Home relocation series. Alistair Appleton visits Suffolk to help a couple dreaming of returning to the rural life. They need a house with an outbuilding and a large garden.
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Today I'm in a county that would look very, very different if it wasn't for this stuff - wool.
For example, this church behind me wouldn't exist.
Find out where I am later on, on Escape To The Country.
I think I've dropped a stitch.
Oh, dear! Come here. That's it, pull that through.
In today's show we'll be helping a couple escape
their traffic-clogged urban environment
for a new home in the country.
But finding space for their large bed immediately becomes a problem.
Rethink the bed? Oh, no.
You can't buy a property around a bed, surely?
I don't know. I dress round my shoes!
We take them on a grand tour of the best properties the area has to offer.
-Oh, that's more like it.
-Yes, this is a better option, I think.
And as ever, there's the mystery house.
But will any of our properties excite them enough to set the wheels of the removal van in motion?
I'm in Suffolk which, back in the golden age of the 15th century, boomed with the wool trade.
And it saw the rise of lots of these fantastic wool churches.
Like the one here in Lavenham.
Now, the wool trade then slightly went down the pan.
But, wool-related hobbies are still much in evidence.
Apart from it's historic wool industry, Suffolk has much more to offer.
It's one of Britain's largest counties,
with just under 500 square miles to its name.
With few hills, much of the land is flat and low laying,
lending itself well to arable farming.
It enjoys 40 miles of Heritage coastline,
with sand and shingle beaches that draw in the tourists every year.
Inland, the county is characterised by its trademark pink houses
that give this corner of the country its unique look.
Suffolk is a perfect county to retreat to,
if you want to get a country lifestyle, but not be too remote.
Because it's filled with these beautifully preserved villages,
packed with gorgeous vernacular architecture,
and yet there's still very good train links into London.
So it's a surprise that house prices are quite reasonable here -
2.5% under the national average.
Which means that an average detached house clocks in at £258,000,
which is good news for today's buyers.
And they are Jan and Eileen, who live in
this three bedroom bungalow in Rayleigh in Essex with their lovely dog, Harvey.
They were both brought up in rural communities.
Jan in Kenya and Eileen in Ireland.
So they're both used to wide, open spaces.
When they bought this property seven years ago they thought it was in the perfect location.
But now they're at the end of their tether.
Since we've lived in this area it's actually become overdeveloped.
It's lost a bit of its sort of village quality.
And small town quality.
So we'd like to go to the countryside to get a bit of that back, really.
We're much more comfortable in that, sort of, arena.
That's right. I like my goats.
He wants goats.
It's not just the lure of peace and quiet that's prompting this move though.
Jan and Eileen run an insurance business from a converted summer house in their garden.
But while the business has expanded, their office space unfortunately hasn't.
And now they're desperately in need of more room.
And with a new house on the cards,
they've sorted out their priorities, inside and out.
This is my kitchen at the moment, which I obviously really like.
I would like a slightly bigger dining area,
so that people can sit and talk to me while I'm cooking,
which is a really great hobby of mine.
I would, if possible, like to have a utility room.
That would be really great, as well. But no smaller than this.
This is our upstairs master bedroom.
Unfortunately, Eileen has an ongoing medical condition called ankylosing spondylitis
which is making it increasingly difficult for her to manage the stairs.
Ideally in our new property
we'd like to have a downstairs bedroom, preferably en suite.
Even if this involved an extra reception room that could be converted.
I'm proud that in the last few years I've been growing vegetables.
As you can see they're all in pots.
But if we get somewhere with a vegetable plot,
that would be really fantastic and we can grow even more.
And finally, they'd also like parking for two or more cars for when they have visitors.
Jan and Eileen plan to stay in this next house for many years.
So they've had their thinking caps on as to their wish list.
I'd really love an open fire, or a log burner, or something.
Something really nice and big.
What sort of things would you like?
I'd love a view of the water.
That would be fabulous, wouldn't it?
If somebody could conjure up a little jetty so I could moor a boat.
-That may be asking a bit too much. But it'd be great.
-But it'd be great.
So what does all this boil down to?
The main thing is character.
We'd like minimum three bedrooms. One hopefully with an en suite.
Love a utility room and a larger lounge.
With a big garden and outbuildings, or a very large garage or shed.
We can't wait to get property hunting, but first we've asked a local estate agent
to put a value on the property they bought seven years ago.
A three bedroom detached chalet, on a corner plot, lots of character.
Close to Rayleigh station and all the amenities.
I value it at £250,000.
Frankly, I'm quite disappointed in it.
-I think, even in the current market, I think it was quite low.
Given that bad news, how much money is available for this move?
If it had everything that we wanted, and it ticked all of our boxes,
it would be 450,000.
Jan and Eileen's wish list is not so unusual. They want space -
space to socialise, space for a veggie patch, space for cars.
The only fly in the ointment could be Jan's desire to be by the sea.
Because I've heard that for properties by the coast in Suffolk,
you have to add another £30,000 to your budget.
With family and friends in Essex, Jan and Eileen are keen
to keep relatively close to their current home.
We're directing the search
towards the middle and south of Suffolk.
I'll be taking them on a tour of superb properties.
As ever, I'll keep the price tags under wraps until they've given the property the once over.
Our journey will end at the mystery house,
specially selected to offer something just a little bit different.
Eileen and Jan's property hunt is well under way but if you're inspired to live in Suffolk,
whatever your budget, take a look at these.
