Hampshire Escape to the Country


Hampshire

Property show. Alistair Appleton meets a couple with £1.5 million to spend on a Hampshire home with space for entertaining and room for the in-laws.


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Transcript


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Today, we're in a county with two national parks,

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one famous for its chalky hills, the other for its gorsy forest.

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Find out where we are in just a moment.

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In today's show, I'll be helping a couple desperate to flee

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the urban jungle of London for a peaceful retreat in the countryside.

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Nicely done. Nice.

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Ta-da!

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Oh, my word! A sunken bath! Nice.

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But they want their rural dream to come with a bit of luxury.

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Will our mystery house fit the bill?

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Nicely done, but you can't entertain in here.

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Here we are in Hampshire, with the South Downs National Park

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in the east, and this, the New Forest National Park, in the west.

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The New Forest was created in 1079,

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by William the Conqueror, no less, as a royal hunting ground.

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Luckily, they didn't hunt everything,

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because these New Forest ponies survive to this day,

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and they're a protected species.

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They're even allowed right of way on the roads.

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With the likes of Dorset and Wiltshire amongst its neighbours,

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Hampshire is a solid bet for seeking out unspoilt countryside,

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as around a third of the county is encompassed

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within those two national parks.

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There's history too, with the county town of Winchester

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being the ancient capital

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of King Alfred the Great's kingdom of Wessex.

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But one of the defining glories of the county is its coastline.

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The protected waters of the Solent

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have always attracted yachtsmen and sailors throughout history.

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Indeed, the Roman fort of Portchester Castle

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is testament to Hampshire's enduring strategic importance.

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It's this potent mix of heritage and geography

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that makes the county such an interesting prospect

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for aspiring escapees.

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Today's couple really are the most city of city-dwellers.

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They live right slap bang in the middle of London,

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so let's find out what it is about Hampshire

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that makes them think this could be a perfect escape.

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Luke and Rachel are high-flying lawyers who have spent

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the last 15 years living and working in central London.

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Home is in a modern apartment block overlooking St Paul's Cathedral.

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Many city dwellers would give their eye teeth

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to live in the heart of London,

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but the charms of urban living have faded for them,

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and they want to change their city life for a country one.

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My dream for moving to the country

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is to wake up in the morning and hear the birds singing,

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and to look out over green fields,

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rather than having been surrounded by a construction site

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and with planes overhead.

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Yes, and for me it's about getting up in the morning,

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walking to the village shop to buy a newspaper,

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maybe a nice Sunday roast in the village pub.

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And a walk back over country fields.

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That all sounds idyllic.

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Location is all-important for Luke and Rachel,

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as they're keen to be close to their relatives.

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The area we've been focusing on is Hampshire,

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because that's where Luke's mother is, and my mother lives quite close.

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My mother's not getting any younger, so it would be nice if,

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at some stage, she could come and move in with us.

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So, we're looking for a granny flat.

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And there are also a few other things on their list.

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When we move, my absolute must for our dream house

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is a big downstairs entertaining space.

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Big open-plan kitchen, plenty of room for friends, family

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to come round and have drinks and dinner.

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Maybe somewhere to put a little vegetable patch in,

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growing potatoes and tomatoes.

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Somewhere for chickens.

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I'm quite a keen golfer, so I'd like to explore that

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a little bit more in the countryside.

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There's plenty of evidence in support of a country life.

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But it's not quite case closed.

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So far as the style of property is concerned,

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I think we are not wedded to a particular, you know,

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modern or period property.

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Our big no-no is low ceilings and beams.

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When it comes to deciding on our dream home,

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I think we'll probably agree,

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provided Luke can have a bit of a reality check.

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Yes. I have no doubt we will agree, because I will just say,

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"Yes, Rachel, that's lovely."

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I'm not sure it's going to be quite that easy,

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but one thing that is for certain is their handsome finances.

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Our budget for this move is ?1.5 million.

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Usually at this point, I'd be saying,

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"They haven't really got enough money,

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"and there's not that many properties.

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"There's going to have to be a compromise."

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But actually, they've got a really good budget.

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This part of Hampshire is full of million-pound properties.

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So the challenge for us is, actually,

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can we find a property that really sets them up?

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That gives them those big, modern interiors for entertaining

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and the country allure?

