton Points.
With four bedrooms, two reception rooms
and a traditional country kitchen
there's more than enough room inside.
But it's the outside that's the real appeal in this place
where you can enjoy the truly spectacular views from the terrace.
It's period features aplenty
in this Grade II listed thatched cottage.
Situated on the outskirts of Highcliffe,
the fitted country kitchen complements the cosy sitting room.
This cute three-bedroom whitewashed chocolate box
with its pretty garden is for sale at £335,000.
Dorset has got lots of hot properties to choose from.
Let's hope today's house-hunters warm to the ones we've got lined up.
Time to meet them.
Phil and Angie have been married for three years.
Phil runs a house cleaning company and Angie's a saleswoman and artist.
They share their five-bedroom Victorian town house
in the centre of Poole
with Angie's three teenage sons from a previous relationship,
and their three Rottweilers.
But the time has come to swap urban Dorset for rural Dorset.
We've lived in a town all our lives
and it would just be nice to have the chance to move out.
We want to become self-sufficient - live off the land, if you like.
And to walk the dogs.
We're always going out into the country to walk the dogs by car
-so it would be nice to just walk the dogs in the country.
-Where we live.
Sounds like the good life.
Do they have a specific location in mind for their country dream?
We're looking at moving towards Wareham and surrounding areas.
I currently work in the Sandbanks area of Poole.
Anything around a 45 minute drive away from that area would be ideal.
And just how low rural do our seaside urbanites want to go?
I think Phil would be quite happy to live in a big field.
A house surrounded by fields.
Me, personally, I would like to have maybe a country pub,
a village atmosphere, a little store or something.
So a slight difference of opinion on location,
but what about the house itself?
I think we'd like the size...we don't want to downsize as such.
We would still be looking for a large property,
four or five bedrooms.
I think it's the living area downstairs.
We've got such a large living area that we socialise a lot in
and we don't appreciate how large it is, I suppose,
until we start to look around.
We would still like a large space downstairs with a few extra bedrooms.
When we have our socials people are going to probably stay.
But it's not just Phil, Angie and the boys we need to consider.
With Phil's mum and dad wanting to downsize,
they've decided to sell their house, pull their finances together
and make the move to the country too.
We're looking for a property with an annexe or self-contained annexe
or a building they can make into a living accommodation for them.
Sounds like we're going to have to find two houses.
Do they have anything else in mind?
My passion is art. Anything to do with art.
Restoring furniture - I love old furniture.
Really, I want a big...well, a workshop or my own little space,
that I can do my stuff and nobody comes and disturbs me.
And what about the dogs?
One of the most important things
about moving to a new property is the amount of land.
It's important the dogs, have an open space to roam around freely.
But before our family can move en masse to the country,
they need to know how much money they will have to spend
so we've invited a local estate agent to value their home.
We have a five-bedroom, semi-detached,
Victorian character residence
offering spacious, well-planned accommodation,
situated close to Poole and its amenities.
Taking this into account,
I would recommend an asking price for this property of £329,950.
What's the final spend for their big move?
If we do find somewhere that's outstanding and amazing
and ticks all the right boxes,
then we could stretch to £650,000.
Angie and Phil aren't looking to relocate too far from Poole
but they want a complete change in lifestyle.
Armed with a budget of up to £650,000,
they want a four-bedroom house with a bit of land
so Phil can grow his vegetables and Ange's dogs can run around.
They also need a separate annexe for Phil's parents
and maybe some studio space so that Angie can get creative.
So there's a lot to fit in.
The big question is, is it all achievable on their budget?
As Phil needs to commute to the Sandbanks area of Poole
on a daily basis, they don't want to be more than a 45 minute drive away
and have asked us to look in the countryside inland from Wareham.
We've lined up an array of properties for them to view.
As always, I won't be revealing the price tags straight away.
And, finally, we'll take them to the mystery house which, today,
could get some trouble brewing.
Angie and Phil, welcome to Dorset.
I was going to say sunny Dorset but, not today, unfortunately.
I think you should be welcoming me to your county.
-We should indeed. Welcome to Dorset.
-Thank you very much.
You live in Poole, within the county,
but you want to move further afield into the country
because you want a complete lifestyle change.
Definitely. We've lived in the town all our lives
and felt it would be nice to move out somewhere more rural
and give country life a go.
OK. Phil, your parents are going to be making the move with you
and they're putting money into this move as well, I believe.
Definitely. We've put our resources together
and decided to sell both our properties in Poole
and find somewhere with a self-contained annexe
where my parents can live.
You've got a budget of £650,000 for your property
and also for the annexe for your parents as well.
You probably know this already but Dorset is a very expensive county.
Bearing everything in mind, everything you need,
the land, the house, the annexe, and also the commutable distance,
are you quite flexible on that?
