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House-hunting is a fantastic excuse to explore the very best of what the British Isles has to offer.
Where else can you enjoy views of the Atlantic, sunbathe under a palm tree
and play a game that involves a silver ball, yet no playing field and no rules?
Welcome to Escape To The Country.
'Today, I'll be helping a couple leave the big smoke behind for a new life in the fresh sea air.
'We'll be looking at some of the finest houses in the area.'
-Very clever design.
-You're tickled with that, aren't you?
'Including a mystery property twice as big as they bargained for.'
-From the outside, wow!
Today, I'm in St Ives in Cornwall, the home of Cornish hurling
and this silver ball goes right to the heart of it.
One February morning at half past ten, this silver ball is thrown from that wall down on to the beach
to an assembled throng of the town's youth.
The winner is the first person to get this back to the Guildhall by noon
and they've been doing it for decades.
Stretching around 300 miles of spectacular coastline,
Cornwall is renowned for its tantalising scenery,
world-famous surfing beaches, rugged cliff tops and wild, open landscapes.
Whatever your age or interests, there are many activities to enjoy, including a thriving art scene,
a living theatre of plants at the popular family attraction, The Eden Project,
as well as all the outdoor adventures you could imagine.
From the moment you set foot in this county which is so rich in history and natural beauty,
you are certain to lose yourself in its old-world charm.
If you fancy moving to this part of the world, it's probably no surprise to learn that you wouldn't be alone.
That popularity comes at a price.
Your average detached property will set you back
about 10% above the national average.
But it is just into double figures
and for all of this, it's a price worth paying.
Today's buyers are Jill and Julian
who are looking to downsize from their six-bed detached property in Esher, Surrey.
They recently moved back to the UK after living abroad
and are looking forward to spending more time together in the country.
Jill is looking forward to a real homecoming back to her roots.
For me, there's no decision around what area we want to move to.
I was born and raised in Cornwall and my heart lies there.
I have a huge family in Cornwall, so it would be nice to be near them.
Their priorities have changed.
I'm retired and Jill is still working, but looking forward to retirement.
I'm certainly looking forward to the time that we can enjoy life together to its full.
Julian sees Cornwall as a chance to indulge his outdoor hobbies.
I would love to pick up on sailing skills that I learnt while I was in America.
They can't wait to enjoy rural life.
I dream of the sort of life I used to have when I was growing up,
just being able to open the doors in the morning and breathe the air.
It's not just sea air. They both yearn to take in breathtaking views.
To me, a sea view is very important, whereas for Julian, it's a view of some kind.
They are very particular about what they are after.
This is a 1920s property and it's got lots of character features.
We'd be wanting something similar.
Julian has his mind on a practical space to relax.
This is the TV room and this is my domain.
I'm proud of the fact that Jill hasn't a clue how to use these remote controls.
I'm looking for the same facility in my new property in the country.
And Jill will be on the lookout for outside space to grow veg.
We've got a beautiful garden and I want to have something similar.
So to sum up, what are their exact requirements?
We're looking for a detached property with good views, tranquil, minimum of two bedrooms,
a large kitchen to use and live in.
And we've also talked about the need for some outbuildings,
so Julian can pursue his hobbies of renovating furniture and having his own workshop.
But I'm not looking for a property where I have to do a lot of renovation work.
Jill and Julian are in a fortunate position and don't have to sell their property to finance the move.
We're probably not going to sell this property before we move to the country.
This isn't a good time in the market to sell, so we'll delay it a little.
-So how much can they spend?
-For the right property, we're prepared to go up to £700,000.
When you're surrounded by beautiful coastline and scenery like this,
the often painful task of house-hunting seems to evaporate.
It's simply a joy being down here looking for the ideal home for Julian and for Jill.
Their requirements are slightly different.
Julian wants a large garage and a workshop for his carpentry and maybe a room for that hi-tech media suite.
But for Jill, this is altogether something different.
This is a return to the land of her childhood and who can blame her for wanting to come back here?
She wants a big country kitchen and a garden to have some fun with,
so even though their requirements are a bit different, let's hope neither will have to compromise.
Our property search today stretches from the coastal town of St Ives
across to the city of Truro,
giving our buyers the scope for stunning coastline views and tranquil hideaways.
I'll take them to see three stunning properties that I hope will tick all of the boxes on their wish list,
but I keep the prices under wraps.
The last of the three will be a mystery house which will have not just one, but two surprises.
-Jill, welcome back to Cornwall.
-This is where it all began.
-It is, and hopefully we'll go full circle.
In terms of your move, Julian, this is a big step, isn't it?
Yes, but it's something we've been looking forward to for a long time.
-And you've lived all over the place.
