Nicki Chapman is in Cornwall with a couple looking for a home in a rural setting on a budget of £450,000, with room to house their internet business.
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The striking castle behind me was home to one of this country's
most creative but least well-known inventors.
Not only did he design this - the world's first permanent structure built on sand,
he also invented the first steam-powered motor vehicle
used for passengers.
Intrigued? Well, join me in a moment
for another innovative Escape To The Country.
In today's show, I'll be helping a get-up-and-go couple
uproot from a town in the north and head 300 miles south
to a new life in the country.
It looks like they're going to settle right in!
That's my type of house. That's lovely, that's gorgeous.
Home, sweet home!
But then our mystery house sends them into a spin.
I'm sorry. I'm totally fazed by it!
Today I'm on the north coast of Cornwall
and this is Castle Bude,
former home of forgotten genius
the Victorian inventor Sir Goldsworthy Gurney.
Locals scoffed when he decided to build his home right here, between the sand dunes.
But undeterred, Gurney devised a pioneering concrete platform
that sat above the sand,
providing a stable foundation for this magnificent home.
Perched on England's south-western peninsula,
Cornwall's landscape spans the remote moorland villages
of Bodmin Moor and nearly 300 miles of dramatic coastline.
The county has a rich folkloric history
and stretches back to the times of Arthurian legend,
inspired by its deep-rooted Celtic heritage.
Indeed, St Michael's Mount started life as a Celtic monastery
long before it was granted to the Benedictine monks
after the Norman Conquest.
Much of Cornish folklore is also bound up in tales of smugglers
who, up until the 19th century,
ransacked the shipwrecks on these rocky shores,
hiding their contraband goods in the sheltered coves.
Today, it's the tourist industry that's rife,
with around 4.5 million people
coming to enjoy its natural spoils every year.
Let's find out what's drawn today's buyers to this county.
Husband and wife duo Andy and Marie
have lived in their four-bedroom detached home in Chorley, Lancashire
for four years. They run an internet business selling guitar accessories
but they've become victims of their own success.
This is the garage we work from. It's far too small, as you can see.
There's stock on every inch of wall space here.
We have two other units we have stock in, which are half a mile away
so we need a place with an outbuilding or large double garage
or a plot of land we can build something on,
more purpose-built, to house the stock.
Business needs aside, there are other factors drawing them to the south coast.
I do want two big dogs
that I can run along the beach or along the cliff tops.
I want to do it before I get too old
because it is going to be, hopefully, our final destination
so we've got to get it right.
So, what kind of property is going to strike the right chord?
Our ideal house, as I see it, would be cosy,
and, forgive me for saying, a little bit showy!
Yes, I'd say that's right for yourself.
For me, probably a beautiful natural setting, with a real chill factor.
That would do for me. I like something quite traditional.
I'm a joiner by trade, maybe that's what it is,
but I love timber and I prefer stone rather than brick-built properties.
I wouldn't want to live in a terraced property.
It really wants to be a detached property in its own little plot.
What are their top priorities for the house?
We need ideally two reception rooms,
three bedrooms - one for ourselves,
one for guests and one as a music room.
One of the two reception rooms could also become the office.
Probably the most important thing for me
is to have a kitchen large enough for a big family table,
so we can all sit round it together.
And also outside, maybe even up to half an acre.
They're looking for a village location within easy reach of Bude.
But there's one amenity they can't live without.
The post office is pivotal to the business.
We ship in the region of 1,000 items a week at the moment.
With their property now on the market, how much do they have to spend on their move?
Our budget for this move would be ?450,000.
So today our top priority is to find a large open work space
so that Andy and Marie can run their business from there.
They're also after a three-bedroomed period cottage/house.
That shouldn't be too hard to find on their budget.
But the one area I'm slightly concerned about
is finding a home with a big enough personality
that will match this colourful couple!
Andy and Marie want their house search to take in
the coastal villages and countryside around Bude.