I think flexibility has got to come into it,
as long as it's not a great jump.
-We are very open-minded to see what there is out there.
We've got some really interesting properties for you to look at.
We've also got the mystery property as well.
-Are you ready to get started?
-Let's hit the road.
For £650,000, Angie and Phil are looking for a large family home.
They need at least four bedrooms,
a big living space with room for entertaining,
an art studio for Angie,
a self-contained annexe for Phil's parents
and loads of land
to walk those three big dogs.
We'll certainly do our best but, with that many variables,
I can already sense a compromise on its way.
So how ready are they to leave a busy town behind
and become bona fide country folk?
When you make this move which, hopefully,
we're going to be helping you with,
what do you plan to do?
Eat from the land, really.
Erm...have chickens, ducks.
Stand at a five-bar gate chewing a bit of corn...
..shouting, "Get off my land!"
If they move into the village of Hinton St Mary,
I'm sure Phil won't have to spend too much time
shooting trespassers off his land.
Conveniently located only 29 miles up the A350
from Phil's work in Sandbanks
and with a population of just over 200,
it's not overrun with potential trespassers.
The village is mainly made up
of pretty 17th and 18th century cottages
built around the local Church of St Peter
and it's one of those cottages
which we've chosen as their first potential rural residence.
As you can see, from where we're standing, it's pretty substantial.
But if you look to your right, that barn comes with the property.
Really? That is really interesting.
We are in a conservation area.
It's Grade II listed so you have to bear that in mind
when you're looking at outbuildings but it has bags of potential.
Thinking of the annexe, that possibly could be the answer.
Let's explore the house first and then we'll come on to the barn.
Dating back to 1806, this cottage is one of the oldest in the village.
Made of stone quarried just three miles down the road,
this place is about as local as it gets.
It's also served the village in its time as a local shop
and as a bakery, but will it fit the bill for them?
Into the courtyard.
Wow! Look at this.
And then straight into the house.
Oh, my goodness!
-"Goodness" in a good way?
I'm speechless in a way.
-Are you getting a good feeling?
-A good start to the tour?
Great. Let's keep going. Good!
Come through to the drawing room.
-It's actually laid out in two parts, if you like.
-This is the library.
Used at the moment but, perhaps, could be a dining area.
This sort of style is very much what I like. Old style furniture.
So, yeah, I'm thinking all that old furniture
I've got at home that needs doing up is going to look lovely in here.
-There was a reason you've been collecting it.
Good. Let's keep going.
-This is quite cosy.
-Yes, it's like a little snug.
-A little snug, yeah.
-A lovely fireplace as well.
-You like that, do you?
-Who's going to be chopping the logs?
You can actually take the front off and put a grate on it
and, obviously, it's going to need a guard,
but then you can open it up to make it a bit more dramatic.
I like this.
You've said it all, Ange.
I'll have to find something for Phil within this property.
-Something that really catches your eye as well.
-No, I am impressed.
-Ange is speaking for both of us.
What she says...I am impressed.
Well, looks like this place is a hit for both so far.
If the rest of the tour goes this well, I could be on to a winner.
Here's your kitchen. We've just gone past the downstairs cloakroom.
It's also a very, very small utility room
which has got a washing machine.
Nearly everything else is here in the kitchen.
It's a nice size, actually, isn't it?
We'd probably modernised the kitchen, wouldn't we?
Put a nice country kitchen in with a wrought iron sink.
Just off the kitchen, the room that was once the village shop
now serves as an elegant dining room.
Great for Angie and Phil's social gatherings.
But with three teenage boys moving into the cottage with them,
it's bedrooms that are at the top of their shopping list.
Let's go upstairs to see if there's room to cram them all in.
This side of the house you've got a very large bathroom
that goes with this bedroom, which is probably a good standard size.
-Gosh, yeah. It's so bright, isn't it?
-It is, yeah. Loads of light.
How is this for size because you've got quite a few boys, haven't you?
-It's a lovely size.
I wouldn't have thought the bedrooms were this big.
All the boys have got double beds, so, ideal.
-They're not up for downsizing, then, are they?
-No. Not at all.
Downsizing isn't something the boys will need to worry about.
This floor has two more double-bedrooms
connected by a shared bathroom.
On the top floor is another bathroom and a good-sized double bedroom.
A tranquil retreat for Angie and Phil, perhaps?
Well, that's them and the boys taken care of.
Now it's time to have a look at what we can do for Phil's parents
so we're heading next door to the barn.
Come on through.
Could this be the project that you're looking for?
-I think there's potential to turn it into an annexe.
It would take a lot of work but there's potential there.
Looking at the cobwebs, you're seeing it in its rawest state.
But you've got the eaves above us
-so you've got two floors to work with.
Time now to go and see your beloved garden and think about the price.
Oh, yeah. Hmm.
