Larne family ‘love it’ after Channel Four television show

Presenters Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp with householders Catherine and Nigel Finch (centre).
Presenters Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp with householders Catherine and Nigel Finch (centre).

A Larne resident who featured in Wednesday night’s edition of Channel Four property show “Love it or List it” has described it as a “brilliant experience”.

Catherine and Nigel Finch were selected to take part in the television show after applying last June before an interview and meeting the production team.

Catherine, who is from Tamworth, in Staffordshire, said it was “really lovely” to meet the hosts Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp who competed to convince the couple to either refurbish their home outside Gleno and stay or list it for sale.

Initially, Catherine had chosen the rural Seventies split level bungalow but Nigel had not been so keen.

Before Phil and Kirstie became involved, Catherine wanted to move as she missed having neighbours, but Nigel, who is a former Whitehead resident, enjoyed their spacious garden for keeping hens and countryside views, and wanted to stay.

She explained that she applied to take part on impulse after watching the show one evening and two days later, the wheels were in motion and filming got underway in July.

“When I told Nigel the production team had phoned me, he thought I was winding him up,” she recalled.

“Phil and Kirstie were really lovely. We had a really good rapport. They had our best interests at heart. The whole production team was just amazing. They were very relaxed. You felt like you were just having a chat and forgot you were being filmed.”

“Anything we could do like painting, ripping up old floors and taking out the old kitchen to keep costs down, we got stuck in.”

The whole family got involved with daughters 13-year-old Lola and ten-year-old Daisy rolling up their sleeves to do their bit with support from Catherine’s step-daughter Katie, aged 24, who no longer lives at home.

Viewers were treated to scenes of the East Antrim countryside, Black Arch, Antrim Coast Road and Larne Promenade as Phil Spencer drove them to look at potential new homes, viewing a detached property at Sandford Avenue, in Larne, a bungalow in Ballycarry and a house in Kilwaughter.

Meanwhile, Kirstie drew up plans for a renovation which involved converting the garage and reconfiguring the lay-out of rooms.

Catherine paid tribute to Larne building contractor Looney and McAlister who carried out the work saying: “Kieran and the boys went way beyond our expectation.

“Thank you for creating a fabulous, family home. One thing is for sure we have a beautiful home and if we do list it to renovate another project, Looney and McAlister would be the only builder we would choose. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Catherine and Nigel were so impressed by the final result which created an even more impressive view of the rural landscape and increased family space at a cost of £45,000 overall that they both came to the same conclusion - love it.

They have thanked everyone who assisted them with the renovation: Looney & McAllister; James Haughey & Co, Glenariffe; Liam Larkham; Thompsons; Allen Interiors; The Courtyard, Larne, Choice Flooring, Paul McAlister; Creative Living, Belfast; Freddie Lyle Tiling Bathroom Tiles; Tile & Wooden Floor Store, Bangor; Billy Andy’s; Brian Todd and Hunter Campbell.