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The Sunday Times Home — 7 January 2018

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January 7, 2018
TAKE A
DEEP BREATH
CHANGE YOUR DOMESTIC
ROUTINE TO CUT AIR
POLLUTION
8
Travel
INSIDE
Going up in the world
Our indispensable guide to climbing the property ladder 10
xx
2 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home
MAKING
MOVES
NORTHUMBERLAND
�5,000
GLOUCESTERSHIRE
�9,950
A Saxon church, period
shopfronts and great pubs
make Corbridge one of
the most sought-after
villages in the Tyne Valley.
This grade II listed house
started out as a humble
joiner?s workshop and
home, but it?s now a bright,
airy place known as Bridge
Bank Cottage, with four
bedrooms, two large
receptions and sash
windows. It was recently
renovated, and pleasing
perks include river views,
a Belfast sink in the kitchen
and a walled courtyard with
a water feature.
01434 622234,
finestproperties.co.uk
Nearby Chipping Campden
and Moreton-in-Marsh
attract the tourist swarms,
but the Cotswold village
of Paxford has its own star
attraction: the Churchill
Arms, run by the chef Nick
Deverell-Smith, who has
worked with Gordon
Ramsay, Marco Pierre White
and Marcus Wareing. You
can heave yourself home to
this pretty terraced cottage
with three bedrooms, two
receptions and plenty of
period features, including
an open fireplace.
01608 651188,
haymanjoyce.co.uk
LONDON TW11
�
An elegantly dilapidated
grade II listed Victorian
boathouse, Velma is a mile
from Teddington town
centre and has 117ft of
frontage on the Thames.
Largely unaltered since it
was built in the 1880s ?
when pleasure-boating was
the equivalent of cycling ?
it was granted residential
use in 2014. It has 782 sq ft
of living space, including a
bedroom and a workshop.
But it?s a pricy hobby home,
with no consent for any
improvements or additions.
020 8977 4500,
riverhomes.co.uk
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The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 3
�475M
COVER: PETER TARRY
SUFFOLK
Winner of best restoration
in last year?s Sunday Times
British Homes Awards, this
5,000 sq ft barn conversion
by the London-based
architect David Nossiter
shows how cathedral-like
spaces can be made
liveable. Part of a complex of
farm buildings in Assington,
near Sudbury, it has five
bedrooms and polished
concrete floors throughout.
Spaces have been kept as
open-plan as possible, with
birch-faced plywood-sheet
partitions designed as
overscale furniture where
privacy is desired.
020 3795 5920,
themodernhouse.com
INSIDE THIS WEEK
The �m star of
Daniel Day-Lewis?s
final film
12
Interiors inspiration
for 2018
19
The Hoff on his
home comforts
22
PLUS Home Front 4
Home Help 14 Overseas 16
WE WANT... A HOME FOR CULTURE VULTURES
FROM
�0,000
BRISTOL
There?s nothing clinical about
the General ? a former
hospital that?s been converted
into luxury one-, two-, and
three-bedroom flats, many
with waterfront views. The
FROM
�,220
�5M
Arnolfini, five minutes? walk
away, is a cutting-edge venue
and gallery ? it recently
hosted a Grayson Perry show.
0117 925 5333,
cityandcountry.co.uk
LONDON SE1
Grade II listed Pepys House
is a few paces from the
Globe Theatre, and Tate
Modern, the Royal Festival
Hall and BFI Southbank are
just along the Thames. This
four-bedroom duplex
combines original timber
trusses with Lutron lighting
and underfloor heating.
020 7664 6649,
jackson-stops.co.uk
LIVERPOOL
This was the last British city
to be European Capital of
Culture, and it has a crammed
calendar. Near Tate Liverpool,
Victoria House has one- and
two-bedroom flats with river
views. It?s a quick train ride to
the World Museum ? set to be
invaded by warriors from the
Terracotta Army next month.
020 7624 5555,
propertiesoftheworld.co.uk
4 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
HELEN
DAVIES
@TheSTHome
H
ave you
triumphantly
recycled the
festive detritus
yet? So far I seem
only to have successfully
reused most of last year?s
failed resolutions, but with an
added item: tackle recycling.
I have already lost the plot
with the four bins, specialist
Christmas-tree dump, bank
holiday bin collections and
changing dates to remember ?
oh, and an online charging
system for garden waste. So
I dream of coming up with a
system that restores order in
my kitchen.
I realise it is not up there
with saving money, ending
homelessness and helping to
shape Britain into a supportive
society, but I would also like to
wage war on the plague of bins
that mar our streets, as well as
the rubbish that never even
makes it into them ? dog mess,
old sofas and the waves of
plastic in our oceans and on
our beaches.
Waste is one of those issues
that really does start at home.
Even Simon Ellin, head of the
Recycling Association, hasn?t
come up with a solution yet:
he has a general rubbish bin
under the sink and a compost
caddy, then puts everything
else for recycling by the sink
??
He prefers to dispose of bottle
tops in the general waste, but
admits it is OK to leave them
on, as they will be extracted
magnetically. Just don?t get
him started on nappies...
The guru for 2018 is
Shoukei Matsumoto,
a Shin Buddhist
l Traditionally, this is the time
the year when you might
monk who declares of
want to usher in a sense of
we should clean ?to
change and declutter. This is
easier, more timely ? and,
eliminate the gloom far
I might even say, healthier ?
in our hearts?
than attempting a dry January
before intermittently sorting
it into the right bins outside.
He also scrutinises his wife?s
shopping decisions: let?s just
say she is unlikely to buy a
quiche in a cardboard box
with a plastic window again.
Ellin suggests that you shop
not according to calories or
organic, but based on the
recyclability of the packaging.
There are about 350 ways
of recycling across the UK?s
councils, and the aim in 2018
is to cut this down to four or
five main methods. Ellin,
whose new year?s resolution is
to post one tip a week on his
Staffordshire village?s online
forum, did help clear up the
argument that dogged our
family at Christmas: should
the screwcap go back on the
bottle and in with the glass?
or running in the rain for the
first time in a decade. The guru
to follow in 2018 is Shoukei
Matsumoto, a Shin Buddhist
monk, whose new book is
called A Monk?s Guide to a
Clean House and Mind
(Penguin �99). He declares
we should clean ?to eliminate
the gloom in our hearts?.
For those who think a
?quick dust? means a
sprinkling of icing sugar, the
rhetoric will be bewildering.
Yet the overall message of
celebrating what we already
own, and being careful,
grateful and appreciative, is
spot-on. As is the importance
of keeping the hall, bathroom
and toilet meticulously clean.
This is cleaning as a
philosophy, so there are rules.
You must listen to the voice
of the object. The growth of
mould in a room coincides
with the growth of mould in
the heart, and if you fail to
shut any drawer or cupboard
door, this is a sign of a
weakening heart.
Cleaning must be done in
the morning, as the first
activity of the day, and tidying
last thing at night. Indeed the
entire family should work as a
team, conscious of each other
as they perform the tasks.
(Please let me know how this
works in practice in your
own home, when you aren?t
a monk and have three messy
children.) Matsumoto doesn?t
mention recycling, but he
declares that putting on white
underwear makes him feel as
though a fresh wind is blowing
over his body.
l Even this revelation isn?t
quite as shocking as one new
fixture in west London I have
spotted. A double doorbell.
Yes, that?s two doorbell
options for just the one front
door on a modest semi. You
must choose between trade
and guest. I?m guessing the
owners are the sort who have
no problems when it comes
to organising their bins, or
getting someone else to do it
for them.
helen.davies@
sunday-times.co.uk
MOVING ON
HOME FRONT
Home Opinion
After several years away
from the spotlight, Natalie
Imbruglia is touring again ?
and it?s all change at home,
too. The Australian singer
and former Neighbours star,
who achieved global fame
with her 1997 hit Torn, is
renting a Cotswold pad
with her rescue dog, Mr
Wilson. Imbruglia, 42, owns
a flat in London?s Notting
Hill and a villa in Byron Bay,
New South Wales.
Alan Bennett has sold the
London house immortalised
in The Lady in the Van.
The playwright lived at 23
Gloucester Crescent, in
Primrose Hill, for almost 40
years; for 15 of those, he let
a homeless woman, Miss
Shepherd, live in her van in
his driveway. Bennett, 83,
put the three-bedroom
house, used in the 2015 film
adaptation, on sale for
� in November. Even
though he?s accepted
less, he can?t grumble:
it cost �,500 in 1969.
Jo Wood is also
selling up in Primrose
Hill, for �75m, as is
Joan Bakewell ? her
home is listed at
�25m. What do they
know that we don?t?
Alexandra Goss
8 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home Living
CLEAN AIR ACTS
A few simple tweaks to your domestic routine can counter pollution, says Dr Xand van Tulleken
W
ith each
new year,
it seems
the UK is
plagued
with a new health crisis ?
there?s childhood obesity and
binge drinking, type 2 diabetes
and the mountains of plastic
entering our seas. But one
threat has been around for far
too long: air pollution cuts
short the lives of about 50,000
Brits every year, and the
government is in breach of its
legal obligation to deal with it.
As a doctor with a
background in public health,
I should know better than
most the effects of this
invisible threat, but the
problem is so insidious that I
rarely gave it a second thought.
I blithely cycled around the
capital, breathing in litres of
colourless, odourless toxic
fumes and particles that
wreaked havoc on nearly every
part of my body. So, when I
was asked by the BBC to front a
documentary on air pollution,
Fighting for Air, curiosity got
the better of me.
I offered myself up as a lab
rat to illustrate these effects
by exposing myself to the
emissions from vehicles in a
typical city street. Though
slight, the effects were clear:
in minutes, pollution coursed
through my veins, ultrafine
particles covered in chemicals
lodged in my lungs, then
passed into my bloodstream;
my blood thickened, my
arteries constricted and my
blood pressure rose.
We enlisted the help of the
residents of Kings Heath, a
suburb of south Birmingham
where the high street has
pollution levels on the cusp of
legal limits. And, in the first
ever large-scale experiment
of its kind, we used people
power to try to bring about a
quantifiable improvement in
air quality for a single day.
The odds were stacked
against us, but what the team
and I found almost at once was
that small changes to our daily
lives can result in a significant
cumulative effect on the levels
of emissions and our exposure
to them. Changing your
driving style as well as your
walking route, and cycling or
getting the bus to work instead
of getting in the car can make
a dramatic difference. Air
pollution is the public health
emergency many say we can?t
continue to ignore.
All of this got me thinking
about air quality everywhere,
not least in and around my
home. By the time I got back
to my newly renovated
terraced house in north
London ? which I share with
my eight-year-old son, Julian ?
I had a long to-do list.
Now, I am no sanctimonious
ecowarrior, but during the
renovation process, I did try
to keep any nasties to a
minimum. I left the lovely,
rough period floorboards
unlacquered, used natural
wool carpets in other rooms
and picked out low-VOC paint.
Most modern paints have
volatile organic compounds
that are given off as the paint
dries and, in the short term,
can cause headaches; at worst,
they could be carcinogenic.
Here are some of the other
ways we can help to keep
our home environment as
healthy as possible.
GREENING
If you live on a busy road,
creating a physical barrier
between yourself and the
traffic is one of the cheapest,
most effective ? and attractive
? ways to stop toxic gases and
particles from reaching you.
I?ll admit that I deliberately
bought a home that is not on a
busy road or rat run, but as a
typical middle-class street, it
still has more than its fair share
of supermarket and Amazon
deliveries. Dense evergreen
hedging of about head height
is best, with conifers, yew, red
western cedar, Portuguese
laurel and privet all good bets.
Hedges dilute pollution by
mixing it up with clean air,
and the leaves create a large
surface area on which the
particulates settle.
Get greenery around the
home, too. Many species of
houseplant absorb benzene
(from adhesives, paint,
synthetic chemicals and
dry-cleaning), formaldehyde
(cleaning products and
particle board) and
trichloroethylene (cleaning
solvents). Research by Nasa
suggests that red-edged
dracaena and peace lilies are
two of the most effective. I
plan to get lots of indoor plants
hanging in my light well.
FORGET HYGGE
At this time of year, the appeal
of sitting by a snug fire is
strong. Yet this once
wholesome activity has some
??
Studies suggest up
to a third of all
fine particle matter
in London is from
woodburning
stoves
unintended consequences:
studies suggest that up to a
third of all fine particle matter
in London is produced by
woodburning stoves. Some
have been likened to having a
diesel engine chugging away
on your roof. Installation is key
to cutting your exposure: tight
seals and decent flues can
make all the difference. Switch
to smokeless fuels to reduce
exposure to some harmful
particles, though the odds are
you will need to change your
burner for a multifuel stove.
CHECK THE BOILER
As temperatures drop, the
boiler becomes the family?s
best friend. But research
shows this can be one of the
main contributors to nitrogen
oxides in the home. Make sure
yours is regularly serviced,
and that you buy the latest
model when it comes time
for it to be replaced. Faulty
gas appliances are the chief
source of carbon monoxide
poisoning, which kills about
50 people a year in the UK.
If you have a detector, make
sure it is fit for purpose.
DITCH THE DETERGENT
I loathe health fascism and
crazed celebrity wellbeing
sites, which often fail to give
the simplest, most effective
advice. You really don?t need
all those supermarket-bought,
bleach- and chlorine-laden
cleaning products. Not only
are they nasty to inhale, you
often end up using an
unwashed, bug-ridden cloth
with them anyway. Wiping and
scrubbing with a microfibre
cloth and plain water will, in
most cases, do the job fine,
though you can?t go wrong
with lemon, vinegar and
bicarbonate of soda. You
simply need things to be
visibly clean, as living in a
sterile environment isn?t
generally good for you. That
toilet-bowl cleaner can go, too
? unless you plan to eat out
of your loo, a good scrub with
a long brush should suffice.
As for antibacterial hand gels
and wipes, regular soap will
do the job just as well ? and do
make sure you always wash
your hands before you eat.
BREATHE EASY
Even in the depths of winter,
it pays to open your windows
for a few minutes each day.
Unless you live in one of
central London?s filthiest black
spots, that is. If you are
worried about the quality of
your indoor air, you might be
tempted to invest in an
expensive air purifier. But note
that, although they can be
effective at removing harmful
particulates from your
And breathe
Van Tulleken has
ditched cleaning
products and
candles at his
London home
AKIRA SUEMORI
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 9
environment, they are not
generally seen as effective
against toxic gases.
Sprays and candles, too,
are deceptive: despite the
fresh smell, they are often
loaded with pollutants.
Homemade pomanders and ?
if you can afford them ? fresh
flowers are a better way to
scent your home. I have also
swapped tealight candles for
the little electric ones. As a
single man, I am not bothered
about making my dinners for
one romantic (weighed up
against the fact that being
single is probably not great
for my health). Those �0
lumps of designer scented
wax should also go. Some
give off dangerous levels of
formaldehyde, and all candles
give off particulate matter.