Surrounded by old stone walls with fragrant jasmine and roses,
this garden immediately makes you feel a million miles away
from the dreaded rat race.
It's an ideal place to relax with the dogs
and maybe munch on an apple or pear from one of the fruit trees.
-Here's your garden.
-It's just a typical country garden.
-It's absolutely gorgeous.
-Well maintained as well.
The garden has actually been split into two.
This is the more formal garden
but it's been laid to lawn at the back,
so perhaps the dogs could have that bit.
They would love it. Absolutely love it.
Phil, vegetables growing. I can see you being a bit of a farmer here.
The current owners bought a strip of land at the side of the property.
-That could be ideal for your vegetable patch.
Now it's crunch time.
How much do you think this property is currently on the market for?
I would have thought the top end of our budget maybe.
Go on. Let me put you on the spot. How much?
£615,000. Around the £615,000 mark.
OK. It has been on the market for a year.
The current owner is very, very keen to sell.
The original asking price was £699,000.
He has dropped it.
This is his lowest he's going to go.
It's currently on the market for £529,000.
You're joking? £529,000.
The extra money could do a lot of work on the annexe
and on the main house itself.
-I am surprised.
-That is brilliant.
Well, it does give you lots of options with that extra money.
Do you fancy having another look around the cottage and the garden?
-I'll catch up with you in a little while.
I think we've hit the nail firmly on the head with this property.
this surprisingly roomy cottage fits this family like a glove.
It delivers four bedrooms in the main house,
a large garden for the dogs
and enough money left over to convert the barn into an annexe
to accommodate Phil's parents.
There isn't an art studio for Angie
and sleep-over guests will have to kip on the sofa.
But is that a sacrifice worth making?
-Look at this.
-This room is so airy, isn't it?
The bathroom, it's just ideal for the boys, isn't it?
Bedroom, bathroom. Their own sort of area, isn't it?
That natural light coming through from both windows.
I absolutely love this house.
I love the higgledy-piggledy sort of layout, up and down.
That is just what I had imagined.
There's just so much potential in there. I could do loads here.
Look, it's all wooden flooring. Ideal. Absolutely beautiful.
Seating area. I love that.
-I like the fireplace. Bags of potential.
-Are you happy?
-I am indeed.
Initially, I was sceptical, because of the size of the land
but the actual property itself,
I am very impressed with the size of the rooms, the layout
and the annexe as well,
that could be turned into a self-contained annexe
for my parents.
It could potentially become a nice family home.
-Have you seen enough?
-I think so, yes.
-Happy, smiley faces.
And that's just the start because we've got more to show you.
-So let's keep going.
Angie and Phil have already been taking a few trips out of Poole
into the surrounding countryside,
especially to Wareham, where they've been doing
the occasional shopping trip and meeting friends for lunch.
Earlier in the week we gave them the opportunity
to take a walk around with local historian, Robert McLish,
and delve a little deeper into the town's past,
visiting one of Wareham's most famous admirers
at St Martin's On The Walls.
Here we are in St Martin's, St Martin's On The Walls,
built in the late Saxon time.
It's probably the most complete Saxon church in the whole of Dorset
with the frescoes, drawings on the walls, paintings and so on.
And, of course, Lawrence of Arabia.
What's the relevance of Lawrence of Arabia's effigy being here?
T.E. Lawrence, when he'd finished with the Lawrence of Arabia bit,
he was stationed at Bovington, Bovington Camp near here,
as an airman, under the name of Ross.
He loved Wareham. He used to come and eat in the restaurant here,
he loved coming here.
This church was closed for all the 18th and 19th centuries
and he wanted it open, this old Saxon church.
He was one of a number who fought
to have the church opened and it was.
So Sir Eric Kennington, the sculptor, made this.
It was going to go to Westminster Abbey
but we're glad to perpetuate his name in this place.
In fact, the walls referred to in the name St Martin On The Walls
were built by the Saxons to protect the town
from the attentions of the Norsemen.
Cleverly disguised as grassy hillocks,
these days you might not realise
that they're the most complete earthen walls in the country.
But we're looking for rather more modern walls,
maybe with a roof attached and a garden
so it's on with the property search.
Our next house is in Gillingham, the most northerly town in Dorset.
At 32 miles from Sandbanks
it's right on the edge of Phil's desired travel time for work
but I'm hoping they'll think it's worth it.
Gillingham is a popular commuter town given its proximity to the A303
and it's considerably larger than Hinton St Mary
with a population of well over 10,000,
served by more than 70 local shops.
The property we're taking Angie and Phil to see
is well away from the town,
off a country lane, less than two miles south of Gillingham centre.
Here is your next property.
-And this is your barn conversion.
Believe it or not, this is a 19th century building, originally.
-But I think you have got to judge it as a new-build.
Because there aren't any of those period features inside.