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Something that is going to express

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what Rachel and Luke want to be for the rest of their life?

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Luke and Rachel covet the rural charms of Hampshire,

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so we'll be focusing today's search around the New Forest,

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in the south-west of the county,

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which has lots of pretty villages and good transport links to London.

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We'll be showing them some fantastic properties,

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but I won't be revealing the prices until they've had a guess first.

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And there's our mystery house, which is their chance to expect the unexpected.

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I'm interested in this big move of yours

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because it really is a big move.

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Is it going to be the one and final move?

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We don't want to do this again.

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We want our forever home, our dream home,

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so that we can spend the rest of our lives down here.

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We've both been city dwellers for many years,

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and coming down to the country is absolutely what we want.

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Is this going to be... Are you going to entertain,

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is this the place where all your friends come down?

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It's certainly my dream.

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One of the things I'm very much looking for is a big kitchen with entertaining space

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so we can have all our friends around, family Christmases, that kind of thing.

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Basically, we want to be the hosts.

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What's your dream scenario?

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Probably a village, or edge of village location.

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Something we can still walk to, to a pub, to a village shop.

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Having a nice garden, maybe growing vegetables.

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But you've got a lovely budget, it's a real joy to show you around.

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Let's get in the car and find something. Fantastic. Thank you.

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For a maximum budget of ?1.5 million, Luke and Rachel

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would like a large house with a minimum of five bedrooms.

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Keen for great entertainment space, an absolute essential

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is a large reception room and good-sized kitchen.

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They'd like at least half an acre of land,

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so Luke can potter in the garden and try his hand at growing vegetables.

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And an annexe or downstairs bedroom for Luke's mother.

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With their desire for rural beauty in mind,

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I'm taking our buyers to the hamlet of Shobley, near Ringwood.

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With the New Forest on their doorstep, Luke and Rachel will have

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all the country walks they could ever wish for.

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I think our first house will give them all the entertaining space they want too.

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Good grief!

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Here we have it. Wow!

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1930s building, you can see the style.

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You've got six garages. We need more cars. For your many, many cars.

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What are your first impressions? It's amazing.

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It's very, very impressive. It's a lovely driveway.

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It looks a huge house. We have only got one car, so five garages....

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Better start saving. Absolutely, yes.

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I love the fact that it looks symmetrical. Stunning.

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You've got the A31, which is a pretty noisy road. I can hear that.

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But once you get into the house, that's not a factor any more.

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There's garden at the front, as well.

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That's the least of your garden. Oh. Oh, my word.

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Good first impressions,

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so let's hope the inside can live up to their expectations.

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Come on in.

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Wow. Wow.

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Talk about party space. It's big, huh?

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Have you seen the disco floor? Yeah!

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Come in here, you'll get the full extent.

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When you said you wanted a modern interior... Yes. That will do it.

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Thumbs up for this bit? Definitely. Super.

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Good, let's go and look at the reception room. Great.

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So that was a hit, and hopefully,

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the open-plan drawing room won't disappoint either.

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Wow! Very different.

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Do you like it, or are you not so keen?

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It's not to my taste at all, this room.

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I think it feels a bit long and thin. It doesn't feel very cosy.

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That's what I'm struggling with. I don't know what I would do with this space.

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I'm not sure I'd want the dining room. I'd rather entertain in the kitchen.

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It is a simple downstairs. There's a family room at the other end,

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but it's essentially these three massive rooms.

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Let's take a look upstairs. Great.

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'Before we explore the rest of the downstairs,

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'let's take a look at where they would sleep.'

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Here is the master. Oh.

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That is enormous. It's big, huh? Yeah.

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Lots and lots of space. Where's the cupboard space?

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Well, behind you, you have a walk-in wardrobe.

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My dream of a dressing room. Yeah, yeah.

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And in this cupboard, are you ready?

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Oh. Ta-da! Oh, my word!

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A sunken bath! Gosh!

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This is enormous, the en suite.

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It's lovely, isn't it? Beautiful room.

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This house just keeps on growing. There's three more large double bedrooms on this floor,

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two of which are en suite, and a further family bathroom.

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Back downstairs, there's still more to show them. There's a separate ground floor annexe

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which, I think, would work well for Luke's mother.

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This is a little bit more scaled down. This is very cosy.

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Perfect, actually. This is the annexe that is perfect for your mum.

