Anyone restoring a country house?

Blackborough House, Devon (Image: Trouserama / Derelict Places)
Blackborough House, Devon (Image: Trouserama / Derelict Places) - currently for sale with Winkworths

Heritage and the dedicated work of those who seek to rescue it can often be overlooked only to be occasionally thrust into the spotlight of TV – though this can be a useful promotion in these times of austerity.  Sadly, the schedules seem to focus on heritage in bursts, giving us ‘The Restoration Man‘ and ‘Country House Rescue‘ at the same time but it’s good to know that their popularity encourages the programme makers to continue to commission this type of series.  Of course these programmes need material so if you know anyone restoring a UK country house, please read on.

One of the most successful of the heritage programmes was the original ‘Restoration‘, a wonderful series presented by Griff Rhys Jones who has personal experience of restoring his own rural Welsh farmhouse.  This series truly caught the attention of the public and raised awareness of the buildings at risk in their own areas.  Keen to tap this interest again, Endemol, the production company behind ‘Restoration’, have a new series, ‘Restoration Home‘, ready for broadcast in Spring 2011 (and flagged up as a comment already on this blog) – though sadly without Griff as the presenter.  The new series focuses on private owners and follows their restoration of ‘at risk’ houses as modern homes.  Although the intention is that these will be sensitive restorations it will be interesting to see exactly what compromises and sacrifices are made in creating the home the owner wishes to achieve.

As a sign of the confidence that Endemol have in likely popularity of the series, they are already looking for houses to feature in a second series with, ideally, work starting in the next few months and reaching completion around March 2012.  To quote Natasha Evans of Endemol Television:

“Each show will chart the restoration process by the owners of one house, as they restore their home to its former glory. Much as the original series, we’ll bring the property to life, setting it in its cultural and historic context. This is a major aspect of each show and will be interwoven with the restoration. At the same time, we’ll be looking at the different stages of its architectural styles.”

One of the key criteria is that the houses must be owned privately by those who are intending to live in them, that they are currently in need of a bit of love and attention, and that the owners are passionate about their house and specifically interested in the history of their house. So if you are undertaking your own project, or know someone who fits the criteria, please contact Natasha Evans on 0208 222 4326 or by email  natasha.evans@endemoluk.com

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If you are inspired by these programmes and would like to find your own building at risk then one of the best places to start is the ‘Buildings at Risk Register‘ managed by the architectural heritage charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage.  To access the register you need to subscribe but this will give you full access to the register of hundreds of properties in need of a sensitive owner.

If Blackborough House (pictured above) takes your fancy, it’s currently (January 2011) for sale with Winkworths for between £1m – £1.5m, but will require at least that (and probably more) spent again on it to restore it as a home.

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Are you restoring a country house?

Country houses are always popular subjects for TV programme and can be a great way of highlighting the good work done by so many hard-pressed owners (or even those not so hard-pressed!).  They can also provide an unrivalled opportunity to attract interest in houses in need of some care and attention. The BBC is searching for owners restoring decaying country houses for a new series.  Ideally, the families would have historic links with the property and would demonstrate the challenge of preserving their house in the context of 21st century demands.

If you think you and property fit the bill, contact Katherine Phillips at Endemol either by phone on 0333 577 7740 or email homes@endemoluk.com