At the top end of the market sits this former rectory in Coombes,
on the market for 2.25 million.
With six bedrooms and almost as many reception rooms,
it's a grand residence.
And if you like a spot of gardening, you won't be disappointed with the 20 acres that this house sits on,
with their fantastic views.
If your pocket's not so deep but you still fancy a rectory,
how about this slightly smaller version, on the market in Stanton for £750,000.
It has a superb entrance hall and although it has retained its period features,
there's a contemporary feel throughout.
Alternatively, with half-a-million to spend, this four-bedroom Victorian house in Somerleyton
is waiting to be snapped up. There's a large family-style diner,
a bathroom with a rolltop bath,
and the ever-popular wood burner will keep you toasty warm in winter.
Welcome to Suffolk, you guys. Now one of you went to school here.
-Who was that?
-That was me.
-It was you.
-Many years ago.
-Many years ago.
-Have you got over the trauma?
-This whole move here is like therapy?
Very good. You don't have such bad memories?
No, not at all. I've stayed in a couple of the towns in Suffolk.
We've travelled through quite often. It's absolutely beautiful.
It is a beautiful county. Sometimes overlooked. There's some lovely property.
-I think so. We're looking forward to it.
-I hope so.
-How much do you have to spend?
We've put a cap of about 450 on it.
-But it would have to tick all our boxes before we would spend that, really.
OK, that's tops. Excellent. We've got lots of houses to show you,
including the mystery house, which is a bit of a twist.
-Shall we get going?
-Lovely. Looking forward to it.
So, Jan and Eileen have a budget of £450,000 for the perfect property.
They're looking for three bedrooms, preferably with one en suite.
One of the bedrooms must be downstairs,
or there needs to be an extra reception room to convert into one.
They'd like an outbuilding for their business.
And also a large garden for a vegetable patch.
But to be honest, I think, for their budget,
Jan will have to forego his waterfront dreams.
A lot of people travel round the world and come back fondly to Suffolk.
What is it that attracts you to Suffolk particularly?
It has all the countryside that we're after.
But it's close enough to our current proximity so that,
with family ties, we can get there quick enough, if it's needed.
So are you really hankering to have some wide open spaces and...
-It's just so relaxing. You don't have to...
It feels relaxing without you doing anything.
The first house on our tour is on the outskirts of Halesworth,
36 miles from Stowmarket.
With a plentiful selection of independent shops,
and not forgetting the popular weekly market,
this place will offer Jan and Eileen the convenience of a town
but without major congestion.
Our first house is a barn conversion about a mile outside the town centre.
And with just a couple of other neighbours, it's a peaceful environment.
-This is the house I want to show.
What do you think of the area? It's pretty quiet, isn't it?
-It's beautiful, yeah.
-Just what we're looking for.
No pesky traffic here.
-No, no. It's gorgeous here.
-So as you can see it was a farm house.
And these are the outbuildings.
And this barn was converted about 12, 13 years ago.
I like the windows. I like the light that seems to be going into it.
Anything with timber on it goes for me.
Yeah, he's very fond of wood.
-Well, let's look inside.
-Lovely. Thank you.
Come on in.
You've got a downstairs loo, down here. Good nice porch.
It's lovely. I like this.
-You've got a dog, haven't you?
So, it would be good to able to clean him down, before you come in.
Oh, this is lovely and light.
This is the main living area. As you see, it's very open plan.
-How do you feel about open plan?
-I like open plan.
Yes, I like it, yeah. Very nice.
Come forward a bit. And you can see the full glory.
You see, you've got a lovely gallery.
You can see all the beautiful green oak.
Nice hard wood conservatory. Can you imagine living here? Is this what you're looking for?
I love the space. I love the roominess. I really do. It's great.
-The view's are fantastic.
-They are wonderful. We'll look at the garden later.
This space is multipurpose. As you can see, it links straight through to the kitchen.
Of course, yes.
-Oh, it's stunned you into silence.
It's, it's really...it's lovely.
-I would have liked it a little bit bigger, if I'm honest.
In what sense, bigger?
-Bigger, so that you have more people bustling around.
A nice utility room with washing machines and white goods.
And then this is the sort of cooking area.
And this is your seating area.
-Social area, yeah.
-It's quite big.
Yes. Maybe the ceiling's a little bit low.
-The ceiling's very low.
-Is that what it is? It feels...
The ceilings in both this room and the sitting room have been lowered to give you space upstairs.
Let's look at the other room with low ceilings, the sitting room.
-Oh, this is lovely.
-Yeah, it's great.
-Really like this.
This is the sort of retiring room.
And the fire. Is that a log fire?
A log burner, yes. Gives off a load of heat.
Lots of lovely windows. That's really nice. Very nice.
Again, lower ceilings. But I think here it's less...
Yes, it's not necessary for you to have high ceilings.
Everything works in this room. I think it's absolutely stunning.
-I love the doors.
-Strip them down they'll be even better.
I think Jan and Eileen like the feel of this property.
It's a wonderful space and I do have an option for the downstairs bedroom, but I'll reveal that later.
Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, but what will they make of them?
Oh, this is beautiful, isn't it?
-This is the master bedroom.
-It's not massive but it does have a very nice en suite.
-Through there. And here just gigantic, pretty much walk-in wardrobe.
-That's fantastic. Yeah, you'd like that.
-We have one problem.
-The size of the bed.
-Do you have a massive bed?
-Oh, really. Maybe you need to either, rethink the bed... Oh, no!