It does feel as if it's brand new.
But what this property does have is an annexe.
-Which has already been converted.
Originally it was a garage.
So it could be the whole package.
We'll look at the annexe last but let's go into the main house first.
Sitting in a large garden with an annexe, outbuildings
and plenty of room for the kids and dogs,
this place ticks lots of boxes.
But will it have enough character to inspire art lover Angie?
Here we are, as ever in the country,
you see that people very rarely use their front door.
They always use the side entrance,
so that's the way we've brought you in.
-Here is your living room, your sitting room.
-Quite a blank canvas?
Again, it's got a nice airy feel. Quite open plan so it's quite nice.
Although it's quite minimal, this actually works for you?
-It's lovely, but I'm not too sure.
-Well, let's keep exploring.
I'll take you through to the kitchen and the dining room.
Again, open plan. Very modern, done to a high spec.
It's lovely...a lovely kitchen. Nice and open plan.
But, again, it's not got my little bit of cottagey thing that I like.
I'm trying to get completely out to the countryside. But this is lovely.
It's beautifully done. A lovely kitchen...but modern.
This kitchen has been done up to a very high standard
but, unfortunately, it's not pushing the right buttons
with Angie and Phil.
Also on this floor is a large bedroom with an en suite.
Let's see if that gets a better reaction.
-This would be the master bedroom.
-A nice size. A good size, yeah.
It's by far the biggest bedroom. It also has an en suite.
-That's a bonus.
-Go on, Angie, what's going through your mind?
It's lovely but it's really not what I am looking for.
Even, whatever I could do to it, I've got to look upon,
wherever we go in this move is going to be our last move.
I've got to...we've got to be 110% sure it's what we want.
That's what we aim for anyway.
Oh, dear. It looks like we may have misjudged this one.
The modern feel of the house isn't going down as well as I'd hoped.
Will seeing the upstairs bedrooms make a difference?
Mind the child gate.
So, you've got a large double in there.
You've got a single here. Loads of storage space.
And another single through here
which I think has the best view in house.
-It certainly is a nice view.
-It is indeed. Beautiful view.
-No, it's very nice.
It is a lovely property.
I think this sort of property
-would suit a young family starting out.
We've still got the annexe to take a look at and those outbuildings.
And good old Dorset, the sun has come out,
so let's take a look at the gardens as well. Phil, after you.
As Phil's parents are selling up
and chipping in with Phil and Angie to buy a property together,
a self-contained annexe for them to live in is one of the top priorities
and this house has an absolute cracker.
As you can see, this is a self-contained flat.
You've got the open kitchen here, living area, plenty of storage.
A downstairs bathroom, because there's no upstairs,
and a double bedroom which leads out on to the driveway.
It's an ideal annexe, really.
The type of annexe we look for, I think, that they would probably like.
The annexe is ideal.
It's what we've been looking for as an annexe goes
but, I think...yeah, nice size.
A good reaction to the annexe, then. Things are looking up!
And I still have my trump cards to play outside in the garden.
So you've seen the barn, you've seen the annexe.
Behind the annexe is a stable block, enough for two horses,
but I know you don't ride so we were thinking possibly a studio for you.
-Good thinking, yeah. Very good.
-This house has so much potential.
But you've seen the gardens.
It doesn't quite have the land, the allotments,
-you were looking for.
In an ideal world, how much land would you like?
-I suppose a minimum of a couple of acres, maybe.
-How about three?
Take a look over there. There's a seven-bar gate. That's your land.
There's three acres, just across the country lane.
I kid you not, I joked to Ange,
I said what a joke it would be
if they said there was land across there.
That land comes with the property.
With that in mind,
how much do you think it's currently on the market for?
I would say, because we've got everything that we've asked for,
it's got to be at the top. £650,000.
Yeah, I would say close to and in and around £625,000, maybe.
The property has been on the market for 18 months.
The owners have dropped the price by £100,000.
The current asking price is £495,000.
Oh, you're joking me!
You can see now why we found this property for you.
It does fit all your criteria. It's way under budget.
You wouldn't need to spend any money, unless you spend
what remaining money there was just to make it your own.
But don't answer that, Angie. Why don't you both take another look,
-think about it, and I'll meet you in a minute?
I think I've thrown them a curve ball there.
They both overestimated the price.
this property has absolutely everything they asked for.
Four bedrooms, a self-contained annexe for Phil's parents,
loads of land for the dogs to run around, and even stables,
which could be converted into an art studio for Angie.
But does this house have enough of the rustic charm
they're looking for?
The annexe is ideal for your mum and dad. I think they'd love it.
Definitely. Good size, plenty of natural light,
Mum could make it her own.
-I don't think the house...
-It's not us.
It's not what we're looking for so far as the property is concerned.
Saying that, the annexe was an ideal size as far as annexes go.
