Hertfordshire – Episode 3

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 Sky high prices mean that the drabbest, most outdated property on the street is often all we can afford.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.

Sue and Simon believe that their home is the ugliest on their street. The couple bought the four-bedroom property in 2014 for £440,000 and, with Sue’s kids living with them, they thought it was the answer to all their problems.  But having been butchered in the 1980s by a bizarre faux Victorian extension tacked on the front, the property’s bad layout has proved a nightmare.

Sue and Simon were desperate to transform their home – but with a tight budget of just £50,000, they knew this was a tough ask.

Architect Laura Jane Clark’s specialises in breathing new life into unlovely spaces, particularly when it comes to long-abandoned properties.  She’s passionate about transforming smaller-scale developments.  Laura has a keen eye for utilising every inch of space in her re-designs with simple designs that unlock the potential in any property, however unredeemable.

With Sue and Simon’s budget so tight, Laura decides to work within the property’s existing footprint and not extend while also re-discovering the property’s original 1960s principles.  She unlocks the internal space by moving the stair case up the plan – not as difficult or costly a job as people imagine – creating a bigger, open plan kitchen.  To give the family flexibility in their living space, Laura ingeniously incorporates ‘zoned living areas with an innovative revolving wall.

To bring light into the property she incorporates two skylights bringing light into the centre of the house and transforms the brash exterior by staining the ugly yellow bricks grey [a very cost effective way of dealing with ugly brickwork], windows, a new front door and a wide canopy to detract they eye from the ugly roof.

The big question is…will Laura be able to keep her bespoke design on budget and on schedule?




Huge thanks to the companies and individuals below who made this project possible :

Architect Laura Jane Clark / Lamp Architects / www.lamparchitects.co.uk

Main contractor / D W Construction & Carpentry / www.dwconstructionandcarpentry.co.uk

Stealth House Inspirational Visit / www.robertdye.com/project/980/stealth-house-london-se5

Plants / The Dutch Nursery / www.dutchnurserygardencentre.co.uk

Turf in Front Garden/Cleaned Back Garden/Fixed Step / Highcroft Landscapes / www.highcroftlandscapes.co.uk

Home Furnishings / Heals / www.heals.co.uk

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

Home Furnishings / Mini Moderns / www.minimoderns.com

Simons Shed / Warwick Buildings / www.warwickbuildings.co.uk

Kitchen / Benchmarx Kitchens / www.benchmarxjoinery.co.uk

Front Windows / Jeld Wen Windows / www.jeld-wen.co.uk

Ensuite Bathroom Brassware / Ideal Standard / www.idealstandard.com

Ensuite Bathroom Brassware / Plumb Nation / www.plumbnation.co.uk

Paint and Floor Varnish / Dulux Paint / www.duluxtradepaintexpert.co.uk

Lighting / National Lighting / www.nationallighting.co.uk

Ensuite Bathroom Sanitaryware / Bathstore / www.bathstore.com

Ensuite Bathroom Wallpaper / Surface View / www.surfaceview.co.uk

Bifold Doors / Folding Sliding Doors / www.foldingslidingdoors.com

Building Material / E H Smith Building Merchants / www.ehsmith.co.uk

Staircase / Pear Stairs / www.pearstairs.co.uk

High Level Glazing and Fixed Lights / Barn Glass Works / www.barnglass.co.uk

Dye for Front Elevation / Dye Brick / www.dyebrick.com

Curtains / Sew Fine / www.sew-fine.co.uk

Ply, Flooring and Worktop / James Latham Timber Supplies / www.lathamtimber.co.uk

External Doors and Fittings / Browning Joinery LTD / www.browningjoinery.com

Plumbing and Bathroom Supplies / Waterford Plumbing Supplies /

Floor Tiles / Décor Tiles LTD /  www.decortiles.co.uk

Ironmongery, Fixings and Hardware / Quest Hardware /  www.questhardware.co.uk

Electrical Supplies / The British Electrical & MFG Co. LTD /  www.bemco.co.uk

Steel Beams and Metal Fabrication / GEO Ausden Steel Suppliers / www.geoausden.com

Scaffolding / Safe Access Scaffolding LTD /  www.sascaffolding.com/

Carpets and Vinyl Flooring / D Hutton Carpets and Flooring /

Boiler / Viessmann Boilers /  www.viessmann.co.uk/

Floor Plans / SGB CAD Design / www.sgbcaddesign.co.uk

Accessories / Dwell / www.dwell.co.uk