Northamptonshire Escape to the Country


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Northamptonshire

Property series. Denise Nurse is helping a couple to cast off from urban life by the River Thames and seek out peace and relaxation in the country.


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Transcript


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Today I'm in a county that is famous for two things.

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The first, a very decisive battle that was fought here in 1645.

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The second is shoes. Want to know how the two of them are linked?

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Join me in a moment to find out.

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In today's show, I'll be helping two city slickers cast off from life

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by the River Thames and seek out peace and relaxation in the country.

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We'll be seeing houses that make them jump for joy.

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SHE LAUGHS

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Not just space for hanging!

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Fantastic!

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Jumping up and down.

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Brilliant!

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And there's our mystery house, which might call for some drastic action.

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The furniture we have at the moment

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we'll just stick on a bonfire and start again.

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Today I'm in Northamptonshire and this is a monument to the

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Battle of Naseby, the definitive battle in the English Civil War.

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Not only did Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army win that fight,

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they did it wearing shoes and boots made in this very county.

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And that is something that Northamptonshire

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is still famous for. There were 600 pairs of boots

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and 4,000 pairs of shoes marching across this field.

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That's a lot of leather.

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But leather is not the only thing that this county is famous for.

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Northamptonshire has been shaped by its

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strategic position in central England

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since the time of the Romans, with transport links by road

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and river ensuring it became a prosperous trading centre.

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The production of leather emerged as one of Northamptonshire's key trades

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and at the height of the Industrial Revolution

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was reputed to be the tanning capital of the world.

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Besides being a hub for industry, Northamptonshire is often dubbed

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the county of spires and squires, due to the many stately homes

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and churches that rise up from its vast, undulating landscape.

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As for properties, there's a great range, from thatched cottages

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made from local sand ironstone, to lavish mansion houses,

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making it an ideal place to seek out a rural hideaway.

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Northamptonshire is great for commuters.

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The M1 runs right the way through the county and there's a regular

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hour service from Northampton station direct to London Euston.

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And those transport links are set to improve.

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In 2011, they are upgrading Northampton station and by 2015,

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there should be brand-new high-speed trains travelling at 125mph.

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And the property prices are pretty attractive round here, too.

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The average detached house comes in at 11% less

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than the national average.

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So let's take a look at what's on offer right now.

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For £1.5 million, this seven bedroom

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stone built house in Gayton

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has spectacular character features in spades.

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The kitchen diner has been beautifully modernised with doors

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leading out to the large garden and a host of outbuildings.

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This restored three bedroom thatched cottage in Spratton,

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on at £410,000, has a contemporary feel

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but retains its beams and fireplaces.

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The kitchen is impressively high spec with granite worktops

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and there are doors opening out to the garden.

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For £325,000, this attractive three bedroom cottage

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has a cosy inglenook fireplace in the dining hall

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and an inviting sitting room with lots of light.

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The garden is divided into zones and has the bonus

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of a separate stone built office.

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With such delightful properties on the market, I am pretty hopeful

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about our house hunt for today's buyers. So let's meet them.

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Paul, a tax adviser, and Lorna, have lived in their London

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end-of-terrace townhouse in Docklands for the last five years

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and have loved lapping up urban life on the river.

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But after a six month holiday in New Zealand, they have recently

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had a major rethink of their priorities

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and a move to Northamptonshire is very much on the cards,

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which racing car addict, Paul, is very pleased about.

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I regularly visit Silverstone so I know the area well

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and I've gradually introduced Lorna to that area.

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But it's not just Silverstone that's a driving factor

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for their move to Northamptonshire.

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Paul needs space for a few cars of his own.

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The house is not ideal for me any more because I have several cars.

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It would be great to get them out of storage and into our own garage.

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He also has an urge to have a boy's shed.

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They may need more space but don't want to feel isolated.

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I think the sort of location we're looking for for our next house

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is a village location within striking distance of a market town

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so we can cycle in, which is what we like doing.

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What kind of lifestyle are they hoping for in the country?

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The lifestyle we are looking for in the country is probably

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a lot more relaxed and quiet than we have had in London.

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We are both used to rushing around for work

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and our social lives are really busy.

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Lorna in particular has very definite ideas

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on her likes and dislikes.

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The sort of house I don't want to move to is the typical

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chocolate-box thatched cottage style, with lots and lots of beams

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running across the ceiling, low ceilings, small rooms.

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In the new house I would like to have four bedrooms,

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dining room, study, utility room, outdoor space, garage,

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and if we can get all those in one place that would be fantastic.

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I'm more flexible than Lorna.

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As long as there's room for me to either have an outbuilding

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which I can use for the vehicles, or create one myself, that's fine.

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Interesting. In a county full of rustic properties,

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Lorna's saying "no" to thatch, and "yes" to minimal.

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I'm used to clean lines, minimalist interiors, contemporary feel,

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so I'm hoping that whatever we find

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has that modern feel that we've become used to.

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This is my study. I run my business from here. It's really important

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that, when we move, that I have an equivalent room.

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One of the main reasons for moving is more outdoor space

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as now we only have a balcony with two window boxes.

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I want to be able to grow my own vegetables.