While I was making the
documentary on air pollution,
I learnt, to my surprise, that
changing the world doesn?t
have to require radical action.
It is the small steps
everyone can make
that will lead
to a healthier
country. The
same goes for
your home.
Fighting for Airr
is on BBC2 on
pm
Wednesday, 9pm
LET YOUR HOME GET YOU FIT
l Run, don?t walk, up the
stairs ? at every opportunity.
l Vacuuming, scrubbing
the floors (or that mould off
the shower tiles), making
beds and cleaning windows
are all a great workout.
Stick on some Charli XCX,
too: studies have shown
that loud music with at
least 120 beats per minute
increases the rate at which
you exercise.
l Keep workout gear in
sight so you can grab those
dumbbells. Failing that,
use tinned vegetables ? or
nick the kids? skipping rope
to get your heart rate up.
l Squeezed for space?
There?s always room for a
press-up or two.
l Hate ironing? Think of it
as an upper-body workout.
Handwashing clothes is
effective, too.
b
over
l Don?t bend
to pick up clothes
an toys from
and
th floor ?
the
it could
damag your back.
damage
Instea
Instead, do some
stren
strength
training
each time by
squat
squatting.
10 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home Cover
T
rading up the property
ladder ? as any disconsolate
second-stepper will attest ?
is almost as difficult as buying
a home in the first place.
The desire for more space, a bigger
garden and proximity to an outstanding
school is made harder to realise by tight
mortgage regulations and, often, a loss
of income thanks to part-time hours and
childcare bills.
Worse, moving has never been more
expensive, according to the comparison
website reallymoving.com. Even when
adjusted for inflation, the average cost in
2017 is the highest it?s been since 2010, at
�381 ? the third consecutive year of
increases. In 2018, though, the stuttering
market could present an opportunity
for those stuck second-steppers to make
their move.
A blend of luck, good timing, patience,
financial probity and a willingness to
compromise allowed Danielle and Stuart
Evans to exchange a modest suburban
end-of-terrace for a family home with five
bedrooms and almost an acre of gardens
in Dorking, Surrey, where they live with
their daughters, Elizabeth, 3, and
Charlotte, 1. Their four-bedroom house
in Teddington, southwest London, was
valued at �0,000. The trouble was
that upsizing locally, even on a small
scale, would be prohibitively expensive.
?We realised we were going to have to
pay an extra �0,000 for a semi that
was only slightly larger,? says Stuart, 43,
an accountant.
What Stuart and Danielle, 36, had on
their side was equity. The mortgage was
paid off and they were willing to travel;
but instead of being a dual-income couple,
they were now a single-income family.
Stuart is stoic about his long commute
because they have space to park, room
for guests, storage for buggies and a front
door that doesn?t open straight into the
living room ? not an ideal setup when
their beagle cross, Bertie, returned from
a walk coated in mud.
Buyers willing to make similar sacrifices
could find that 2018 is their year: when
prices are stalling or falling, the numbers
are on the side of the upsizer. ?The soft
market may mean you achieve less for
your sale than you might have wanted,
but you are a buyer in the same market,
and 10% off � is more than 10% off
�,? says Brendan Roberts, director of
Aylesford International estate agency.
The same goes for upsizers closer to the
average UK property price of �3,807.
If you are determined to make the
most of this opportunity, here are Home?s
10 upsizing strategies.
1
Drive a hard bargain Buying at the
right price is crucial. With transaction
numbers at a record low ? particularly
at the upper end of the market ?
upsizers are in the driving seat. ?Don?t
be afraid to negotiate,? says Ed Stoyle, a
partner at Carter Jonas estate agency?s
office in York. ?If a property is on for
�0,000 and your budget is �0,000,
call the agent and say, ?This is my top end,
is it worth me coming to view or not?? The
answer will indicate how much scope
there is to negotiate.?
2
Trim your wish list Desperate to
live in an unspoilt village with a
fantastic pub and an outstanding
school on the doorstep? Join the club.
Such desirable but discretionary extras
carry a significant premium. You need to
be tough with yourself about what you
can live without and the compromises you
are willing to make.
?Moving from a coastal village to one
a mile inland can knock 50% off the price,
while leaving you within reach of all your
favourite friends, places and beaches,?
TRADING
Taking the next step
on the ladder is a
costly business ? but
this year could offer a
golden opportunity,
says Ruth Bloomfield
UP
PETER TARRY
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 11
6
Beauty is skin deep Buyers pay a
hefty premium for a good-looking
house, but would you prefer kerb
appeal or an extra bedroom or two?
A recent report by Nicholas Boys Smith,
founding director of the Create Streets
think tank, found that homes built before
1900 typically cost �,000 more than
those built in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In East Anglia, Sarah Broughton,
associate director of the buying agency
Prime Purchase, recommends that
upsizers drop their aspiration to own a
period home and get into the midcentury
spirit: ?You could go from a small house
with plenty of character to a 1960s or
1970s house that is not so aesthetically
pleasing, but has the space you need.?
Room to grow
Danielle and
Stuart Evans, with
their daughters,
Elizabeth and
Charlotte,
moved from an
end-of-terrace
home in London
to a house in
Dorking, Surrey,
right. It has five
bedrooms ? and
plenty of space
for their dog,
Bertie, below
says Clare Coode, a buying agent for
Stacks Property Search in Cornwall. ?Rock
is a perfect example. A bungalow here
can cost upwards of �, but moving just
a mile inland would buy more than twice
the square footage for the same price.?
Another way to save is to buy a home
a bit further from the station. On the West
Sussex/Surrey borders, the price
differential between Haslemere, which
has a mainline station, and Midhurst, a
15-minute drive away, is 25%-30%, says
Coode?s colleague Bill Spreckley.
3
Move out of town Property costs
more per sq ft in urban areas than
in rural ones, which means you?ll
get more for your money if you are
prepared for a real life change.
?You can sell a house in prime York for
� and buy a considerably larger house
in the surrounding countryside, even as
close as five miles to the centre,? says Ben
Pridden, head of residential in the city for
Savills estate agency. ?Families want to
upsize and enjoy more space, but don?t
want to increase their budget. Or they
can release capital for school fees without
having to lose any square footage.?
4
Play the postcode lottery Forget
?location, location, location? ? in
today?s market, most buyers?
priority is ?affordability,
affordability, affordability?. This might
mean moving to an area that you don?t
really like the sound of. But once you
pinpoint where you can afford to buy the
right-size home, swallow your prejudices
and at least have a look around.
Even in an expensive city such as
Cambridge, there are ways to find the
property you need, says Michael Donnelly,
director of Cheffins, a local estate agency.
For example, a small two-bedroom terrace
in Newnham will cost about �5,000, but
in Chesterton, you can buy a four-bedroom
house with gardens and parking for only
�,000 more. ?Both areas are equally
near the centre of town, and Chesterton
has the added advantage of being close to
the new Cambridge North station.?
Donnelly also suggests considering
satellite villages or ?necklace towns?,
which offer much better value than city
suburbs: ?You could sell a two-bedroom
flat in a new development in Trumpington
for �0,000 and buy a four-bedroom
house in Ely for the same figure, while still
being on the train line to central London.?
5
Look for potential In October,
Emma and Richard Jones, both 35,
upsized from a 1,200 sq ft house in
Wimbledon, southwest London, to a
1,500 sq ft property (with a 300 sq ft
cellar) nearby. Emma looks after their two
daughters, aged two and five, while
Richard is at work as an IT developer.
??
Moving just 15
minutes? drive away
from the nearest
station could save
you 25-30%
HOMES SHRINK
AS PRICES RISE
Upsizers, beware: homes in the most
expensive area of England and Wales
cost 58 times as much as those in the
cheapest. One square foot in the London
ward of Knightsbridge and Belgravia
costs an average of �093; the same
amount of space in Horden, Co Durham,
would set you back just �.
The figures, compiled by Savills
estate agency using data for more than
628,000 sales in the year ending May
2017, reveal that the average property
now costs �6 a sq ft ? �, or 21%,
more than in 2012.
?Highly divergent price growth over
the past five years has meant huge
disparities across the country,? says
Lucian Cook, director of residential
research at Savills. In the capital, homes
cost an average of �7 a sq ft ? 72%
more than in the southeast (�3), and
more than four times the typical price in
the northeast (�7).
Across England and Wales, the
average property price is �3,000.
Their old home, a Victorian terrace,
had four bedrooms and was technically
large enough, but the kitchen and living
room were cramped. ?We spend most of
our time downstairs, and it was just too
small,? Emma says. ?We also had a tiny
garden ? we wouldn?t have been able to
have a trampoline or a swing for the girls.?
The couple?s new house also has four
bedrooms, but there is the potential to
extend into the loft, and the living space
and garden are both much larger. Their
old property sold for �7,000 and the
new one cost them �1m: a substantial
�3,000 more. And, although they sold
through Dexters estate agency, which
had a new office in the area and waived
sales commission as an opening offer,
stamp duty added another �,750.
So, despite savings and sizeable equity
earned on their old house ? bought seven
years ago for �5,000 ? they were not
able to afford a ?finished? home. Instead,
the one they chose ?looked like a squat?.
The walls were tobacco-stained, the
bathroom was ?pretty revolting?, the gas
hob has been condemned and the cooker
doesn?t work, so the family are making
do with microwaved meals until they can
fit a new kitchen.
Despite this, they are delighted with
their move. ?We aren?t big spenders on
things like fancy cars or the latest
computers,? Emma says. ?This means we
have some money to do the work the
house needs, and it has such potential
we just sort of fell in love with it.?
If you tried to buy a property in London
on that budget, you?d get 446 sq ft of
floor space: a small one-bedroom flat.
In the northeast, you?d be moving into a
1,921 sq ft house with five bedrooms.
?Looking at home values on a per
sq ft basis has become increasingly
important for upsizers, as they are
moving less often and want housing
that can accommodate their changing
needs,? Cook says. ?House-price growth
means that, on average, a purchaser
with a budget of �7,000 ? the typical
sale price in May 2012 ? can now buy
174 sq ft less than five years ago. This is
equivalent to a decent-sized bedroom.?
The least expensive ward in London
is North End, in Bexley, where homes
cost an average of �1 a sq ft ? this is
still more expensive than 85% of the
wards in England and Wales. Outside
the capital, the five most expensive
wards are in Oxford and Cambridge.
Charlotte Vowden
Discover how much property costs per
sq ft in your area in our tablet edition or
at thesundaytimes.co.uk
7
Extend your options A house with
the potential to extend can make a
larger home more affordable, if you
have patience and the will to live
through a building project. Alex Leigh,
manager of Foxtons estate agency in
Islington, north London, advises looking
beyond lofts and kitchen extensions: a
garage could be incorporated into the
rest of the house to provide an extra
bedroom, or a new garden room could
add a study or guest room.
?When thinking about extensions,
look on the local authority?s planning
website for precedent in neighbouring
homes for extensions being done or
applications being refused,? he says.
?And check what you would be allowed
to do under permitted development
rules. It might be more than you think.?
8
Make your new home work for you
If you have enough equity to put
down a deposit on a larger home,
but are worried about mortgage
repayments, a property with a second
income stream might be the answer.
?Buy a house with outbuildings, a barn
or an annexe,? says Mike Rix, director of
Savills in Norwich. ?Holiday rentals are a
good source of extra income, and we have
clients who have let converted barns to
wood-turners, liveries, even to a lady who
does upholstery.?
Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick, head of
residential at Savills in Exeter, agrees:
?We see owners building in their gardens,
having obtained planning consent, and
using the units as income generators in
order to afford a bigger home.?
9
Ask the Bank of Mum and Dad
(yes, again) Make like a first-time
buyer and see if parents or other
family members can help you out.
Recent research from Lloyds Bank found
that one in three second-steppers plan to
ask relatives to put their hands in their
pockets to help them buy a larger home.
The bank found that most needed just
over �,000 to bridge the gap between
starter home and family home.
10
...or shack up with Mum and
Dad A multigenerational home is
increasingly the practical answer
for families willing to pool their
resources and live together. Cambridge has
seen house prices jump by 56% in 10 years,
to an average of �3,500, according to
the latest Hometrack city index ? and
Michael Donnelly, of Cheffins, has seen a
hike in the number of parents and children
selling up and buying a single larger place
together. Homes with ?plush annexes?,
or with the potential to be split into two,
work particularly well, as everybody
retains their privacy and independence.
?This strategy has huge benefits,? he
says. ?It allows equity release for older
homeowners, who can now help their
children with young families to buy the
house they wanted, on the right road,
while offering babysitting on tap.?
12 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home Luxury
W
FITTING
LOCATION
Euston
Great
Portland
Street
Regent?s
Park
A50
1
Warren
Street
FITZROY SQUARE
A4
400yd
00
Yours for �m: the grand
London house where Daniel
Day-Lewis filmed Phantom
Thread, and decided to retire
from acting. By Hugh Graham
hen a grade
I listed
property
comes
onto the
market on Fitzroy Square, a
Georgian enclave in
fashionable Fitzrovia, it?s a
roll-out-the-red-carpet event
in the London property
world. Especially when it was
designed by Robert Adam,
a god of 18th-century
neoclassical architecture. ?It is
the first grade I listed property
I?ve dealt with in my 15 years
working in the area,? says
Christian Lock-Necrews,
head of Knight Frank estate
agency?s Marylebone office.
?This is a rarefied category.?
Yet the five-storey,
seven-bedroom mansion, on
sale for �m, has more going
for it than English Heritage
credentials: it?s now part of
cinematic history, too. The
10,400 sq ft pile is the setting
for the soon-to-be-released
Phantom Thread, starring
Daniel Day-Lewis. On top of
that, this will be the three-time
Oscar-winner?s final film: he
announced his retirement
from acting last year at the
age of 60, although it?s not
the first time he has quit the
profession. He took five years
off in the late 1990s, when
he disappeared from public
view and reportedly devoted
himself to making shoes
and chopping down trees.
This time, he has said he?s
not even going to watch
Phantom Thread.
Opening here on February 2,
the latest movie from the
Hollywood director Paul
Thomas Anderson has won
rave reviews and two Golden
Globe nominations. It?s a
moody portrayal of Reynolds
Woodcock, a fictional
high-society dressmaker in
1950s London, who creates
immaculate gowns for
debutantes from his
LAURIE SPARHAM/AP/FOCUS FEATURES/EVERETT COLLECTION/ALAMY
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 13
The final cut
The grade I listed
house on Fitzroy
Square (centre,
with grey door)
features in
Day-Lewis?s new
film, Phantom
Thread, about a
couturier in
1950s London.
Left and below,
Day-Lewis, Lesley
Manville and
Vicky Krieps
in scenes from
the film
townhouse atelier, and shapes
and moulds his lover with
similar precision.
The visuals are wonderfully
romantic, evoking a bygone
age of silver tea services, toast
racks, crystal decanters, maids
in starched black uniforms ?
and needle-sharp wit. The
interiors are sumptuously
shot. A sweeping spiral
staircase, topped by a domed
skylight, plays a starring
role ? it was made for the
cinema, and features in an
emotionally charged scene
between the two leads. The
staircase is backed by a
supporting cast of fruity,
richly patterned wallpapers,
vintage dolly-light switches
and gilded wall sconces.