-Yes, we recently spent five years in Chicago.
-You've got, what, £700,000?
-Yeah, we have 700,000 available.
-And you can buy straight away?
-We're in a cash position, yes.
On a day like this, with scenery like this, it's got to be good.
-And that's what we're looking for, the view.
-A house right here. No pressure then(!)
And they want a tranquil setting accessible to the coast.
For our first property, we're travelling ten miles west of Truro
to the seaside town of Porthtowan, meaning "cove of sand dunes" in old Cornish lingo.
Located on the Atlantic coast, the sandy beach is a hot spot for surfers and walkers alike
and it's ideal for Julian to indulge his passion for sailing.
Right, first things first.
-What do you think?
-What does that mean?
-Not a great deal of character outside.
Not a huge amount. I think you get two kinds of property in Cornwall.
You get your stone-built vernacular, OK?
And then you get this kind of thing, very much more modern, more up to date.
The other obvious feature about this place is the double garage.
That looks exactly the same as what I have in the existing house.
In terms of you having somewhere to do your DIY and woodwork and maintenance...
That will do.
-The reason we brought you here is because I know views are important to you.
-I'm pretty open-minded - a view, but without pylons and without telegraph poles.
-It's a sea view.
Two good things I can offer you - no pylons, no poles
and some sea.
But you do get to look at it via a contemporary building.
I'm open-minded about contemporary.
Let's see if you're open-minded about this one. Follow me.
-Right, a view.
-It's got the view.
-Definitely got the view.
Very, very contemporary as you can see.
This has been designed with that view in mind. It's only two years old.
It's an upside-down arrangement. You walk in from ground level there with the garage and the parking
into the principal living area on this level, then all your accommodation is underneath.
-You're taking advantage of the view?
And I like the wood. It's beautiful.
Yeah. Come and have a look in here.
This might be of interest.
-This is a nice study.
-Nice, light room.
Looks like a nice place to escape.
-There's even more to escape to out here. Come and look at the rest of it. Follow me.
Now, in terms of kitchen, as you'd expect, everything is pretty kind of open-plan in here.
-Is it big enough?
-It's big enough for the two of us. That's not a problem.
It's very modern. It's not dissimilar to something we had in Chicago.
We had an open-plan flat in Chicago.
It's a nicely laid-out kitchen. You can imagine sitting having breakfast and overlooking the sea.
-The view, what they've done with this property, you couldn't do with a character property.
Then this dining area with something of an Arthurian Round Table theme.
Then you've got this area which is cosy with a working fireplace and so forth. A room for the telly?
-Have a look in here.
Now please tell me it'll fit somewhere in here.
Just about. It depends with technology. It could get a lot bigger than it is currently.
But I think this is a good size, a very good size.
-It will limit the size of the TV which will be good.
-Which won't be a bad thing.
So that is pretty much the main living area. It's very open-plan and easy to see how it all works.
What are your thoughts?
It's quite an exciting house, but yes, I want to see the rest.
There's an awful lot of it under our feet. Let's see what you make of it.
'The modern, open-plan style of this property seems to be going down very well.
'Downstairs, there is a large family bathroom and five bedrooms.
'The first three are bright and airy with good views. The other two are potential masters with en-suites.'
This is one of the en-suites. This is the shower arrangement.
-Who would this be for?
-The shower is definitely for me.
-This could be your room?
-Sounds perfect for me.
-And you want a bath?
-Come and have a look at the bath.
-So you can really take your pick in terms of master bedrooms and so forth.
-This is definitely mine.
-Why is this you?
-It's larger, brighter and it's got a bath.
-Come and have a look.
But you have got his'n'hers basins, so you might let him in occasionally.
I'll think about it.
I think I'll stay where I am.
-Great. Everybody's happy.
I don't know how much of a garden you're really into or would like,
but there is one and it's right out there.
'So it's thumbs up on the interior, but despite the glorious views,
'the outside space isn't enormous.'
It's compact. It's very much in keeping with the idea
that this place is currently something of a holiday let, so it's manageable.
-Easy maintenance, but I'm a keen gardener.
-So it might be a bit limiting.
The other thing is that you can't really appreciate the best of the view from down here,
so they built that decking.
-Unfortunately, you can appreciate the main road.
It's not the A30, but it is a road, yeah.
-And it'll only get busier in summer.
-Which is when you'll spend more time outdoors.
He's hard work! Come and have a look at the view.
'Here's a man who knows exactly what he wants.
'Let's see what he thinks of the sea views from the balcony.'
This is all stainless steel, very contemporary, glass, so very low-maintenance if any.
-And of course, there you go.
-That's where you get the spectacular view.
That's the main event about this property.
You can imagine sitting here on a summer's day, looking over that.