We'll be showing them three creme de la creme Cornish properties
but I won't reveal the price of each until they've had a guess first.
Finally, there's our mystery house,
which comes with a compromise attached.
Andy and Marie, welcome to Cornwall.
Hello. This is where you want to finish,
this is your final house? This is our forever house. Forever home.
Well, not only a home for the two of you,
we also have to remember your business
and find you suitable premises for that.
Definitely. There's three of us with the business! Budget-wise,
still looking around the ?450,000 mark?
I think so - given that we might have to do some renovation,
I think that's a realistic figure for us.
I think so. Do you? Yeah.
Shall we get started? Absolutely. Can't wait!
For their ?450,000,
Marie and Andy are looking for a Cornish home with character.
Plus a nearby village post office
to take care of their deliveries.
Let's hope they're as flexible when it comes to our property search,
which starts in the village of Altarnun on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
Set among the attractive cottages, its impressive 15th-century church
is dubbed the cathedral of the moors.
Along with the local pub, there's that must-have post office,
and the good news is, it's within a stone's throw of our first house.
And here it is.
Wow! That's long.
Um... I'm not sure about the side building.
This house dates back to the early 1900s and the building on the side
was the original post office.
Wow. Which I know is close to your hearts cos you need that for your business. Spooky!
That could make the perfect solution to your office and storage problems.
Yeah. You could be right there.
They seem intrigued by this detached property, which combines character with a spacious interior.
It is actually a very nice kitchen.
Yeah, it's just nice and straight and square.
Being at the front of the property, not only do you get loads of light,
you can keep an eye on your postman going past with your deliveries.
Let's keep going!
Fingers crossed, they'll warm to the next room.
Here's your reception room. OK. OK. Woodburner.
Fantastic. Multi-fuel. Look at the granite lintel over the fireplace.
Andy loves his stone! I like my stone.
Ah, so that really is a feature for you. It's great.
What about the size of the room? It's pretty big. A good square room.
You could do a lot to it. For sure.
On the other side of the sitting room is a self-contained guest wing
made up of a double bedroom served by its own bathroom.
It's a perfect retreat for family and friends when they come to stay,
with its own separate entrance.
Downstairs seems to hit the mark in terms of layout.
Let's head upstairs and see if the remaining three of the four bedrooms this house offers measure up.
There's a light, spacious double and a single room.
The family bathroom has a great walk-in shower.
But what would they make of the master bedroom?
Nice, square room. Good size, yeah. So far, for me, it's definitely a house
that you could put your own mark on it.
It's not structural. It's cosmetic and a little bit of joinery.
And because you're a joiner, or were a joiner, it's something you could do. It doesn't faze me.
Very achievable. Anything cosmetic I get quite excited about. Yeah.
Get to the shops. I love it.
I'm loving their upbeat reaction to this property.
But I think we can build on that with what's behind this door.
Not only do we need to find a decent property for the two of you,
we have to find a property for your business.
Yes. It's a maze!
It is a maze, this property. Yeah.
This would be fantastic for us because it's important that although we work from home,
we want to feel as though we're going to work.
It's a physical thing, closing that door.
Even though the kitchen's next door, that's home, this is business.
Exactly. The most important part for your business is the storage. Yeah.
The good news is, you haven't got far to go. It's just next door.
So, how many guitar parts for your business could you keep in here?
Quite a few! I have to say,
I'm starting to see real potential here.
It looks like we're right on track with this property.
Outside offers up yet more scope if they need to develop further.
We've got a massive double garage - which could be storage.
And also this outbuilding, this lean-to, with additional storage.
And then the garden, a pretty country courtyard garden.
Again, I just see potential here.
I really can see that it could be a grand residence, yes.
Fantastic. Yeah. So, you've seen everything now.
Time to guess how much it's on the market for.
My gut reaction would be 379.
Marie? I'll go a bit higher and say 395.