The film depicts a glamorous
era of capes, hourglass
shapes, intricate lacework and
tailored coats: the swishy
gowns enhance the grandeur
of the first-floor reception,
complementing the parquet
floor and towering sash
windows. Firelight gives
Woodcock?s bedroom a
warm glow. The period
details ? elaborate ceiling
roses, decorative mouldings,
lacy iron balusters ? seem
tailor-made for the icy,
fastidious dandy Day-Lewis
portrays. Outside, the regal
Ionic columns are made even
grander by the vintage,
chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces
that pull up to the door in
the film.
In one sense, Phantom
Thread could not be a better
marketing tool for this house,
which was on the market in
2016 before being taken off for
the shoot, which took place in
the first four months of 2017.
?I thought the film wouldn?t be
out for two years, so when I
heard it was coming out now,
I thought, ?Great, we can use
this,?? Lock-Necrews says.
?A few years ago, we sold 33
Portland Place, where The
King?s Speech was filmed. That
definitely generated interest.
To have the house where the
most Oscar-winning [male]
actor of all time did his last
film, that?s fun.?
Yet Phantom Thread, while
visually elegant, is not exactly
the feelgood film of the year.
One critic described it as a
?bleak and unremittingly
joyless masterpiece?.
Reynolds Woodcock is a
cantankerous, self-obsessed
control freak who can?t bear
disruption to his routine:
when his lover, Alma, played
by Vicky Krieps, scrapes her
toast too loudly, and serves
him butter with his asparagus,
rather than his preferred oil,
he is apoplectic. Alma lives in
a gilded cage; the staff, too,
walk on eggshells. Woodcock
remarks: ?There?s an air of
quiet death in this house.?
Day-Lewis is a method
actor who is renowned for
immersing himself in
character and settings ? he
confined himself to a
wheelchair for My Left Foot
and trained as a butcher for
Gangs of New York. This
time, he learnt to thread a
needle. To prepare for the
film, Day-Lewis re-created a
dress designed by Balenciaga,
watching archive videos of
fashion shows from the 1940s
and 1950s, and learning to sew.
He also spent months working
as an apprentice for Marc
Happel, head of the costume
department at the New York
City Ballet.
The actor told W magazine:
?There is nothing more
beautiful in all the arts than
something that appears
simple. And if you try to do
any goddamn thing in your
life, you know how impossible
it is to achieve that effortless
simplicity.?
Day-Lewis consulted his
wife, the novelist and
filmmaker Rebecca Miller,
when it came to re-creating
some of the more intricate
details. He was unable to use
the dress itself for reference,
because it is housed in the
Balenciaga archives in Paris.
Using Miller as a model, he
said he found one element
taxing ? though ultimately
rewarding. ?Rebecca was
very patient,? he said. ?The
code that I had to crack was
a very particular gusset in
the armpit. You couldn?t tell
from the photos how the
gusset was designed.
Rebecca has worn the dress.
It?s very pretty.?
Yet during the shoot, in
London, he became
?overwhelmed by sadness? ?
enough to convince him to
give up acting. There?s
certainly a forlorn air on the
December day when I visit.
The rooms are empty, as the
owners haven?t lived there
for 10 years. There are
pockmarks on the walls where
light fittings have apparently
been ripped out by departing
film crews.
Stripped of its chandeliers,
antique furniture and klieg
lights, the house feels gloomy
? and cold. In fact, the lower
storeys don?t have heating:
the owners, when they bought
it more than 20 years ago,
lived primarily in smaller
rooms on the top two floors,
where there is a kitchen.
Reality bites compared to the
silver screen.
?I was sad when the filming
ended,? admits Ivan Tachev,
who has been the caretaker for
the past 10 years. ?Now the
house feels so empty. It was
such a nice, friendly bunch of
people. One day we had 75
extras in the house, I have
never seen anything like it.
Daniel Day-Lewis was very
nice ? he would sit outside on
the bench in the square when
he was on a break, and people
would walk by, but they would
leave him alone. But the public
would take pictures every time
an old Rolls-Royce pulled up.?
The real thing may be a
comedown from cinematic
glamour, but perhaps the
elegant world depicted on
screen will inspire the new
owners to whip the place
into shape ? rather like
Woodcock, with his keen
eye and thumb-worn tailor?s
tape, who makes his
customers look and feel like
better versions of themselves.
This makeover, Lock-Necrews
reckons, might cost as much
as � and take two years.
He doubts that the buyer will
be a film ? or DDL ? buff, but
instead will be a fan of the
exquisite plasterwork, sash
windows, delicate fanlights
and Georgian shutters.
Other draws are the
attached mews house behind
(where Day-Lewis took breaks
and had his make-up done),
the traffic-free central London
address (the square is
pedestrianised) and the fact
that it has ?the best staircase
in the square?. The agent is
right about that: regardless
of whether they?ve seen
Phantom Thread, and liked
or hated the film, whoever
walks down that sweeping
flight of stairs will feel like a
movie star.
020 3435 6440,
knightfrank.co.uk
14 January 7, 2018 The Sunday
y Times
ILLUSTRATOR MICHAEL DRIVER
Home
TOP TIPS
SLOW COOKERS
Crock-Pot
SCCPRC507B-060
Scored highly in our tests
making curry, soup and
stew. It?s easy to use and
has a dishwasher-safe
ceramic pot. The
programmable timer is
accurate and allows you
to set a cooking time
before switching to the
?keep warm? setting.
91/100; �;
johnlewis.com
Sage by Heston
Blumenthal The Fast
Slow Pro
Good cooking results,
economical to use and,
with a 6-litre capacity,
ideal for larger families.
It is pricy, but this is a
well-thought-out device
with a range of functions
(pressure, slow-cook,
reduce, sear, saut� and
steam). There?s also an
automatic ?keep warm?
setting. It is bulky, so could
be hard to store.
88/100; �0;
sageappliances.co.uk
Andrew James Digital
Slow Cooker
Cooked food perfectly
in our tests, with tender
meat and good browning.
It has several useful
features, including the
fact that it beeps when it
has finished. The delay
feature on the timer is
helpful, but the exterior
doesn?t stay cool.
88/100; �;
andrewjames
worldwide.com
l To ensure that your
silver candlesticks and
tableware still sparkle,
clean with impregnated
silver polishing cloths
(� lakeland.co.uk). For
tarnished items, use a
cream cleaner such as
Goddard?s silver polish
(� tesco.com). Apply,
allow to dry, then buff off
any powdery residue with
a soft dry cloth.
l If your glassware looks
lacklustre, soak overnight
in neat white vinegar, then
rinse in cold water.
l To banish limescale
deposits or dried-on wine
stains from the inside of a
carafe or wine decanter,
fill it with white vinegar.
Leave for a few hours, then
rinse with warm water
and dry with a soft cotton
cloth. If this doesn?t do the
trick, repeat, adding a
handful of uncooked rice.
Swill gently around the
decanter to loosen any
tough deposits.
goodhouse
keeping.co.
uk/institute
responses as you read this.
Sample solutions include:
put bleach in the drawer and
run a hot wash; put the
drawer in the dishwasher;
clean with Flash and leave the
drawer open after use; do a
90C wash every week to kill
the bacteria; add soda crystals
to powder; and, of course,
white vinegar (used instead
of a fabric softener).
THE RUBBER GLOVE TREATMENT
You are similarly obsessed
with rubber gloves. In
September, a reader named
Katie complained that she had
too many left-hand rubber
gloves, as the right ones always
wear out first. And 37 of you
replied in virtual unison: turn
a left-hand glove inside out
and, hey presto, you have a
right-hand glove!
One answer stood out for
its resourcefulness. Anne
Lowe wrote: ?I am left-handed.
In my last job, I had an
arrangement with a work
colleague: she gave me her
good left-hand gloves and I
gave her my good right-hand
ones.?
HOME
HELP
SOLVED: THE MYSTERY OF THE
STRANGE SMELL
READERS?
CLINIC
SPECIAL
You?ve proved to be a rich source of tips, hacks
and weird words of wisdom. Here are your best
S
ometimes you can?t
beat a bit of
homespun wisdom ?
and, last year, we
asked for yours.
We invited you to share your
tips and tricks in our Readers?
Clinic slot, alongside the
professional experts on our
Home Help page.
You didn?t disappoint.
Here are some of your most
memorable home truths.
MINE?S A GLASS OF VINEGAR
No matter what the problem,
vinegar turned up as a cure-all
for just about every home
conundrum under the sun.
It was a magic bullet for
ridding the dishwasher of
smells (add a cup to the
machine and run a wash while
empty), cleaning a glass table
(paired with a microfibre
cloth), removing sticky stuff
from an iron (scrub with a
vinegary cloth while warm)
and ridding a shower head of
limescale (soak in a bowl of
vinegar and boiling water for a
few hours). The same goes for
bicarbonate of soda and lemon
juice. As with many things in
life, it seems our grandparents
were on to something.
CONKERGATE
When N Reed wrote in from
east London in August asking
how to deter spiders, dozens
of you swore by conkers,
placed liberally around the
house. This was swiftly
debunked and dismissed as a
tired old tale by Dr George
McGavin, an honorary
research associate at the
Oxford University Museum
of Natural History. In
response, reader Mary
Cain from Warrington gave
short shrift to his expertise,
insisting that she hadn?t seen
a single spider since she
introduced horse chestnuts
to her home.
Be careful what you wish
for, though. In October, in
response to a question about
how to get rid of moths,
Mike Hale wrote: ?The
most effective method ?
and most ecofriendly ? is
probably spiders.?
IS THIS THE MIRACLE CURE
FOR MOTHS?
Along with damp and disputes
about hedges and fences,
moths are a staple subject in
the Home Help inbox. We all
want to believe in nature?s
cure: who hasn?t tried
lavender sachets and cedar
balls, only to find their
sweaters munched to pieces
come spring? So we?re
desperate to try anything new,
and Polly Tye intrigued us
with her solution, found in
the souks of Morocco. ?In
Marrakesh, I was sold cubes
of amber resin to place with
fabrics in your cupboards. I
didn?t for one second think
this would solve my battle
with moths of many years, for
which I have tried everything,
but I have sworn by it ever
since. Try a box of Amber
Perfume Paste Resin Blocks,
� on Amazon.?
Could amber resin be the
new conkers? We couldn?t find
anything to verify this online,
so, dear readers, please give
Polly?s theory a test run and let
us know how you get on.
BACK TO BLACK
In May, Tessa Kiddle from
Leicestershire innocently
asked how to rid of the black
stuff in the soap drawer of a
washing machine. And the
floodgates opened: this is
clearly a subject that obsesses
the nation. We?re still getting
In May, Eric and Jane Vaughan
from Lincolnshire wrote to
Home Help describing a
strange ammonia-type smell in
their bedroom. It seemed to
come and go, but at one point
was so bad that they had the
carpet and underlay replaced.
Our expert suggested
ammonia was a sign of animal
urine (perhaps mice), or could
be associated with volatile
organic compounds (VOCs),
which are often found in MDF
furniture and sometimes in
carpet underlay.
Several readers also offered
advice. Lesley Steele from
Nottingham endured a similar
odour, and replaced her carpet
and underlay, to no avail.
Only when a lightbulb needed
replacing did she notice an
ammonia smell on the fitting,
where the plastic was breaking
down. They replaced it and
the smell disappeared. Eric
Nicholls wrote in with a
similar explanation: ?The
cause of this could be an
electric plug, socket or light
fitting. These items are usually
made from a plastic known as
urea-formaldehyde, which
produces an ammonia-type
smell when hot.?
We forwarded these tips to
Jane Vaughan and she replied:
?Thank you, that?s exactly
what it was.?
AVO-CADABRA!
In August, when Neil Davis
asked how to stop his potted
avocado tree shedding leaves,
our esteemed expert Toby
Buckland told him he had to
keep replanting in a bigger
pot, but only to a point, as they
wouldn?t survive outdoors in
Britain. In response, reader
David Millar informed us:
?Avocados do grow outside in
the UK! My daughter grew one
from a seed, variety unknown,
about 30 years ago. It sat in
pots for many years and 20
years ago I transplanted it to
a well-protected garden in
south London. It grew to a
trunk of about 3絠n, 5ft high,
with branches up to 15ft above
the ground. These got frost
damage and I cut them right
back every year. Four years
ago, I moved to the Isle of
Wight. I dug up the avocado
and replanted it in an
unprotected but sunny garden
in Cowes. After three years of
sulking, it has now recovered
and is nearly back to its
previous state.?
The catch? It has never
actually produced avocados.
NO GREAT SHAKES
Some of our readers are
entrepreneurs, hawking their
wares, and fair play to them.
We appreciated the sheer
ingenuity of John Hammond,
who claims to have solved
the problem of the shaking
washing machine with his
Steady Spin gizmo ? an
inflatable pad that you slide
between countertop and
machine, then inflate until
snug to stop all that banging.
THE YEAR OF THE CAT
When Elizabeth Sillett from
Wiltshire wrote in asking
how to keep cats out of her
garden, some of your
responses would have got us
into trouble with the RSPCA.
There was a variety of home
remedies: curry powder
sprinkled in the soil, scattered
holly leaves (the prickly leaves
hurt cats? paws), teabags
soaked in peppermint oil.
Home?s picture editor, Sean
McKillop, found all of these
too fiddly. He finally settled
on a machine: the Pest XT
Jet Spray Battery Operated
Motion Sensor Activated Cat
and Fox Scarer & Repellent
(�). It sprays unwelcome
intruders and gives them a
fright. Sean confirms that his
garden is now cat-free.
HOME HACKS
We appreciate some of your
more imaginative home hacks.
Who knew that clumps of
dog hair from a brush will
deter slugs? (They hate the
texture.) Or that the key to
keeping your black granite
worktop clean and shiny is
using a window vac to remove
moisture? The secret of
keeping grout clean is to spray
a beeswax-based furniture
polish to seal and waterproof
it. If you ever have to dust a
fabric lampshade, get a slice
of thick white bread, remove
the crusts and gently pat it
all over; the dust will cling to it.
One last tip: urine will make
your whites whiter. The
Romans bleached their togas
in it, according to reader
Isabelle Crawley-Boevey ? but
maybe don?t try this at home.
DO YOU NEED HELP FROM
ONE OF OUR EXPERTS?
Email your questions to
homehelp@sunday-times.
co.uk. Advice is given
without responsibility
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 15
CHOOSE A LIFT
Google ?dumb waiter? and
a manufacturing company
called Husbands comes up.
It?s aptly named: where once
a kindly spouse might have
brought up the breakfast
tray, nowadays increasing
numbers of us have a lift to do
the job instead.
