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Thursday, February 24, 2011

May The Best House Win

If you're looking for a TV show that will become BIG, then look no further than "May the Best House Win." Hidden in the afternoon TV schedule on ITV,  it's a reworking of the successful Come Dine With Me format.

Four strangers visit each other's homes and secretly score them, leaving comments for the owners. The winning house wins £1,000. I have taken to recording it (although it doesn't seem to be on this week).

What's fascinating about it is not just the glimpse of other people's homes, but the way the houses are scored.

You might think that the immaculate stylish homes decorated in the manner of magazines, with gleaming kitchens and minimalist design, would win every time. But quite often they are soundly beaten by lived-in houses that the contestants usually describe as "having more character."

To give you a couple of examples, a young eco warrior's barn house was the winning house. And I don't mean a barn conversion. He literally lived in a barn with no luxuries: just a bed, a composting toilet and a rudimentary kitchen. But he won because he was enjoying his home and living a carefree, truly green existence.

Then we saw a wonderful but terrifyingly weird fantasy home, the work of a Cornish artist. Called the Pink Chapple, it was a confection of pink themed around Alice in Wonderland;  immensely cluttered and like something out a fairy tale. But it scored highly because it reflected the owner's whimsical personality.

A home last week that must have cost millions, which was featured in Footballer's Wives and sported lots of marble, chandeliers and a swimming pool with fountains, was not deemed homely and didn't win.

Then there was the stunning, architect designed house in Cornwall with amazing sea views. It did come first, but joint first with a tiny terraced house filled with home-made cushions and pictures. 

This sort of programme gets you thinking about your own abode. We have been in our house for nearly six years and every year we tackle a big project. Unfortunately these have tended to be boring - eg painting the exterior; replacing the central heating; putting in a drive. This year is no exception: the project is replacing the 30 year old lean-to, which leaks like a sieve. But I am determined to make improvements to the dining room and living room, albeit on a shoestring budget.

It's quite tough to get J to buy into my choices, even though he has to admit that the pink and green bedroom worked very well. He is very conservative. He has already instructed "no more distressed furniture" but I was at great pains to persuade him that the proposed dining room table, while white in colour, has not been distressed in the least. I will struggle to get the multi coloured chandelier past him.

How do you approach decorating and what's your style?


Anonymous said...

Adding it to my watch list. Thanks!

Buggles Balham High Road said...

Lovely little programme isn't it? Shame it seems to have been replaced this week.

Sharon J said...

I hope they make a new series. I loved it, but then I've always been fascinated by 'taste'. I have to say though, that some of the homes have been truly dreadful (to me).