You can't buy a property around a bed, surely?
I don't know. I dress around my shoes!
Well, I can't argue with that.
Next door is a small double bedroom.
And next to that, the family bathroom,
which is fresh and bright and has plenty of character with those beautiful beams.
This bedroom is essentially the fourth bedroom,
-but they're using it as a study.
-That's very nice.
But it's Jack and Jill, with this bedroom, where you might just get a king-size bed.
Oh, that's more like it.
Yes, this is a better option, I think.
-That certainly is more like it.
-I mean, you lose the en suite.
That's OK. It would make a nice guest room with the en suite.
If my mum came it's easier for her. She doesn't have to move far to get to it.
-Yeah. The en suite isn't a huge issue for us, is it?
-There's always a quick exit through here.
-Oh, I love it.
The galleried landing doubles as a seating-cum-reading area
with a great view of the living space below.
But we're heading out to explore the garage attached to the house.
-Got a big double garage.
-My thought was,
-you're obviously looking for office space.
-We are, yeah.
-Whether this would be anywhere near big enough.
-Good. It'd be nice if you glassed it. You'd have lots of lovely light.
-It would be beautiful.
-It'd be lovely. This is lovely.
It would be more than enough room.
Your other alternative is that you turn this into the bedroom.
Make this into a kind of bedroom space.
-Down the line we could.
-That's an idea. Hadn't thought of that. Yes.
-The sit-on lawn mower comes with the property.
-Oh, does it?
-I've always wanted a sit-on lawn mower.
So you have to buy the house. Step out. If you just want to close the door behind you.
-Oh, this is lovely.
-It's a really good size plot.
You've got a big stretch of lawn. Hence the sit on lawn mower.
-You've got a space over there for a veggie patch.
Over there, though it looks like the brow of a hill, it's actually just arable fields.
It's great. It's got huge potential. Yeah.
Although you've got next door close to you, on the other side you're not at all overlooked...
-No, that's right.
-..which is rather nice.
Let's turn round and look at the house from this side. It's a lovely property.
Some barn conversions aren't terribly successful
but they've done a really nice job with this.
-The present owners have kept it in tip-top condition.
How much do you think it's worth?
-Oh, I'd have said 420.
So we're around the same mark.
Right, it's actually on the market at 450.
-But it's been on the market for two months.
And, of course, this is very much a buyer's market at the moment. So, you'd be wise to put in an offer.
Why don't you have a stroll around the property, and I'll meet you out the front?
Wow. It's great. They seem to like everything,
which is quite unusual for a first property.
Usually there's a lot more downsides, but it is a great house.
I'm very pleased that that garage would be big enough for their office.
That makes a real difference.
At £450,000 this characterful barn conversion is bang on budget,
It has an open plan living area, four bedrooms, with one en-suite,
a garage that could be converted into office space, or a downstairs bedroom,
and it sits on half an acre
that offers plenty of opportunity for Eileen's vegetable plot.
I think we'd use this all the time,
apart from perhaps late in the evening or if we had visitors.
-Interesting. Because I think I'd hole up next door.
I do. I love it next door.
It's a stunningly beautiful property. Think it's been very well done.
When I first came into the kitchen, I was a bit caught back,
because it appeared small.
I know logistically it wasn't small.
And it's growing on me, I have to say.
The major con is the bedroom issue.
We would need the garage as an office, really.
To convert it into a bedroom, it's not as easy as it might sound.
Absolutely love it.
-Lovely. Thank you.
-My pleasure. Well, Suffolk awaits.
-So, shall we press on?
Jan and Eileen may not be moving far from their home in Essex,
but nevertheless, they haven't covered much ground in Suffolk,
so they're making a start with Needham Market, which sits at the heart of their search area.
This small town grew up around the wool combing industry
until the plague in 1663, which swept through the town, killing two thirds
of the population. It took over 200 years for the town to recover.
Today, it's home to 4,500 people and a beautiful 15th century church.
Needham Lake just outside the town is a relaxing place for a stroll.
It is completely man-made after a gravel pit was flooded in the 1970s
and today the site now includes a nature reserve, wetland area, and woodland.
-Just beautiful, isn't it?
-Gorgeous. Absolutely lovely.
-This would be an ideal place to come back to, wouldn't it?
And there's just time to stop for tea and cake and take stock of Suffolk so far.
-We've chosen the right area.
-We've made a good move with Suffolk.
-It looks great.
-Lovely. I think the people are lovely.
Everywhere we've been, everyone's said hello, haven't they?
It's just what we're after, so far.
Suffolk seems to fit like a glove. Let's just hope Jan and Eileen make the right property choice.
Our next house sits in Brockley, four miles from Bury St Edmunds.
The nearest big village is just a mile or so away and filled with immaculately painted houses,
in the pinks and yellows that are typical of the region.
Today, the colour is probably the result of modern paint but in years gone by
it was the traditional materials such as lime or clay that gave the buildings their distinctive colour.
The property I'm about to show Jan and Eileen is believed to date back to the 16th century
and if it's character they're after, it comes by the bucketload in this house.
The sun shines on the righteous property seeker.
-It certainly does.
-Beautiful, isn't it?
-Bit of a change of gear.
Oh, look, a lovely apple tree.
Here, you are a bit more secluded, not attached. You do have neighbours
-at a decent distance.
What do you think from the outside?
-I think it looks really pretty.
-It ticks a lot of boxes.
You're smiling much more.
