Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kirstie's Homemade Home

One of my favourite programmes on British TV is Location, Location, Location and a big part of the show's appeal is its presenters, Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp, who are always so knowledgeable and charming. I'm sure their friendly, light-hearted banter helps to make the property show a hit. So, when I heard about a new series presented by Kirstie Allsopp, I had high hopes that it would be another show not to miss.

Unfortunately, the series called Kirstie's Homemade Home, got off to a very disappointing start. The premise of the series is that Kirstie is going to show how she transformed an old dilapidated house in Devon (that's been unoccupied for nearly 40 years) into a home (her holiday home). And not just that but Kirstie explained that everything in the house would be either produced locally, found or created by her personally.

Well, I thought I was going to see things like painting and wall-papering and practical advice but there was none of that. Instead, we watched Kirstie as she learned how to throw a pot and blow glass so she could put her very own hand-made items on her dresser in her kitchen. Yeah, right. What about the cost of the lessons and the materials and the time to take the lessons? This is not something everyone is going to do and certainly not the first thing I think of when I'm decorating a house.

Kirstie also showed how we can drive around (in all our spare time!) and look for a skip (the British word for a dumpster) that might contain something useful for our home. Oh, and don't forget to bring along a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves like Kirstie made a point of mentioning she forgot because then she had to gingerly dig around in the skips until she found a big mirror that she was obviously delighted to find because she went to ask the owner (another bit of advice she offered) permission before loading it into the back of her car which conveniently for Kirstie, is a Range Rover so she has plenty of space for all her treasures she finds in her skip raids. I mean, really?

This is meant to be useful advice and teach us how to make a "homemade" home? Personally, if I'm looking for a bargain and something a bit different, I go to charity shops and/or jumble (rummage) sales. It's still like going on a bit of a treasure hunt but doesn't involve driving all over the place and then digging through bits of who-knows-what in a skip. Perhaps, if I just happened to see something I really liked that was in a skip, while I was out and about anyway, I might approach the owner and ask about it but I wouldn't make a special trip to look in skips. Would you?

She also visited Cath Kidston (yes, the Cath Kidston, the owner of the business selling vintage styled fabrics and dishes) and showed us her own parent's house which is a huge, gorgeous mansion but then it would be because Kirstie casually admitted that her mother is an interior designer.

I have to say that I found the whole show very irritating and ridiculous. I thought we would be watching Kirstie renovate an old house, not watching her make pottery and blow glass! And was she serious about the huge letters spelling WOW on her kitchen wall or was that a joke?

I really do like Kirstie and I love the idea behind this show but I can only hope that the next part of this five-part series is not as impractical as I thought the first part was.

Kirstie's Homemade Home is on channel 4, Thursdays at 8:00 pm. It's worth noting that the website offers more practical advice (lots of useful how to guides) than the show does. You can also find out how to rent Kirstie's home (the house featured on Channel 4's Kirstie's Homemade Home) - Meadow Gate - for a holiday. If you missed the show, you can watch it via Channel 4 Catch-Up. Did you watch the show? Did you enjoy it or did you think it was silly (as I did)?

30 comments:

  1. Oh, Location is one of my faves too, but BBCA kept airing the same seasons over and over so I gave up watching it. Knowing them, they'll start airing this one rather than the latest series of the original show.

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  2. I think this new show has great potential - doing up an old house and presented by Kirstie Allsopp - how could it fail? Well, if the rest of the five-part series is like the first part, it is going to be a huge flop. Shame.

    Kirstie should just stick to presenting Location, Location, Location with Phil Spencer. They are such a great team and that is one of the best shows on TV.

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  3. It's a real shame when a new programme that you think you're going to enjoy disappoints like this.
    It would also annoy me for the various reasons you've given.

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  4. You are so right, Flighty. I know it's just a TV show but I was really looking forward to it and it was incredibly disappointing.

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  5. I've seen her on BBC America. I want to know how you get a job like that?

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  6. No kidding! Me too.

    She does know what she's talking about though on Location, Location, Location. She founded Kirmir Property Search but once her television career took off she left the company.

    By the way, here's a bit of trivia you might not know about Kirstie Allsopp:
    She is the daughter of Charles Henry Allsopp, sixth Baron Hindlip and former chairman of Christie's. And due to her father's peerage, she is entitled to use the title The Honourable Kirstie Allsopp.

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  7. Misuse of public funds, I say. Celebrity presenter gets C4 to make a film of her doing up her own house to rent out. Something's not right here. That's a presenter fee, writer fee, location fee, 5 hours prime-time advertising on TV and more free advertising on C4's web-site. No wonder she has a 'warm inner glow'. Are we all mugs here?

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  8. You're right - she gets paid to present a show about doing up her holiday home and at the same time she's getting free advertising for the holiday home (that can be rented out) via the show and the website. And that's not to mention bloggers like myself who reviewed the first part of the five-part series. I even provided a link to her holiday home! I think this is how the rich get richer. Nice work if you can get it.

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  9. This show seems to be aimed at middle England housewives who like the idea of roughing it a bit. Whilst some of the craft techniques may be of interest to the TV public, the notion that they represent a viable money-saving lifestyle is, frankly, insulting.

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  10. I'm not sure who the intended audience is. I think most people who sat down to watch the first episode were probably as disappointed as I was. And you are so right, the idea that the array of different crafts that Kirstie learned how to do was in any way a viable money-saving lifestyle is quite insulting.