Installing a home lift is
easier and less expensive
than you might think, and
they now come in many
guises: stairlifts, step lifts,
compact two-floor lifts
and multi-floor executive
models, wheelchair lifts and
slim butler lifts.
NOT SO DUMB
The butler lift is the dumb
waiter reborn: no longer
creaking away in country piles
and old-fashioned hotels, it is
what every smart townhouse
demands these days, after the
electric gates and the walk-in
closet. They can cost upwards
of �000, yet Stannah Lifts ?
which has sold more than
700,000 of the stairlifts for
which it is best known (from
�000; stannahhomelifts.
co.uk) ? is seeing a new
demand for them. It reports
a 44% uplift in sales over the
past five years.
BEAM US UP
The real game-changers in
this market are two-person
?through-the-floor? capsule
lifts, which have only been
around for about five years.
Taking up less floor space
than a shower tray, they can
be neatly fitted into the
corner of a room. They run on
rails and don?t need a lift shaft
? so you can put down a ?lid?
that matches your floor and
get your space back upstairs
when not in use. They cost
�,000-�,000 ? a lot less
than you?d pay to move if the
stairs become too much.
Through-the-floor
capsules aren?t taking over
from stairlifts ? which
usually cost less than half
as much ? but they are
making their presence felt as
empty-nesters futureproof
their homes rather than move.
?They are a safer option
than a stairlift because they
are enclosed,? says John
McSweeney, sales and
marketing director of the
Cheshire-based Terry Lifts
(terrylifts.co.uk), which
makes, fits and services
all types of lift, and is the
main UK manufacturer of
into a domestic power
socket. Prices start at just
under �,000. A slightly
larger version, with room for
three people or one and a
wheelchair, costs �,000.
?People don?t want
stairlifts ? they are unsightly
and for old people ? and we
have had a lot of interest in
these,? says Yola Mealing,
marketing manager at Lifton.
?They are being bought
by people who don?t need
them yet for mobility reasons,
but who want to stay in
their homes for another 20
years or so.?
FOX SEARCHLIGHT/ENTERTAINMENT PICTURES/ALAMY
HOW TO...
through-the-floor capsules.
?The most compact take two
standing or one seated.?
He points out that they
come with between-floor
fire and smoke protection.
They are also fun, and useful
for moving the washing,
the vacuum cleaner or an
arthritic dog, even for those
who can still run up to the
first floor. ?They are stylish,
too, and you can show them
off to your friends,? he says.
?Nobody ever did that with
a stairlift.?
GETTING YOUNGER
Terry Lifts customers have
generally been over 70,
McSweeney says, ?but the
age is coming down as
people look ahead and realise
they may want to stay longer
at home. About 2,500
through-the-floor lifts are
sold each year in the UK, and
sales are growing 30%-40%
year on year, particularly to
empty-nesters with no
mortgage, who see them as
home improvements, and to
people in their sixties, when
it?s about futureproofing.?
Lifton (lifton.co.uk) sells
its own version of the
through-the-floor lift, the Duo
? a pod that pulls itself up
on rails, so has no need of
hydraulics, and plugs directly
CAN I BUY SECOND-HAND?
Traditionally, home lifts
have needed a shaft, and
have therefore been bulky,
impractical and unaffordable
for most. They are, however,
faster than the pods and
can cover more than two
floors. These ?executive
lifts? start at about �,000,
but you could easily pay
double that for a retrofit ?
when they are added to an
existing building ? and there
is a burgeoning trade in
second-hand ones.
The through-the-floor
models are still too new to
have much of a second-hand
market ? and, in any case,
people tend to keep them as
an asset.
Wheelchair or platform lifts
cost between �000 and
�,000 new, depending
on the preparation work
involved. A second-hand one
can be had for about �000.
ADDED VALUE
?One in four falls among older
people involves stairs, and
the majority are at home,?
says Stephanie McMahon,
head of research at Strutt &
Parker estate agency, which
has 117 properties on its
books with a ?lift? reference.
Most are flats in London
mansion blocks, but one is
in a grade I listed house
overlooking St James?s Park,
where a groovy lift was added
as part of a refurbishment:
it?s yours for �.5m.
?Futureproofing a property
with adjustments such as a
personal domestic lift may
allow individuals to stay in
their homes for longer and
add value in the longer term,?
McMahon says. ?In our latest
Housing Futures survey, 7%
of respondents wanted their
new home to be accessible
for the disabled and 5% said
they would like a home lift.?
Cally Law
16 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
1
Home Overseas
H
F
rida Carlsson knows what it
takes to live year-round in the
depths of a Swedish forest. ?You
got the right clothes, the right
car, then it?s fine. You have to be
practical. It?s not like town.? Although
Frida is a fictional character, her words
come straight from the heart of her
creator?s experience.
Will Dean is taking on the giants of
Scandi noir on their home territory. He
used to live in west London and
design electronic trading platforms for
City banks. Now his home is an isolated
house north of Gothenburg, surrounded
by woods. And his first novel, Dark Pines,
is an atmospheric thriller of murder,
conspiracy, secrecy and terrible weather
in a small corner of Sweden?s vast forests.
A buzz started building last year around
the book, which stars Tuva, a young
journalist who compensates for her
deafness with a heightened sensitivity.
(She relies on the forest-dwelling Frida for
advice.) It is predicted to be one of the
crime-fiction hits of 2018 ? which Dean,
38, owes in part to his move to Sweden.
Inspiration struck when he was in the
garden and heard a rifle shot in the
woods. ?I thought, ?It could be hunters,
but...?? He reckons the country?s forests
hold the key to its national character.
?Nordic people have a special melancholy,
perhaps from their tough heritage. The
folkore is dark ? trolls that come out of the
woods and take babies. And there are
bears and wolves up north. It?s one degree
more wild than the UK, probably not
dangerous, but you sense it could be.?
To reach Dean?s isolated hideaway from
Gothenburg, you drive north until the
trappings of Swedish civilisation gradually
fall away. Once past Ytterby, villages
dwindle to isolated farmhouses and,
finally, a mile of track through dense trees,
home to Monty, a big, tough Norwegian
forest cat, elks, owls, a pair of eagles ? and
the Deans.
In a clearing, the two-storey, yellowpainted wooden house would fit in
perfectly with its rural neighbours ? if
they had any. But it?s newer than it looks.
?We tried to buy an old house nearby, but
the sale fell through,? says Dean, who met
his Swedish wife, Emilia, 40, on the first
day of their law degree at the London
School of Economics. ?We were
heartbroken ? then decided to build one
that looks like it.?
In 2010, they paid about �0,000 for
the 3�-acre site and opted to build the
Swedish way ? buying their home in
factory-made modular sections to be
slotted together on site. ?We took a fourhour train ride to the Rorvikshus factory,
and in one intense day made every decision
? layout, plug fittings, everything.?
Before their dream home could be
delivered, there was work to be done. The
plot of land ? ?a strange mix of solid
granite and bog? ? was treated to some
serious engineering to sink a well for the
water supply and create an underground
drainage-pump system and a series of
dykes around the boundary. The couple
also had to improve the mile of track
through the surrounding mixed deciduous
woods, owned by a nature reserve, so it
was fit for the lorries.
During the autumn of 2010, Dean
would leave the couple?s London flat
before dawn every Wednesday and
Saturday to fly from Stansted to tiny Save
airport, on Ryanair flights that you could
book, in those days, for as little as �. At
the end of his day with the workmen, he
recalls: ?I?d hike up the track in minus 10
degrees, looking at the stars in the strip of
sky I could see above the forest, to pick up
my taxi back to the airport.? He usually got
home exhausted at about 1am.
When Emilia came for the weekend,
they would stay in the torp, an ancient
WELCOME TO MY
COUNTRY
PILE
Will Dean left London for Sweden, wrote a Scandi noir
novel tipped to be this year?s crime bestseller ? and
learnt a thing or two about logs, says Karen Robinson
single-storey wooden cottage with no
heating or toilet. It is now home to her
office (she is a corporate lawyer for
Western Union and works from home)
and a cosy guest suite with a ?freezing
loo? that turns the contents into
an odourless ice block at ?18C, in a
biodegradable bag.
?I take it and bury it in the woods,?
Dean says, as he ponders how this
ingenious example of Swedish
plumbing could be useful for another
fiendish thriller ? the ideal place to hide
evidence, surely?
Once the concrete slab went down, on
top of ?half a metre of compressed
polystyrene and a layer of gravel?, the
three-bedroom house was assembled. The
walls, with narrow bars of wood over the
joins in the flat boards, 40cm-thick
insulation and triple-glazed windows
already installed, were bolted onto the slab
with rubber seal. ?Swedish builders are
good at making houses watertight,? Dean
says, pointing out the metal panels that
slope down from the windows, where
wood meets wood for the water to run off.
They make homes warm, too: there?s a
metre of insulation under the roof.
Then it was time for Dean to get hands
on. He?d done most of the work on the
torp himself, and had built the garage
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 17
FRANCESCO GUIDICINI
TEN YEARS
OF PAIN
IN SPAIN
At long last, justice for a British
couple whose ?illegal? home was
demolished. By Richard Torn�
L
It all stacks up
Will Dean, left,
moved to the
forests north of
Gothenburg with
his Swedish wife
five years ago.
Despite its
traditional
appearance, the
wooden painted
house is a
factory-made
prefab, built in
2010. Inside, pale
paintwork, floral
prints and
secondhand finds
are matched with
customised Ikea
units, as seen in
the kitchen
??
The guest suite has a
?freezing loo? that turns the
contents into an odourless
ice block at ?18C: ?I take it
and bury it in the woods?
with a friend. To save money, he put the
bevelled frames on the inside of all the
windows ? 42 in total, to make use of all
the available light. (They?re down to six
hours of watery daylight in the depths
of winter.) He estimates that the cost of
the project was equivalent to the price
they got for their 590 sq ft flat in Earl?s
Court when they moved here full-time
in 2012.
When talk turns to decorating and
furnishing the 2,800 sq ft living space,
it doesn?t take long for the I-word to crop
up. ?The wood floors are Ikea and the
sofas are Ikea, partly because it?s difficult
to get other things here.? Dean is a dab
hand at customising his purchases from
the big blue and yellow shed: the sofas
have old wooden feet with brass wheels
(found on eBay), the table in the (Ikea)
kitchen is an Ikea base topped with new
pine boards that he stained with beeswax,
and he painted the many Ikea bookcases
in the sitting room and his study.
The vibe is calm and ordered,
comfortable without clutter; their threeyear-old son Alfie?s toys are neatly stowed
in his room. It?s the living embodiment of
the Swedish concept of lagom, roughly
translated as ?not too little, not too
much?. Extravagance and ostentation
have no place, though there?s
a quiet elegance to the Gustavian pieces at
one end of the L-shaped living room.
These antique tables and settles, now
restored in pristine pale grey-blue-green,
were snapped up cheaply at sales:
?Swedes like new things,? Dean says. They
also like all-white interiors, he adds,
whereas he and Emilia have created
something less stark, with lots of soft
florals and pale blue paintwork ? Scandistyle cosy with a big dash of English
farmhouse.
In the utility room, there?s a Nibe heatexchange pump for hot water and the
underfloor heating, and for extra warmth
(temperatures can dip to ?20C) they have
two woodburning stoves and an Aga, each
with a neat stack of logs ? also Dean?s
handiwork.
Outside, on the edge of the lawn, is his
badge of Scandi male pride: his log pile.
He cuts down forest pines that
are growing too close to the power lines,
drags them in ? ?the hardest part? ? and
splits them. He has a cutting axe,
a splitting axe and a hatchet ?for sticks?,
and has opted for a triangular shape for
his pile, with big logs holding up the
bottom corners and neat stacks of split
firewood above. ?I?m an amateur
compared to the locals,? he admits. ?The
top fell off a few months ago, when Monty
climbed up it.?
On the edge of the garden is the sauna
house, a weathered wooden shack with a
veranda and a mossy roof, installed by
the previous owners. The hut also has a
well-stocked bar ? and on New Year?s Eve,
they warm up in the wood-fired sauna,
then jump into the icy waters of the
drainage stream.
Yet Dean can?t imagine living here at 70.
?I?ll stay until I can?t manage the manual
work,? he says. Let?s hope he?s got the
woodpile perfected before then ? and that
Tuva is still going strong, battling
the contemporary trolls of the Swedish
crime scene.
Dark Pines: A Tuva Moodyson Mystery by
Will Dean is out now (Point Blank �.99)
en and Helen Prior
have a sign on a
kitchen cupboard
in their bungalow in
Andalusia that says:
?Make do and mend.? It sums up
their pluck and reminds them
of what they have endured.
Helen?s eyes well up as she
recounts the harrowing day 10
years ago ? on January 9, 2008
? when a small army of officials
and police came to pull down
their two-storey villa on the
outskirts of Vera, in the
province of Almeria.
The lengthy drama that has
dogged the couple?s life started
in 2002, when they were
granted a licence by the local
council to construct their
dream home. They weren?t
alone. During the building
boom from the late 1990s until
the economic crash of 2007,
thousands of expats bought offplan properties or built their
own villas, breathing life
into decaying villages
and boosting local
economies.
Yet Spain has
notoriously
convoluted
planning laws,
and the myriad
local councils ? 103
in Almeria alone ?
failed to police the
explosion of construction.
More than 300,000 homes in
Andalusia ? including 15,000 in
Almeria ? were deemed to have
been built illegally.
A year after they moved in,
the Priors? building licence was
revoked by the Andalusian
government because the house
had been built on ?non-urban?
land. Unaware that the legal
wheels were moving to have the
property torn down (no one
had told them), the couple,
pictured, spent two happy
years settling into their home,
which cost about ?350,000,
including ?110,000 for the plot.
They only became aware of the
regional administration?s
intentions in May 2006.
Despite frantic efforts by
their lawyer, officials hastily
pressed on. ?The case was in
litigation, but they still barged
in with their bulldozers,? recalls
Helen, now 74. The couple were
given just a few hours to clear
out their belongings before the
villa was razed to the ground.
The authorities had
underestimated the Priors?
determination to seek
restitution. ?If we had honestly
believed we had done
something wrong, we would
have saved the little money
we had left and gone back to the
UK, rather than spend the last
of our cash fighting this,? Helen
says. ?But we knew we had
done nothing wrong.?
British expats, with the
couple at the helm, held rallies
demanding clarity in the buying
process, just as dozens of new
cases and threats of demolitions
began to stack up in the courts.
Following a damning European
Parliament report into planning
abuses in Spain in 2009, the EU
became involved ? and for the
expat property rights
association Auan, the Priors?
case was the perfect cause
c閘鑒re with which to spearhead
its ?compensation before
demolition? campaign.
This culminated in victory in
March 2015, when
Spain?s Senate voted
in favour of a
measure that
means the
authorities can
no longer
demolish an
?illegal? house if
the owners bought
in good faith and
were unaware that the
developer or council was
violating planning law.
Gerardo Vazquez, Auan?s
lawyer and founder, believes
the Priors? case was a
game-changer. ?They were
the symbol of everything
that was wrong with Spain?s
planning laws,? he says.