Let's take a stroll over the bridge. Very nice grounds.
-A little stream here.
-Isn't it nice?
-Yes, very nice.
-It was originally two workers' cottages.
Then the present owners completely renovated the inside to make it one property.
-Any first impressions?
It feels really nice and homely.
-If it's as good in as it is out, it will be great.
-Good vibes coming from the outside. Let's go inside.
More gardens. Lots of garden out the front. There's also the back which we'll see later.
In you go, for the first time.
-Oh, look. Stone floors.
-Nice flagstones. You've got a downstairs loo there.
But kitchen first.
Here we are.
-No, it's not big.
Wood's lovely though.
Yes, all bespoke units. They've all been put in by the present owners.
-Lovely sort of range cooker.
-That is beautiful.
It's slightly deceptive, because you've got a very nice pantry.
-With a bit of washing space. Then, here, this is interesting.
This links the two buildings - there's a little secret get-through,
when the two were separate.
I have to admit it's not massive but this may be the point where you reconfigure your dreams,
in terms of having a massive kitchen-diner,
-because the dining room, I think, really makes up for it.
Oh, now, this is lovely.
I see what you mean. Beautiful.
It's bright, you've got windows at the sides.
And a fireplace there, it's beautiful.
That's actually the bread oven at the back of the cottage,
which would have been outside,
and they've reclaimed a beam and kind of extended out.
Could you use this? Could you make it work in terms of living, eating?
-Oh, yes, yes.
-Oh, this, yes. Certainly.
-No, that's fine.
Let's take a look. Now we're going into the second cottage.
Wow, this is nice.
-Here, you've got the full width of the building.
-You certainly have, haven't you?
-Beautiful, isn't it?
-It's been done marvellously. It's fabulous.
-Come through down here...
-I love the fireplace, look at that.
You could roast a hog on that!
-The local blacksmith made that hood.
You've actually got three rooms - this extra new room,
-the old room here and the sort of study snug at the front there.
The reason we wanted you to see this property in particular is not just this lovely old lounge,
but this room.
-A downstairs bedroom.
-A downstairs bedroom.
-And, if you mind your back, an en suite!
-Oh, and an en suite.
This used to be the workshop and this would have been an outside washroom,
-with the original brick floor.
-Lovely little en suite.
-What are you thinking?
-I'm thinking it wouldn't make a master bedroom,
it's a bit small, but it would be great for Mum.
'Oh, dear. That's not worked out as well as I expected.
'Nevertheless, there are three more bedrooms upstairs and a pretty special landing too.'
-Isn't that great?
-Oh, that's lovely.
So many of these early rafters get tidied up, but I think it's really lovely.
All the bedrooms up here are doubled and of course have those superb exposed timbers.
The bathroom is no exception and comes complete with a Victorian rolltop bath,
and finally, there's the bedroom for them.
-This is what they're using as the master bedroom.
-It's a bit small, isn't it?
-We'd need to change it.
-A giant bed might be a bit overwhelming...
-It would have a bit of a problem, yes.
Do you think the upstairs space is adequate, or not?
I think the rooms are fine for guest rooms. I think we were perhaps looking,
whether it's unrealistic, I don't know, for a bigger master bedroom.
I don't know if it's realistic to turn two into one.
It is a possiblity. We're looking to have a home rather than a house with market value,
-I'm not expecting it to be spot on from the first day.
No, you can't. You do have to make compromises.
I still think downstairs makes up for the upstairs,
but there you go!
-Shall we look outside?
-Lovely, thank you.
I think it's clear Jan really likes this place,
but I'm starting to see the upstairs might be a bit small for them.
Time now to take a peek at the garen, which offers a few possibilities.
-As well as a big garden, you get a pond.
-Not every house has a pond.
-Ducking pond, I would think.
-Would your little dog like that?
Do you think? I'd be frightened he'd jump in.
No, he doesn't like water, he's disinterested.
There's a little family of moorhens he might be more interested in.
He'll bark at them from the side.
You also have, at the back, a little plot of land,
-which could be good for a vegetable garden, I thought.
What this doesn't have is that nice, ready-made outside office.
-There are a couple of options. The garage at the front.
Which is substantial, but probably too small...
-At the moment, yes.
-Then there's all these outbuildings,
which you could knock down and maybe build something else.
-It rather depends on what's left over from the budget.
Which also depends on how much this costs, so, what do you think the price is?
I would have said, realistically, about 350.
-I would have thought about 375.
Well, again, you're slightly under, both of you.
It's actually just £5 short of 400.
-Deep in thought, now. You were very enthusiastic...
-I still love it.
-I do, I love it.
-Have a wonder around, and again, we'll meet out the front.
Well, interesting, I think we have a bit of a...
because Jan really seems to love it and I think Eileen is much more sensible.
And you can see that it is lovely, and has a lovely feel,
but it is lacking some of the things they're looking for,
and it was interesting that they both guestimated quite a way under.
So they thought it was going to be more of a bargain than it is.
At £5 short of £400,000, this 16th-century cottage
offers them all the character they're looking for.
A large lounge with inglenook fireplace,
four bedrooms including one downstairs with an en suite,
a utility room and a garden large enough for a vegetable patch,
and to erect an outbuilding for their office space.
This would be ideal for the office but that's not quite big enough, is it?
No, you'd have to extend the footing and get rid of that.
Build a new one on, and it's not wired or plumbed, so it's not cheap to do.
-I was going to say, that's money.