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You can't imagine growing carrots in a window box, so if we can move and

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have that outdoor space and vegetable patch, that would be really cool.

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So that they can buy a new home,

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they need to know how much they have to spend.

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We've asked a local estate agent to value their house.

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This property's beautifully presented,

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brilliantly positioned for a family home,

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so we recommend an initial asking price of £575,000.

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With that in mind, what's the budget for the new house?

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Our budget for the new house is around £500,000.

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Thatches are a no-go zone.

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But if there's a garage for the car collection

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and enough space in the garden for a vegetable patch, they'll be happy.

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As long as we also find them four bedrooms, a study, some reception rooms and a large kitchen.

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And they want that elusive mix of old and new.

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Some beams but not too many. An old shell with a contemporary interior.

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That's becoming something of a trend on this show. I'm seeing it a lot -

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but it doesn't make it any easier.

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With Paul and Lorna looking for good road links,

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our house search will radiate out from the market town of Brackley, taking in some stunning countryside.

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In today's show, we'll be viewing three great properties

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so I won't reveal the price until they have had a guess first.

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The last of the three will be our awe-inspiring mystery house.

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Good morning, Paul and Lorna.

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Thank you for bringing me here on this fabulous morning.

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Great county, Northamptonshire.

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Close to Silverstone. Is that the only reason we're here?

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Yes.

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Different ideas on this one.

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We are in central London at the moment and love it, but with friends and family moving out of London

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and being located around the country, if we can move somewhere a bit more central, it would make life easier.

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So, a lot of thought has gone into this.

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Yes.

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Not just about the car racing.

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After six months in New Zealand, you have had time to consider this.

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New Zealand's pretty stunning. Why back home rather than there?

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It's a lovely place to visit, beautiful scenery, wonderful people

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-but we don't think we could live there. We would rather go and visit people.

-And the style of property?

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Conversions - that's really what you're looking for.

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I would love a barn conversion.

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Something that's got a period look, character, but inside, modern, contemporary, a little bit funky.

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New Zealanders are very keen on a bloke shed and I think that's a wonderful idea.

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So, it's a big wish list. How much money do we have to play with?

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-We have around £500,000.

-If it was perfect, we would go to 550.

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OK, so there's a little bit of room there if it's the ideal property and you don't have to do anything.

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That's good to know because we obviously have fantastic properties. We should get going.

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This is a real, big change for you.

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Are you sure you going to be able to make the decision easily together?

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When you look at the house, do you think you're going to just know?

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I believe, if you walk into a place, it feels right or it feels wrong.

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So I'm hoping that sort of gut instinct will kick in, either way.

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It certainly happened for us as soon as we walked in at London.

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Yeah, the house that we're in at the moment.

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-So you're expecting the same magic again.

-Yes.

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If a conversion is what they want, a conversion is what they will get.

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Our first property is just over four miles from Brackley in the village of Croughton.

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For drink and provisions, they could bike a couple of miles down the road

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to Charlton with its traditional pub, village shop and post office.

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There are some eye-catching properties in the area, including a Methodist chapel dating back to 1904

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but converted some 15 years ago. Right, this is it.

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I didn't realise you were bringing us to the mystery house first.

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It feels like it should be the mystery but given the requirement of a conversion,

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this is going to deliver on that.

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You're surrounded by neighbours and obviously we are on a road.

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How do you feel about the location?

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That's my only reservation is the road.

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-It's quite busy.

-But I like the front.

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The front's amazing. You've got wonderful arched windows

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and that feeling of a church but you can see it's been converted.

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Well, the unique character appeals to Lorna.

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Let's hope they both see the light as we step inside.

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In we come.

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Through the vestibule.

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-Wow!

-Indeed.

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-Nice space.

-You have some useful things through here as well.

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you've got a room through there which they're currently using as a gym - quite a good space.

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Over here we've got the downstairs loo and a utility room.

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-That's the washing area, so it's away from things.

-Good. I like that sort of thing.

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The room I really want you to see - one of the many - is through here.

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Through the big, grand entrance hallway into...

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Very grand...

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Yes! Like!

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Good space.

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Wood burner.

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This would be perfect.

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It's a nice shape as well.

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Easy to put things in and move things around. Yeah, I like it.

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-What else?

-She likes it, what else?

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A fabulous kitchen. If you like this, you're going to love what I'm going to show you next.

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'Can it get any better? I can't wait to see Lorna's reaction.'

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What do you think of this?

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Like it. Look at the size of this.

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I love it already. I just want to be able to sell our house!

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This kitchen is exactly what I'd want. Space. Storage.

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Everything's been done to the highest specifications, great attention to detail.

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-That, for example, is your fridge.

-Sold! Are they leaving it?!

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-They're leaving it. All of this stays.

-Stunning. Stunning room.

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Stunning.

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Two big yeses so far.

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We're heading upstairs now.

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What do I need to show you up there?

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Bedrooms, bathrooms en suite.

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"Bedrooms, bathrooms en suite!"

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More of the same please.

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This is a kitchen where no expense has been spared and there are more

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beautiful design features on the way upstairs.

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The light streaming through on this stairway is glorious. Isn't it?

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-All thanks to these amazing windows which have obviously stayed from the original chapel.

