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An English man’s home is his castle, side extension, loft conversion, outdoor decking,…

25 Sep

We are back on the subject of porn, this time property porn. Once a staple of TV programmes from the suave ‘Location, Location, Location’ to the more pedestrian ‘Homes Under the Hammer’. We simply could not have enough of these programmes.

They presented a simplified but appealing story of ‘wrecks to riches’. A typical edition would feature a bloke (or lady) who had spent the last ten years trapped in some unfulfilled deskbound job yearning for something exciting and decides to have a go at property development.

Off they go to an auction. Bidding on, and winning the auction for a house they never visited. Cue the obligatory melodrama, the house is sinking!

Somehow the situation is rescued and the project is delivered generally not on time and often over budget. Such was the state of the rising market that at the great reveal, despite doing pretty much all the wrong things, a handsome profit is still made and we are all thinking I could definitely do this.

It was not to last. Cue 2007 and the Credit Crunch brings all the property speculation to an abrupt end, but the yearning is still there and the TV companies know it needs fulfillment,  just tweaked to have a slightly more pragmatic approach.

Who better than Sarah Beeny to lead this revival, a lady who even in the heady days of 2005/2006 never got carried out away as property investors (should that be speculators) revealed their more outlandish plans. Her new show on Channel 4 is the not so snappily titled – “Double your home for half the money”.

The premise is straightforward. Envious of your neighbours double fronted, semi-detached Georgian home that cost twice yours. Well you don’t have to rob a bank to buy something similar to move to. All you need is to rustle up the odd  £150,000 for a new side extension and loft conversion and voila you have the same house as your neighbour (Property programmes don’t focus on minor issues like where to get the money from).

Today’s episode had a North South divide to it. Up north in Sheffield the family were focused and the project ran smoothly, the end result was their  £600,000 home was turned into a palatial five bedroom, seven bathroom show home (presumably a bathroom for each day of the week).

In the north London suburb of Wembley it was all a bit more chaotic, the decision-making was fluid and architectural design was at times “bold”, typified by the debate as to whether it was ok for the downstairs toilet to open directly into the middle family lounge.

It may be 2012 but a happy ending it still in fashion and despite the setbacks the Wembley family got the home of their dreams, more evidence if any is needed that any type of porn is recession-proof.