The outbuildings were ideal.
The gardens situated around the house were ideal,
as is the amount of land.
There's a fair bit of land here, really.
-The dogs would love it.
A big vegetable plot.
A beautiful house. It's a lovely house.
But, for me, it's just too modern.
It's an ideal annexe, ideal land,
but, for me, sadly, it's not my taste.
Has that got you thinking?
I think we're still in shock.
Come on, let's keep going.
At 88 miles, the Dorset coastline
is by no means the longest in the country
but it's certainly a gem in this county's crown.
From two million year old rock formations and fossils
to endless stretches of golden sand,
it was also the birthplace of the ever so British beach hut.
Britain is once again in love with its beach huts.
It is an affair that may have had its ups and downs,
but the last few years have seen the beach hut
firmly re-establishing itself at the top of the core barometer.
The Dorset coastline is covered in them and some of the prices
and most desirable ones can be found on Mudeford Sandspit,
just east of Bournemouth.
I've come to meet Andrew Bath,
who has had one of the Mudeford huts in the family for half a century
and who has kindly invited me to come and have a look around.
The Spit is easiest to get to by sea,
so Andrew is taking me on the short cruise
across Christchurch Harbour in his boat.
Beach huts have their origins way back in the 18th Century
and they continued to grow in popularity
until they were made a slightly redundant
when foreign package holidays took off in the 70s.
But in these days of crunch top credit,
the plucky British beach hut is making a comeback.
Across the country, new blocks of designer huts are being built
to keep up with demand
and the old ones are being upgraded and spruced up
to meet the discerning needs of the noughties holiday maker.
So which one is yours?
-This one here.
-Can we take a peek? I would love to.
The hut we are visiting
was bought for £400 by Andrew's father in the early 60s
and he's been spending his holidays here ever since.
This is not a beach hut, this is luxury!
It's a beach hut to us.
The beach huts here in Mudeford
are a bit smarter than your average ones.
You can't live in them permanently but with electricity, gas
and running water, they are more like a second home
than a shack to hide in when you're changing out of your wet trunks.
So you can sleep here?
In some beach huts, you're not allowed to stay overnight.
There's only one other place,
I think it's in Suffolk, where you can stay overnight.
We can't stay overnight all year.
From November to February, we can't stay here.
Not that we'd want to because it would be very cold.
But it's a fairly special arrangement, yes.
-Do they ever come on the market?
-They do come on the market.
There's normally one or two on the market all the time.
But when I say on the market, they tend to change hands with people
that either have rented here and expressed an interest in buying.
They're not advertised widely
outside this community because they don't need to be.
A hut of this quality doesn't come cheap.
If you want to get your hands on one, expect to pay up to £145,000.
But this proud hut owner won't be cashing in.
You could offer me whatever you liked, it isn't for sale.
It stays here for the family.
They might not be getting their hands on this hut,
but if Angie and Phil want to spend a weekend here,
they can rent a similar one for between £100 and £150 per weekend.
With the son beginning to set on their first day of house hunting,
it's time to take stock of the houses they have seen so far.
-I enjoyed it. We didn't have a clue where we were going.
I still didn't have a clue where I was! I was looking at the cottage.
I fell in love with the cottage, totally. It had so much potential.
-I loved the garden. The garden was just idyllic.
My only scepticism about the first property is,
we ideally wanted land,
and I'm not sure how big that annex really needed to be.
But that is my only criticism.
Apart from that, it was really, really nice.
The second property, again, lovely setting.
-It had the land, that you really liked, but...
But overall, I know it's a converted barn, but to me,
it just seemed like a modern new-build.
-Lovely. A lovely property.
-Yeah. But not for us.
-It didn't do it for me.
-But it's been an adventure.
-It's been interesting.
-It has been.
-I look forward to what we've got to come.
Angie and Phil are looking to move from Poole
out into the surrounding countryside.
With a maximum budget of £650,000, they have set us a tricky task
of finding an ample house
with room for them and three teenage boys,
an annex for Phil's parents, and some land.
They've seen a couple of properties so far,
but not yet the mystery house
and we might just have saved the best until last.
Wow! It's lovely.
-Say that a bit louder!
-Music to my ears.
We couldn't have got off to a better start yesterday with Angie and Phil.
Angie fell completely in love with the very first property,
before she had even set foot inside the front door.
Now, whether this is a true love affair or just an early crush
remains to be seen.
Today, we're going to show them some properties
that hopefully will get both their pulses racing.
Our next offering is right out in the sticks
in the tiny hamlet of King's Stag,
around 35 miles from Phil's work in Sandbanks.
For anything other than a few snacks from the local garage,
they'll have to pop up the road
to the local town of Sturminster Newton,
which was once home to poet and author, Thomas Hardy.