-I take your point about the road, Julian. It is there, but certainly intermittent at the moment.
Overall, what are your kind of general impressions?
-The view is fabulous. It's a little more contemporary than I had anticipated.
-But I like the open-plan living.
-So that contradicts what I've just said!
-I like the contemporary. It is a marvellous view.
It is limited though by the road that it's on and by the neighbouring properties.
Let's have a think about how much you think it's worth. Maybe that'll have a bearing on it.
-You've got 700,000 or so to spend.
-After you. Ladies first.
-I always get this wrong.
-675, yeah, OK.
I think it's going to be limited because it's the best house in an average road.
So I would say...
You can't have the same as me!
OK, well, no, I thought you two weren't going to agree on anything,
so I'm delighted that you've agreed on 675.
The good news is you're both wrong.
This is on the market for 625.
-Which may compensate and reflect some of your concerns.
-625, 75 grand under budget.
-Something to think about.
-It's more interesting now.
-It's more interesting. Good.
Have a good look around and I'll catch up with you a bit later.
Off you go. Go and enjoy some open-plan, seaside living.
This modern, open-plan home with outstanding sea views is on the market for way below their budget.
It has the coastal outlook and extra living space they're after
and the ocean is practically on their doorstep.
I was a little dubious walking up to the front of the property, but it was like a Tardis when we walked into it.
There's a lot more here than you anticipate.
It's an interesting property. In terms of open-plan,
the design is obviously centred upon the views that the property is able to give.
It's a lot larger than you anticipate, not that we need the five bedrooms,
but it's got a very large downstairs and multiple bathrooms. That's nice.
Well, guys, how was that?
Enjoyable and interesting.
-I'm looking forward to the next ones.
-Right, come on then.
Earlier this week, Jill and Julian took a stroll through St Ives,
an old fishing port which is now a popular tourist destination.
It has traditional little shops, making it a quintessential Cornish village.
It's well known for its many galleries.
They have brilliant art shops, don't they?
Including a branch of the Tate Gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery is a must.
Hepworth, who lived in Cornwall from 1938, was famous for her sculptures,
made out of bronze, stone and wood.
Following her death in 1975, her home and studio were made into the museum,
so now visitors can see her work and the place she found an inspiration.
Let's see if her sculptures give Jill and Julian some ideas
-for decorating their new Cornish home.
-Lovely! Would be nice
-to afford something like this in our garden.
Unfortunately for Jill, the sculptures are priceless,
and are only for viewing and not for sale.
Cornwall has an abundance of museums. Our next stop is the Wayside Folk Museum,
which preserves the practices of Cornish life from yesteryear.
It has over 5,000 exhibits, including tools from the mining boom.
Oh, look, Julian! Perfect! A workshop for you!
Thanks, I'd like a few more modern tools!
And household appliances from a bygone age.
I recognise some of these things - how old does that make me?!
-You're no spring chicken, are you?
-I think I've seen enough!
To round off the day they go to Porthmeor Beach.
This is what Cornwall's all about.
'For our next property,
'we're heading a 30-minute drive southwest of St Ives
'to the outskirts of St Just, the most westerly town in the UK.
'St Just sits perched on a spectacular cliff top, offering dramatic waterfront views.
'Historic inns and artsy galleries offer plenty to keep Julian and Jill entertained.
'The house we're about to explore is an absolute hidden gem with quite spectacular views.
'It's nestled within the picturesque Cott Valley.'
Coastal paths and coastal walking is one of your big things?
Yes, our ambition is to walk the coast of Britain. We've done most of the north Cornwall coast.
-Have you done this bit?
-We have and I remember walking into this valley and thinking how charming it was.
-That's the Cott Valley.
-I didn't know that then, but I know where we are.
It's owned by the National Trust, so what you see will never change.
-So we're in a conservation area.
-Very much so.
You've got a beautiful little sandy bay at the bottom, but what I want you to look at is that.
It's charming. Charming and very tranquil.
-This used to be owned by the National Trust.
-It was sold off a few years ago.
It should give you an idea of its local importance and also charm and character.
-Is it too good to be true, I wonder?
Come and have a look inside.
Jill, come and tell me what you think of this country kitchen.
-Is this what you had in mind?
-This is more what I had in mind in terms of the country feel. It's compact.
You've got this breakfast bar, island arrangement.
-Lovely slate window seat.
-It's very pretty.
-This is a great start.
-A great start. Brilliant. Let's continue through here.
Now, if you do decide to entertain, this might work for you.
-Oh, and the view again.
-This would be great.
Fantastic sash windows all the way round which really do show off the valley to its best.
You also get a little study arrangement here.
-I don't know, Julian, if that would work for you.