-Double aspect.

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Double aspect with huge windows, a great feature.

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You've got the beams and a fair amount of space.

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Bit more than perhaps you were expecting?

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Can't see yet.

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-How many bedrooms were you looking for, Lorna?

-I wanted four.

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I'm quite happy with three.

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-He'd go down to three.

-Do you think you could cope with five?

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-Five? Up here?

-Yes.

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Yes, indeed. There are five bedrooms.

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One would make an ideal study for Paul.

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And that leaves them three comfortable guest rooms including a nice sized double

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and two stylish singles, one with some lovely old beam details.

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But we'll take a look at the family bathroom.

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-Here we go.

-Wow! Oh!

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It's small space but actually we've got a lot in it and it doesn't feel small. It feels really big.

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I like the huge mirror and that, in itself, is what makes the room look twice the size.

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The skylight, if you're looking out at the sky, brilliant. Right.

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Time to look at that master suite.

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Excellent.

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And through this way.

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Lovely. Another great room. Really good.

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So this could work.

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I did call it a master suite.

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I did, didn't I?

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Perhaps that's because behind here, there's a little bit more.

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Have a look in there.

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Walk-in wardrobe. Go on, walk in to the walk-in wardrobe.

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Space for hanging stuff.

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And not just space for hanging! Fantastic!

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-A proper wet room.

-A proper wet room.

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Exactly like we have at home, which is the one room I wanted

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to take with me and be able to plonk somewhere else. Brilliant.

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I've just gone from being a little disappointed to being really happy.

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It's like Narnia!

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This is me, just totally.

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So, you're saying this is you.

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But we're doing a "we", so...

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If Lorna's happy, I'm happy. Suits me fine.

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So, what else would this house have to give you, or are you happy already?

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I'm happy with the interior. I need to see what's going on outside.

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I want the same kind of reaction out of you.

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I'm working on you, Paul. I want the joy. And I want some jumping.

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-Come on.

-I can't believe I did jump, actually.

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Let's get outside.

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This is an impeccable conversion and I can see Lorna is totally in love with it.

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I'm praying the outside space holds the same magic for Paul.

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This is the area I am going to come to you a little bit more, Paul, to see what do you think.

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Front of the house, you could park five vehicles and on this side

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there was planning permission to build a garage.

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How do you feel about that?

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This is the area where you compromise a bit with this property.

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Yeah, it is.

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But it's a compromise I'm quite happy with.

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OK, we've reached the moment!

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Go on. You're going to tell me how much you think it's worth.

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I'm going to say 600.

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I would definitely go lower. 545.

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That is very precise.

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And I've got to say, the winner is Paul. That's spot-on.

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How did you do that?

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This property's on the market and has been on for three weeks at £545,000.

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Three weeks? That's...

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Well, if the... That's great.

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It's do-able. Reversing out of there still could be a problem but let's have a look at it.

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Let's going have another look at the front.

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I don't know if you can reverse out of the other side of the house.

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Lorna's going to find a way to make this work. Off you go!

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Investigate how you'll back out of the front and where the cars will go.

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Oh, my word. It's only property number one.

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They love it. Paul, a little bit more reserved, but I have feeling that Lorna gets what she wants,

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but will she still want it when she's seen our other houses?

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At £545,000, this unique chapel conversion is at the top of their budget.

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But there's nothing to change.

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Are you prepared to compromise on...?

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There's only one person making the compromises here.

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I'm compromising on the garden! There's no garden.

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Initially, I was disappointed because of the traffic noise

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but once you come in, you completely forget about it and it's just stunning.

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I'm totally attached emotionally to the house already.

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I like just playing with the drawers!

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You'd do that all day, couldn't you?

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I'm going to have to be careful because this doesn't compromise anything, particularly, for me.

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It will be more of a compromise for Paul and we can't always work on what I want.

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I think Lorna's over the moon with this property.

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She will put up with any compromises in order to have it.

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A-ha! Plenty of space for your cars out here and I reckon we can reverse out no problem.

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I'm going to make Paul practise now.

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I know you love this one but there's so many more to see.

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So let's get moving.

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Northamptonshire has a fascinating shoe-making history.

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In the late 1940s, there were around 240 shoe-making factories in the county of which about 34 remain.

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I'm meeting David Dickerson from one of the renowned local companies

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to find out how a best of British shoe is made.

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This is where it all starts. The beginning of the process.

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I can smell the leather!

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An amazing array.

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This is a typical calf leather. It's probably three to four months old.

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-This is a by-product, isn't it?

-Yes, a by-product of the meat industry.

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Although nowadays modern machinery has kicked in to cut out the leather linings,

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the traditional skills are still employed in what's known as the clicking room.

0:19:530:19:58

So, here, we're actually cutting by hand and this is where the term "clicking room" comes from

0:19:590:20:04

because the knife, as it goes round the brass-bound patterns tended to make a clicking noise.

0:20:040:20:10

And that's where the term clicking came from.

0:20:100:20:14

And it's next door in the closing room where the shoe uppers start to take shape.

0:20:140:20:18

Well, it's a hive of activity in here, isn't it?

0:20:200:20:23

Here, we're actually doing an operation called under edging.

