I have the privilege – and it is an enormous privilege – of looking at people’s homes every single day of my working life on TV shows like Location, Location, Location and Love It or List It. In the last 10 days, I’ve been criss-crossing the country from Wolverhampton, Stoke Newington and Caterham to Maidenhead, Stamford and Stratford-upon-Avon.
While I don’t see the very poorest homes because those aren’t the ones being bought or redecorated, it does mean I see a huge variety of the average homes where people live in this country. And as I travel round, what I see more and more, often at the side of motorways or A roads – are new developments of quite tall, thin, sometimes three-storey detached houses with little tiny gaps between them. Often, they bear no relationship to the vernacular of the area and have to be driven to.
On the same travels, I’ll also go to villages and see houses built in the 1950s and 1960s, often in crescents of 10 or a dozen houses, some terraced, some semi-detached, often they will have large gardens, where neighbours know each other. Most villages in the UK have somewhere like this, built in the post-war years.