-In terms of PCs, etcetera?
-Something out of the way.
If you wanted to spill out, you could move down to the dining room table.
But this answers the lack of space in the kitchen for entertaining.
-Would this make up for it?
So, kitchen good, dining room good.
Let's have a look at the main living room because this you will enjoy as well.
So this is where it's all going to happen in terms of you guys, cosy nights in.
This is a good sized room. This is larger than I was expecting.
-I think you'd be quite well suited here.
-It's very cosy. Very nice.
Come through here. This staircase is a feature of the room in itself,
even though it fulfils the job of getting you upstairs.
I might not get up the stairs after I've gone past the wine case!
Well, I'll leave you to that fantasy!
Well, up here we've got you three bedrooms,
the first of which is in here.
Come and tell me what you make of this.
-It's nice and bright.
-Nice and bright.
-Very simply furnished. You've got these nice, big window seats again.
-It's a good size.
-Am I allowed to look in here?
-Yes. Open the door.
-What about that?
-It's a kind of wet room.
-A complete wet room.
An unusual wet room.
You don't see many with feature walls in them.
-But a really interesting mix of contemporary and the traditional fabric of the building.
-Very clever design.
-You're tickled with that, aren't you?
One of the nice things about this house... I say that a lot with property, but it's very true here.
It's a place your family and friends will remember for features like that when they come and see you,
if, of course, you decide to buy it.
Now, then... This is your own little master suite.
That's your bathroom. Have a look at that - shower and loo and all the rest of it.
-But this, Jill...
-Is a walk-through bathroom.
-It's a walk-through bathroom.
-Wow, you could, um...
-I'll lose you in this.
-..have a bath with a view.
-Imagine a long soak in there watching the sunset...
-You'd never get me out.
-..over the horizon!
It's fantastic. I love it. It's a bit crazy, but I do love it.
-Very traditional design of bath.
Come in here because this isn't a project at all. This is all ready to go.
-Isn't that nice?
-Very French looking.
-Yeah. But a very good size.
-And again, double aspect.
-Is it growing on you, this place?
It's a lot smaller, but that's what we're expecting.
'Upstairs, there is another light and spacious bedroom.
'And outside, there is a big bonus to this property -
'a separate, huge, two-bedroom cottage with its own lounge and its own conservatory and garden.
'It's also a real money-spinner as a holiday let, turning over £995 a week in the peak season.
'Next, we head to the rear garden which has the best sea views.'
Right, guys, come out, the moment we've been waiting for - another chance to really indulge that view.
-You'd probably get a fabulous sunset there.
A fantastic sunset. It's just the perfect frame.
It's what everybody coming to Cornwall wants to see - a secret cove with the ocean beyond it.
-And, of course, you get that to enjoy it all from.
-So far, so good?
-Cos all in all, you've got about an acre here.
-Really? As much as that?
-Yeah, because it's not all here.
This is the lawn, but there is more through here.
You're the gardener.
It's not the flattest garden in the world, but do you think there's enough garden to keep you busy?
-Just the front part is enough to keep somebody busy.
-You're not pining for acres and acres?
You could put a vegetable plot here.
There is an old, now defunct vegetable area down there, so you could have a bit of fun around here.
And for you, sir, that great big wooden shed is also yours.
-I was going to ask about that.
-It's a huge double garage arrangement.
But you can create all manner of things in there to your heart's content.
I'm pretty sure the price will have a bearing on how interesting this place will be, ultimately.
-A very difficult one.
Very, very difficult indeed. Two properties we were not expecting at all.
But I know you wouldn't blow our budget, so I have trust in you.
-Therefore, I'll say 850.
-That's blowing the budget!
-It's certainly blowing the budget by £150,000.
I don't think I'll go that far. I'll say 780.
780... Gosh, lots of numbers, not necessarily in the right order.
The mystery figure is 795.
-We've got a lot of thinking to do though. Very attractive indeed.
Go and get more attracted to it. I'll catch up with you later.
Great stuff. Well, there we are. £795,000,
yes, it is over budget by a considerable sum, but doesn't seem to worry Jill and Julian.
And absolutely, why would it? If I had the money, I'd buy it.
This gorgeous ocean-front pad is priced at £795,000.
It has a cottage with an additional two bedrooms
which can bring in a tidy little sum as a holiday let.
This property was engaging as soon as you arrived.
Brilliant setting, fabulous views.
The view is just... Views you dream of, quite frankly.
We could make this area more into a dining room, then use that as a snug for somewhere to sit,
-overlooking the sea, because this isn't the room with the sea view.
-Yeah, that's a very good idea.
Three bedrooms - an extra bedroom is a bonus. Then suddenly, you throw on top of that another house.