0:20:230:20:26

This is trimming off the surplus lining material and stitching around the top at the same time.

0:20:260:20:31

What style of shoe is this, then?

0:20:330:20:35

This is a classic brogue Oxford.

0:20:350:20:36

So, where do we find the finished product?

0:20:360:20:40

-Through in the next department.

-OK, thank you very much.

0:20:400:20:42

From start to finish, these shoes go through about

0:20:420:20:46

200 different stages and typically take around seven weeks to make.

0:20:460:20:50

It's certainly no quick stitch job. What's happening here?

0:20:500:20:54

This is called welt sewing.

0:20:540:20:56

-This is the most important part.

-And what exactly is that?

0:20:560:20:59

We stitch a leather welt to the rib here and we then stitch the sole

0:20:590:21:04

to the welt so the whole thing is then held together.

0:21:040:21:09

Does it make it more waterproof, longer lasting?

0:21:090:21:12

It's a flexible process.

0:21:120:21:14

The main thing is, the shoes can be repaired three or four times so they become good value for money.

0:21:140:21:21

How much money would a shoe like that cost?

0:21:210:21:23

It's been through a lot of processes.

0:21:230:21:25

Retail, you're talking probably £200.

0:21:250:21:29

Some of our customers charge £300 - £400.

0:21:290:21:32

So, what does the final shoe look like?

0:21:320:21:34

This is pretty well at the end of the process, so...

0:21:340:21:39

Look at that. A thing of beauty.

0:21:390:21:41

-It is.

-Isn't it? Just gorgeous.

0:21:410:21:43

I have a new appreciation of what has gone into making it.

0:21:430:21:47

A hand-made British shoe.

0:21:470:21:50

100% British, yes.

0:21:500:21:52

With evening drawing in over Northamptonshire, the first day of our house hunt is at an end.

0:21:560:22:02

Paul and Lorna want to escape from London and, with their £550,000 budget, are on a mission

0:22:110:22:17

to find their perfect country pad in rural Northamptonshire.

0:22:170:22:21

Lorna's already got her heart set on the first property we showed them.

0:22:210:22:25

But, coming up, our mystery house could well scupper her plans.

0:22:250:22:28

-I'm loving it.

-He's loving it! A big chuckle.

-I knew he would!

0:22:280:22:33

Don't tell him that. Up the numbers a bit.

0:22:330:22:38

Yesterday, I think I may have peaked a little too early.

0:22:400:22:44

Lorna's reaction to that chapel is probably the best reaction I've had to a first house on this show,

0:22:440:22:51

so my challenge today is to try to top that. Wish me luck.

0:22:510:22:54

Our house hunt continues 27 miles from Brackley in the village of Cogenhoe.

0:22:580:23:03

Paul and Lorna could stride out down the Nene Way into unspoilt countryside.

0:23:030:23:08

Alongside the Norman church that overlooks the village green

0:23:080:23:12

is yet another conversion, dating back to 1843.

0:23:120:23:16

And this used to be the old school house.

0:23:160:23:20

That's nice. Lovely windows.

0:23:200:23:22

-You like, but I'm not feeling love.

-I like the concept.

0:23:220:23:24

I think it looks really nice. Looks really pretty.

0:23:240:23:28

-But what's inside?

-You always just want to see inside, don't you?

0:23:280:23:31

Seen the outside now, let's move on!

0:23:310:23:33

Come on, let's see if I can get you jumping up and down.

0:23:330:23:37

This is a really impressive house from the outside.

0:23:370:23:40

And hopefully, they will give the inside a warm reception.

0:23:400:23:44

It's a great door, there, very solid.

0:23:440:23:47

Come on in.

0:23:470:23:49

So, this house was bought by an old shoemaker who did the renovation back in the '70s.

0:23:490:23:55

-Wow! Nice kitchen.

-He didn't do this.

0:23:570:23:59

-I love the oven. Look at that. Really nice.

-That's very good.

0:24:020:24:06

-I quite like it.

-You quite like it? You're surprised, aren't you?

0:24:060:24:09

This is quite nice! Yes, it is.

0:24:090:24:13

I like the flooring, too.

0:24:130:24:15

Through there is a utility space and a downstairs loo.

0:24:150:24:18

Everything covered and plenty of space to entertain as well.

0:24:180:24:22

Let's go and have a look at the living room.

0:24:220:24:25

Right, through the glass door, into your living room.

0:24:310:24:33

Fantastic windows all around.

0:24:330:24:35

-Beautiful. Lovely windowsills.

-Mullioned windows.

0:24:350:24:39

Over here, this great fireplace. You can still smell it, can't you?

0:24:390:24:41

You can, actually. It does feel really nice and comfortable.

0:24:410:24:45

You can imagine being cosy in here.

0:24:450:24:47

It has a nice feel to it.

0:24:470:24:50

Through there we have another reception room which could easily be a dining room if you wanted it to.

0:24:500:24:56

OK. Let's have a look upstairs. Upstairs we've got a few bedrooms.

0:24:560:25:01

-A few?

-A few.

0:25:010:25:04

We've got three in fact.

0:25:040:25:05

We've got three.

0:25:070:25:09

-See if that's enough for you.

-OK.