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It's got a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all on one level. Great.

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It's a good idea. It's perfect for her, actually. This is the annexe,

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but there are more surprises in the garden.

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The property comes with a spa block

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which has a large indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium,

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and there's also an outdoor tennis court.

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Here we get a view of the garden, although it spreads everywhere.

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It's two acres of garden. Shame about the road noise.

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The road is an inescapable fact of the house. I think that's right.

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In terms of what you've got, there's a lot on offer here.

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What do you think the price of this property would be?

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I think I'd probably say about ?1.3 million.

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OK, I think that's optimistic.

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I would say given the amount of grounds, ?1.6 million?

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Well, a little in between, but much closer to yours.

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It's on at ?1,395,000.

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Wow, that's a lot of house. A lot of ground.

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So, priced at ?1,395,000,

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this fantastic 1930s house certainly has ample entertaining space,

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with its two reception rooms and huge kitchen.

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There's plenty of room for friends and family to stay, with four bedrooms and a granny annexe.

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And there's a huge two-acre garden.

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Will this be too much space for them?

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Hello. All done? Yes, thank you.

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Pull the door. Let's mosey on.

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Fantastic.

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So it's back to the business of finding a home for Luke and Rachel.

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As they're after a quiet spot, we're heading to the tiny village of East Dean.

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As they still need to commute to London for work,

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it's a great choice, as it's only 12 miles to Salisbury,

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which has excellent rail links to London.

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Our buyers want to escape the noise and pressure of city living

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and it doesn't get more peaceful than East Dean,

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where there are no shops, just the ancient church of St Winfrith's

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and one pub, should they need a watering hole.

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OK.

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Different kettle of fish here. Very different.

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Much quieter. Much quieter. Beautiful, yeah.

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Lovely entrance as you came through. I love it.

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This is an 18th-century cottage.

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You can see where the chimney was, would've been the end of the original cottage.

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Then from the chimney, left, would have been a barn.

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This is a cottage and barn conversion.

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I know that's not what you put top of your list,

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but, nonetheless, we brought you here because we think this is a super property.

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It looks beautiful from the outside.

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I'll let you be the judge of that as you walk around. Lovely.

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So far so good on the outside.

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But they might be in for a bit of a shock on the inside.

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Come on in...

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to another kitchen/diner.

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Nice. Nicely done.

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Interesting...beams. Beams?

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Not our favourite.

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I think I said definite no-no. Mm-hm.

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If you painted these all a nice bleached-out chalky white,

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you would immediately feel they were about a foot high. And lighter.

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Well, it's absolutely what we didn't want, but I'm kind of liking it.

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You know, I need to see more of the house. This feels OK. Yes, it does.

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For hearty Christmases. It'll keep us cosy.

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Well, if you want hearty Christmases...

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Downstairs, there's a handy utility area and a cosy family room.

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No low ceilings here! No low ceilings, but still some beams. Still some beams.

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This is where I was thinking you could have a good family Christmas.

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Oh, yes, yes.

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It's beautiful on a summer's day like this but it would really work in the winter as well.

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I'm picturing a big Christmas party with children,

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and imagine the games of sardines you could play.

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That's definitely right. Before we look upstairs, one more room.

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Off this grand reception, I think there's a room that might be ideal for Luke's mum.

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Tiny little room here at the end. Oh, yes, right!

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Fabulous room. That's a big room too. It's a big room, isn't it?

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That's super, actually.

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There are options in this house for Mama, this might be one of them.

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Yes, this would work very well if we could get

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a little sitting, bed sitting room and en suite somewhere.

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They're certainly warming to this place. I'm hoping the first floor will deliver,

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providing they don't mind the odd beam or two.

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Here is the master bedroom.

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Lovely, very nice.

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Beam.

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There's a beam right above my bed. Just a single beam.

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I think that one would definitely have to be painted white. Yes.

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I think that would be doable.

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You've got a lot of storage, you've got a walk-in dressing room there and a big en suite.

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Oh, fabulous. Views over the garden as well.

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Oh, that is absolutely gorgeous. Isn't that great? On all sides.

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I can't remember the last time I saw a bathroom with double aspect.

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No, exactly. You can look out both sides and it makes it so lovely and light.

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I would definitely spend many hours soaking in that.