-So you're admiring our view.
-I am admiring... Well, is it your view, I wonder? Could it be?
-A distinct possibility.
-It's not over till it's over. Come on.
As the sun sinks into the horizon, day one of our property hunt draws to a close.
Jill and Julian head back to the hotel for some reflection.
-How do you think the search went today?
-I think we've seen two extremes.
Contemporary and something full of character and very unique.
The contemporary grabbed me in terms of the view.
I think it had more to offer than I anticipated from the outside.
It was a bit like a TARDIS - more space than you anticipated.
The view was spectacular.
-The character property?
-I fell in love with the position. That view would never be taken away from you.
Yes. It is a spectacular position.
-Wonderful in many regards.
-If we see two more tomorrow
that are thought-provoking as the ones we've seen today,
-it'll be an interesting day out.
-Yes, quite thrilling, really.
'Today's buyers are Jill and Julian from Esher in Surrey.
'They're looking to settle down in Cornwall where Jill grew up and their budget is £700,000.
'So far, they've seen two properties with gorgeous sea views, but we've got another two to come,
'including the mystery property which is surprising for more reasons than one.'
This one is very, very, very interesting.
Well, it's the beginning of my second day's house hunt in Cornwall,
with Jill and Julian, and I suppose most would love to live by the coast
in a house like that. When they come up, they come
with a hefty price tag attached.
So I think today, we will try something different and head inland.
For our next property, we travel eight miles northwest of Truro
to Mount Hawke.
It's an old copper and mining village a few miles from the coast.
Surrounded by sprawling open landscapes and wooded walks,
this is a pretty town with a pub and handy post office.
And Truro is just a 20-minute drive away.
Something different to what we've seen before. What do you think?
-Doesn't have the charm of yesterday's property.
-It's a nice way of putting it.
Not on the outside. It's been much extended since 2000
by the current owners.
It was a tiny cottage then. But treat this from the inside out.
-I wait to be convinced!
-This will be a struggle! Come and have a look.
I might have a challenge on my hands but I think its unique features will give them something to think about.
So I'm taking them into the open-plan kitchen and living space first.
-Nice big room.
-Very large kitchen.
-Very much a farmhousey style of kitchen.
Come here and look at this extra space,
because this is an area that's been pushed through.
A garden room attached to the kitchen, making it a big kitchen-diner.
-Would you keep it as a dining area?
-We'd use it in a similar way
to that how it's used at the moment - a table for eating,
and some sofas you can use for relaxation.
It's a nice, large, bright room.
-Let's see the rest.
-Let's see the rest!
Again, this is...
-part of the original cottage, actually.
-Use this as a TV room?
-I'm thinking that through, yeah.
-It has possibilities.
-OK, well, come through here.
Continue our tour into the dining room.
Nice size. It's a bonus, really, to have a dining room with that size of kitchen.
-A nice TV room!
-I've suddenly been evicted now, have I?
-That's my study, this is your TV room.
At least you can decide later what it may or may not become.
'Things are looking up. They seem a bit more positive than their initial reaction to the kitchen.'
Downstairs, there is also a utility room and a pantry as well as a washroom.
Upstairs, there's a family bathroom with a shower,
and wonderful views. But we're heading to their room.
So the master, en suite in there.
-Yeah! Suits me.
Big shower, actually.
And then the bedroom.
-Yes, the bedroom's plenty big enough.
I like the windows.
There are another two bedrooms here, one with an en suite and all with fantastic views.
Coming out of the extension at the end of the kitchen,
that's the view of the front door of the original cottage.
-That's retained its character. That's nice.
-I like that a lot.
-I like the walled garden effect.
This little courtyard has quite a lot of potential, I think.
I like that a lot, yeah.
I suspect the depths of the walls allow everything to kind of fit.
It's not all flat.
I think that's what gives it a nice texture.
Come through here. This is my thinking in terms of a vegetable patch area...
-This is just one part of the gardens.
The old stone wall works really well, and you have those views out across Cornwall.
Lovely. Far too good for a vegetable patch.
There is planning permission here to put a swimming pool in it.
-A vegetable patch with a swimming pool!
-Water garden, you know!
It's ideal for a pool. It's very private. You won't be overlooked by anyone or anything.
I didn't realise we were this high up.
It's cold enough!
I do think this property's outlook is a definite plus.
There's a separate building where the current owners run a business
from home. It could as easily be Julian's workshop, or TV outhouse.
And he'd even have his own WC.
Next, a generous plot of land.
Right, now, finally...
-It's huge. So, vegetables,
-The odd donkey.
Tennis court, whatever you want to do, you've got plenty of space.
There's a lot to this property. Interesting to see what you think it's worth.
I will go...640.