0:25:090:25:12

At the moment, this property seems like a contender.

0:25:140:25:16

Let's see if Lorna can compromise on her demands for upstairs.

0:25:160:25:21

Great shutters on the windows up here.

0:25:210:25:23

And we follow through into this, which is the master bedroom.

0:25:230:25:27

Nice size.

0:25:270:25:30

But there is no en suite.

0:25:300:25:32

Er, right. That's a bit of a negative.

0:25:320:25:35

In as much as if we are looking for a property where we could have more friends and family for a visit,

0:25:350:25:42

the one bathroom situation is not ideal.

0:25:420:25:46

If we come up with an option for you, for your guests...

0:25:460:25:48

If there is an option, if there is a workaround.

0:25:480:25:50

I feel as if it's been growing on you as we've been walking around.

0:25:500:25:53

I felt quite comfortable with it.

0:25:550:25:57

In fact I've probably gone slightly down, knowing there is no en suite,

0:25:570:26:00

-but if there's a solution...

-We're still in with a chance!

0:26:000:26:03

Well, Lorna, fear not.

0:26:050:26:07

There's a surprise to follow later.

0:26:070:26:09

Upstairs there are two other bedrooms, a good sized double and a nice, cosy single.

0:26:090:26:16

There's also a bright, modern family bathroom.

0:26:160:26:18

I think they're still on board with this house and my surprise outside should hook them even more.

0:26:180:26:24

-A good sized garden.

-Very nice.

0:26:260:26:28

-Staircase!

-You spotted that already!

0:26:300:26:33

Concentrate on the garden first of all. Lovely views.

0:26:350:26:38

There's no one going to be building on that piece.

0:26:380:26:42

And, over here, Paul, a bloke shed. It looks a bit girly at the moment.

0:26:420:26:46

-Looks more like a doll's house.

-It looks really pretty.

0:26:480:26:50

You can toughen it up a bit.

0:26:500:26:53

Finally, I'm going to put you out of your misery.

0:26:530:26:54

There is a fourth bedroom.

0:26:540:26:57

The staircase leads to...

0:26:570:26:58

The guest room. Come on.

0:26:580:27:01

The bedroom maybe in a quirky place but it's not short on space.

0:27:010:27:06

Now, look at this for an extra room.

0:27:060:27:09

-Great space.

-Something you weren't expecting.

0:27:090:27:12

-No. Granny annexe.

-Yeah! It is, if she can make it up the stairs.

0:27:120:27:17

It's got its own lovely en suite there. Got the shower in there.

0:27:170:27:21

It's actually a great room.

0:27:210:27:23

So, take it all in, let's go back outside. And then guess the price.

0:27:230:27:26

All right. Put your thinking hat on.

0:27:260:27:28

This house and garden has a bit of everything they have asked for.

0:27:280:27:31

But now we need to go and talk money.

0:27:310:27:34

This is such a beautiful time of year, isn't it?

0:27:340:27:36

The leaves falling, the colours, and that would be your view if you lived here.

0:27:360:27:41

-Wonderful village, 10 minutes from Northampton.

-Very quiet.

0:27:410:27:45

Quiet. Quaint.

0:27:450:27:47

-You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

-I'm struggling already.

0:27:470:27:50

I'm hoping you will keep talking, to give me more time.

0:27:500:27:53

How much do you think it's on the market for? Paul?

0:27:530:27:57

I would say it's 500,000.

0:27:570:27:59

I'm going to go higher. I'm going to go 540.

0:27:590:28:02

This property could be yours for...

0:28:020:28:06

..£435,000.

0:28:070:28:10

Oh, wow!

0:28:100:28:12

-We were both well out.

-Well out.

0:28:120:28:15

It's well under your budget.

0:28:150:28:17

-Gosh, that changes things.

-It does.

0:28:170:28:19

So, we could afford to put the staircase in.

0:28:190:28:21

And make that annexe an integral part of the house.

0:28:210:28:24

Still don't know where we're going to put all the cars.

0:28:240:28:26

But you do keep some of your cars in a separate location at the moment, don't you?

0:28:260:28:32

Off you go, start thinking about it.

0:28:320:28:34

I'll see you later on.

0:28:340:28:36

Under budget at £435,000, this old school house is a great property.

0:28:360:28:42

But anything we show them now is going to come up against the chapel conversion which they loved.

0:28:420:28:48

This is a good space.

0:29:010:29:03

It's all set up as a study.

0:29:030:29:05

Get all your work stuff in here.

0:29:050:29:07

I'm very concerned about the lack of parking. The garden is lovely.

0:29:070:29:12

Nice little surprise to have a balcony where we can sit out and look out across the fields.

0:29:120:29:16

I quite like this property.

0:29:160:29:18

The downstairs space is really good.

0:29:180:29:20

Upstairs is a bit disappointing.

0:29:200:29:22

There is the annexe but, at the moment, it is a bit impractical.

0:29:220:29:27

We could integrate it with the house but it is going to take time and money, so...

0:29:270:29:30

The upstairs lets it down for me.

0:29:300:29:33

I think this is where the schoolchildren may have carved their initials into the wall.

0:29:330:29:36

Something that Lorna and Paul could be doing... Hello!