It's a lovely house. It has a lovely feel.
The front of the house is beautiful.
If we were dreaming of a house, that would be the look that we were looking for.
It has tremendous character. The pond is lovely,
and, from the front, it's gorgeous. Picture postcard.
I was surprised at the price. I thought it would be lower.
Erm... If it had been lower, I would have been more positive,
cos it would have given us the funds to do the changes that we would have wanted to do.
-Lovely, thank you.
Let's get going.
Jan has always fancied trying his hand at making stained glass.
So, we're visiting Assington Mill, where they run short courses.
'John has been perfecting the art for over 30 years,
'so we're in good hands.'
So, stained glass windows.
I imagine it's mostly to do with churches. Is that wrong?
Well, you can be mainly church orientated, or...
I specialise in listed buildings and more decorative windows.
-Right. And have you got anything we can look at?
That's based on a Celtic knot design.
And this one is a decorative panel, based on the arts and crafts period.
'I'm not sure we're up for anything quite so intricate today,
'but I can't wait to get stuck in.'
You do sometimes get splinters.
'With the safety gear on, it's time to cut the glass.
'This Tungsten wheel glass cutter scores the glass,
'but it's a fine art to get it just right, instead of breaking the glass.
'Then it's a matter of cutting the lead frames that hold all the pieces together.
'The glass is held snug by farriers' nails, until the lead frames are all in place.
'And finally a quick soldering job, to bind the lead frames.'
That's it. Just a small amount.
-That's it. Perfect.
-Yay! Is that all of them?
Yup, all done. And there we have it.
The finished item.
Beautiful, isn't it?
Look at that.
-Now, obviously this is going to go in your front door.
Your new front door panel. Thanks so much, John.
-Thank you, John.
It's the end of day one of property searching for Jan and Eileen,
and time to collect their thoughts.
What did you think about the barn?
The location was stunning.
I loved the location as well.
The garage would make an ideal office.
-With not a lot of work to it.
-Oh, nothing at all.
The views from the back, I mean, they were just stunning.
The sitting room was, I think, the best room we've seen.
It was just a little bit pricey, wasn't it?
It was a bit pricey, and that was about the only thing with it.
I honestly can't find much negative to say about it.
-What about the white cottage?
-The white cottage, when I first saw it,
I thought I'd just seen the house of my dreams,
and then, on reflection, it actually has, for us, a number of problems,
it would be very complicated to set up a proper office,
the garage is too small, it would need to be rebuilt.
I was disappointed by the small kitchen, which was compensated
by the large dining room. It was obviously a really loved home
and that fireplace I just thought was stunning.
-It was definitely a home.
-Yeah, it was definitely homely.
The barn... Cheaper!
So far, yeah, barn - cheaper, let's hope they'll find us some houses
that will match our expectations tomorrow.
Jan and Eileen, from Rayleigh in Essex, are looking for a new home in Suffolk.
They have a budget of up to £450,000.
But, for that kind of cash,
the house must meet all their requirements,
including having an outbuilding, so they can continue running their business from home.
So far, they've viewed two houses, packed with character,
but it seems neither are spot-on. Coming up, a room that blows Eileen away...
Oh, this is gorgeous.
And a mystery house, where I have a few thoughts of my own.
I can see your cunning plan.
Can you guess what I'm getting at?
Day two of our property search for Jan and Eileen.
They're such a lovely couple, I'm determined to find what they need.
Yesterday, we were very close,
but I think things like flow are very important.
Particularly for Eileen. So today's houses, I think,
might just do it.
We're ready and raring to go this morning.
Our first house is in Stradishall, 11 miles from Bury St Edmonds.
The small village has a mix of housing styles,
from beautifully thatched cottages to the brightly-painted period houses, typical of Suffolk.
The house I'm about to show Jan and Eileen
lies on the outskirts of the village. It's a beautiful property.
I just hope they're not put off by the busy road.
-The house is lovely. Busy road, though.
-Oh, I say.
-House is lovely, but busy road.
This is unfortunately the big drawback of this property.
It's on the A143 to Bury.
But I couldn't resist showing this property to you,
because in many ways, it seems to give you everything you want.
It looks like it from the outside.
It's a farm worker's cottage. Originally, it was thatched.
It's in this very striking pink colour, Suffolk pink,
which came from the time when there was a restriction on what colours you could paint your house.
You had to use white wash, but for variation,
they used to mix pig's blood in.
This is not made with pig's blood, but obviously it's still this striking Suffolk pink,
-which you see all over the county.
-I think it's beautiful.
It looks in beautiful nick.
It is, in many ways, the perfect property. But it is on a busy road.
Come on in.
It's a lovely quarry tiled hallway.
-This is very practical. I like that.
-This is the sitting room.
Oh, that's lovely. I love the fireplace.
I love the windows. There's lots of light in here.
-Yeah, really comfortable. Really nice homely feel, isn't it?
-Reasonable height on the ceilings.
-It's not a listed building,
so you've got double-glazed windows which is good for the noise and to keep the heat in.
-I do, very much. Yes.
-What is it you like?
Just about everything, actually.
It's a combination of open but cosy, isn't it?
And you could always shuffle the furniture up.
-Well, it flows on from here into the dining room.
Now, here the ceiling gets quite low.
Oh, this is lovely.
-It is beautiful, though. Yeah.
-Again, they've kept the light, with the windows. I like that.
It's a good size for a country cottage.
This would have been the whole downstairs of the original cottage.