640. OK, yeah. Pretty much in the ballpark.
650, um, comfortably under budget by £50,000.
It has positive features. The kitchen is great. Very large, nice space
to live in, but I think we'd have to do a lot of work to bring it up to what we'd want.
It's a good quality kitchen,
but...I'd want to change some of the units.
What I particularly like about this property is the, er...
outbuilding. It is a tremendous outbuilding. All I need now is to install a shower.
Right, guys. Out you come.
Good, that's what I like to hear. It's not over yet. Shall we?
Jill and Julian love outdoor adventure.
So we decided to introduce them to a thrilling new sport called blo-karting.
It's just the thing for Julian, whose big passion is sailing.
It's similar, but instead of riding the waves, you set sail along the beach.
Graham from Speedsail UK shows us the ropes at Longrock Beach.
-This is Julian and Jill.
Blo-karting seems to be sweeping the coastal resorts of the UK.
How difficult is it to learn how to do it? Julian here is something of a keen sailor.
-Is that useful?
-All of the stuff you learn in blo-karting
is almost identical to that of normal sailing,
so if you have sailing knowledge already, we'll have to sail hard to beat you!
Well, it looks absolutely fantastic. Let's have a go.
Absolutely. Come on.
OK, first up, Jill.
'She seems to get up to speed with ease.'
Go on, Jill!
Julian is quick to join in for a race.
Great stuff. Beautiful.
Peaceful. No engines.
Jill seems to be just in front.
To say these two are competitive
will be something of an understatement. It shows sports like this can be incredibly simple to do
and quick to learn if you go to the right place. Cornwall is full of places to do this.
It's a fantastic thing, and within five minutes,
we've got two F1 blow-kart racers on our hands.
Watch out, Jill, Julian has taken first place.
Not going fast enough, am I?
I'm not really sure who's winning any more, but one thing's for certain.
They found a new sport they'll enjoy on the shores of Cornwall.
-How'd you find it?
-I cannot see a thing!
You're absolutely plastered in sand!
-A bit of competition out there, wasn't there?
-I think I won!
I'll call it a win.
It's been a lot of fun, but before we do anything else, they'll need quite a good clean-up.
Well, at long last, it's mystery house time.
I do know that Julian doesn't really want a project,
so maybe doing up this old Cornish tin mine might be a step too far,
but the good thing about the mystery house, well, the conversion has already been done.
The mystery house is situated in Baldhu,
a charming country hideaway just five miles south-west of Truro.
Truro itself provides everything you need from shops to entertainment
and both Cornish coasts are within ten miles.
St Agnes on the Atlantic side is a 20 minute drive away.
There's plenty on offer in the village, from exploring pottery shops
to stocking up on local Cornish produce.
The mystery house is not exactly what they're looking for.
It doesn't have views and it's semi-detached,
but the great mystery is it's split into two - not one, but two properties, both up for grabs.
Now, then, mystery house time. Come on up. Don't be scared.
Don't be put off by the graveyard. How do you feel about old churches?
-I have a strange fascination with churchyards. They all tell a story.
-They certainly do tell a story.
This church has a story to tell as well. We're looking at an extraordinary conversion.
This is one of only three churches in the whole of Cornwall ever to be converted and it's just been done.
It'll be interesting to see what you think of the finish because it is brand-new with all mod cons.
From the outside, wow!
Hooray! We've got a "wow". Brilliant.
-It's totally justified.
-This looks a great find.
-Have a look inside.
'And he and Jill will find many surprises in this chapel conversion built in 1847.
'The first property has three bedrooms and a whole lot more space that just goes on and on.'
This is... This is so heavy.
-There you go.
-That's a pretty impressive front door.
-Not bad, eh? Come on in.
'The entrance hall which makes a grand first impression leads to all areas of the house.
'On the ground floor, there are two large bedrooms, both with their own en-suite bathrooms.
'As well as a large utility room with a lovely slate floor.
'All have fantastic views of this incredible church architecture which allows for superb open-plan living.
'The outstanding design of this home sprawls across three levels. We're heading to the first.'
-Do I need to say much really? I think it rather sells itself, to be honest.
-A lot to absorb.
-It's a lot to absorb.
The geography of this place, even I'm still slightly confused by it,
because it goes all over, trying to make the best use of the space.
-It is just brilliant.
-And the finish looks immaculate.
-Yes, very impressed by that so far.
There is absolutely nothing you would need to do in here really, apart from move in.
-Can we get cooking?
-Yeah, come and have a look up here. Very open-plan, but I think it works in this space.
You wouldn't want to be in poky little rooms cos you wouldn't enjoy the architecture.
You've got these beautiful windows throwing light and patterns and dappled light everywhere.