?They were the martyrs.?
For the couple, the bitter
rollercoaster ride is coming
to an end. They now live in a
prefab bungalow on their plot,
and last October the regional
high court ruled that Vera
council had to give them
?220,344 (�5,700) for the loss
of their home and ?9,194 in
?moral damages?. The mayor
has until the end of February to
pay, otherwise the courts will
seize council assets and levy up
to ?40,000 in interest.
The compensation falls short
of the ?560,000 that
the couple originally claimed,
based on the market value of
the villa ? and, after lawyer?s
fees and court costs, they may
not have much left. But they?re
finally ready to move on.
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The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 19
Home Interiors
FAKE FLEAS
TOM ROTHERY; GRAHAM ATKINS-HUGHES
SPRING
GREENS
The high street
has an infestation
of fake fleas:
decorative
accessories
designed to look
as if they were
found in a thrift
store. If you mustt
indulge, George
Home does the
trend rather well..
The latest homewares offer a
welcome antidote to winter
gloom. Here are the key trends
Ge
George?s
knitted-effect kitchen
ceramics include a fox biscuit jar
ce
(�(�), a bird sugar canister (�
an
and an owl coffee canister (�.
Th
They?ll be available from March.
ge
george.com
Round looking
glasses are in
vogue ? the
bigger the better.
Interior designers
love them, and this
spring you don?t
have to have one
custom-made:
they are popping
up in the interiors
ranges, from
Heal?s to French
Connection.
GIANT ROUND MIRRORS
The Palm House motif
pops up on dinner plates,
salad plates, platters
and dip bowls from
Sainsbury?s. Team it with
pink tumblers and
pitchers. Available in
store from March;
selected items online.
From �75;
sainsburys.co.uk
This I Catini 90cm
bathroom mirror,
by Ceramica Cielo,
includes hidden
storage. It?s in CP
Hart showrooms
now, and launches
online later in
January.
From �449;
cphart.co.uk
A
fter the dark,
velvety delights
of winter 2017,
many of the
SS18 trends are
palate-cleansers: the fresh
combination of green and
pink; tactile ceramics in
shades of pale; muted blue,
green and grey textiles.
Inspired by the popularity
of flamingos last year, the
interiors labels are launching
products featuring peacocks,
hummingbirds, puffins and
parrots.
Microtrends include
humongous round mirrors
and little china ornaments.
Texture tops the agenda ?
look out for pom-poms on
throws and tassels on towels.
Welcome to 2018.
Anna Jacobs has
launched her Beak
Street print in grass
green. A linen/cotton
cushion costs �
and the lampshade
starts at �. The
Rose Flex lamp base
starts at �5.
annajacobsart.com
Spring greens (and pinks) from
M&S. From top: Bug print bed set,
�.50; Ridley stripe pillowcase,
� Watercolour stripe bedding
set, �.50; Supersoft pink
throw, �.50; Ridley stripe bed
set, �.50; Supersoft green
throw, �.50; linen cushion,
�.50. All will be available from
the beginning of February.
marksandspencer.com
The star of the
high street this
season is French
Connection. It
continues to
offer a cleverly
calibrated mix
of glamorous
lighting and
industrial-style
furniture, in the
form of macram�
cushions and
artisanal ceramics.
HIGH-STREET HERO
@Kat_Burroughs
Brands big and
small are offering
pink and green
pairings for 2018.
Sainsbury?s has
the Palm House
summer dining set
(pictured above),
while M&S?s range
(below) is a mint
and sugar-pink
cocktail of
fabrics.
GREEN AND PINK
KATRINA
INA
OUGHS
BURROUGHS
Above, large round
mirror, �5; Agra
dining table, �5;
copper ceiling
light, �5; and
floor lamp, �0.
Left, throws, from
�, and cushions,
from �, available
from January 29.
frenchconnection.
com
20 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home Interiors
Bird-spotters,
prepare for
twitching season.
Following the
success of
flamingo motifs,
look out for
peacocks at
Dunelm, parrots
at George Home
and puffins at
Debenhams, right
(cushion by Abigail
Ahern, �).
BIRD WORLD
FOLIAGE
Tropical
houseplants
threatened to
overrun our
homes last year.
The folks at the
makeover website
Houzz.com
predict that the
trend will
continue, with
?more quiet and
subtle plant prints,
such as trailing ivy
and soft ferns?.
Dropping in March,
this Asian-inspired
collection from
Very includes a
blossom tree with
a hummingbird
(Kotori Blush
cushion, �) and
pheasants on the
Jade Oriental
duvet cover set
(from �).
very.co.uk
Part of Dunelm?s
Voyager collection,
this tropical leaf
shower curtain is
being launched in
February. There?s
also a host of new
fake tropical flora,
including potted
monsteras (�
for two).
� dunelm.com
GLOBAL PART 1
Every label has its
own iteration of
the global traveller
look. Standout
on the high street
is the Fusion
collection at John
Lewis: metalwork,
glassware,
furniture and
textiles inspired by
the colours and
patterns of the
?cities and palaces
of Rajasthan?.
Ridged pink vase
with brass base,
�; Spiky candle
holder, �; Array
Fusion cabinet,
�9; Jaipur throw,
�; Taj throw,
�; Agra throw,
in saffron, �;
Fusion diamond
tablecloth, �.
johnlewis.com
TREND THAT SHOULD END
...is the annual
declaration of
?colours of the
year? by Pantone
and the paint
firms. This year,
Dulux says it?s
Heart Wood (pinky
brown), Benjamin
Moore goes for
Caliente (red)
and Pantone has
picked Ultra Violet.
Nobody. Cares.
The dazzling
woodwork in this
kitchen is in
Farrow & Ball India
Yellow. The new
mid-sheen finish,
formulated to be
harder-wearing
than Estate
Eggshell, is called
Modern Eggshell.
� for 2.5 litres;
farrow-ball.com
This purple was
launched in 2017,
long before that
colour was
declared the hue
of 2018. FTT020 is
from the Mylands
range of 20 archive
paint colours, and
is shown in Marble
Matt Emulsion.
� for 2.5 litres;
mylands.com
Compact, portable,
multifunctional ?
for many seasons,
we?ve sung the
praises of
millennial-friendly
furniture. It comes
of age this year,
with several
inexpensive
designs.
FLEXI FURNTURE
Could there be a
more cheerful
trans-seasonal
textile than this
brilliantly coloured
pom-pom throw by
RJR.John Rocha?
It?s available at
Debenhams from
the third week
in January.
�; debenhams.
co.uk
In 2018, we?d like
our kitchens in
shades of blue or
green, or possibly
yellow. Those
stuck with white
will be updating
them with bright
tiles: B&Q, in
partnership with
Pinterest, predicts
that Moroccan
patterns will be
most popular.
COLOURFUL KITCHENS
POM-POMS
This season, there
will be pom-poms
passim ? and
tassels and fringes
in abundance.
Part of the trend
for texture, these
tactile features
will appear on
cushions, throws
and carpets.
Very?s Hamilton
sun lounger,
available from
April, looks as
comfortable in the
sitting room as on
the patio. Picture
also shows a
folding occasional
table (�), Gallery
Kirkby stab-stitch
velvet cushions
(� each) and a
Roxford ombr�
throw (�).
�0; very.co.uk
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 21
TOUCH TEST
Great visuals are
seductive, but the
best interiors can?t
be summed up in
Instagram posts.
Rediscover
the importance
of touch with
new textured
tableware such as
House of Fraser?s
Gray & Willow
mugs and M&S?s
Retreat bowls.
Murmur?s textured
stoneware range,
top, has a new
colour, Eucalyptus,
and shapes (from
February; from �;
murmur.co.uk).
The Infusion range
at Argos includes
Navajo stoneware
jars (� for three)
and 12-piece dinner
sets: Kilim (�)
and Navajo (�;
all at argos.co.uk).
Designed by
Matthew Long,
the Akaros rattan
chair and footstool
(�0) are woven
by hand in
Indonesia. The
Vida flatweave rug,
by Martha Coates
(also �0), is
handwoven in
India. Available
from February.
habitat.co.uk
GLOBAL PART 2
It works in sport,
so why not in
interiors? There?s
a global fusion
trend that is best
described as ?rest
of the world?.
Combining pattern
from Africa, the
Middle East, the
Americas and Asia,
it?s a magnificent
mash-up.
The Argos Infusion
bathroom range
is inspired by
?traditional
cultures? from the
Med and South
America. The bath
mat (�) and yellow
towel (from a fourpiece bale; �)
are available from
February. Blue and
white Hammam
towels (� for two)
can be bought now.
argos.co.uk
Our enthusiasm
for pot plants and
botanical prints
means green has
been flourishing
for some seasons.
It?s coming
through stronger
than ever in the
spring collections,
from malachite to
mint and turquoise
to teal.
GREENS
These fabulous
greys are from
the new Montage
collection: the sofa
is upholstered in
Sauvage linen
and wool fabric in
Anthracite (�5 a
metre). The cushion
fabrics start at
� a metre.
markalexander.
com
Woven in Yorkshire
for the British
Blanket Company,
this lightweight
merino wool throw
comes in jade
green and blue. It?s
reversible and has
a tasseled edge.
�;
thebritishblanket
company.com
The V&A is
launching a show
on ocean liners
(from February 3)
and our interiors
are set for an art
deco revival. Think
velvet cocktail
chairs, crafted
cabinets, barware
and extravagant
lighting.
The 1931 Empress
of Britain lithograph
poster is by JR
Tooby (prints from
�; vam.ac.uk).
Richard Brendon?s
crystal barware
collection is
inspired by 1920s
?decadent cocktail
culture?: small
decanter, �0;
ice bucket, �0;
and tumblers,
� each.
richardbrendon.
com
JR TOOBY, � VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON
This golden giraffe
lamp (H63cm)
has a resin base.
Available from the
end of February.
�; dunelm.com
Shifting our
allegiances from
one neutral to the
next is a glacially
slow process ?
think how long it
took to displace
magnolia. Grey
is finding a new
lease of life at
labels such as
Mark Alexander,
turbocharged
with extra texture.
GREY NOT GOING AWAY
Safari animals are
a popular theme
in the SS18 home
collections. There
are crocodiles
and panthers at
George Home,
and Dunelm has
rhinos, zebras,
leopards and a
memorable
golden monkey
loo-roll holder.
ART DECO
REWILDING CRAFT ON THE HIGH STREET
Under creative
director Polly
Dickens, Habitat
has long been
a champion of
affordable craft.
Now, thanks to
her groundwork,
we are hooked
on high-street
handmade. See
also the spring
collections of
West Elm and
Anthropologie.
22 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
TIME AND
SPACE
DAVID
HASSELHOFF
The actor and singer on poached
eggs, his parrot and getting to
know his fianc閑?s Welsh family
IBL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; JOHN PARRA/THIERLEIN/ULSTEIN BILD/GETTY; MCA/ALAMY
Home
I
Hasselhoff sang
as the Berlin Wall
fell in 1989
He is rebuilding
Kitt for a remake
of Knight Rider
He has invested in
the Bask Gili Meno
resort, near Bali
live in Calabasas, outside Los
Angeles. I can get to the beach in 18
minutes. It?s more laid-back than
the rat race of LA ? I can breathe
out here. Stevie Wonder lives up
the hill, but I?ve never seen him. Two
paparazzi guys hit me up occasionally,
and irritate my fianc閑, Hayley, because
she doesn?t like to wear make-up or dress
up. When I lived on Beverly Glen, forget it,
you couldn?t go out.
I would prefer a bigger house, but
I?m happy with the one I?ve got. There are
five bedrooms. My two daughters take up
four of them: one room for their shoes,
another for their clothes. One of my
daughters, also called Hayley, writes for
Marie Claire ? she does the curvy page
for plus-size women and has her own
line of clothing.
I built a movie theatre where I can
watch my TV show Hoff the
Record. I also binge-watch:
Stranger Things, Pretty
Little Liars and The
Americans, which scared me
because it?s kind of what?s going on
now in the US.
Do you have a daily routine?
I get up around 3am or 4am and make my
business calls to the UK. I go back to bed
at about 5am, then get up again at
6.30am. I say good morning to my
dogs, and put them out, then say
good morning to my fish. I have a
huge fish tank. Then I take the
bird outside. I have a Moluccan
cockatoo named Peaches. When
I got divorced, the maid said,
?Please take Peaches, she loves
you.? I?m the only one who can
handle her. She sees me as her dad.
I work out every other day; at my age
[65], I have to wait a day so the muscles
will recover better. After my workout, I
have breakfast, made by my maid, Maria,
something healthy ? poached eggs and
ground turkey. I go to the beach all the
time, but I don?t run on the sand any more
because I have a bad knee.
The former Baywatch star,
pictured with his fianc閑,
Hayley Roberts, lives in
Calabasas, California
What?s your prized possession?
I have an Al Hirschfeld drawing of me in
my living room. He was an artist who
would only sketch famous people. At one
point, I was trying to sell my house and
they told me to put memorabilia up.
So I have all my gold records on the wall ?
40 of them, and posters of Baywatch
and Knight Rider. Now the living room
looks like a Hasselhoff museum, it?s a bit
overwhelming.
I?ve also got a piece of the Berlin Wall,
about 2ft x 1ft. I sang Looking for
Freedom on the wall to 1m people in 1989.
Afterwards, I helped knock the wall down.
I brought bags of it home.
Do you have a Kitt car in your garage?
I?m building a new one right now. I?m
trying to bring back Knight Rider as a TV
series. It would be funny.
??
When I first met Hayley?s
parents, I drove up in a
Rolls-Royce and people
were staring out the
window. Welsh people are
lovely. They?re very thrifty
Your fianc閑 is from Wales. What?s the
reaction when you visit?
When I went to meet her parents, the
whole town of Glynneath came out. I
drove up in a Rolls-Royce and people were
staring out the window. Her father came
out and helped me park. He was cool. I
found out he was younger than me, which
I started to laugh about. Welsh people are
lovely. They?re very thrifty. They?ve got
me involved in rugby. It?s a small country,
but there?s so much pride. The accent is
amazing, but impossible to understand.
I?ve been with my girlfriend for 6� years
and spent three of them saying, ?What??
Hasselhoff with
his cockatoo,
Peaches, in his
living room full
of memorabilia.
Far left, the pool
at his California
home
PARROT
FASHION
Could you live over here?
Not full-time. I can?t stand the weather.
It rains every day. What do you need a
weathergirl for? But I am looking for a
house near Bath, so it?s convenient for
both Wales and London. Cheltenham is
a town I could live in. I tried to buy a
farmhouse with 10 bedrooms and a hot
tub. It was 10 minutes up a hidden road,
with sheep in front. It was so cute, and I
thought nobody could find me. Then
some hikers walked by and said, ?Hello,
Knight Rider!?
Where do you get away from it all?