But we are countryside bound and what it lacks in local amenities,
King's Stag more than makes up for with plenty of rural walks
that Angie and Phil can enjoy with their dogs.
Finding a character property
that ticks all the boxes on their wish-list is proving tough.
On paper, this 1980s house
has everything they want and I think Phil will love it,
but will it have that elusive right feeling Angie is after?
This is the property.
It's a new build but it does have an annex at the side
that was extended in 2005.
First impressions, Angie?
-I like old.
I like it. The initial look is, yeah, I'm happy with this.
-Shall we get started?
OK, let's see if I can convince you on a new build.
Having only been around since the '80s,
this fine family house is definitely not a quaint country cottage.
but will its many other qualities be enough to impress Angie and Phil?
Come on through. The traditional entrance for a new property.
You have got the cloakroom here.
Let's take you straight in to the drawing room.
It's smaller than I had imagined, actually.
Yeah. Compact. More compact than I would...
It's lovely. It's a lovely room but again, it's not me.
This is just the first room so let's keep going
-because there are other merits to this property.
Phil, if you go straight through,
I'm going to take you into the kitchen.
Wow! A bigger room.
So you've got your kitchen diner.
I know the drawing room you think is a bit small for your needs,
but I think this is a great family space.
I do think it is lovely and airy. Very nice.
Again, a seated area. Somewhere to eat with the family. It's nice.
-We do like that, don't we?
A kitchen with a nice, large seating area.
-That would fit our table in, wouldn't it?
-Yes. Very much so.
-So you like this part of the house.
This section actually leads us into the annex
so let me take you through and explain how it works.
-This, originally, was the garage.
It has been extended.
But this is it so little quarter, if you like.
But it does share the kitchen.
However through that door is the garage.
This house isn't listed or in a conservation area,
so with the right planning permission,
-you can actually extend this into a kitchen diner as well.
Close this door off, and you have got you annex.
-Yes. Pretty good.
Shall I show you the garage?
Then you can think of how it might work for you.
Take a look in here. Go through. It is pretty big.
Yes. There's potential here, isn't there, to turn this into something.
I'm glad Phil is seeing the possibilities
and on the upper level of the annex,
they won't have to lift a finger.
You have a good size shower room up here.
-And quite a good, large double bedroom.
-This is ideal, isn't it?
-I do like it.
I like the skylights, definitely,
because it brings a lot of light and opens it all out.
-It is very nice.
-I think my parents would like this as an annex.
Making the transition from the house, downsizing to an annex,
I think it's a natural progression and they would like it.
So this is where they would be.
Let's show you where you would be sleeping.
We have to go back into the original part of the house.
Through the kitchen is a utility room
with washing machine and dryer,
and a large, bright study which could easily be converted
into a spare room for guests to stay in.
But the rest of the family will be sleeping upstairs.
So you have a big, spacious landing.
Thinking of the boys, a large double bedroom there.
I'll let you explore in a minute.
Average size double in there.
So that's two out of the three boys happy.
A fight at the end of the corridor because that's a single.
They'd have to fight amongst themselves. Family bathroom.
-And this is the master.
-What do you think?
It's nice and airy and pretty and new and nice.
-Is a big enough?
-This is a nice size bedroom.
I think we would have a bit of a problem with a single room.
It's going to be a bit of a fight over that, obviously.
Apart from that, it is an ideal family home.
-I think it is a lovely family home.
-It is in nice family home.
-And it's spacious.
-You don't feel enclosed in at all upstairs.
-Not at all.
You've got your en-suite there. Stick your head round.
-Shall we brave the weather and step outside?
Let's go for it.
I get the distinct feeling
that Angie isn't getting the right vibe here,
whilst Phil is more open-minded.
Perhaps she'll come round when I show her
how much outside space they get with this house.
I think we might need a brolly.
Oh, actually, the weather is being kind to us.
As you come out, you've got very limited garden here,
but you have a nice garden to the side of the property.
If you come over this fence here, actually it's a bridge,
there's a ditch, through here into the paddock.
You actually have a stable block there.
And then if you look around you,
if you follow the line all the way around,
all this land, all this paddock comes with this property.
So the pretty garden, the annex with the potential to extend,
the four bedrooms and all this land.
Yeah, I am impressed with this.
How much do you think the asking price is for this property?
Angie, how about you?
I would say, as I always do, around six.
It has just come on the market, it has been on since May,
and the current asking price is £575,000.
-It's well within budget, isn't it?
-Well within your budget.
And it wouldn't cost you very much to do the annex.
I mean, there is nothing. Everything on the list is here.
Definitely food for thought.
Why don't you have another wander around?
-I'll catch up with you in a while.
At £575,000, this five-bedroom detached family house
is well within their budget,
leaving plenty of cash to convert the garage into a kitchen
and make the annex self-sufficient.