Marie, you're on the money.
It's just come on the market, it's been on about four weeks.
I'm right for once! Perfect!
At that price, this house does have fantastic potential.
Under budget at ?395,000, our first property is a great opening gambit.
All set in a beautiful village
with a strong community
and that all-important post office.
All right? Seen enough? Yeah. Yeah. A lot to see.
Yeah. You've come out smiling, so that's a good sign.
More to show you. Let's keep going.
Cornwall's mild, wet climate provides the perfect conditions for grass-rich pastureland,
making it ideal terrain for dairy farmers.
Since 1985, Helsett Farm near Boscastle has been making its own ice cream.
I've come to meet mother and daughter team Sarah Talbot-Ponselby and Isla Allen,
who, thanks to their laser-guided milking robot,
don't have to spend hours in the milking parlour.
It's fascinating to stand here and see them
patiently waiting to be milked and fed.
They really are quite happy with it.
How many can this computer, this robot, do in one day?
You can have about 65 cows,
so they can come three or four times,
depending on how much they have.
What happens to the milk they produce?
Quite a lot of it we turn into delicious organic dairy ice cream.
Over the past ten years,
the farm has honed an organic ice cream recipe,
using that local delicacy, Cornish clotted cream,
one of the UK's 42 products with EU-protected food name status.
Ooh! I just want to eat this!
The same home-made principles apply over in the dairy,
where they produce the ice cream commercially.
This is where it happens? Here we make it for real.
There's a vat, where we put all the ingredients in,
and it gets heated and mixed and cooked and pasteurised
and then it's transferred into this machine, where it's aged
and drawn off after three hours.
Next, the vanilla extract is added and stirred in.
My goodness! It smells absolutely divine!
Then, this heavenly mixture is poured into the giant freezer,
giving us the finished product in ten to 12 minutes.
Mmm! That is delicious!
Against the backdrop of the fiercely competitive ice cream market,
it's heartening to see that local food champions here in Cornwall
can build a viable and, in this case, sustainable farming business.
We continue our property search on the outskirts of Morwenstow,
within easy reach of Bude's beaches.
Less than a ten-minute drive away,
the village of Kilkhampton serves up useful amenities,
including a post office.
Set in a delightful semi-rural location,
this detached Edwardian house really makes a statement.
Here is... Wow! Wow! ..your second property.
Now, that's a house. Take a step up.
That is what I call a house. That's a my type of house.
That's lovely. That's gorgeous. Yeah.
I was going to ask what your first impressions were,
but I think you've answered it!
It's a big wow factor for us. It is a very imposing house. Edwardian.
Yes. But I hope you've both got imagination.
Because this is a blank canvas, and as we step inside,
you'll see what I mean. Great.
The property is currently empty, and ready for Marie to add her own interior design flair.
Home, sweet home!
It is like coming home, isn't it? Home, sweet home, yeah.
Good enough. I love it. Yeah. It's taken my breath away.
I can see myself in here.
What a fabulous start! Yeah.
Let's start with the first reception room. Lead on!
We're still at the front of the property. Lovely.
Nice-sized room. Looking at the chimney breast, is that active?
Not at the moment. You'd have to re-open it.
The flues have been closed off.
That goes throughout the whole of the house. I see.
But it cries out for a real fire, doesn't it? Yeah. Yes, it has to have that.
You may notice, all the windows have been replaced
with sash-style windows.
I love the windows. It's sympathetic.
They look just like the original sash windows. Mmm. That's great.
No problem with the room. A sofa, a coffee table.
Couple of lamps, we'll be well away. Cosy.
'The second reception room next door is just as generous.'
So another good-sized sitting room.
I think I'd sit in this room. Yeah?
It's beautiful. It's at the back of the house.
You've got these beautiful windows.
You could even have a window seat in that alcove.
I love the light in here. It's very bright.
Fantastic. Let's keep exploring the downstairs... Superb.
