pick of the week
Sunday, 7.40pm, ABC1 OK, so Kevin McCloud, pictured, has been walking us through ambitious renovations for 14 years now, but he never fails to surprise with a new project being tackled by people who appear to be living in la-la land. A survivor of several renovations, I’m in awe of anyone who takes on anything more challenging than a new bathroom and during the process doesn’t strangle a tradesman or two. So when these projects — they nearly always run way over budget and deadline — turn out to be a stunning success, I’m inspired to have another go. In this episode Kevin follows the Lovelocks, perfectionist Audrey, an interior designer, and Jeff, a city trader, who have moved from a splendid country home to Holland Park in central London. They’re after lots of space (didn’t they get enough in the country?) and after finding what they wanted cost £15 million they settled for a ground-floor studio flat in a 1904 building originally constructed as an artists’ colony. The desired space comes via a multilayered disused basement, which adds 290sq m to the property. Money is obviously no object yet Audrey is coy about the purchase price and renovation budget. Luckily Jeff has given her an open cheque. Kevin guesses the total cost is easily several million pounds and wonders about the resale value. Audrey does, aha, fall out with the builders and has to hire again, but the Lovelocks end up with a fabulous showpiece. If you like living underground.