Escape to the Country: Jules shows couple ‘unique’ garden
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Jules Hudson was in Somerset for today’s edition of Escape to the Country and he had the task of finding Kerry and Mark a new home. The couple said it was “time for a change” and were making the move from Woking, but they weren’t looking for any ordinary house, they needed something which would accommodate three generations as the move included Kerry’s mother and her son. As for what they wanted Jules to find them, they needed a separate “space for [Kerry’s mother]” as well as a large kitchen-diner for entertaining friends and family. In terms out outside space, the couple were looking for a minimum of “an acre” of land as “Kerry had a dream of having goats and chickens”. But that wasn’t all, Kerry and Mark also wanted to incorporate business into their property in the form of holiday lets or running B&B. Their budget was £550,000 to £650,000 and Jules had a “fairly eclectic” mix of properties to show them. Just when they thought the first house ticked all their boxes, the presenter revealed he and the show had “broken a few rules” in order to find them the second house.
The house hunting journey started in the village of Coleford, which was made up of “charming stone buildings as well as a Grade II listed church” thought to be dated back to the early 19th century.
The first house Jules showed them was a converted old mill with lots of original features like the mill stream which ran alongside it and the wheel axel inside.
“That’s fantastic,” Kerry commented when first entered the house. “I think it’s character, it’s stunning, I love the walls, love the thickness of the walls. And I like the beams.”
“The kitchen is through here – and this is the only downside to this particular property,” the presenter said. “And you can see why. It’s a little bit small. You’d have to talk to the planners, but you could push this out [the current extension] either side and then you’d have bifold doors which would open right out and make best of the views to the paddock.”
Upstairs, there were four bedrooms laid out over the two upper levels, all of which had extensive storage.
“No surprise then, this [bedroom] is the one you would pick,” Jules said.
“Absolutely beautiful,” Kerry stated in reference to the exposed roof beams and vaulted ceiling, her husband added: “Striking.”
Outside, there was a detached double garage which could be converted into an annex for Kerry’s mother, in total, the land extended to 1.9 acres and included plenty of paddock space as well as wooded areas.
Across the mill stream and over a wooden bridge, there was a secluded island which Jules thought was “ideal for a glamping business”.
“I could try and describe this to you all day long,” the presenter commented. “It’s very unique, I’ve never seen anything like it for sale.
“I’d imagine huts or pods or cabins, or something, on the island sharing this space – but separated because of all the planting and trees – the sound of water…so Mark, how much do we like it? How much [do you think it’s on the market for?”
“Very much,” the guest replied. “I think it’s going to be the top end of our budget – it’s got to be, it’s got to be £645,000.”
“I’m going to be hopeful just because of the conversion work and I’m going to say £635,000,” Kerry guessed.
Jules revealed: “Both those figures are technically affordable to you… which is just as well because it is on the market for £635,000. However, it is open to some sensible offers.”
Discussing the property at the end of the viewing, Mark said: “Business opportunities are endless; things like chickens and eggs, people coming to stay, a vegetable garden, I just think there’s as much as we want to do we can do here.”
House number two on the property search was in Glastonbury, not somewhere where Escape to the Country would usually take potential buyers who were looking to swap busy towns or cities for fields and nature.
“Here was are in the heart of Glastonbury and you’re probably thinking ‘this isn’t the rural view we were looking for,’” Jules explained.
“We brought you here to think about quite a unique business opportunity that exists in that building over there. It is currently a very successful B&B, up and running with existing bookings, which you would potentially take on if you were to buy it.
“Usually for us on this show, we are in the heart of a market town, but for you we’ve broken a few of the rules and that is why we have come here to show you this to you.”
“Right, interesting,” Kerry remarked. “I’ve always dreamt of running a B&B, never done it, but would like to aspire to do it!”
The house was Grade II listed and believed to date back around the 1500s in parts.
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The tour started in a “cosy” living room which had a “real ‘wow’ fireplace”.
Next door to the main living room was a bedroom which had a wet room attached and a door out to the rear garden – which Kerry’s mother could live in.
“It’s different isn’t it,” Mark said. “This is reality.”
“It is,” Jules agreed. “You do need to weigh up going to work and having a busy day and then the prospect of coming home and sort of having to be on duty – there is an element of that.”
The house had a total of six bedrooms – the remaining five of which were divided on the first floor and were divided between private accommodation and paid guests.
Outside there was a substantial garden and planning permission had already been sought and accepted for a two-bedroom coach house at the far end of the land.
As for how much it was on the market for, Jules said for £650,000 it could be Mark and Kerry’s.
As for the Mystery House – the show headed to the “charming village” of Upton Noble.
“Come on, what’s going on,” Jules asked when Kerry and Mark failed to say anything upon arrival.
“It looks much more modern – it looks pretty though,” Kerry replied.
Jules explained: “The reason why we have chosen this as out Mystery House is because there is no obvious business opportunity which this one. This one is about you and having a truly sumptuous family home. It will be interesting to see what you think of it as a new build, to me, it’s absolutely delightful – but it’s new!”
As soon as they entered the house, both guests commented on the decor: “It’s beautiful,” Kerry said and Mark added, “That is stunning, absolutely lovely.”
“I don’t really need do to a lot of talking in this house, to be frank, it’s the kind of thing that should just sell itself to you really,” Jules remarked.
Off the large open plan kitchen-diner-seating area, there was a large living room that boasted a vaulted ceiling and bi-fold doors.
Four bedrooms were on offer with the house, one of which was downstairs and then next to it, was a well-proportioned downstairs bathroom.
“How are we doing out of 10?” Jules asked and for Mark, it was a top scorer: “This one is just absolutely beautiful!” And Kerry said: “It’s almost a 10 for me.”
And by the time she had had a look at what was on offer upstairs, Kerry gave the house a solid 10.
Outside, there wasn’t acres, but it was “tastefully zoned and landscaped” which a vegetable patch and chicken coop on offer, as well as a potting shed.
Kerry and Mark said they could see themselves living in the house, but how much was it worth? Jules revealed it was on the market for £650,000.
When the couple sat down with Jules at the end of the property search, they said they “didn’t dream they would like [all three houses]”.
“Is there a clear favourite?” The presenter questioned and Mark said he “fell in love with the Mill” but when he went to the Mystery House he “didn’t expect to fall in love [with it], but did” because it was a new-build.
Kerry, on the other hand, the B&B was “a contender” as it had “always been a long-term dream to have a B&B”.
But she could see the Mill almost satisfying that dream and she thought for her mother, the “Mill is idyllic” as she would have a separate annexe.
“I’m with Mark the Mill is tipping the edge here,” Kerry said and Mark added: “If I had the keys to the Mill house tomorrow, I’d be delighted. But I’ve got to look at the numbers and do some crunching.”
Escape to the Country airs weekdays at 3pm on BBC One.
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