Sarah Beeny’s renovation plan: ‘Let’s be positive… and build a better world’
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Today the property guru is urging the country to back her call for confidence in a bid to avoid plunging the country deeper into economic trouble. And she has even got a shock lined up for Britain’s youngsters – including her own sons – in her belief that there should be a return to National Service.
It’s been business as usual during lockdown for Sarah who, over the past few months, has been renovating a semi-derelict former dairy farm in Somerset, surrounded by 220 acres of sprawling farmland, to build her dream house – a modern, carbon-neutral mini stately home.
Viewers will soon see the fruits of her hard work, aided by husband Graham Swift and their four sons, in Sarah Beeny: New Life In The Country.
Practising what she preaches, the 48-year-old started on her own doorstep, encouraging her builders back to work.
It turned out they were only too pleased to answer her call. She says: “During lockdown, we did shut the building site for a few weeks but I thought, ‘If no one employs anyone, how are they going to eat? So I talked to our builders and they all said, ‘Please get me out of the house! I’ve got to go back to work’.”
Reflecting, she believes that negativity about the future of the country could be our downfall in coming months.
She warns: “Everyone keeps talking about this second spike but people want to go back to work, and we do need to be a bit more positive.
“We love a bit of doom and gloom in this country and we will talk ourselves into a second wave if we don’t stop it and make any recession worse.
“The economy will recover because British people are agile.”
Sarah made her name as presenter of Channel 4’s Property Ladder in 2001. Most recently she has been seen in How To Live Mortgage Free, UK’s Best Place To Live and Renovate Don’t Relocate.
She also set up online estate agents Tepilo in 2009.
She predicts, “There is going to be a bumpy patch in the property market, I have to be really honest.
“The economy has contracted, and a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.
“House prices will go down, it’s inevitable. But it will come back.
“There will be other areas of growth which will be exciting, we’ve got a lot of assets in this country.”
Sarah, who bought her first property at 19, says, “I don’t worry about the future for my own sons. I think what will be, will be.
“But I get cross about them lying in bed late because I think it is really bad emotionally not to achieve on a daily basis.
“It might sound controversial but I actually believe a re-introduction of some form of non-military National Service would be a really constructive way to teach skills to young people that are transferable in jobs.
“You can’t learn anything with the wrong attitude. I see some young lads on the building site and every time you turn around, they are hiding around the corner rolling a cigarette or on their phone.”
How would her sons, Billy, 16, Charlie, 14, Rafferty, 12, and 10-year-old Laurie react to her idea? She says briskly: “Some of them wouldn’t be OK, but they’d learn to be. I try and make them do chores. Sometimes I think, if I had a daughter she’d be more cooperative, but to be honest, I never wanted a girl. I’m happy with what I’ve got.
“I think I’m going to be a better granny than I am a mother!
I would completely indulge my grandchildren and it will be fine. I’m massively inconsistent with my boys. They even say to me, ‘Mum, when you say “No” you have to mean it’.”
In the meantime, she is still in the throes of completing her new home, and audiences will be able to watch the special eight-part series in November.
She only made the transition from city to country after much persuasion from Graham, 47, her business partner and husband of 21 years.
“I think I’ve always quite enjoyed the buzz from change and mountainous challenges, and moving our whole family and re-inventing our whole life has certainly been that,” she says.
Filmed over the past year and a half, alongside the ambitious building project, the series will watch the family re-wild sections of the farm, introduce bees, collect hens, and road-test rural businesses including chilli growing and cider making.
“I’d been in London for 30 years so it was hard to leave but it was Graham’s dream,” says Sarah. “He desperately wanted to build our own home.
“I was resistant for a long time and overall it wasn’t easy making such a massive change, as everyone will see. But am I glad I’ve done it? Yes I am now – definitely.
“There were lots of different agendas: When we should do it, the children’s education, their futures, needing to be near my dad and Graham’s mother. But I still have a place in south London which I can go back to which is lovely.”
She says viewers will see “a lot of shouting” as she commandeers her brood in front of the cameras. “I get very cross with them but they are all lovely. It’s best if I leave it to the producer to direct them!
“Lockdown has probably brought me closer to my family,” she says. “I’m so unbelievably lucky because I locked down with all the people I adore.”
She adds: “I still question it slightly to why we did it, and what the point of it was.
“I understand the principle of it, that we were trying to slow down the speed that people got coronavirus and to not overload the hospitals, but the real truth is: nobody has got a flipping clue.
“And it was a reaction to no one having any idea what was going on and so it was them saying ‘Let’s play it by ear’. In the first few weeks, we enjoyed games and played poker in the evenings – I love cards.
“At the beginning, I thought, ‘We’re going to do amazing activities, and I’m going to achieve lots of things’. But I was too busy! Home schooling was ghastly and difficult. It was such a bad idea. No one focused on it.
“These poor teachers were teaching a wall, although they did the best they could. It will be great for the kids to go back to school. And they will go back. I was also really aware our parents were on their own.
“My dad just turned 80 and remarried four years ago, so it wasn’t too bad. But my mother-in-law was on her own, it really made me appreciate family more.
“And Covid has taught me rather than talking about doing things, just do them. That’s what I feel now. No more prevaricating. I want my dad to spend more time with us so I will make that happen.
“And I have really started to appreciate people when I see them. Maybe it was lockdown or maybe it’s my age, but I do feel that we should all try and live for today – not yesterday or tomorrow.”
• Sarah Beeny’s New Life In The Country is on Channel 4 later this year. Renovate Don’t Relocate is returning to HGTV – if your home isn’t working for you any more contact [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article