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Lovely. Definitely. Very nice.

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On the far side of the gallery landing,

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there is a country house-style guest bedroom with its own en suite,

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and a further three bedrooms with bright interiors.

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There is also a family bathroom with whitewashed floorboards.

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Outside, there's an expansive garden which runs down to the river,

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and a further two acres of private woodland beyond.

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I can see some fabulous garden parties. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

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You'd lose a few people, I suspect. Into the stream.

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And into the woods. Yes. Oh, it is fabulous.

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All the best garden parties end in the woods.

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If you live here. If you buy it.

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Which, of course, is dependent on the price.

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I'm going to go for 1.45, I think.

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I think it's less than that.

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Um...

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I think I am going to go 1.15.

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Well, yet again, it's somewhere in between.

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And once again, it's closer to you. It's on the market for 1.2. Wow.

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That's a great price.

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At ?1.2 million, this house is comfortably under their budget.

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It's a barn conversion, set in a small rural village.

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It's got a double-height reception room, perfect for entertaining.

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And with five bedrooms, there should be enough space for their family

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and friends to stay over.

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But will the beams leave Rachel feeling exposed?

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Lovely. But let's go and collect ourselves at the end of the day.

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Great.

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As the day closes over Hampshire, our buyers have time to consider the properties they've already seen

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and anticipate what the mystery house might have in store.

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For the mystery house, we've reigned things in.

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We have gone a bit smaller

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and retreated from the wilds of the countryside.

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So, let's see how they like that.

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Now for the mystery house

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and we've hopped across the border to Ferndown in Dorset.

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It's further away than the other houses I have shown them

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but it is still just commutable to London from Bournemouth

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which is seven miles away.

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Ferndown itself is a town

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but it's still surrounded by countryside and open fields.

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And, for golfer Luke, there's a championship course which could

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seriously help swing our mystery property right into their thinking.

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Ooh! Another exhausting walk up one of your drives. It is a long way up.

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So, what do you think of this? Wow, fabulous.

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That is not what I was expecting. No, not at all. At all.

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That is really stunning.

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And big! It is quite large. Again. Yes.

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This is actually 14 years old. Is that all?

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So, it's absolutely top spec.

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You have a championship golf course literally across the road

0:19:220:19:26

because I know you like... I spotted that on the way.

0:19:260:19:29

You are really in the middle of a community

0:19:290:19:31

and not way out in the countryside.

0:19:310:19:33

Shall we have a look inside? Yes, please. Yes, please.

0:19:330:19:36

Ah, maybe we have hit the jackpot with this house.

0:19:380:19:40

The inside will reveal all.

0:19:400:19:43

Ah.

0:19:430:19:44

What a fireplace.

0:19:440:19:47

That's the biggest fireplace we have shown you.

0:19:470:19:50

Almost a proper inglenook.

0:19:500:19:51

Yes. That is nice.

0:19:510:19:53

It is a real feature of this room. And the only beam in the property...

0:19:540:20:00

..is above the fireplace. I can live with that. That is fine.

0:20:000:20:03

I think it would be cosy in here.

0:20:030:20:05

This is the cosy sitting room which is cooler because...

0:20:050:20:09

..here, you've got a sunroom. Yes, this is lovely.

0:20:110:20:14

Very light, yeah.

0:20:140:20:17

Oh, yeah. And a pool.

0:20:170:20:19

Beautiful. And what a lovely setting for it.

0:20:190:20:22

Outdoors. You don't have to worry about that. Absolutely.

0:20:220:20:25

There is lots more to see. Yes. Lead the way.

0:20:250:20:28

'This is going very well.

0:20:280:20:30

'We might have actually found Luke and Rachel their ideal home.'

0:20:300:20:33

So, we go in here.

0:20:330:20:35

One of the things about the house is that there are lots of rooms. Yes.

0:20:370:20:41

Another sitting room. This is essentially the morning sitting room.

0:20:410:20:46

All the light comes in here in the morning.

0:20:460:20:48

And what a beautiful aspect, actually.

0:20:480:20:50

This is where you can have your morning coffee.

0:20:500:20:53

Read the papers. Yes. Lovely. Lovely.

0:20:530:20:56

There is a formal dining room. And then, a kitchen as well.

0:20:560:20:59

Let's go and look at that. I know it's very important for you. It is.