And I love the fact that this big, round window up here carries through that theme
of these great ecclesiastical windows and their architecture.
It's something you couldn't dream of. The building is so unusual.
I know flooring is of interest to you, Julian. This is all slate. It's all under-floor heating throughout.
There are very few radiators about the place.
It just goes on and on and on. Come through here.
This is one of the principal living areas, although you've got plenty of choice in this place.
Come on into here.
-I just love...
-I have my open fire.
-A very funky, quite modern open fire.
-The way the light just comes through...
-I just love all this carving as well. So much detail.
-Is there enough character for you?
'The simply outstanding architecture is displayed throughout.
'Also on this floor is a mezzanine level which could have many uses,
'but we're heading up to the top floor to see the impressive master.'
Right, come up here.
I love showing properties which are so unusual and clever.
And this one is all of that, I think.
-We could just live in this space.
-It's big. This floor is bigger than most flats in a city.
And I just love...
You've got to touch it.
You have, absolutely. Feel it, suck it up. It's brilliant.
I love it. And in here you've got your own en-suite. Check it out.
Have a look in there.
-You've got your bath and I've got my shower.
And look at the finish.
-I can't fault it.
-Make me an offer!
-You're going to tell us we can't afford it!
-I'm sure you can.
There's a lot more to see. Let's go outside and have a look at the garden.
I think Jill is lost for words. It's interesting.
'This extraordinary property clearly has immense appeal for Jill and Julian.
'Just wait till they find out that the house next door is also up for sale.'
Can't get out, it's so heavy! Right, come on out on to the drive.
Now, I think you'll agree it's a fairly extraordinary property.
-Goes beyond my expectations.
-Brilliant. That's fantastic.
How do you feel about the fact that it's a semi?
That always gives me a problem, but it really depends on the type of construction.
-I imagine these are quite thick walls.
-Very thick walls. And it'll depend on who your neighbours are.
Because here's the thing.
Next door is up for sale too. If you like that one which we've just seen, wait till you see next door
because for my money, that's the one.
Let's go and see it.
'The first house comes with the grand porch.
'The house we're about to explore doesn't have the porch, but it does have the tower.'
Come and have a look at next door.
Come on in.
Need I say any more?
And you get the pulpit.
You get the pulpit. You get, of course, a lot more ecclesiastical architecture,
these lovely Bath stone arches and so forth and columns.
The great thing I love about this side of the property is that the views through really do tease you.
Again you've got under-floor heating throughout, underneath this gorgeous slate floor. It is extraordinary.
'Like the house next door, the architecture everywhere is stunning.
'Downstairs there is a double bedroom and a large shower room,
'but we're heading up to the huge kitchen on the first floor.'
Now, Jill, come on in.
-It's all right, isn't it?
-Yeah, I like it a lot.
Compared to next door, it's a completely separate room which may be an advantage.
The great advantage here is we can have the table here,
so it's got a distinct advantage over the other kitchen.
-And the kitchen units are very similar to next door.
-All high quality.
-Very high quality.
What I love about this end of the building, the western end,
we're above what would have been the altar area, is the stained glass in the window.
I'm delighted that we've got close,
if not have arrived at the kind of finish that you've been seeking, Julian.
You've gone the other way. You've exceeded.
Well, there you go. I'll take "exceeded". That's fine.
Let's continue our tour. Follow me through here.
Come through here.
Now, this is your principal living area,
I suppose, because it's got the fireplace in it.
And quite a bit larger than next door, it feels.
Yes, and again you've got access to the beams and the sense of great height and space.
'It's starting to look like they prefer this house over next door.
'Also on this level is another raised platform area which would make an ideal lounge.
'On the next floor is a second bedroom with its own en-suite and views of the tower,
'which is where we're heading next.'
So last, but by no means least,
our tour of this converted church is going to end in the tower.
What do you think? This would be bedroom three here.
-I've got to look in here. Excuse me.
-Mind your head.
That used to be part of the arrangement for getting bell ropes up. See that groove in the wall?
-There was a single bell rope that used to come through there.
But the main belfry was above us and that now provides the ceiling to the en-suite,
which is via that ladder, again finished to a very similar spec
to all the others that we've seen.
So, as a guest room, I'm thinking your family and friends will really remember staying up here.
-They certainly are.
-They certainly, certainly are.
-I get the feeling you two will remember this place for an awfully long time as well.
Who knows? Maybe you'll move in if the price is right.
Let's go outside and see what we can do about the money.
'This heavenly hideaway comes with enchanting woods, but they do incorporate the cemetery.
'The first house with the porch is just under two-thirds of an acre
'and the second extends to just over half an acre.
'With two to choose from, will they agree on either?'
Right, out you come.
