Episode One- The Vale of Glamorgan
In the first episode of Channel 4’s Ugly House to Lovely House, we meet Tony, Sarah and their daughter, India, who live in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. The location is typically known for its quaint, countryside cottages that effortlessly fit in with the outstanding natural landscape. However, the family’s 1970’s house could not have been more different. With grubby pebbledash, boring UPC windows and a flat-roof car port, the house was completely unsympathetic toward its surroundings, with Sarah saying “it sticks out a bit like a sore thumb”.
But there are more issues with the house than just being plain ugly. Although it is very spacious at 1,700 square feet, two double bedrooms and two single bedrooms, it simply does not make the most of the outside space- the only access to the garden, for example, is by going through the garage. It is clear that what the house needs is a creative imagination that will recreate the house entirely and make the most of the potential that the house has to offer. That creative imagination comes in the form of architect Greg Blee, founder of Blee Halligan architects. Greg specialises in designing houses that effortlessly fit in to their surroundings; a perfect match for the household. With a budget of just £60,000 (believe it or not, this is quite a small budget for renovating a house), Greg’s challenge is more than just transforming the house, but trying to keep all of the changes within budget- quite a task to undertake!
As the building work begins, it is clear that the family are going to go over budget to get the exact finish that they want. For example, Tony and Sarah decided to replace the dull roof tiles with new slate ones instead- a decision that cost them an extra £5,000. However, as expensive as this was, it was also understandable considering that these tiles will complete the transformation entirely, rather than making the house look half-hearted.
The finished result can only be said to be utterly outstanding. Greg Blee more than succeeded in recreating the house to fit into its natural surroundings, mainly by cladding the outside in untreated timber that will silver with age. However, in my opinion, the biggest transformation was not the outside of the house, but the inside. The entire downstairs had been transformed to be more open planned, which invited the outside countryside, inside the house. This had been further helped by the addition of two feature windows, which make the most of the outstanding views. Although the transformation was, indeed, amazing, it definitely came at a cost- with all of the added extras that Tony and Sarah had decided on, the couple ended up going over budget, spending £85,000 in total.