This property gives them a third reception room,
which they could use as a large family dining room,
although there's plenty of space for a table in here.
I know you both wanted a large kitchen/dining area.
Here it is! Yeah. A good size.
It's a really social area here.
And it leads beautifully into the kitchen. Great.
I always said I'd love a fireplace in a kitchen.
Through the doors, you've got a utility room and a boiler room at the back with storage space.
'There's no doubt they're liking the amount of space on offer downstairs.
'Let's head upstairs and see if they get the same inspiration from the bedrooms.'
This house is as generous upstairs as it is downstairs.
Yeah. And it has five bedrooms.
Fantastic. I think the choice is endless.
The combinations that we can do with this.
Having the luxury of thinking, "What do I use all these rooms for?"
Instead of, "What can I shove in here to make do?"
'There's another room, perfect for guests, as it has a lovely modern en-suite.
'The two remaining bedrooms are both large enough to be doubles
'and benefit from those sash windows.
'Also on this floor is another stylish room.'
And at the end of the corridor, the family bathroom.
Lovely. A roll-top bath. Look at the feet on it!
Look at the feet on that!
Wow! And check out that view from the window!
Fabulous. Fabulous. I'm in love!
There's a fifth bedroom upstairs, but I'm going to take them outside,
where the wrap-around garden offsets the property with mature trees providing privacy.
So the house has delivered, the garden has delivered,
but we can't forget the business, because that's the whole point of moving.
You bring the business with you. Sure. You have a triple car-port here.
Fantastic. That's a good size. It's workable again.
The room within there is probably... Perfect. ..fine.
So, property - tick. Garden - tick. Outside space - tick. Yep.
Business - tick. All looking very good. You've got it together.
Ah. Crunch time now, though.
How much does it cost? There's a price to all of this.
Of course. I think it's, to me, ?450,000.
Um... I'm going to say ?430,000.
It's just gone on the market - ?450,000. Right. Cool. Wow.
Bang on budget at ?450,000,
our renovated Edwardian property is ready for their personal touch.
OK, you two? Yeah, absolutely fine.
Good. Look at those grinning smiles!
Let's hit the road. Come on.
As the sun sets over the Cornish coast,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
We're back where we started for our mystery house
in the traditional Cornish village of Altarnun, which was inspiration
for Du Maurier's novel, Jamaica Inn.
And our historic mystery farmhouse is totally in keeping.
But can they get over it being attached?
Here is your third and final property, the mystery house.
OK. Facing us is quite a lot of buildings,
but this is the one we're looking at, the old farmhouse.
300 years old.
We picked this mystery house because this is a farmhouse
you probably wouldn't have looked at because it is attached. Ah.
What are your thoughts before we step inside?
We would never have asked for a brochure with a house attached to another house.
But that might have stopped us from seeing something that we think, "Wow!"
You know? So I'm very interested, actually.
I'm pleased they're being open-minded about the fact that our mystery farmhouse is attached.
But let's see if they can meet the additional challenge of putting their own mark on the interior.
Here's your sitting room, with the imposing fire. Oh, wow.
Looking around from a building background, there's not a lot to be done.
I get a nice feeling here, a warm feel.
And the work doesn't faze me, personally. Marie? However...!
I'm sorry - I'm totally fazed by it! Are you? Yeah.
Walking in here, what first springs to mind for you?
It's too masculine for me.
Not elegant enough. That's how I would describe it, yeah.
Well, this is only the first room. OK.
So keep an open mind. Definitely, yeah.
And I'll keep a closed mouth! Yeah.
We've got you covered!
You have a huge dining room here,
with this original slate floor.
Ideal floor. That's a priceless floor. That is so nice.
It's got a lot of light in the room.
The inglenook is lovely. I love the oak beam and the granite lintels at either side.
Are you getting a better feeling in here? Yeah,
it's still a bit too masculine for me,
but perhaps I need to use my imagination - or Andy's! I think so.
