Croydon – Episode 5

We are a nation obsessed with property, but many of us are stuck with houses which we feel embarrassed to call home. Sky high prices mean that the drabbest, most outdated property on the street is often all we can afford. But rather than waste time dreaming of the perfect home, the solution could be right under your nose.

In this new Channel 4 series, George Clarke shows that even the ugliest house can be transformed into a home to be proud of.  He has teamed up the owners of some of Britain’s most unloved houses with some of the UK’s leading architects.

From a tired 1950s bungalow to a family house butchered by an 80s extension, each architect will use cutting edge design to breathe fresh life into some our ugliest ducklings and, with tight budgets, prove that great design doesn’t have to cost the earth.

In the final episode of the series we meet Denise, Ali and their teenage daughter and their self-proclaimed uninspiring council house in Croydon. It’s part of a crescent which was built as part of a move to provide homes for the working classes in the 1920s.

But the last century has been far from kind to the property.  It’s been badly extended and meddled with to the point that it has completely lost its identity. They’ve decided it’s time to create a more creative space to live, work and study in…but with a budget of £120,000, it’s a tough ask.

Jo Cowen is an award winning architect. Having previously worked for Rogers, Stirk and Harding and Foster and Partners, her projects have included a wide range of London properties including the British Museum, the Leadenhall Building and JP Morgan’s tower at Canary Wharf.  Jo is pragmatic in her approach to design from early initial feasibility studies right through to planning, design and construction.

Jo realises that Denise and Ali’s property might look depressing but can see its massive potential – particularly the generous plot it sits in.

Her plan for the tired ground floor space is to create a striking glazed extension to rear using steel-framed Crittal windows – an architectural design classic – inside and out which fits their budget.  Jo also presents them with an exciting plan for the upstairs of the property for an extra £40,000.

The couple are extremely tempted and decide to raise the extra cash to do the entire house.  But as they strip back the layers, problems begin to appear, pushing them to the brink, will they manage to complete their dream build?

Huge thanks to the following individuals and companies without whom this project would not have been possible :

Architect Jo Cowen / Jo Cowen Architects / www.jocowendesign.com

Main contractor / BuildMax / www.buildmax.co.uk

Barnes House Inspirational Visit / www.kska.co.uk

Crittal Windows / Crittal Windows / www.crittall-windows.co.uk

External Render / Andy Wallace Building / www.andrewwallacebuilding.co.uk

Garden Contractor / Diamond Pave LTD / www.diamondpaveltd.com

Kitchen Designer / M Kitchens / www.megakitchens.co.uk

Plants / The Secret Garden / www.thesecretgardencentre.com

Furnishings and Furniture / Graham and Green / www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Furnishings and Furniture / Dwell / www.dwell.co.uk

Furnishings and Furniture / Superhire / www.superhire.com

Furnishings and Furniture / Granger Hertzog / www.grangerhertzog.com

Bathing suppliers / Bathing Machines / www.bathingmachine.co.uk

Astro Turf / Future Turf / www.futureturf.co.uk/