The house sits in 3.25 acres of land with gardens and a paddock.
So plenty of space for the dogs and there's also a stable
which could be converted into an art studio for Angie.
So what are rethinking?
-It is. It is a lovely kitchen.
And of course, I love those kind of sinks.
But I just haven't got the right vibe. The land is ideal.
The garden is beautiful and the annex is great.
You have a lot of the things we wanted on our list
but the house hasn't got that right oldy worldy feeling for me.
-Potential there for a studio?
-What more could you ask really?
-And with the views.
-All that inspiration.
-All those views.
The garden is a lovely arrangement. Set out lovely.
You cross that lovely wooden bridge and all of a sudden,
you're in 3.2 acres of land.
That was a big positive for me.
I wonder if this house with all its land has changed your mind?
You have certainly given us food for thought.
You are not giving anything away. Let's press on.
It is time for the mystery property.
Phil and Angie know pretty much straight away
as soon as they see a house
whether they're going to like it or not.
I hope with this one, they keep an open mind.
Our mystery property
is in the excellently named village of Fontmell Magna.
It lies just east of the A350, around 25 miles north of Sandbanks.
Fontmell Magna is a picturesque village of mills and cottages,
set in the Blackmore Vale,
and serviced by a church and a handy local post office and shop.
It takes its name from Fontmell Brook,
which flows through the village on its way to the River Stour.
It's the availability of this water source
which led to the construction of our mystery property.
We have been busily ticking Angie and Phil's boxes so far.
Let's see what happens when we compromise
and leave a few things out.
So here we are in Fontmell Magna. A beautiful village.
I don't think we are seeing it at its best today.
But the reason we're here is for the most amazing mystery home
and it's just there front of you.
What are first thoughts when you look at it?
-Very much so.
-I want to get inside.
Good. Come on then, let's get out of this rain.
Built in 1875, this property might look rather wee from the front,
but what you can't see is the former brewery attached to it at the back,
which is far from pint-sized.
What a day! Dorset, but not at not its finest!
-Wow! Goodness me!
-This is lovely.
This is like a tardis.
If you could think of loft living in Dorset,
I think this house might just have it for you.
-Wow! It's lovely.
-Say that a bit louder.
LAUGHTER It's lovely.
-Music to my ears. So are you ready to explore?
-Yes. Let's go.
You're going to enjoy this.
So through there, you've got your snug and the utility room.
You've got this fantastic feature here, this archway.
This is amazing.
-And this is more the living area, if you like.
Natural light coming through again so that's a good feature.
I love it. It's open plan.
This is a lovely space, but just take a look at this.
There are kitchen diners and there are kitchen diners!
Wow! Very nice.
So, so far, from looking at property outside and then walking in...
-It's a tardis.
-It is completely different.
-Not what we expected.
-OK. Shall we keep exploring?
-Upstairs we go.
Finally, I think she's got that magic feeling she was after.
All this history and character seems to be working
and it's about to get even better.
This is a house you could easily get lost in
and it's not often you can say that.
As you can see, you have got all the original beams.
You have got the exposed brickwork there
and up those stairs is a very large double bedroom.
And you feel you are in the attic of the house
but you are only halfway up the property.
We must go and explore that a bit later on
because I want to go and show you what is down here.
So you have got the biggest airing cupboard ever through there,
which is actually massive and you could make it into a bathroom
because this property has got five bedrooms.
So there is the potential there, which leads quite nicely into this.
-Look at the size! It is gorgeous.
-It is massive.
-It is so unusual.
-That's the word.
-It's got character.
That is what I like in a property. Definitely.
There's lots more for Angie to like on this floor
as the corridors meander around two more bedrooms and a study.
But it is upstairs on the top floor
that the house's biggest wow waits in store.
So here we are at the very top of the house.
What a tardis!
This is absolutely amazing.
-It certainly is.
It just seems to get bigger and bigger.
Goodness! Open plan.
-It's got a wow factor.
-This is where the hops used to be dried.
They have converted it and used it as a living space
-and I think it is amazing.
-It is gorgeous.
You've got a fabulous en-suite.
I am amazed. I am speechless. No, I am speechless.
And now it's time to brave the rain and show you outside.
We'd better get our umbrellas.
The house is definitely pushing all the right buttons with Angie
and Phil seems pretty impressed as well.
But will he be as impressed when I show him the outside space?
Those three dogs need a lot of exercise.
There is no let-up.
But it's not going to put us off
because I have to show you the garden.
It's very rarely that you have a garden
with a stream running through it.
It actually goes under the property.
-Angie, that is crying out as a studio for you.
And here is your garden.
Completely enclosed, so the dogs wouldn't get out.
It actually is a fair size because it goes to the side of the property.
-It's very nice.
-So you've seen all there is to see. It's money time.
How much do you think the mystery property is on the market for?