I recently went on an adventure holiday
in Australia, rescuing crocodiles near
Darwin. I met a guy who was building a
resort in Bali. Now I have a place that
looks like it?s going to be worth $1m. It?s
right on the sand, on a little island called
Gili Meno. The water is warm and clear,
and there are 14 dive spots ? I?m an avid
scuba diver. It?s a little slice of heaven.
There are no cars. You ride around on a
donkey. The resort?s called Bask, and it
will have 87 villas. There?s going to be a
Hasselhoff villa and museum, too.
Where did you grow up?
In Atlanta, Georgia. I was the class clown,
terrible at school but good at theatre. I did
my first play there ? Peter Pan. Atlanta is
a really progressive city for race relations.
And when you grow up in the theatre,
you learn the morals and values of loving
everybody for who they are, black, gay
or white. It doesn?t matter what you are,
as long as you can sing or hit your mark.
What are the Hasselhoff roots?
A German TV show hired a genealogist to
trace them. I knew there?s a town called
Haselhof, but they said, ?No, you?re from
Volkersen, near Bremen.? I went there
in a limousine with a camera crew. This
guy came out and showed me a barn with
a sign that said Hasselhoff. Hof means
house and hasel is hazel ? it was an old
hazelnut farm. They said, ?We know for
a fact your great-great-grandmother lived
here.? I flipped out.
When I started acting, they told me to
change my name. But I said, ?I took a lot
of crap for my name in school, and I?m
going to make that name famous as a
tribute to my dad.? Now everybody knows
Hasselhoff. My name is almost a brand.
Interview by Hugh Graham
Villas at Bask Gili Meno start at $220,000;
020 3322 4174, baskgilimeno.com
and
childcare bills.
Worse, moving has never been more
expensive, according to the comparison
website reallymoving.com. Even when
adjusted for inflation, the average cost in
2017 is the highest it?s been since 2010, at
�381 ? the third consecutive year of
increases. In 2018, though, the stuttering
market could present an opportunity
for those stuck second-steppers to make
their move.
A blend of luck, good timing, patience,
financial probity and a willingness to
compromise allowed Danielle and Stuart
Evans to exchange a modest suburban
end-of-terrace for a family home with five
bedrooms and almost an acre of gardens
in Dorking, Surrey, where they live with
their daughters, Elizabeth, 3, and
Charlotte, 1. Their four-bedroom house
in Teddington, southwest London, was
valued at �0,000. The trouble was
that upsizing locally, even on a small
scale, would be prohibitively expensive.
?We realised we were going to have to
pay an extra �0,000 for a semi that
was only slightly larger,? says Stuart, 43,
an accountant.
What Stuart and Danielle, 36, had on
their side was equity. The mortgage was
paid off and they were willing to travel;
but instead of being a dual-income couple,
they were now a single-income family.
Stuart is stoic about his long commute
because they have space to park, room
for guests, storage for buggies and a front
door that doesn?t open straight into the
living room ? not an ideal setup when
their beagle cross, Bertie, returned from
a walk coated in mud.
Buyers willing to make similar sacrifices
could find that 2018 is their year: when
prices are stalling or falling, the numbers
are on the side of the upsizer. ?The soft
market may mean you achieve less for
your sale than you might have wanted,
but you are a buyer in the same market,
and 10% off � is more than 10% off
�,? says Brendan Roberts, director of
Aylesford International estate agency.
The same goes for upsizers closer to the
average UK property price of �3,807.
If you are determined to make the
most of this opportunity, here are Home?s
10 upsizing strategies.
1
Drive a hard bargain Buying at the
right price is crucial. With transaction
numbers at a record low ? particularly
at the upper end of the market ?
upsizers are in the driving seat. ?Don?t
be afraid to negotiate,? says Ed Stoyle, a
partner at Carter Jonas estate agency?s
office in York. ?If a property is on for
�0,000 and your budget is �0,000,
call the agent and say, ?This is my top end,
is it worth me coming to view or not?? The
answer will indicate how much scope
there is to negotiate.?
2
Trim your wish list Desperate to
live in an unspoilt village with a
fantastic pub and an outstanding
school on the doorstep? Join the club.
Such desirable but discretionary extras
carry a significant premium. You need to
be tough with yourself about what you
can live without and the compromises you
are willing to make.
?Moving from a coastal village to one
a mile inland can knock 50% off the price,
while leaving you within reach of all your
favourite friends, places and beaches,?
TRADING
Taking the next step
on the ladder is a
costly business ? but
this year could offer a
golden opportunity,
says Ruth Bloomfield
UP
PETER TARRY
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 11
6
Beauty is skin deep Buyers pay a
hefty premium for a good-looking
house, but would you prefer kerb
appeal or an extra bedroom or two?
A recent report by Nicholas Boys Smith,
founding director of the Create Streets
think tank, found that homes built before
1900 typically cost �,000 more than
those built in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In East Anglia, Sarah Broughton,
associate director of the buying agency
Prime Purchase, recommends that
upsizers drop their aspiration to own a
period home and get into the midcentury
spirit: ?You could go from a small house
with plenty of character to a 1960s or
1970s house that is not so aesthetically
pleasing, but has the space you need.?
Room to grow
Danielle and
Stuart Evans, with
their daughters,
Elizabeth and
Charlotte,
moved from an
end-of-terrace
home in London
to a house in
Dorking, Surrey,
right. It has five
bedrooms ? and
plenty of space
for their dog,
Bertie, below
says Clare Coode, a buying agent for
Stacks Property Search in Cornwall. ?Rock
is a perfect example. A bungalow here
can cost upwards of �, but moving just
a mile inland would buy more than twice
the square footage for the same price.?
Another way to save is to buy a home
a bit further from the station. On the West
Sussex/Surrey borders, the price
differential between Haslemere, which
has a mainline station, and Midhurst, a
15-minute drive away, is 25%-30%, says
Coode?s colleague Bill Spreckley.
3
Move out of town Property costs
more per sq ft in urban areas than
in rural ones, which means you?ll
get more for your money if you are
prepared for a real life change.
?You can sell a house in prime York for
� and buy a considerably larger house
in the surrounding countryside, even as
close as five miles to the centre,? says Ben
Pridden, head of residential in the city for
Savills estate agency. ?Families want to
upsize and enjoy more space, but don?t
want to increase their budget. Or they
can release capital for school fees without
having to lose any square footage.?
4
Play the postcode lottery Forget
?location, location, location? ? in
today?s market, most buyers?
priority is ?affordability,
affordability, affordability?. This might
mean moving to an area that you don?t
really like the sound of. But once you
pinpoint where you can afford to buy the
right-size home, swallow your prejudices
and at least have a look around.
Even in an expensive city such as
Cambridge, there are ways to find the
property you need, says Michael Donnelly,
director of Cheffins, a local estate agency.
For example, a small two-bedroom terrace
in Newnham will cost about �5,000, but
in Chesterton, you can buy a four-bedroom
house with gardens and parking for only
�,000 more. ?Both areas are equally
near the centre of town, and Chesterton
has the added advantage of being close to
the new Cambridge North station.?
Donnelly also suggests considering
satellite villages or ?necklace towns?,
which offer much better value than city
suburbs: ?You could sell a two-bedroom
flat in a new development in Trumpington
for �0,000 and buy a four-bedroom
house in Ely for the same figure, while still
being on the train line to central London.?
5
Look for potential In October,
Emma and Richard Jones, both 35,
upsized from a 1,200 sq ft house in
Wimbledon, southwest London, to a
1,500 sq ft property (with a 300 sq ft
cellar) nearby. Emma looks after their two
daughters, aged two and five, while
Richard is at work as an IT developer.
??
Moving just 15
minutes? drive away
from the nearest
station could save
you 25-30%
HOMES SHRINK
AS PRICES RISE
Upsizers, beware: homes in the most
expensive area of England and Wales
cost 58 times as much as those in the
cheapest. One square foot in the London
ward of Knightsbridge and Belgravia
costs an average of �093; the same
amount of space in Horden, Co Durham,
would set you back just �.
The figures, compiled by Savills
estate agency using data for more than
628,000 sales in the year ending May
2017, reveal that the average property
now costs �6 a sq ft ? �, or 21%,
more than in 2012.
?Highly divergent price growth over
the past five years has meant huge
disparities across the country,? says
Lucian Cook, director of residential
research at Savills. In the capital, homes
cost an average of �7 a sq ft ? 72%
more than in the southeast (�3), and
more than four times the typical price in
the northeast (�7).
Across England and Wales, the
average property price is �3,000.
Their old home, a Victorian terrace,
had four bedrooms and was technically
large enough, but the kitchen and living
room were cramped. ?We spend most of
our time downstairs, and it was just too
small,? Emma says. ?We also had a tiny
garden ? we wouldn?t have been able to
have a trampoline or a swing for the girls.?
The couple?s new house also has four
bedrooms, but there is the potential to
extend into the loft, and the living space
and garden are both much larger. Their
old property sold for �7,000 and the
new one cost them �1m: a substantial
�3,000 more. And, although they sold
through Dexters estate agency, which
had a new office in the area and waived
sales commission as an opening offer,
stamp duty added another �,750.
So, despite savings and sizeable equity
earned on their old house ? bought seven
years ago for �5,000 ? they were not
able to afford a ?finished? home. Instead,
the one they chose ?looked like a squat?.
The walls were tobacco-stained, the
bathroom was ?pretty revolting?, the gas
hob has been condemned and the cooker
doesn?t work, so the family are making
do with microwaved meals until they can
fit a new kitchen.
Despite this, they are delighted with
their move. ?We aren?t big spenders on
things like fancy cars or the latest
computers,? Emma says. ?This means we
have some money to do the work the
house needs, and it has such potential
we just sort of fell in love with it.?
If you tried to buy a property in London
on that budget, you?d get 446 sq ft of
floor space: a small one-bedroom flat.
In the northeast, you?d be moving into a
1,921 sq ft house with five bedrooms.
?Looking at home values on a per
sq ft basis has become increasingly
important for upsizers, as they are
moving less often and want housing
that can accommodate their changing
needs,? Cook says. ?House-price growth
means that, on average, a purchaser
with a budget of �7,000 ? the typical
sale price in May 2012 ? can now buy
174 sq ft less than five years ago. This is
equivalent to a decent-sized bedroom.?
The least expensive ward in London
is North End, in Bexley, where homes
cost an average of �1 a sq ft ? this is
still more expensive than 85% of the
wards in England and Wales. Outside
the capital, the five most expensive
wards are in Oxford and Cambridge.
Charlotte Vowden
Discover how much property costs per
sq ft in your area in our tablet edition or
at thesundaytimes.co.uk
7
Extend your options A house with
the potential to extend can make a
larger home more affordable, if you
have patience and the will to live
through a building project. Alex Leigh,
manager of Foxtons estate agency in
Islington, north London, advises looking
beyond lofts and kitchen extensions: a
garage could be incorporated into the
rest of the house to provide an extra
bedroom, or a new garden room could
add a study or guest room.
?When thinking about extensions,
look on the local authority?s planning
website for precedent in neighbouring
homes for extensions being done or
applications being refused,? he says.
?And check what you would be allowed
to do under permitted development
rules. It might be more than you think.?
8
Make your new home work for you
If you have enough equity to put
down a deposit on a larger home,
but are worried about mortgage
repayments, a property with a second
income stream might be the answer.
?Buy a house with outbuildings, a barn
or an annexe,? says Mike Rix, director of
Savills in Norwich. ?Holiday rentals are a
good source of extra income, and we have
clients who have let converted barns to
wood-turners, liveries, even to a lady who
does upholstery.?
Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick, head of
residential at Savills in Exeter, agrees:
?We see owners building in their gardens,
having obtained planning consent, and
using the units as income generators in
order to afford a bigger home.?
9
Ask the Bank of Mum and Dad
(yes, again) Make like a first-time
buyer and see if parents or other
family members can help you out.
Recent research from Lloyds Bank found
that one in three second-steppers plan to
ask relatives to put their hands in their
pockets to help them buy a larger home.
The bank found that most needed just
over �,000 to bridge the gap between
starter home and family home.
10
...or shack up with Mum and
Dad A multigenerational home is
increasingly the practical answer
for families willing to pool their
resources and live together. Cambridge has
seen house prices jump by 56% in 10 years,
to an average of �3,500, according to
the latest Hometrack city index ? and
Michael Donnelly, of Cheffins, has seen a
hike in the number of parents and children
selling up and buying a single larger place
together. Homes with ?plush annexes?,
or with the potential to be split into two,
work particularly well, as everybody
retains their privacy and independence.
?This strategy has huge benefits,? he
says. ?It allows equity release for older
homeowners, who can now help their
children with young families to buy the
house they wanted, on the right road,
while offering babysitting on tap.?
12 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
Home Luxury
W
FITTING
LOCATION
Euston
Great
Portland
Street
Regent?s
Park
A50
1
Warren
Street
FITZROY SQUARE
A4
400yd
00
Yours for �m: the grand
London house where Daniel
Day-Lewis filmed Phantom
Thread, and decided to retire
from acting. By Hugh Graham
hen a grade
I listed
property
comes
onto the
market on Fitzroy Square, a
Georgian enclave in
fashionable Fitzrovia, it?s a
roll-out-the-red-carpet event
in the London property
world. Especially when it was
designed by Robert Adam,
a god of 18th-century
neoclassical architecture. ?It is
the first grade I listed property
I?ve dealt with in my 15 years
working in the area,? says
Christian Lock-Necrews,
head of Knight Frank estate
agency?s Marylebone office.
?This is a rarefied category.?
Yet the five-storey,
seven-bedroom mansion, on
sale for �m, has more going
for it than English Heritage
credentials: it?s now part of
cinematic history, too. The
10,400 sq ft pile is the setting
for the soon-to-be-released
Phantom Thread, starring
Daniel Day-Lewis. On top of
that, this will be the three-time
Oscar-winner?s final film: he
announced his retirement
from acting last year at the
age of 60, although it?s not
the first time he has quit the
profession. He took five years
off in the late 1990s, when
he disappeared from public
view and reportedly devoted
himself to making shoes
and chopping down trees.
This time, he has said he?s
not even going to watch
Phantom Thread.
Opening here on February 2,
the latest movie from the
Hollywood director Paul
Thomas Anderson has won
rave reviews and two Golden
Globe nominations. It?s a
moody portrayal of Reynolds
Woodcock, a fictional
high-society dressmaker in
1950s London, who creates
immaculate gowns for
debutantes from his
LAURIE SPARHAM/AP/FOCUS FEATURES/EVERETT COLLECTION/ALAMY
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 13
The final cut
The grade I listed
house on Fitzroy
Square (centre,
with grey door)
features in
Day-Lewis?s new
film, Phantom
Thread, about a
couturier in
1950s London.
Left and below,
Day-Lewis, Lesley
Manville and
Vicky Krieps
in scenes from
the film
townhouse atelier, and shapes
and moulds his lover with
similar precision.