0:20:590:21:03

The all-important kitchen.

0:21:030:21:06

Yeah, lovely.

0:21:080:21:10

A bit small. It is smaller than the ones we have seen. You've been spoilt.

0:21:100:21:14

Yes, I think we have. Very nicely done.

0:21:140:21:17

But you can't entertain in here, I think.

0:21:170:21:19

That is the thing, you have a separate dining room.

0:21:190:21:23

It is more of a formal house. Yes, that's definitely right.

0:21:230:21:28

This is a very expensive kitchen.

0:21:280:21:30

It is a very nice kitchen. Have you noticed the beams?

0:21:300:21:33

That's what happens when you paint beams white. I hadn't. Quite.

0:21:330:21:37

A little bit high on the ceiling, though.

0:21:370:21:40

Well, there is more. Super.

0:21:400:21:42

Sounds like we haven't quite sealed the deal on this one yet.

0:21:420:21:45

But I'm going to show them a study and another conservatory

0:21:450:21:49

that could make a perfect bedroom and sitting room for Luke's mum.

0:21:490:21:53

Oh, fantastic, yeah. So, this is the extension.

0:21:530:21:57

This could be a room for Mum. This is what we were thinking.

0:21:570:22:01

She would love this because she loves the outside garden.

0:22:010:22:04

She could sit there in the morning and there in the afternoon.

0:22:040:22:08

She would love this. Yeah.

0:22:080:22:10

Ideal. Very well done. Very good.

0:22:100:22:13

Upstairs is much more conventional.

0:22:130:22:15

You've got four bedrooms and a big master bedroom.

0:22:150:22:18

Let's have a look at that.

0:22:180:22:20

'I get the feeling it's six of one

0:22:200:22:22

'and half a dozen of the other with this house.

0:22:220:22:24

'Let's see if the upstairs can tip the balance.'

0:22:240:22:27

This is the master. Ooh.

0:22:310:22:34

Just spotting...other bits.

0:22:340:22:37

Yeah. So, you've got a big dressing room area here. Oh, my word, that's huge.

0:22:370:22:41

Now, that is your dream, isn't it?

0:22:410:22:44

That certainly is. You've managed to find three dressing rooms in three properties.

0:22:440:22:49

Oh, yes. And a big en suite, there.

0:22:490:22:51

This is a great size, actually. Wow, this is huge.

0:22:520:22:54

It's huge. It's the size of a bedroom! Yes. Do you think? Yes, lovely.

0:22:540:23:00

There are three more bedrooms on this floor, all of them generous doubles.

0:23:020:23:06

Two of them are en suite. There is also a family bathroom.

0:23:060:23:11

Of all the properties I've shown you, this is the smallest in terms of footprint of land.

0:23:120:23:17

It's just under an acre.

0:23:170:23:19

What do you think this property is on the market for?

0:23:190:23:22

I'm going to go in at 975,000.

0:23:220:23:28

I was going to plumb for a figure of around 999,950.

0:23:280:23:32

Sadly, you're both wrong.

0:23:320:23:34

Because this is actually the most expensive house.

0:23:340:23:37

This is ?1.4 million. OK.

0:23:370:23:41

We don't know the area, I suppose.

0:23:410:23:43

Because we are edging closer to Sandbanks,

0:23:430:23:46

a very exclusive belt of property. Right.

0:23:460:23:50

That does surprise me, actually, that it is that much more

0:23:500:23:54

than at least the second property that we saw.

0:23:540:23:57

With a guide price of ?1.4 million,

0:23:570:24:00

this new-build house is the most expensive we have shown them.

0:24:000:24:05

It does give them plenty of space with two reception rooms,

0:24:050:24:08

a formal dining room, a large study, two fantastic conservatories

0:24:080:24:14

and four bedrooms.

0:24:140:24:16

All done? All done, thank you. All done. Good. Come with me.

0:24:160:24:22

Thank you very much.

0:24:220:24:23

I'm fairly sure I saw Rachel's eyes light up as we went around the mystery house.

0:24:320:24:36

It seemed to be the right proportions, lots of things she liked

0:24:360:24:39

and then it was killed dead by the price.

0:24:390:24:43

But I am very interested to see how the whole series of three properties

0:24:430:24:47

have changed Luke and Rachel's ideas about this

0:24:470:24:50

dream country house that is going to express so much about them.