-Everything else is actually the extension.
-Oh, it's a brilliant size.
But the crux of the matter, for you, is the kitchen.
-It's good news for me because it's higher ceilinged.
-This is really nice.
-Oh, it's bigger than I thought it would be.
But it's a great size kitchen.
It's a lovely size, and I love the nook and cranny they've kept there.
And the flooring's very practical.
-Lovely quarry tile. Is this sort of more what you were thinking?
Yes. You can actually, sort of, get in there and do a bit of cooking.
You've still got people sitting there, chatting to you, which is what I like.
You still hear a little bit of the traffic.
-We're here at the road end of the house.
-That's a shame, isn't it?
-It really is a shame.
-Everything so far has been lovely.
-Told you. The innards are all very good.
Stunning inside. Yeah.
-There's one more thing on the ground floor which I think is interesting.
-Oh, this is gorgeous.
-It's good, huh?
-That is good.
-Were you expecting that?
-No, no, I really wasn't.
-That is excellent.
It's a great space, isn't it?
And I was thinking this would perhaps make a nice downstairs bedroom.
-It certainly would, actually.
-It could, indeed.
-If you wanted, you could even box that in and make that an en-suite.
I was just looking at that.
Oh, and the lovely French doors out to the garden.
-Clearly this is at the back of the house so you don't have the traffic noise.
No, this is really lovely.
The space is very practical,
and that's very apparent upstairs.
They're not going to be short of bedrooms in this house.
Upstairs there are five more, including the master.
The first three are reasonable size doubles which can accommodate their guests.
Then the family bathroom, which has a separate shower.
But I want to see their reaction to the last bedroom arrangement.
And here it is...
This is just the little boy's room - it's billed as the fifth bedroom,
but it's really just a through room.
This is the master.
Now, this is beautiful.
-Big enough for the bed.
-Big enough for the bed.
But the thing that really makes this...
I can just see the bath poking out.
This is one of the nicest en-suites I've seen.
Oh, it's beautiful!
Because not only have you got a beautiful roll top bath, and lovely wooden floors,
but huge walk-in dressing room wardrobe.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Floors are stunning.
-Aren't they great?
Oh, I love it. Absolutely beautiful.
-This is something quite, quite special.
-It's a big selling point, isn't it?
-It really is. It's gorgeous.
-Good, good, good!
Now, the last remaining piece of the jigsaw
is your office space and the garden.
And they have that too.
I'm so pleased they really like this house.
Just wait till they see what's outside.
Nice vine here, for your grapes.
-And this is the double garage.
There's a very big garage downstairs.
-Don't want to show you that, because that's good space, but I want to show you upstairs.
-So, it's a fully fitted annexe.
and then through here, carpeted, heated, beautifully light, double-glazed.
Oh, make a lovely office, wouldn't it?
-They've put in these stud walls, and made a little bedroom,
-but there's a bathroom.
So, if you take these walls down, you'd have a really nice office.
-This is brilliant.
-We were very excited to find this.
This seemed to be everything you were looking for, minus the road.
-It totally is, actually. Yeah.
-It's absolutely stunning.
-It is brilliant. Marvellous.
-Let's go out into the sunshine and have a quick look at the garden.
It's not the biggest garden I've showed you.
It's relatively small, although it does wrap round the whole property.
They've got a rather nice aviary, with some exotic birds,
-but you won't be woken up by those. They'll be taken!
-What do you think about the size of it?
-I think it's lovely.
It's very beautiful. It's plenty big enough.
Oh, plenty big enough.
-So, how much do you think it's on the market for?
-It's got to be the 450.
Well, you'll be glad to know that it's just under, actually.
So, it's under your top end of your budget,
but it all comes down to the road,
-and whether you can live with that.
-There is nothing else wrong
with this house, other than the road. Everything else is absolutely perfect. It really is perfect.
There's always a fly in the property ointment.
But you can't always get everything, can you?
It's just whether or not you can put up with that traffic.
Why don't you go in the house and see how bad it is?
-Then, as usual, we'll meet out the front.
We really did good with this property.
I mean, look at that, an office right next to the house.
They can move straight in, with all their business.
But that road is quite loud. I don't know if I could live with that.
But as Eileen said, got to make some compromises somewhere.
At £445,000, this cottage would offer them everything they're looking for.
There's a large kitchen diner, three reception rooms -
one of which could be converted into a downstairs bedroom -
four to five bedrooms upstairs, with a master en-suite,
and an outbuilding which is ready to go as an office.
It's perfect in every way, but will the traffic noise let it down?
This is the most amazing property.
It is absolutely wonderful.
You could move in here tomorrow.
For our needs we wouldn't need to do anything to it at all.
It's superlative. It's brilliant.
I absolutely love the property.
There isn't a thing wrong with it.
It's got all of the space that we need.
It's got all the different places that we need, plus more.
Totally ideal, except the road.
With regards to the traffic noise, if Eileen felt that she couldn't live with it,
then it would be a non-starter.
But I can be a bit persuasive.
Maybe there is something that we can do to combat the noise.
As ever, Jan will come up with a plan.
And we'll see where we go from there.
The good thing is, it's not far to the main road.
Eileen has an interest in arts and crafts
and is hoping, when they move, to find more time to dabble.
So, they're visiting the Museum Of East Anglian Life
where we've arranged for Jo
to show them the traditional Suffolk craft of rag rug making.
First of all, you take an old piece of sacking, and a piece of material,
and a hook like this.