So this leads through into your kitchen.
This really is a farmhouse country kitchen. The original.
It certainly is. I love the original features
Look at the age of that range. I love it.
I'm afraid I'm probably going to let you all down
by saying I do like the farmhouse kitchen with all the new equipment!
That's fair enough.
But this kitchen is large enough to do what you want,
but there's also a 300-year-old dairy,
which they've kept. You can see the old floor with the slate coming through.
I like it for its pure charm.
I don't know about the practicalities and what it could be used for,
but it's absolutely charming.
The traditional layout of our mystery farmhouse continues upstairs,
where there are five bedrooms.
One is a very spacious double.
Another has a more cosy feel.
The third is currently used as a single
with the fourth decked out with bunk beds.
What's more, there's a shower room and a separate bathroom.
But we'll check out the fifth bedroom and see if Marie has had a change of heart.
I actually like the feel up here.
And there's not as much to do up here as there is downstairs.
I do love that window. Yeah.
We shall see!
Although I'm not convinced that Marie is warming to our mystery farmhouse,
maybe the potential outside for their business might sway her.
Just across from the farmhouse, they get a first-floor room in this barn conversion.
This bit belongs to your farmhouse.
OK. Right. I'm thinking business.
It could make a huge office.
As an office, yeah. I'm thinking of stock now. Yep.
Have no fear, Andy. To the side of the barn are two large storage rooms
with heaps of space for their deliveries.
Next door to the house is a separate garage block where the first floor has been converted into an office.
The outside space gives them a secluded lawned garden close to the house
which leads to a surprise one acre of land.
All in all, our mystery property is a substantial offering.
But at what cost?
So you've seen the land. How much do you think this farmhouse is on the market for?
Well, I'm going to put a value of 300,000 on it.
I'm going to say 400,000.
Andy, you're the closest, but you're still slightly out.
The current asking price for the farmhouse is ?425,000.
So, Marie, 125 out!
Under budget at ?425,000
our mystery farmhouse may be attached,
which was one of their definite no-no's.
But it oozes historic charm and gives them two reception rooms
with original stone fireplaces,
five bedrooms and outbuildings
giving them an office and storage space for deliveries.
Given they want to get the business off the ground straightaway,
is the work they'd want to do on the house a project too far?
Time for you to collect your thoughts. Yeah.
See what the next step's going to be. Come on. OK.
I think we may have got close with two out of the three properties we showed them.
But do Andy and Marie feel the same? Let's find out.
So, guys, let's start off with the very first house we saw.
I was very unsure when I first saw the outside of the property.
I didn't like the idea that it had a shop front attached to the house.
Because it's going to be a home and a business,
we have to have those two defined areas. It kind of all mushed together for me.
As far as a home, I wouldn't have felt comfortable there, no.
We travelled north of the county, and saw our second property,
that very imposing Edwardian home.
It looked grand and showy, which was what I'd asked for!
The Marie appeal! Yes! And that was it, I think.
I cut everything else off after that.
As soon as we looked at that, I thought this was the house
that we'd feel comfortable with owning,
and it had a lot of potential for the business.
Last but not least, we saw the mystery house.
It just wasn't doing it for me at all.
A reason we picked it was because it was attached.
Often that puts people off. I was close-minded at first,
but I realised, having seen the way it was arranged,
I could live with that. So what is the next step?
We're going to look at property two again tomorrow.
Well, that really is the best news.
I really hope you get the Edwardian property.
I hope it goes right for you. Fingers crossed. All the best.
It's been such fun. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Well, that magnificent Edwardian property delivered on all fronts.
Let's hope the second viewing seals the deal.
If you've enjoyed this Escape To The Country,
then do join us again. Bye-bye!
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Nicki Chapman is in Cornwall with a couple looking for a 'showy' home with room to house their internet business. With a budget of £450,000, the property has to have a rural setting with a real 'chill factor'.