And now for some lockdown-unfriendly architecture

TV review: It’s the ultimate in open plan living: Julian takes a bath, Sylvia cooks next to him

Silvia and Julian from Brighton with presenter Angela Scanlon

Silvia and Julian from Brighton with presenter Angela Scanlon

 

As architects, Robert Jamison and Laura Jane Clark don’t have a great deal in common. Robert is sort of The Sex Pistols of his profession while Laura Jane is more ELO. Last year, for example, Robert put an actual temple “cloaked within a Faraday cage curtain” in a woman’s back garden when all she probably wanted was somewhere to put her tumble dryer.

What they do share, though, is a preference for open plan living, which made the timing of the start of the second season of Your Home Made Perfect (BBC Two, 8pm) awkward. Because all families in lockdown want right now is as many internal walls as they can muster, just so they can get a break from each other.

But it was pre-lockdown when Silvia and Julian from Brighton sought help due to the chronic lack of space in their bungalow. The tiny kitchen was the biggest issue because Silvia’s parents are from Sicily so she likes to cook mountains of pasta.

At one point we see Julian wedged between Sylvia and a humongous saucepan of tortellini, Silvia sporting a look of such exasperation he looks in danger of becoming its filling.

What did they hope for? “My approach is more far-out,” says Silvia, “I want a bit of drama.”

This is what worries Julian who, perhaps, envisaged his bungalow ending up as a temple cloaked within a Faraday cage curtain. “Flamboyant is great – but does it work,” he asks.

So, they meet up with Robert and Laura Jane and with the assistance of 3D virtual reality technology, they are able to see their rival plans.

“How are you feeling,” Robert asks them. “Proper nervous,” says Silvia, while Julian just looks like he is about to vomit. And when he sees Robert’s design, he begins to cry. But – and this is wholly unexpected – they are happy tears, Julian loves the fact that all his internal walls are gone, his home turned in to a single room.

The crowning glory is the inclusion of a bath hidden under bench seating in the kitchen. “We’ve just got to work out what to do when my Mum comes over,” says Julian. But he isn’t remotely deterred, he’s smitten.

Laura Jane’s design focuses on bringing the garden in to the house, something Labradors, incidentally, do for their owners every day, and a downbeat Robert suspects she will triumph. “Having that light coming through really transforms the experience,” he concedes. “So does having a bath in the middle of the kitchen,” notes our presenter, Angela Scanlon.

Nobody, then, is more surprised than Robert when Silvia and Julian choose his design, apart, maybe, from the entire audience. And once the work is done, their home isn’t the only thing transformed; Julian is too, his hair now shoulder-length, Silvia at a loss to understand what has happened the Julian she married.

So now he can play with his rubber duck in the bath while Silvia cooks pasta beside him. Their home wasn’t just made perfect, their lives too.

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