Comment: Working wonders with 1970s homes

Chrissie Adams outside her Gustard Wood home - the winner of the St Albans episodes of the Best Hous

Chrissie Adams outside her Gustard Wood home - the winner of the St Albans episodes of the Best House In Town. Picture: Sidney Street Productions - Credit: BBC/Sidney Street Productions

It’s important when house hunting to think laterally, particularly when you’re struggling to find somewhere you like.

Compare and contrast: Scott's home on St Albans' Barncroft Way (right) once looked almost identical

Compare and contrast: Scott's home on St Albans' Barncroft Way (right) once looked almost identical to its neighbour (left). Picture: Matt Chisnall (www.mattchisnall.com) - Credit: Archant

Many times I've been put off a place by its ugly exterior, but given the limited options available locally I'm aware I may need to be a bit more open minded if I'm ever going to actually move.

The home crowned The Best House in Town in the St Albans episodes of the BBC show springs regularly to mind - an unremarkable 1970s special turned into something very lovely indeed by its talented owner.

St Albans architect Scott Batty managed to work similar magic, snapping up an ever-so-'70s house and transforming it beyond recognition.

Determined not to strip the heart out of the original building, Scott pledged to maintain and enhance its best period features while swapping its less lovely bits for something more aesthetically appealing. Not surprisingly, the parquet stayed while the tile cladding went straight in the skip.

The larch-clad wonder is now so eye-catching that passersby knock at the door to tell its proud owners how nice it looks.

This has been a labour of love for Scott who obviously has the vision and design expertise to bring an unusual idea to life.


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But even for him it's been a long process, and isn't expected to be complete until 2021.

The stress, endless decisions and vast expense will I'm sure be worth it when his dream home is complete, however.

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Personally, I'd rather someone else made a place look half decent so I could just move on in and reap the rewards. But with so little to choose from in the local market I may be forced to reach for some larch cladding of my own.

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