I would value this property at around £529,950.
It's just gone on the market for £500,000.
That's fantastic. But...
-But we haven't got an annex.
-I was waiting for you to mention that.
Every time we went up a floor, I thought, they're going to ask.
-I kept waiting, thinking.
And there aren't any other surprises with this property.
It's surprise enough.
But with that money left over in your budget,
half-a-million for the house gives you £150,000 to play with.
Have you considered getting a separate cottage for your parents?
-Because there is enough money in the purse.
We have got something for you to look at, just to get you thinking.
-Shall we go and take a look?
£179,000 could buy this charming one-bedroom cottage
for Phil's parents.
But how will they feel about splitting up the family?
-Wow! Look at this!
-This is gorgeous. Ideal.
-What's in there? The kitchen?
-Look at this.
-I love the floor.
-Very well done.
-It's beautiful. I love it.
-I can see Mum in here.
-And me. Lovely.
Let's see what they've got upstairs.
I love the staircase.
It is a lovely size bedroom, look.
-A quaint little window.
At £500,000, this converted brewery has five bedrooms,
extensive living space, an outside studio for Angie
and a good-sized garden.
It also comes way under budget leaving them £150,000
to find a separate cottage for Phil's parents.
Unfortunately, it does not have the land they were dreaming of.
The mystery house, to me, was a fantastic property but for me,
it lacked the land I required.
It's a lovely house but unfortunately,
it's not a contender for me.
I found the mystery house amazing. Absolutely amazing.
It had such character and I absolutely loved it.
Obviously, the part about the annex, an interesting idea,
but realistically, the whole point of moving together
would be so that we were together.
So that' s it. They have seen all the properties we had to offer
and it's time for a well deserved rest
and a chat to find out which of the houses most tickled their fancy.
We' re going to start off with the cottage.
Angie is fighting the grin straight away!
-What were your first impressions?
-I absolutely loved it.
It was just my dream little cottage.
The garden was gorgeous
and I just thought there was so much I could do with it.
And just the layout of it. It was big.
I think the history as well, as you walked into every room,
it just oozed history.
Yes. A lovely feel.
And it had an outbuilding which was very close to the main cottage.
Could you see the potential of converting that for your parents?
I was slightly apprehensive at first because of the size of it,
but with Angie's vision,
she could see it developing into a nice size annex.
Yeah, I think it would have been unusual.
I think we could have turned that into a nice annex for them.
We saw the converted barn which actually looked like a new house.
Tell me a little bit about that property.
The property itself never jumped out at me.
It was a shame because you had the annex, it had the land,
it had the outbuildings, but it just didn't have that oomph for us.
We went to the village of King's Stag
and saw the new house built in the '80s
with the annex on the side with the extension.
What did you initially think about that property?
I liked it initially.
Stood outside looking at it, I thought, yeah, that's nice.
Slightly despondent once I entered.
It seemed to become quite enclosed for me.
I thought it would not be ideal
for our family, the size of family we have.
It was just a shame because the land was beautiful
and there was an ideal little studio I could have had where the stable was
but it was just the outlay of the house.
It wasn't us at all, character wise.
We had a mystery house, which I always love.
It's my favourite part.
Tell me what you thought as you walked through the door?
That was amazing. That was wow factor.
We walked into that door and it was just like the tardis.
Yes, very impressive.
We would so have loved that type of house if it was just us.
But at that price of £500,000,
it gives you an extra £150,000 to play with.
We looked at a cottage which could be suitable for your parents.
Tell me what you thought when you walked through that door?
-I was pleasantly surprised going into that cottage.
-It was beautiful.
It was a lovely little traditional cottage.
I quite fancied it myself actually!
Having seen these properties, what's going to be your next move?
I think this has been an amazing journey but it's made us decide now.
We know what we are looking for. We want a traditional cottage style.
For me, that cottage was gorgeous.
I loved the feel of it.
I definitely would like to have a look at it again.
For me, the search will continue.
We'll have further looks.
It's been brilliant. We've had a brilliant time.
Well, it has been a great few days. Thank you both so much.
And if you do find your dream property,
-you will let us know, won't you?
The last few days have reaffirmed in Phil and Angie's minds
that although they currently live here in Dorset,
this is still the county they want to spend the rest of their lives in.
Regarding property, I think we got pretty close.
But with such a big wish-list, we didn't quite make it.
But it's only a matter of time
before they make that move to the country.
Join us again next time.
If you want to escape to the country
in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England,
and would like our help, please apply online at:
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With a budget of £650,000, Nicki Chapman helps a couple who are ready to swap urban Dorset for rural Dorset. They are looking for a house big enough to accommodate three teenage boys and three rottweilers. Four bedrooms and plenty of land are a must, plus space for entertaining; an art studio and a self-contained annexe are also on their wish list.