0:29:360:29:39

If you moved in here, you could put your name...

0:29:390:29:43

There's more to see. We haven't finished yet. Come on.

0:29:430:29:47

Right, for the mystery house, we have decided to show them something old, packed with period features

0:29:520:29:58

and at a completely different end of the county to that which they were looking for

0:29:580:30:04

but they are going to get a lot more for their money here and they could end up lord and lady of the manor.

0:30:040:30:11

Our mystery property is 38 miles from Brackley, in the village of Barton Seagrave.

0:30:140:30:19

As well as a handy post office,

0:30:190:30:21

there's a Norman church right on the village green.

0:30:210:30:25

And, surprise, it's NOT a conversion.

0:30:250:30:28

It's a seventeenth-century manor house.

0:30:280:30:31

I know you like contemporary, so, for the mystery, we've brought you period.

0:30:310:30:34

Grade 2 listed period.

0:30:340:30:36

-I think it looks beautiful.

-It looks substantial, solid, old.

0:30:360:30:40

-Paul?

-I'm loving it!

-He's loving it.

0:30:420:30:45

I got a nice, big chuckle. I'm going to score highly with this house with you, I'm sure.

0:30:450:30:49

-Let's have a look inside.

-OK.

0:30:490:30:51

Well, Lorna seems a bit awestruck by the period grandeur but, dare I say, Paul's revved up and raring to go.

0:30:510:30:58

This house is full...

0:30:580:31:02

of period features. Amazing hallway.

0:31:020:31:05

All of the panelling. Actually, this was put up in the '30s.

0:31:050:31:09

It doesn't date back that far.

0:31:090:31:11

And this room...

0:31:110:31:14

This is what you call a dining room.

0:31:140:31:16

A dining room. Wonderful fireplace there.

0:31:160:31:19

Yeah, the stone hearth.

0:31:190:31:20

-Huge fireplace.

-Love the dining-table.

0:31:200:31:22

-Yeah.

-This is very different to the contemporary sharp lines, clean...

0:31:220:31:27

Yeah, it's totally removed from that.

0:31:270:31:30

-Paul?

-I love it already.

0:31:300:31:33

And I'm loving this role reversal.

0:31:330:31:36

Giggles and smiles from Paul, and Lorna is considering her opinion.

0:31:360:31:41

-Let's work on that.

-OK.

0:31:410:31:43

So, through here you've got a lovely living room.

0:31:460:31:50

Another period part of the property.

0:31:500:31:53

-Lots of beams.

-Look at that fireplace.

-Wonderful fireplace.

0:31:530:31:55

-It's huge.

-So deep.

0:31:550:31:58

I could live here quite happily.

0:31:580:32:01

You're going to have to convince Lorna this time.

0:32:010:32:05

Some good arguments about this one.

0:32:050:32:06

Not all of it dates back so far. There are some extensions, some modern touches.

0:32:060:32:10

Some slightly more modern touches.

0:32:100:32:13

Let's go back to the 20th century.

0:32:130:32:17

Circa 1960. Through here.

0:32:170:32:19

A bit more space.

0:32:190:32:22

Another sort of seating area.

0:32:220:32:24

I think this would make a nice reading area.

0:32:240:32:26

Nice reading area. A bonus.

0:32:260:32:28

-Something you haven't even asked for.

-Yeah, exactly.

0:32:280:32:31

-Something you have asked for, though, is a good kitchen. You might like this one.

-Go on, then.

0:32:310:32:36

We need Lorna to love this kitchen

0:32:360:32:39

if we're going to convince her of living the manor house lifestyle.

0:32:390:32:41

So fingers crossed.

0:32:410:32:44

Now, the kitchen is not the biggest, but I still think it's pretty nice.

0:32:440:32:49

It's smaller, from what we've seen of the house so far from the outside,

0:32:490:32:53

the house looks huge and the kitchen is disproportionately small.

0:32:530:32:57

But you've got everything you want.

0:32:570:32:59

"Everything I want", I hear you say!

0:32:590:33:01

-"You've got everything you want!" "I love the house, you like the kitchen!"

-Yes, you will like it.

0:33:010:33:08

In all seriousness, it's smaller than many kitchens and it's obviously not a kitchen diner

0:33:080:33:14

but this house does extend that way as well, you've got two other fairly sizeable rooms down the corridor.

0:33:140:33:20

Perhaps you could put a kitchen in there, but this is Grade 2 listed.

0:33:200:33:25

There's a lot of space, a lot of options.

0:33:250:33:27

-Let's go upstairs and see the bedrooms.

-OK.

0:33:270:33:30

Paul seems at home here but Lorna's still reserving judgement.

0:33:300:33:34

She should be happy as there are four bedrooms upstairs.

0:33:340:33:37

Let's see if the master can win her over.

0:33:370:33:40

You get even more character upstairs, I think.

0:33:400:33:43

Partly the furnishings.

0:33:430:33:45

They've really found furniture that fits the period.

0:33:450:33:49

You've got the big four poster bed. What would you do with it?

0:33:490:33:52

I think this is a room where we could perhaps modernise it to satisfy Lorna's tastes.