You take your hook, and you push it through.
Push your little lever down.
Open up the hook. Take your piece of material, pull it through.
Go back again.
Put it back in the hook.
And then pull it though, and there you have it.
-The beginning of your rug.
-It's as easy as that.
So, now it's Eileen and Jan's turn.
Rag rugs can be dated back to Viking days, and possibly before.
They saw no sense in wasting clothes when the floors were stone cold.
-Suddenly torn strips of clothing were found handy for making rugs.
With a bit of practice, I'm sure it won't be long before
Eileen's well on her way to making long-lasting rugs like these ones.
A windmill! ..Is not what we found as the mystery house.
Because, of course, windmills are tiny.
And what we're looking for is space. They really want space.
And so this mystery house that I'm going to show them now has space coming out of its ears.
The last property is the mystery house. Which, as the name suggests, is mysterious.
What do you think the mystery might be?
-I have no idea.
-I don't know. It's nothing like the other properties.
-So, I guess it might be semi-urban, or something?
Or something really fanciful, like...
I mean, do they have windmills in Suffolk?
Not very big, windmills, are they?
It doesn't really answer your space issue.
How interested are you in a bit of a project?
Provided we can work while we're doing it.
That would be fine.
Must remember to strike out those mud huts I was going to show you.
Our mystery house is in Saxtead, 16 miles from Stowmarket.
The place is best known for its windmill, which has gained ancient monument status.
But locally there's not much else.
Earl Soham, a short distance away, however, is a busy small village.
Sitting in the heart of agricultural land, there's no shortage of locally grown fruit and veg,
and a good selection of locally reared meat.
There's a pub for the odd drink,
and, conveniently, a vet for their dog, Harvey.
The house stands well back from the road so there's no traffic noise.
I know it's unorthodox, but this is the mystery house, so bear with me.
-We're not going to look at the house first. We're going to look at all this lovely space.
Because all of this could be yours.
-It's about two-and-a-half acres of land.
But this whole paddock is yours. And the manege.
This is a horsey property. And I know you're not particularly horsey.
-But where there are horses, there are...?
Now, am I right, you're not... you don't ride horses, no?
-I like horses, actually, yes.
-We have done.
-Yes, we do a bit.
-But goats are cheaper.
-You want to raise goats?
-Goats are perfect.
Jan has always wanted a goat.
There isn't an outside office here. But there is space for one.
You've got footings. At the moment, you've got a temporary solution
in the sense that you've got stables...
-which have got electricity and water.
-Well, that sort of project is a no problem.
-No. That's ideal.
That got the reaction I was looking for! Now it's down to the house.
This is all your front garden, too. You're not short-changed on gardens.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
There is a road here. But this is not even a B road.
There is traffic going past. But nothing like...
-The last property.
-And this is the property.
Which, yet again, is an old agricultural worker's cottage.
What do you think about the aspect and land thing?
Wasn't expecting quite so much land.
-But, no... I mean, wow.
-Yeah, no. Lovely.
-Shall we take a look inside?
-Come on in.
-Oh, this floor is lovely, isn't it?
-It's been done up to such a nice standard.
-Nice living room.
This is the living room. Quite low ceilings, I just about clear it.
But you can see that here these beams, or these downward struts,
would have been this back of the cottages.
-Everything beyond that is an extension.
Love all the windows around.
Yeah. And as you come through here, the ceilings lift.
You've got a very nice big study through there.
Which could, possibly, be that downstairs bedroom.
We don't have a lot of playing room with the downstairs, as it stands.
But might be an option.
-This is lovely.
-It's a bit more petite than the properties I've been showing you.
-But it's cosy.
-It is. It's cosy, it's snug.
-Beautiful views out to the garden.
And then we go across, back into what would have been the other cottage, for the rest of the house.
-Oh, this is beautiful.
You see, here, we have the original part of the cottage.
But, again, done up in a modern way, with this lovely flooring.
-I love the floor. And a fireplace.
-It's a beautiful fireplace, again.
Log burner. And then we go through into the kitchen.
-It's, again, not massive.
-It's nice though, isn't it?
-Oh, I love that.
-It's not minute though, is it?
No, no. And it's closely connected to the dining room?
-Yeah, it is.
-It's got some beautiful features, I think.
There's the lovely granite work top throughout.
-Bespoke wooden units.
-That's lovely. That's beautiful.
The kitchen meets with Eileen's approval.
And off here is a good-sized utility room, with a door to the garden.
But I can't help but wonder what they'll make of the next room.
It's a downstairs bathroom.
However...it's the only bathroom.
I did wonder.
It's slightly old-fashioned having a bathroom next to the kitchen, but...
-I'm not sure how convenient either.
Yeah, you might have to reintroduce the chamber pot.
-But there are some possibilities upstairs. Let's look.
-'As suspected, they're not enamoured with that situation.
'But I might be able to put that right upstairs.
'The first room up here could easily fit a double bed.
'And then there are two connecting rooms, which I have plans for.'
This...is the master.
-Oh, that's lovely.
-That's a feature and a half, isn't it?
Like the floors.
It's very striking. Amazing old original floorboards.
So rare to see, they're usually torn out.
And very high ceilings. They've used the whole pitch of the roof.
-Yeah. The aircraft carrier will just about fit.
-The bed will fit in!
Then you come through here. It's billed as a second bedroom,
but is my grand plan for up here.
It's a big room. But it's not suitable as a bedroom.
Because obviously you've got to go through your bedroom to get to it.