The visuals are wonderfully
romantic, evoking a bygone
age of silver tea services, toast
racks, crystal decanters, maids
in starched black uniforms ?
and needle-sharp wit. The
interiors are sumptuously
shot. A sweeping spiral
staircase, topped by a domed
skylight, plays a starring
role ? it was made for the
cinema, and features in an
emotionally charged scene
between the two leads. The
staircase is backed by a
supporting cast of fruity,
richly patterned wallpapers,
vintage dolly-light switches
and gilded wall sconces.
The film depicts a glamorous
era of capes, hourglass
shapes, intricate lacework and
tailored coats: the swishy
gowns enhance the grandeur
of the first-floor reception,
complementing the parquet
floor and towering sash
windows. Firelight gives
Woodcock?s bedroom a
warm glow. The period
details ? elaborate ceiling
roses, decorative mouldings,
lacy iron balusters ? seem
tailor-made for the icy,
fastidious dandy Day-Lewis
portrays. Outside, the regal
Ionic columns are made even
grander by the vintage,
chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces
that pull up to the door in
the film.
In one sense, Phantom
Thread could not be a better
marketing tool for this house,
which was on the market in
2016 before being taken off for
the shoot, which took place in
the first four months of 2017.
?I thought the film wouldn?t be
out for two years, so when I
heard it was coming out now,
I thought, ?Great, we can use
this,?? Lock-Necrews says.
?A few years ago, we sold 33
Portland Place, where The
King?s Speech was filmed. That
definitely generated interest.
To have the house where the
most Oscar-winning [male]
actor of all time did his last
film, that?s fun.?
Yet Phantom Thread, while
visually elegant, is not exactly
the feelgood film of the year.
One critic described it as a
?bleak and unremittingly
joyless masterpiece?.
Reynolds Woodcock is a
cantankerous, self-obsessed
control freak who can?t bear
disruption to his routine:
when his lover, Alma, played
by Vicky Krieps, scrapes her
toast too loudly, and serves
him butter with his asparagus,
rather than his preferred oil,
he is apoplectic. Alma lives in
a gilded cage; the staff, too,
walk on eggshells. Woodcock
remarks: ?There?s an air of
quiet death in this house.?
Day-Lewis is a method
actor who is renowned for
immersing himself in
character and settings ? he
confined himself to a
wheelchair for My Left Foot
and trained as a butcher for
Gangs of New York. This
time, he learnt to thread a
needle. To prepare for the
film, Day-Lewis re-created a
dress designed by Balenciaga,
watching archive videos of
fashion shows from the 1940s
and 1950s, and learning to sew.
He also spent months working
as an apprentice for Marc
Happel, head of the costume
department at the New York
City Ballet.
The actor told W magazine:
?There is nothing more
beautiful in all the arts than
something that appears
simple. And if you try to do
any goddamn thing in your
life, you know how impossible
it is to achieve that effortless
simplicity.?
Day-Lewis consulted his
wife, the novelist and
filmmaker Rebecca Miller,
when it came to re-creating
some of the more intricate
details. He was unable to use
the dress itself for reference,
because it is housed in the
Balenciaga archives in Paris.
Using Miller as a model, he
said he found one element
taxing ? though ultimately
rewarding. ?Rebecca was
very patient,? he said. ?The
code that I had to crack was
a very particular gusset in
the armpit. You couldn?t tell
from the photos how the
gusset was designed.
Rebecca has worn the dress.
It?s very pretty.?
Yet during the shoot, in
London, he became
?overwhelmed by sadness? ?
enough to convince him to
give up acting. There?s
certainly a forlorn air on the
December day when I visit.
The rooms are empty, as the
owners haven?t lived there
for 10 years. There are
pockmarks on the walls where
light fittings have apparently
been ripped out by departing
film crews.
Stripped of its chandeliers,
antique furniture and klieg
lights, the house feels gloomy
? and cold. In fact, the lower
storeys don?t have heating:
the owners, when they bought
it more than 20 years ago,
lived primarily in smaller
rooms on the top two floors,
where there is a kitchen.
Reality bites compared to the
silver screen.
?I was sad when the filming
ended,? admits Ivan Tachev,
who has been the caretaker for
the past 10 years. ?Now the
house feels so empty. It was
such a nice, friendly bunch of
people. One day we had 75
extras in the house, I have
never seen anything like it.
Daniel Day-Lewis was very
nice ? he would sit outside on
the bench in the square when
he was on a break, and people
would walk by, but they would
leave him alone. But the public
would take pictures every time
an old Rolls-Royce pulled up.?
The real thing may be a
comedown from cinematic
glamour, but perhaps the
elegant world depicted on
screen will inspire the new
owners to whip the place
into shape ? rather like
Woodcock, with his keen
eye and thumb-worn tailor?s
tape, who makes his
customers look and feel like
better versions of themselves.
This makeover, Lock-Necrews
reckons, might cost as much
as � and take two years.
He doubts that the buyer will
be a film ? or DDL ? buff, but
instead will be a fan of the
exquisite plasterwork, sash
windows, delicate fanlights
and Georgian shutters.
Other draws are the
attached mews house behind
(where Day-Lewis took breaks
and had his make-up done),
the traffic-free central London
address (the square is
pedestrianised) and the fact
that it has ?the best staircase
in the square?. The agent is
right about that: regardless
of whether they?ve seen
Phantom Thread, and liked
or hated the film, whoever
walks down that sweeping
flight of stairs will feel like a
movie star.
020 3435 6440,
knightfrank.co.uk
14 January 7, 2018 The Sunday
y Times
ILLUSTRATOR MICHAEL DRIVER
Home
TOP TIPS
SLOW COOKERS
Crock-Pot
SCCPRC507B-060
Scored highly in our tests
making curry, soup and
stew. It?s easy to use and
has a dishwasher-safe
ceramic pot. The
programmable timer is
accurate and allows you
to set a cooking time
before switching to the
?keep warm? setting.
91/100; �;
johnlewis.com
Sage by Heston
Blumenthal The Fast
Slow Pro
Good cooking results,
economical to use and,
with a 6-litre capacity,
ideal for larger families.
It is pricy, but this is a
well-thought-out device
with a range of functions
(pressure, slow-cook,
reduce, sear, saut� and
steam). There?s also an
automatic ?keep warm?
setting. It is bulky, so could
be hard to store.
88/100; �0;
sageappliances.co.uk
Andrew James Digital
Slow Cooker
Cooked food perfectly
in our tests, with tender
meat and good browning.
It has several useful
features, including the
fact that it beeps when it
has finished. The delay
feature on the timer is
helpful, but the exterior
doesn?t stay cool.
88/100; �;
andrewjames
worldwide.com
l To ensure that your
silver candlesticks and
tableware still sparkle,
clean with impregnated
silver polishing cloths
(� lakeland.co.uk). For
tarnished items, use a
cream cleaner such as
Goddard?s silver polish
(� tesco.com). Apply,
allow to dry, then buff off
any powdery residue with
a soft dry cloth.
l If your glassware looks
lacklustre, soak overnight
in neat white vinegar, then
rinse in cold water.
l To banish limescale
deposits or dried-on wine
stains from the inside of a
carafe or wine decanter,
fill it with white vinegar.
Leave for a few hours, then
rinse with warm water
and dry with a soft cotton
cloth. If this doesn?t do the
trick, repeat, adding a
handful of uncooked rice.
Swill gently around the
decanter to loosen any
tough deposits.
goodhouse
keeping.co.
uk/institute
responses as you read this.
Sample solutions include:
put bleach in the drawer and
run a hot wash; put the
drawer in the dishwasher;
clean with Flash and leave the
drawer open after use; do a
90C wash every week to kill
the bacteria; add soda crystals
to powder; and, of course,
white vinegar (used instead
of a fabric softener).
THE RUBBER GLOVE TREATMENT
You are similarly obsessed
with rubber gloves. In
September, a reader named
Katie complained that she had
too many left-hand rubber
gloves, as the right ones always
wear out first. And 37 of you
replied in virtual unison: turn
a left-hand glove inside out
and, hey presto, you have a
right-hand glove!
One answer stood out for
its resourcefulness. Anne
Lowe wrote: ?I am left-handed.
In my last job, I had an
arrangement with a work
colleague: she gave me her
good left-hand gloves and I
gave her my good right-hand
ones.?
HOME
HELP
SOLVED: THE MYSTERY OF THE
STRANGE SMELL
READERS?
CLINIC
SPECIAL
You?ve proved to be a rich source of tips, hacks
and weird words of wisdom. Here are your best
S
ometimes you can?t
beat a bit of
homespun wisdom ?
and, last year, we
asked for yours.
We invited you to share your
tips and tricks in our Readers?
Clinic slot, alongside the
professional experts on our
Home Help page.
You didn?t disappoint.
Here are some of your most
memorable home truths.
MINE?S A GLASS OF VINEGAR
No matter what the problem,
vinegar turned up as a cure-all
for just about every home
conundrum under the sun.
It was a magic bullet for
ridding the dishwasher of
smells (add a cup to the
machine and run a wash while
empty), cleaning a glass table
(paired with a microfibre
cloth), removing sticky stuff
from an iron (scrub with a
vinegary cloth while warm)
and ridding a shower head of
limescale (soak in a bowl of
vinegar and boiling water for a
few hours). The same goes for
bicarbonate of soda and lemon
juice. As with many things in
life, it seems our grandparents
were on to something.
CONKERGATE
When N Reed wrote in from
east London in August asking
how to deter spiders, dozens
of you swore by conkers,
placed liberally around the
house. This was swiftly
debunked and dismissed as a
tired old tale by Dr George
McGavin, an honorary
research associate at the
Oxford University Museum
of Natural History. In
response, reader Mary
Cain from Warrington gave
short shrift to his expertise,
insisting that she hadn?t seen
a single spider since she
introduced horse chestnuts
to her home.
Be careful what you wish
for, though. In October, in
response to a question about
how to get rid of moths,
Mike Hale wrote: ?The
most effective method ?
and most ecofriendly ? is
probably spiders.?
IS THIS THE MIRACLE CURE
FOR MOTHS?
Along with damp and disputes
about hedges and fences,
moths are a staple subject in
the Home Help inbox. We all
want to believe in nature?s
cure: who hasn?t tried
lavender sachets and cedar
balls, only to find their
sweaters munched to pieces
come spring? So we?re
desperate to try anything new,
and Polly Tye intrigued us
with her solution, found in
the souks of Morocco. ?In
Marrakesh, I was sold cubes
of amber resin to place with
fabrics in your cupboards. I
didn?t for one second think
this would solve my battle
with moths of many years, for
which I have tried everything,
but I have sworn by it ever
since. Try a box of Amber
Perfume Paste Resin Blocks,
� on Amazon.?
Could amber resin be the
new conkers? We couldn?t find
anything to verify this online,
so, dear readers, please give
Polly?s theory a test run and let
us know how you get on.
BACK TO BLACK
In May, Tessa Kiddle from
Leicestershire innocently
asked how to rid of the black
stuff in the soap drawer of a
washing machine. And the
floodgates opened: this is
clearly a subject that obsesses
the nation. We?re still getting
In May, Eric and Jane Vaughan
from Lincolnshire wrote to
Home Help describing a
strange ammonia-type smell in
their bedroom. It seemed to
come and go, but at one point
was so bad that they had the
carpet and underlay replaced.
Our expert suggested
ammonia was a sign of animal
urine (perhaps mice), or could
be associated with volatile
organic compounds (VOCs),
which are often found in MDF
furniture and sometimes in
carpet underlay.
Several readers also offered
advice. Lesley Steele from
Nottingham endured a similar
odour, and replaced her carpet
and underlay, to no avail.
Only when a lightbulb needed
replacing did she notice an
ammonia smell on the fitting,
where the plastic was breaking
down. They replaced it and
the smell disappeared. Eric
Nicholls wrote in with a
similar explanation: ?The
cause of this could be an
electric plug, socket or light
fitting. These items are usually
made from a plastic known as
urea-formaldehyde, which
produces an ammonia-type
smell when hot.?
We forwarded these tips to
Jane Vaughan and she replied:
?Thank you, that?s exactly
what it was.?
AVO-CADABRA!
In August, when Neil Davis
asked how to stop his potted
avocado tree shedding leaves,
our esteemed expert Toby
Buckland told him he had to
keep replanting in a bigger
pot, but only to a point, as they
wouldn?t survive outdoors in
Britain. In response, reader
David Millar informed us:
?Avocados do grow outside in
the UK! My daughter grew one
from a seed, variety unknown,
about 30 years ago. It sat in
pots for many years and 20
years ago I transplanted it to
a well-protected garden in
south London. It grew to a
trunk of about 3絠n, 5ft high,
with branches up to 15ft above
the ground. These got frost
damage and I cut them right
back every year. Four years
ago, I moved to the Isle of
Wight. I dug up the avocado
and replanted it in an
unprotected but sunny garden
in Cowes. After three years of
sulking, it has now recovered
and is nearly back to its
previous state.?
The catch? It has never
actually produced avocados.
NO GREAT SHAKES
Some of our readers are
entrepreneurs, hawking their
wares, and fair play to them.
We appreciated the sheer
ingenuity of John Hammond,
who claims to have solved
the problem of the shaking
washing machine with his
Steady Spin gizmo ? an
inflatable pad that you slide
between countertop and
machine, then inflate until
snug to stop all that banging.
THE YEAR OF THE CAT
When Elizabeth Sillett from
Wiltshire wrote in asking
how to keep cats out of her
garden, some of your
responses would have got us
into trouble with the RSPCA.
There was a variety of home
remedies: curry powder
sprinkled in the soil, scattered
holly leaves (the prickly leaves
hurt cats? paws), teabags
soaked in peppermint oil.
Home?s picture editor, Sean
McKillop, found all of these
too fiddly. He finally settled
on a machine: the Pest XT
Jet Spray Battery Operated
Motion Sensor Activated Cat
and Fox Scarer & Repellent
(�). It sprays unwelcome
intruders and gives them a
fright. Sean confirms that his
garden is now cat-free.
HOME HACKS
We appreciate some of your
more imaginative home hacks.
Who knew that clumps of
dog hair from a brush will
deter slugs? (They hate the
texture.) Or that the key to
keeping your black granite
worktop clean and shiny is
using a window vac to remove
moisture? The secret of
keeping grout clean is to spray
a beeswax-based furniture
polish to seal and waterproof
it. If you ever have to dust a
fabric lampshade, get a slice
of thick white bread, remove
the crusts and gently pat it
all over; the dust will cling to it.
One last tip: urine will make
your whites whiter. The
Romans bleached their togas
in it, according to reader
Isabelle Crawley-Boevey ? but
maybe don?t try this at home.
DO YOU NEED HELP FROM
ONE OF OUR EXPERTS?
Email your questions to
homehelp@sunday-times.
co.uk. Advice is given
without responsibility
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 15
CHOOSE A LIFT
Google ?dumb waiter? and
a manufacturing company
called Husbands comes up.