Now, the two properties are separated by this fence.
OK? So this is there. Over there is next door, the first one we looked at.
The grounds as such, I'm not really going to call them a garden because it's the graveyard basically.
-How do you feel about that?
-They don't worry me. They're not going to give me much trouble.
No, late night parties anyway!
But we are lacking a workshop.
How do you feel about that?
Those are sacrifices that we're prepared to make.
How you've changed your tune, sir!
I love this. All the big things, the issues before, suddenly have evaporated
in the face of this beautiful building.
It's amazing what property can do to people.
We've seen two very unusual mystery houses because it is mystery "houses", plural.
-Which one do you prefer?
-Well, I definitely prefer number two.
-But I know Jill will prefer both one and two.
-So you want them together?
-It depends on the price.
-It will depend on the price.
Let's start with that one, the slightly bigger of the two.
-You've got £700,000 or so. How do you think it compares to that?
-Very, very difficult to price.
But let me put a price of 875...
It's difficult to price a labour of love,
but I would say you wouldn't show us something we couldn't afford, so...
780? Crikey, there's about 100 grand between your two guestimates!
OK, well, not surprisingly, this one is more expensive than that one.
This one is on the market for £700,000.
That one is on the market, with the porch and all the rest of it,
the first one we looked at, for £650,000.
Well, obviously, I'm miles out.
Will you buy them both? Will Jill win?
We need to talk about that.
But this one is very, very, very interesting.
Well, there is an awful lot to both of these properties that you still should explore and discover.
When you have done, I'll come and find you and tear you away. Go on, off you go.
There we are. What an interesting estimate that was from Julian!
£875,000 - a cool 175 grand over the asking price.
But some properties, it's very difficult to put a figure on them.
And this one, to many of us, is priceless.
This extraordinary church conversion offers the choice of two homes.
They both have the "wow" factor.
I thought the mystery houses were absolutely phenomenal.
I used the big W-word, the "wow" factor. And this has got it in spades.
Can you imagine guests sitting here with the light coming down from the tower?
I think it would be great.
I think it's fantastic.
This is my TV room. It's got to be my TV room. It's got the advantage of the en-suite shower room.
It has a position for the projector.
I can see myself living in a place like this. I would be privileged to live in a place like this.
'Jill and Julian have now seen treasures by the sea and a rural hideaway in a converted church,
'so there's a lot to weigh up.'
As you can probably make out, behind me, the sun has gone.
Night has come, but the day isn't over just yet because it's decision time.
We've shown Jill and Julian some fantastic properties and some which may have been a bit frustrating,
but they are hard at work making notes, so let's go and see if they've made their minds up.
Well, Jill, Julian...
We've seen some very interesting properties. You actually got a bonus with two mystery houses.
But it all started with that very modern, contemporary... with that extraordinary view.
It was like standing on the bridge of a ship. What did you think?
Certainly as you walked into that property, the view was everything.
A sea view, as I asked for. It was way larger than I anticipated.
-Did it feel like you were downsizing?
-The only thing...
-Apart from the garden.
-Apart from the garden, yeah.
Next we took you to something very different, set in that gorgeous valley,
a very sweet little stone cottage.
-What did you think of that one?
-Love it. Very cosy.
-The location is just something you dream about.
-Oh, the location was absolutely stunning.
And that's what sold it to me. We had concerns about the interior,
and how we made that work for us.
There wasn't a TV room, and you'd have to use the additional property to make that space work,
but you know, the view was to die for.
Then of course, another day dawned and we took you
to something quite different again - big white family house
with the office attached.
-Couple of acres to play with.
-It probably was unfair,
as what we were doing immediately was comparing it to the valley property.
It had the stunning view and had the character I think that property didn't have.
Lots of plus point but what we're looking for in terms of downsizing,
two acres is a lot of garden.
Then we took you to the mystery houses. Two very much in the same location,
in that extraordinary conversion of the church. Grade II style listed,
as one would expect. What happened there?
The quality of finish and the quality of thought that had gone into the design, just impeccable.
That was a labour of love.
But there was a choice there. Are you still fighting over which one you might be interested in?
I wouldn't say we were necessarily... Yes, we are, in fact.
I think Julian is leaning towards the tower property
and I might lean towards the other one because of the aspect and the outside space.
That's it. We've trawled round them all. We've discussed them. What happens next with Jill and Julian?
I'm still torn between the two properties, the mystery and the valley property.
-And I think I'd like to go back and see the mystery properties.
Well, let us know what does happen.
I hope we've helped clarify things and not created too much confusion.
-It's been brilliant. Thank you from both of us.
-That is our pleasure.
That's it for us from Cornwall for today. Do join us again on Escape To The Country next time.
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