-I can see your cunning plan.
-Can you guess what I'm getting at?
-This would be a great en suite.
You're right above the bathroom, down below.
You can just drop the stuff straight through. Yeah, no, totally.
-That would work.
-Do you feel happier?
-A lot happier.
-Well, let's go outside and talk about prices.
Ah, the lovely big apple tree.
-So, they haven't done an awful lot, bit of landscaping here.
But it's essentially as is.
-That wouldn't bother us, would it?
-No. Scope for development.
-The house, I know, has a few constraints.
But you can see here, from the back, what you could do to extend out.
-You'd just go up the whole floor.
-And come across. You could, indeed.
So, how much do you think it costs?
I would say 380.
Well, it's on at 425.
-You've always been on the optimistic side with your guesses.
But, because of the land, I guess, and the way it's been finished up.
Take a walk and I'll see you out the front.
-At £425,000, this house is well within Jan and Eileen's budget.
It has the character features they're looking for, three bedrooms,
stables that could be converted into an office,
and 2.3 acres of land, including a paddock.
I think that this room is the star room in the house.
I agree. It's got such character, and it's large enough.
Although it's got quirky bits, it's still large enough. It's beautiful.
Really is. I loved the grounds and the stables, when I saw them. I thought it was great.
Could certainly convert the stables into a decent office.
The house is beautiful from the outside. The land is fantastic, a real bonus.
-I wasn't expecting that.
-I guess the price it's up for
reflects the amount of land that goes with the property.
But again, as what we're looking for is a house to live in, rather than huge tracts of land,
-for us, it's far too dear.
-Oh, there you are.
So, let's move on. The weather's closing in.
Time for some decisions.
Finding a cosy home with suitable office space isn't so easy.
Jan and Eileen have now viewed all our properties,
and it's time to weigh up the pros and cons.
Oh, this is a close call, this one.
Because a lot of the houses we've shown Eileen and Jan
have been almost perfect, but then there's been one flaw.
With the pink house, it was the road.
The mystery house, it was the bathroom.
So I think that my money will go on the first, the barn conversion.
But I've been wrong a lot on this show!
I've had a great time.
You've been wonderful, you're so responsive.
-We really enjoyed it.
-Very interesting, too.
The first property I showed you was the modern barn conversion.
What do you think of it now?
-It was beautiful.
-Yes, I'm more impressed with it in retrospect than I was at the time.
The house itself was lovely, and you couldn't have got a better location.
And the set-off sitting room was the best room we've seen anywhere.
Yeah, absolutely beautiful.
There was definitely a warm, homely feel. It could be cosy.
But great when we have family or friends round.
And we'd soon make the pristine kitchen not so pristine!
Exactly. You'd soon knock it into homely shape, I'm sure.
Then we saw the white house, the house in the middle of the country, but a little more surrounded.
The front facade and the area surrounding it, it looked ideal.
It was a pretty country cottage, wasn't it?
-And then we went inside.
-As we went inside, your enthusiasm dipped.
They'd lovingly changed it and you could see where it was developing to, but the flow wasn't there for me.
We heard ourselves doing the, "We could knock that down, we could change that,"
we didn't want too much of that.
We then looked at the pink house.
Looking back, what do you think about that?
I think we've both actually fallen in love with the house, all the outbuildings, and the land.
There isn't any other downside, other than that road.
It is the most stunning property. It is beautiful.
It was lovely.
But felt, again, felt so homely.
You felt as if, you know, you could very easily live there.
-Other than the road there was not a jot wrong with it.
I mean, the facilities for the office was just...
more than we'd ever hoped for.
That was amazing. I mean, it ticked every box.
-Apart from the road.
-It was funny, as we walked round, you were going,
"It's such a shame about the road!"
-Is it something you think you could get used to or not?
Jan's working on it.
And he can be very persuasive.
The mystery house didn't quite take off.
20 years ago, I would have gobbled it up.
And I'd have had horses and fences and all sorts of stuff.
But 20 years ago, I think.
I mean, having that paddock, it was just like, wow.
But it was sheer luxury. It wasn't anything that you could usefully use.
-Very disappointed at the bathroom downstairs.
-Disappointed? You were traumatised!
You went suddenly into your shell. You were horrified.
Did one stand out, of the properties?
Definitely the pink house.
It was... I was dreaming about it last night. I really was.
It's just so stunning.
I could definitely, I think,
compromise on the noise.
-What happens next?
-We need to go away, don't we?
And work a couple of things out.
Yes. Best plan of attack, so to speak.
We're trying to organise it so we don't have to sell our property before moving into the new one.
Wow. That will be an incredibly good bargaining point.
I don't know. I'll let her mull upon the road for a while.
And then we'll see.
And he can be very persuasive.
I'm sure. Well, it's been an absolute delight showing you round.
I know that you're not moving massively far,
but it'll make a huge difference to your standard of living.
Oh, I think it will. Definitely.
So, all the best. And may you soon be in Suffolk.
-Thank you very much.
It's fantastic news that Eileen and Jan will buy without a chain
because that gives them enormous clout in the current market.
And if Jan wants to convince Eileen of the benefits of that pink house,
then he should invest in some earplugs for her.
Join us next time for more Escape To The Country.
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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Home relocation series. Alistair Appleton is in Suffolk to help a couple dreaming of a return to the rural life of their childhood. They need a house with an outbuilding they can use for their growing insurance business and a large garden for a vegetable patch.