A young couple who escaped to the country by moving from London to a quaint Worcestershire village have divided TV viewers with their transformation of a 300-year-old cottage.
The pair swapped their life in trendy Battersea for rural idyll in the picture perfect village of Great Comberton.
They moved from a one-bedroom flat to a Grade II-listed cottage which they bought for £450,000.
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But the cottage – although chocolate box pretty – needed a lot of work to make it fit for their 21st century lifestyle.
Their move featured in the new series of George Clarke’s Old House, New Home programme on Channel 4 – but left some viewers unimpressed with their makeover.
Some critics accused the couple of ripping out the 17th Century cottage’s original features and replacing them with “1970s fittings”.
The couple, chartered surveyor Ben and his events manager partner Rosie and their rescue dog Digby, were filmed just a week after moving into their new Worcestershire home.
They explained how they were keen to restore the property sympathetically, while hoping to put their own stamp on the house.
Money was tight and they only had a budget of £40,000 to carry out all the work, which included re-wiring, re-plumbing and adding a new heating system.
The house had originally been owned by the church, but in the 19th Century had been divided up into five cottages. In the 20th Century it had been turned back into one house and extended and had a brick-built extension put on.
It also hadn’t been updated for over 40 years and Ben admitted they had a daunting task ahead of them, saying: “I think some of our London friends think we’re a bit mad for leaving.”
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While Rosie agreed, saying: “They probably think we’re a bit nutty, we’ve got no experience and we’re not particularly handy.”
The couple set about completely transforming the historic three bedroom house, stripping out the 1960s kitchen and switching rooms around to fit their modern lifestyle.
Because of their tight budget, they decided to prioritise the ground floor and leave the upstairs to a later date.
They turned the old kitchen into their home office and made the the 1980s extension into a big, gleaming white modern kitchen.
Black beams were restored to their original timber colours, and two new wood burners were put in.
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While the show’s presenter and professional architect, Clarke, was impressed – declaring the makeover “beautiful”, TV viewers were less enthusiastic.
Many took to Twitter to give their comments.
One said: “Are the 2020s the new 1970s? Let’s rip out all the old features or disguise them just so in 40 years time people spend thousands putting back the original features!”
Another wrote: “I really wanted to like the cottage but it just feels meh. I did like the fireplace though.”
And another viewer said: “God every wall and bit of furniture is white. WTF is the obsession? I don’t get it.”
But most scathing of all was a viewer who said the couple were lucky they weren’t on another Channel 4 property show Grand Designs, with the blunt-speaking presenter Kevin McCloud.
They posted: “The problem with #oldhousenewhome is George doesn’t tell them so when they’ve f****d it up, like Kevin would.”
WorcestershireLive asked Ben and Rosie for a comment, but the couple refused to give one.
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