0:24:500:24:54

So, let's go and find out.

0:24:540:24:57

Well, I hope it has been a thought-provoking few days.

0:25:010:25:06

We've seen quite a lot of different properties.

0:25:060:25:09

So, the first one we showed you was the big 1930s property,

0:25:090:25:13

lots of outbuildings, lots of space. Big, light kitchen.

0:25:130:25:18

Inside, that kitchen was absolutely spectacular.

0:25:180:25:22

My dream entertaining space.

0:25:220:25:24

I can certainly imagine having a number of parties there.

0:25:240:25:27

But the big killer for me was actually the road noise.

0:25:270:25:30

And, Luke, what about you?

0:25:300:25:31

Yeah, it was a very grand, very theatrical sort of house.

0:25:310:25:36

Perhaps it was a bit too grand for us.

0:25:360:25:38

It was the location, not so much the noise, that I wasn't convinced by.

0:25:380:25:43

The second house really gave you all the things you didn't want

0:25:430:25:48

and yet, it seemed to grow on you?

0:25:480:25:50

I loved the second house. A bit beamy inside.

0:25:500:25:53

The ceilings, in the main,

0:25:530:25:55

were high enough and I just loved the outside of that house

0:25:550:25:58

with the little tinkling stream running by.

0:25:580:26:01

I did find myself growing to love the property.

0:26:010:26:04

I thought the downstairs living room was just spectacular.

0:26:040:26:08

But I think I would need to go back and take another look on a gloomy day, for example,

0:26:080:26:13

and see if those beams really do do it for me.

0:26:130:26:17

And the mystery house, this was a shock, in terms of price.

0:26:170:26:20

But what did you think of the house?

0:26:200:26:22

I think the house, as a whole, was my favourite.

0:26:220:26:27

Certainly, I thought the outside was just delightful.

0:26:270:26:30

The killer, for me, was the kitchen and the entertaining space.

0:26:300:26:34

Yeah. I think, for me, location again.

0:26:340:26:37

it didn't feel particularly rural or semi-rural.

0:26:370:26:41

So, I still think a village or edge of village location would be my ideal.

0:26:410:26:46

So, are there any that you would revisit?

0:26:460:26:49

Any that you would take another look at?

0:26:490:26:52

I think we'd like to explore the area around the second house,

0:26:520:26:57

I think, before going back there,

0:26:570:26:59

just to check out the local village, some of the local pubs.

0:26:590:27:04

I don't think any of the three were our dream house.

0:27:040:27:08

No dream house for you, Luke, but I'm duty bound to check - Rachel?

0:27:080:27:12

I would actually disagree with Luke.

0:27:120:27:14

I don't think we found our dream home,

0:27:140:27:17

but I would like to take another look at the second property, in spite of the beams.

0:27:170:27:21

Great. That's wonderful. That's great news.

0:27:210:27:24

And we want to be top of the guest list at your first big country bash.

0:27:240:27:28

Have no fear. It's been fabulous. Thank you. Thank you. We've thoroughly enjoyed it.

0:27:280:27:32

As Luke and Rachel were summing up, Rachel said something that really jumped out at me.

0:27:390:27:43

She said, "Yes, I've got it, this is going to be my entertaining house."

0:27:430:27:48

And for all the reasons we buy houses,

0:27:480:27:50

especially a big house in the country, that's got to be a good one.

0:27:500:27:53

You want all your friends to come happily

0:27:530:27:55

and gather at your home and really enjoy themselves.

0:27:550:27:59

So, even though we didn't really find their dream property,

0:27:590:28:02

I think we can be proud that we helped them focus on what it was that they wanted.

0:28:020:28:07

So, that's all we have time for today on the show

0:28:070:28:10

but do join us next time for more property adventures in beautiful rural Britain.

0:28:100:28:15

If you'd like to escape to the country in Wales, Northern Ireland,

0:28:150:28:18

England, Scotland or even further afield to the Continent

0:28:180:28:22

and need our help, please apply online:

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:330:28:36

METALLIC THRUMMING

0:28:580:29:01

Alistair Appleton tackles a very expensive house search in Hampshire for a couple with £1.5 million to spend. At the top of the agenda are space for entertaining and room for the in-laws.


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