It?s aptly named: where once
a kindly spouse might have
brought up the breakfast
tray, nowadays increasing
numbers of us have a lift to do
the job instead.
Installing a home lift is
easier and less expensive
than you might think, and
they now come in many
guises: stairlifts, step lifts,
compact two-floor lifts
and multi-floor executive
models, wheelchair lifts and
slim butler lifts.
NOT SO DUMB
The butler lift is the dumb
waiter reborn: no longer
creaking away in country piles
and old-fashioned hotels, it is
what every smart townhouse
demands these days, after the
electric gates and the walk-in
closet. They can cost upwards
of �000, yet Stannah Lifts ?
which has sold more than
700,000 of the stairlifts for
which it is best known (from
�000; stannahhomelifts.
co.uk) ? is seeing a new
demand for them. It reports
a 44% uplift in sales over the
past five years.
BEAM US UP
The real game-changers in
this market are two-person
?through-the-floor? capsule
lifts, which have only been
around for about five years.
Taking up less floor space
than a shower tray, they can
be neatly fitted into the
corner of a room. They run on
rails and don?t need a lift shaft
? so you can put down a ?lid?
that matches your floor and
get your space back upstairs
when not in use. They cost
�,000-�,000 ? a lot less
than you?d pay to move if the
stairs become too much.
Through-the-floor
capsules aren?t taking over
from stairlifts ? which
usually cost less than half
as much ? but they are
making their presence felt as
empty-nesters futureproof
their homes rather than move.
?They are a safer option
than a stairlift because they
are enclosed,? says John
McSweeney, sales and
marketing director of the
Cheshire-based Terry Lifts
(terrylifts.co.uk), which
makes, fits and services
all types of lift, and is the
main UK manufacturer of
into a domestic power
socket. Prices start at just
under �,000. A slightly
larger version, with room for
three people or one and a
wheelchair, costs �,000.
?People don?t want
stairlifts ? they are unsightly
and for old people ? and we
have had a lot of interest in
these,? says Yola Mealing,
marketing manager at Lifton.
?They are being bought
by people who don?t need
them yet for mobility reasons,
but who want to stay in
their homes for another 20
years or so.?
FOX SEARCHLIGHT/ENTERTAINMENT PICTURES/ALAMY
HOW TO...
through-the-floor capsules.
?The most compact take two
standing or one seated.?
He points out that they
come with between-floor
fire and smoke protection.
They are also fun, and useful
for moving the washing,
the vacuum cleaner or an
arthritic dog, even for those
who can still run up to the
first floor. ?They are stylish,
too, and you can show them
off to your friends,? he says.
?Nobody ever did that with
a stairlift.?
GETTING YOUNGER
Terry Lifts customers have
generally been over 70,
McSweeney says, ?but the
age is coming down as
people look ahead and realise
they may want to stay longer
at home. About 2,500
through-the-floor lifts are
sold each year in the UK, and
sales are growing 30%-40%
year on year, particularly to
empty-nesters with no
mortgage, who see them as
home improvements, and to
people in their sixties, when
it?s about futureproofing.?
Lifton (lifton.co.uk) sells
its own version of the
through-the-floor lift, the Duo
? a pod that pulls itself up
on rails, so has no need of
hydraulics, and plugs directly
CAN I BUY SECOND-HAND?
Traditionally, home lifts
have needed a shaft, and
have therefore been bulky,
impractical and unaffordable
for most. They are, however,
faster than the pods and
can cover more than two
floors. These ?executive
lifts? start at about �,000,
but you could easily pay
double that for a retrofit ?
when they are added to an
existing building ? and there
is a burgeoning trade in
second-hand ones.
The through-the-floor
models are still too new to
have much of a second-hand
market ? and, in any case,
people tend to keep them as
an asset.
Wheelchair or platform lifts
cost between �000 and
�,000 new, depending
on the preparation work
involved. A second-hand one
can be had for about �000.
ADDED VALUE
?One in four falls among older
people involves stairs, and
the majority are at home,?
says Stephanie McMahon,
head of research at Strutt &
Parker estate agency, which
has 117 properties on its
books with a ?lift? reference.
Most are flats in London
mansion blocks, but one is
in a grade I listed house
overlooking St James?s Park,
where a groovy lift was added
as part of a refurbishment:
it?s yours for �.5m.
?Futureproofing a property
with adjustments such as a
personal domestic lift may
allow individuals to stay in
their homes for longer and
add value in the longer term,?
McMahon says. ?In our latest
Housing Futures survey, 7%
of respondents wanted their
new home to be accessible
for the disabled and 5% said
they would like a home lift.?
Cally Law
16 January 7, 2018 The Sunday Times
1
Home Overseas
H
F
rida Carlsson knows what it
takes to live year-round in the
depths of a Swedish forest. ?You
got the right clothes, the right
car, then it?s fine. You have to be
practical. It?s not like town.? Although
Frida is a fictional character, her words
come straight from the heart of her
creator?s experience.
Will Dean is taking on the giants of
Scandi noir on their home territory. He
used to live in west London and
design electronic trading platforms for
City banks. Now his home is an isolated
house north of Gothenburg, surrounded
by woods. And his first novel, Dark Pines,
is an atmospheric thriller of murder,
conspiracy, secrecy and terrible weather
in a small corner of Sweden?s vast forests.
A buzz started building last year around
the book, which stars Tuva, a young
journalist who compensates for her
deafness with a heightened sensitivity.
(She relies on the forest-dwelling Frida for
advice.) It is predicted to be one of the
crime-fiction hits of 2018 ? which Dean,
38, owes in part to his move to Sweden.
Inspiration struck when he was in the
garden and heard a rifle shot in the
woods. ?I thought, ?It could be hunters,
but...?? He reckons the country?s forests
hold the key to its national character.
?Nordic people have a special melancholy,
perhaps from their tough heritage. The
folkore is dark ? trolls that come out of the
woods and take babies. And there are
bears and wolves up north. It?s one degree
more wild than the UK, probably not
dangerous, but you sense it could be.?
To reach Dean?s isolated hideaway from
Gothenburg, you drive north until the
trappings of Swedish civilisation gradually
fall away. Once past Ytterby, villages
dwindle to isolated farmhouses and,
finally, a mile of track through dense trees,
home to Monty, a big, tough Norwegian
forest cat, elks, owls, a pair of eagles ? and
the Deans.
In a clearing, the two-storey, yellowpainted wooden house would fit in
perfectly with its rural neighbours ? if
they had any. But it?s newer than it looks.
?We tried to buy an old house nearby, but
the sale fell through,? says Dean, who met
his Swedish wife, Emilia, 40, on the first
day of their law degree at the London
School of Economics. ?We were
heartbroken ? then decided to build one
that looks like it.?
In 2010, they paid about �0,000 for
the 3�-acre site and opted to build the
Swedish way ? buying their home in
factory-made modular sections to be
slotted together on site. ?We took a fourhour train ride to the Rorvikshus factory,
and in one intense day made every decision
? layout, plug fittings, everything.?
Before their dream home could be
delivered, there was work to be done. The
plot of land ? ?a strange mix of solid
granite and bog? ? was treated to some
serious engineering to sink a well for the
water supply and create an underground
drainage-pump system and a series of
dykes around the boundary. The couple
also had to improve the mile of track
through the surrounding mixed deciduous
woods, owned by a nature reserve, so it
was fit for the lorries.
During the autumn of 2010, Dean
would leave the couple?s London flat
before dawn every Wednesday and
Saturday to fly from Stansted to tiny Save
airport, on Ryanair flights that you could
book, in those days, for as little as �. At
the end of his day with the workmen, he
recalls: ?I?d hike up the track in minus 10
degrees, looking at the stars in the strip of
sky I could see above the forest, to pick up
my taxi back to the airport.? He usually got
home exhausted at about 1am.
When Emilia came for the weekend,
they would stay in the torp, an ancient
WELCOME TO MY
COUNTRY
PILE
Will Dean left London for Sweden, wrote a Scandi noir
novel tipped to be this year?s crime bestseller ? and
learnt a thing or two about logs, says Karen Robinson
single-storey wooden cottage with no
heating or toilet. It is now home to her
office (she is a corporate lawyer for
Western Union and works from home)
and a cosy guest suite with a ?freezing
loo? that turns the contents into
an odourless ice block at ?18C, in a
biodegradable bag.
?I take it and bury it in the woods,?
Dean says, as he ponders how this
ingenious example of Swedish
plumbing could be useful for another
fiendish thriller ? the ideal place to hide
evidence, surely?
Once the concrete slab went down, on
top of ?half a metre of compressed
polystyrene and a layer of gravel?, the
three-bedroom house was assembled. The
walls, with narrow bars of wood over the
joins in the flat boards, 40cm-thick
insulation and triple-glazed windows
already installed, were bolted onto the slab
with rubber seal. ?Swedish builders are
good at making houses watertight,? Dean
says, pointing out the metal panels that
slope down from the windows, where
wood meets wood for the water to run off.
They make homes warm, too: there?s a
metre of insulation under the roof.
Then it was time for Dean to get hands
on. He?d done most of the work on the
torp himself, and had built the garage
The Sunday Times January 7, 2018 17
FRANCESCO GUIDICINI
TEN YEARS
OF PAIN
IN SPAIN
At long last, justice for a British
couple whose ?illegal? home was
demolished. By Richard Torn�
L
It all stacks up
Will Dean, left,
moved to the
forests north of
Gothenburg with
his Swedish wife
five years ago.
Despite its
traditional
appearance, the
wooden painted
house is a
factory-made
prefab, built in
2010. Inside, pale
paintwork, floral
prints and
secondhand finds
are matched with
customised Ikea
units, as seen in
the kitchen
??
The guest suite has a
?freezing loo? that turns the
contents into an odourless
ice block at ?18C: ?I take it
and bury it in the woods?
with a friend. To save money, he put the
bevelled frames on the inside of all the
windows ? 42 in total, to make use of all
the available light. (They?re down to six
hours of watery daylight in the depths
of winter.) He estimates that the cost of
the project was equivalent to the price
they got for their 590 sq ft flat in Earl?s
Court when they moved here full-time
in 2012.
When talk turns to decorating and
furnishing the 2,800 sq ft living space,
it doesn?t take long for the I-word to crop
up. ?The wood floors are Ikea and the
sofas are Ikea, partly because it?s difficult
to get other things here.? Dean is a dab
hand at customising his purchases from
the big blue and yellow shed: the sofas
have old wooden feet with brass wheels
(found on eBay), the table in the (Ikea)
kitchen is an Ikea base topped with new
pine boards that he stained with beeswax,
and he painted the many Ikea bookcases
in the sitting room and his study.
The vibe is calm and ordered,
comfortable without clutter; their threeyear-old son Alfie?s toys are neatly stowed
in his room. It?s the living embodiment of
the Swedish concept of lagom, roughly
translated as ?not too little, not too
much?. Extravagance and ostentation
have no place, though there?s
a quiet elegance to the Gustavian pieces at
one end of the L-shaped living room.
These antique tables and settles, now
restored in pristine pale grey-blue-green,
were snapped up cheaply at sales:
?Swedes like new things,? Dean says. They
also like all-white interiors, he adds,
whereas he and Emilia have created
something less stark, with lots of soft
florals and pale blue paintwork ? Scandistyle cosy with a big dash of English
farmhouse.
In the utility room, there?s a Nibe heatexchange pump for hot water and the
underfloor heating, and for extra warmth
(temperatures can dip to ?20C) they have
two woodburning stoves and an Aga, each
with a neat stack of logs ? also Dean?s
handiwork.
Outside, on the edge of the lawn, is his
badge of Scandi male pride: his log pile.
He cuts down forest pines that
are growing too close to the power lines,
drags them in ? ?the hardest part? ? and
splits them. He has a cutting axe,
a splitting axe and a hatchet ?for sticks?,
and has opted for a triangular shape for
his pile, with big logs holding up the
bottom corners and neat stacks of split
firewood above. ?I?m an amateur
compared to the locals,? he admits. ?The
top fell off a few months ago, when Monty
climbed up it.?
On the edge of the garden is the sauna
house, a weathered wooden shack with a
veranda and a mossy roof, installed by
the previous owners. The hut also has a
well-stocked bar ? and on New Year?s Eve,
they warm up in the wood-fired sauna,
then jump into the icy waters of the
drainage stream.
Yet Dean can?t imagine living here at 70.
?I?ll stay until I can?t manage the manual
work,? he says. Let?s hope he?s got the
woodpile perfected before then ? and that
Tuva is still going strong, battling
the contemporary trolls of the Swedish
crime scene.
Dark Pines: A Tuva Moodyson Mystery by
Will Dean is out now (Point Blank �.99)
en and Helen Prior
have a sign on a
kitchen cupboard
in their bungalow in
Andalusia that says:
?Make do and mend.? It sums up
their pluck and reminds them
of what they have endured.
Helen?s eyes well up as she
recounts the harrowing day 10
years ago ? on January 9, 2008
? when a small army of officials
and police came to pull down
their two-storey villa on the
outskirts of Vera, in the
province of Almeria.
The lengthy drama that has
dogged the couple?s life started
in 2002, when they were
granted a licence by the local
council to construct their
dream home. They weren?t
alone. During the building
boom from the late 1990s until
the economic crash of 2007,
thousands of expats bought offplan properties or built their
own villas, breathing life
into decaying villages
and boosting local
economies.
Yet Spain has
notoriously
convoluted
planning laws,
and the myriad
local councils ? 103
in Almeria alone ?
failed to police the
explosion of construction.
More than 300,000 homes in
Andalusia ? including 15,000 in
Almeria ? were deemed to have
been built illegally.
A year after they moved in,
the Priors? building licence was
revoked by the Andalusian
government because the house
had been built on ?non-urban?
land. Unaware that the legal
wheels were moving to have the
property torn down (no one
had told them), the couple,
pictured, spent two happy
years settling into their home,
which cost about ?350,000,
including ?110,000 for the plot.
They only became aware of the
regional administration?s
intentions in May 2006.
Despite frantic efforts by
their lawyer, officials hastily
pressed on. ?The case was in
litigation, but they still barged
in with their bulldozers,? recalls
Helen, now 74. The couple were
given just a few hours to clear
out their belongings before the
villa was razed to the ground.
The authorities had
underestimated the Priors?
determination to seek
restitution. ?If we had honestly
believed we had done
something wrong, we would
have saved the little money
we had left and gone back to the
UK, rather than spend the last
of our cash fighting this,? Helen
says. ?But we knew we had
done nothing wrong.?
British expats, with the
couple at the helm, held rallies
demanding clarity in the buying
process, just as dozens of new
cases and threats of demolitions
began to stack up in the courts.
Following a damning European
Parliament report into planning
abuses in Spain in 2009, the EU
became involved ? and for the
expat property rights
association Auan, the Priors?
case was the perfect cause
c閘鑒re with which to spearhead
its ?compensation before
demolition? campaign.
This culminated in victory in
March
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The Sunday Times, newspaper
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