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  11. it would be useful if someone did a brilliant job on one of those uninspiring 1950-2000 semi-detatched houses that most of us are obliged to live in

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  12. I personally love the show. I adore Kirstie and think she is doing a really good thing. She is supporting local arts and crafts people and bringing back ways to make your home look great in these credit crunch times. Believe it or not, but it wouldn't occur to some people to scour flea/antiques markets and she is showing you how to use what you already have in other ways. What is wrong with giving people some new inspiration? You are all so quick to slate someone who is only trying to bring back some good old fashioned 'house proud' ways, just because she isn't painting bannisters and stripping wallpaper. Don't we see enough of that in other programmes? Give us all a break.

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  13. While it's nice to encourage people to try various arts & crafts, I thought the purpose of the series was to show how to decorate a house in a thrify way. Instead it seemed to be all about showing Kirstie take classes to learn how to throw a pot, blow glass, hand-print wallpaper, make candles, stained-glass, make lampshades, blacksmithing, and learn to knit, etc.

    To suggest buying second-hand goods and looking for bargains at market stalls is good advice but most of the craft classes she showed are expensive.

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  14. Hi Maureen,

    I agree with you - it was very girlie in the respect that all the 'manly' bits (painting, building work etc) had conveniently been done and all she had to do was dress the house and make it look pretty. Hardly rocket science. Unfortunately, shows like this have to try and appeal to the masses not creative types like us so they end up being too general and watered down for anyone with any ounce of common sense!

    I disagree with one point - it's a Landrover Defender not a Range Rover (sorry, complete self confessed car geek and Defender enthusiast here!). ;-)

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  15. Hello Lavender hearts, Thanks for supporting my view and explaining what I meant even better than I did! LOL As you say, all Kirstie had to do was dress the house and make it look pretty.

    And I do try to get my facts straight but sometimes I goof so thanks for providing the correct information about the car.

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  16. Lisa from Australia here. I COULD NOT agree more with the anonymous person whose commented that "I adore Kirstie and think she is doing a really good thing."

    Kirstie has got spunk, infectious enthusiasm, unstoppable get-up-&-go, and more downright pizazz than all of you people put together (by the sounds of your blogs). Stop perpetuating the cultural stereotype of the whining pom and try to use your imaginations - which is all she is really asking you to do!

    I adore her AND her new show!

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  17. Well, in my defense, I did say that I like Kirstie! Location, Location, Location is one of my favourite shows, and the apppeal of the show is down to the very charming Kirstie and the friendly banter between her and Phil Spencer. It's just this particular series that I didn't like. I still like Kirstie!

    Anyway, thanks for leaving your comment with your view.

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  18. I loved Kirstie's Homemade Home. She nailed it. I was inspired and given a fresh outlook and motivation. I thought the insights into her family home were endearing and I was delighted to see her encourage crafting, and the support of local craftspeople. I think she is trying to make us think differently and not have look-alike cookie cutter homes. So often we see homes for sale where the look is for show and not for living in. She's unique, creative, likeable and I wish she were one of my girlfriends! She seems to get a good deal of negative press in her own country and that's a shame.

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  19. I'm glad you enjoyed watching Kirstie's Homemade Home. I didn't enjoy the show but I do agree with your view about Kirstie: "She's unique, creative, likeable and I wish she were one of my girlfriends!" Indeed, I feel the same way about her. It's just this particular series that I didn't like!

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  20. Sounds to me like a WHOLE lot of sour grapes here....talk about jealousy! Come on ladies, be happy for someone else's success for once! Kirstie is great....personable, talented and funny....if she has one episode that doesn't meet your high standards then perhaps we can forgive her for that!

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  21. It's not "sour grapes" or jealousy! I like Kirstie - it's just this series that I disliked. And I did watch more than one episode but I was still very disappointed to see that it was all about showing Kirstie taking classes to learn how to throw a pot, blow glass, hand-print wallpaper, make candles, stained-glass, make lampshades, blacksmithing, and learn to knit, etc.

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  22. Anyone can throw plaster, paint and wallpaper on a wall, we have seen it adnausia. This programme shows the artisan works like stainglass, wrought iron working...the finer details. Good on her for showing initiative to offer her place as it gets done. The rich get richer because they work for it and go get into life. She offers YOU opportunity to go out and do it, to inspire YOU to do something for yourself. unplug the computer!! Then again misery loves company...personally I am off to look at gorgious material to make a quilt.

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  23. You're entitled to your opinion just as I am. I was disappointed in the series because it showed Kirstie taking a variety of (expensive)classes to learn crafts to decorate her home. It didn't show money-saving ideas.

    To suggest buying second-hand goods and looking for bargains at market stalls is good advice but most of the craft classes (how to throw a pot, blow glass, hand-print wallpaper, make candles, stained-glass, make lampshades, blacksmithing) she showed are expensive.

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  24. Why would u want to watch someone stripping wallpaper and choosing paint colours? Boring! There's plenty of programs showing just that all the time.
    Me and my family rent a house where we are not allowed to do any decorating so little pieces I buy or make make it a home and depending on what I buy and the colours I can change the look quite cheaply. Therefore this program appealed to me. Yes I'm crafty/arty anyway but I think someone who want to try crafts and doesn't know where to start could really learn from kirsty and u never know...start a business themselves. Personally I'm sick of cheap, mass produced crap in this throw away age that we have now

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  25. As I said before, I was disappointed in the series because it showed Kirstie taking a variety of (expensive!)classes to learn crafts(how to throw a pot, blow glass, hand-print wallpaper, make candles, stained-glass, make lampshades, blacksmithing) to decorate her home. It wasn't what I expected the show to be about.

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  26. Terrific! How nice to see a homemade decorations. She is very creative! I'll follow her shows!

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  27. It is very nice collection for home improvement about Kirsties homemade home.Thanks for shearing this blog.

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