0:33:520:33:59

The en suite round here, you get a shower, a stand-up shower, and it's quite nice, that room.

0:34:000:34:06

-Could become your wet room.

-Could indeed, yes.

0:34:060:34:07

-Paul, I think you love this house already.

-I do.

-Safe to say.

0:34:070:34:12

But what I really want is to make you jump up and down with joy.

0:34:120:34:16

So come and see what I'm going to show you next.

0:34:160:34:18

There are other three bedrooms -

0:34:210:34:23

a very grand double room,

0:34:230:34:25

a single tucked away in the eaves

0:34:250:34:28

and a generous single currently used as a dressing room.

0:34:280:34:32

There's also a family bathroom with a roll-top bath.

0:34:320:34:35

But now let's make Paul a happy boy.

0:34:350:34:38

Right, outside, Paul, and I have finally found you what I think is a bloke shed.

0:34:380:34:46

I'm in heaven.

0:34:460:34:49

Jumping up and down.

0:34:490:34:53

Brilliant. You have got your carport, a garage and an extra room.

0:34:530:34:58

Come on, let's have a look.

0:34:580:35:01

'Oh, dear. While Paul's jumping and up-and-down, Lorna's gone very quiet.

0:35:010:35:05

'This is no ordinary garage.

0:35:050:35:07

'There's an upstairs with endless possibilities.'

0:35:070:35:10

Yes, Paul. You don't just get space for the cars,

0:35:120:35:15

you get space for the toys as well.

0:35:150:35:18

-Movie room.

-Yes?

0:35:190:35:22

Yes, I think it would be a music room.

0:35:220:35:25

-A music room.

-I like this, you're actually excited about this.

0:35:250:35:28

-Yeah.

-I prefer...

0:35:280:35:30

This could be my ladies' outdoor shed. House, parlour.

0:35:340:35:39

Bloke shed out the window.

0:35:390:35:41

Lorna's moving in. Sorry, I tried.

0:35:410:35:44

As long as I've still got downstairs, that's fine.

0:35:440:35:47

And that is it. Just the garden to look at and time to talk about how much all this costs.

0:35:470:35:51

Oh dear!

0:35:510:35:53

Well, the mystery house has certainly delivered for Paul but it might be a project too far for Lorna

0:35:550:36:00

unless the garden and the price can swing it.

0:36:000:36:04

Well, the house is big and so is the garden.

0:36:040:36:07

Compared to everything else we've shown you, plenty of room for a vegetable patch up here.

0:36:070:36:12

Good entertaining area.

0:36:120:36:14

And from back here you can have a good look at the manor which could be yours.

0:36:140:36:18

And it comes at a price. What do you think that price is?

0:36:180:36:21

-Well, because I'm so in love with it, I'm going to say it's right at the top of our price...

-Yeah.

0:36:210:36:27

So I would say, all right, I'll go 540.

0:36:270:36:32

540, OK.

0:36:320:36:34

I'm going to go for 575.

0:36:340:36:36

-575? Over budget.

-Oh, dear.

-It's a lot, isn't it?

0:36:360:36:38

But you could get your hands on it for £499,000.

0:36:400:36:44

Wow!

0:36:440:36:46

Don't tell him that, please! Can't you up the numbers a bit?!

0:36:460:36:51

We have to bear in mind there are things we would need to do to it.

0:36:510:36:55

With my heart, I would say whatever the price, and just pay it

0:36:550:36:59

but we've got to take into account the work that needs doing.

0:36:590:37:02

And the furniture we have at the moment...

0:37:020:37:04

The furniture we have at the moment we just stick on a bonfire and start again!

0:37:040:37:09

That's the first time anyone's ever said that!

0:37:110:37:14

I was looking for a reaction from you, Paul. I wasn't expecting that.

0:37:140:37:19

You love it enough to burn all of your furniture. Brilliant.

0:37:190:37:21

-And start again.

-I think you'll have to convince Lorna of that.

0:37:210:37:25

And while you work on that, off you go.

0:37:250:37:29

Lot of work to do.

0:37:290:37:31

Who expected that?

0:37:310:37:33

I did not see that coming.

0:37:330:37:35

I wanted Paul to love it, but not that much.

0:37:350:37:38

-Here's the space that you wanted.

-It is.

0:38:000:38:03

Garage next door to keep the valuable cars.

0:38:030:38:07

I love it.

0:38:080:38:11

Oh dear, oh dear!

0:38:120:38:14

This house was not at all what I was expecting to see

0:38:140:38:18

but the more I walked around it, the more I could see that it would be a wonderful home to live in.

0:38:180:38:24

And to come out the back and find this as well was just phenomenal.

0:38:240:38:29

My initial reaction about the house when we first arrived was,

0:38:290:38:33

it looks pretty, it looks stable, it looks good in its setting.

0:38:330:38:37

I still feel this is a really large property where just the two of us

0:38:370:38:42

in an average week, we would bumble about it and we would never meet.

0:38:420:38:47

Do you reckon they're still talking to each other?

0:38:470:38:50

Hmm? Smiles?

0:38:500:38:52

Fixed grin, I think.

0:38:520:38:54

Right. Decisions to be made, so let's find somewhere quiet.

0:38:540:38:57

Lorna and Paul's journey around our properties is at an end.

0:39:040:39:07

I don't think they ever thought they'd find themselves disagreeing on their favourite property.

0:39:070:39:13

Just when they think they know exactly what they want,

0:39:160:39:19

we show a couple the mystery house and throw everything into turmoil.

0:39:190:39:23

The problem here is that Lorna and Paul's country dream seems to be going in two different directions.

0:39:230:39:29

Can they get it together? Let's find out.

0:39:290:39:33

A-ha! What a nice place to find the two of you.

0:39:350:39:37

It's great, isn't it?

0:39:370:39:39

In front of an open, roaring fire.

0:39:390:39:41

And...?

0:39:410:39:43

We're talking at the moment.

0:39:430:39:44

Let's just reflect and go through all of them, starting with the chapel conversion.

0:39:440:39:50

What were you thinking when you arrived?

0:39:500:39:54

It was just fantastic.

0:39:540:39:55

Kitchen was fantastic. Really high-spec.

0:39:550:39:59

For me, the whole house worked.

0:39:590:40:00

It was a great compromise between old and new.

0:40:000:40:04

They had mixed the two styles together really well and there was nothing I'd want to do to it.

0:40:040:40:08

I could do with somewhere to keep my cars and a bloke's shed,

0:40:080:40:10

so that was totally missing but there was space for it.

0:40:100:40:14

Sticking with our conversion theme, we took you to a converted schoolhouse.

0:40:140:40:20

So, did it tick all the boxes for you?

0:40:200:40:23

No.

0:40:230:40:25

Why not? It should have done.

0:40:250:40:28

Why not? Where am I supposed to put my cars?

0:40:280:40:31

There was absolutely nowhere.

0:40:310:40:33

No potential.

0:40:330:40:36

The cars would have had to go.

0:40:360:40:38

That is a step too far!

0:40:380:40:40

Now, at this point in the show, leading up to the mystery house,

0:40:430:40:48

I was pretty sure we'd already shown you your dream house, the chapel.

0:40:480:40:52

And our mystery, designed to throw a curve ball, might not do the trick.

0:40:520:40:57

What a shock I had.

0:40:570:40:59

I was hoping you would like it, Paul, but you loved it.

0:40:590:41:02

Yeah, I really loved it.

0:41:020:41:04

Beautiful setting, little village green, just looked stunning from the outside.

0:41:040:41:08

Inside it offered a lot more space than even you were expecting.

0:41:080:41:14

Lots of rooms, and of course on the outside, so much room you had your own bloke shed, finally.

0:41:140:41:21

I even got you to jump up and down for that property.

0:41:210:41:25

The problem is we have ended up with two houses.

0:41:250:41:27

-Usually I would ask you which one you were interested in but I think it's very clear.

-Chapel.

-Manor.

0:41:270:41:34

OK, have we progressed this any further,

0:41:340:41:37

the discussion between you two as to which one you would go for?

0:41:370:41:39

We've got to decide which is it we want.

0:41:390:41:43

-If we go for the chapel, yes, the location's ideal.

-And so is the property.

0:41:430:41:51

The house is ideal but it's got nothing that I want.

0:41:510:41:55

I could build it...

0:41:550:41:57

Ideal but not anything that you want.

0:41:570:41:59

It's ideal, the house, but the grounds have not got what I want

0:41:590:42:04

so I'm going to have to spend a lot of money and a lot of time to build what I want

0:42:040:42:08

so that I've got somewhere to work.

0:42:080:42:11

Whereas the manor house has got it already.

0:42:110:42:14

Is this the first time you've had a challenge like this between you?

0:42:140:42:16

-Do you usually agree on everything?

-We do.

0:42:160:42:19

-It's been quite interesting.

-Paul would normally side with me if I've got a preference.

0:42:190:42:24

This is the first time I've stuck up for myself.

0:42:240:42:27

Probably one of the first times where he's actually said, "We need to fight this one out." So...

0:42:270:42:32

-So watch this space.

-Watch this space indeed.

0:42:320:42:34

It's been a great journey with you.

0:42:340:42:36

I've really enjoyed it. I can't wait to find out where you end up.

0:42:360:42:40

Ah! Whoever said the course of true property hunting would run smoothly?

0:42:430:42:47

We started with such a high, then a little low,

0:42:470:42:50

then Paul came to life and fell in love with the mystery house.

0:42:500:42:54

Now, which one are they going to go for? The chapel or the mystery? I really don't know.

0:42:540:42:58

One thing I do know for sure - whichever one they go for will be ideal for the two of them.

0:42:580:43:03

I'll see you next time on Escape To The Country.

0:43:030:43:06

Paul and Lorna couldn't agree on either house so for the moment they're happy staying put in London.

0:43:070:43:13

So, if you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,

0:43:130:43:17

Northern Ireland or England

0:43:170:43:19

and need our help, apply online at...

0:43:190:43:26

Denise Nurse is helping a couple cast off from urban life by the River Thames and seek out peace and relaxation in the country. For 550,000 pounds they're looking for a converted building that offers a generous kitchen for entertaining, four bedrooms, a large garden to grow vegetables in and a big garage in which to mess about with a treasured car collection.