SarahBeenySpringIssue2017 - 31
THE BIG INTERVIEW▲
HAIR & MAKE-UP: LIZ KITCHENER, STYLING: TESS WRIGHT, ACCESSORIES: HABITAT, AMARA
Welcoming me into her large yet
endearingly casual home in south
London, Sarah Beeny is an excellent
host - we settle down among cushions
and cats draped on chair backs in a
cosy sitting room to drink coffee and
talk TV shows, trends and, rather
unexpectedly, Donald Trump.
'I was going to stay on the fence
and not talk about him at all,' she says
conspiratorially, her face creasing into
an incredulous expression. 'I thought
the Mexican wall thing was a joke!'
Is Sarah worried about the president
of the United States? 'I'm just hoping
he really thinks a little bit about the
consequences of his decisions. And I'm
hoping once he's done shouting about
a few big, radical things, like building a
wall - maybe he'll shut up about it.'
The surge of nationalism that led
to President Trump's election echoed
feelings in the UK around the EU
referendum. The clock is now ticking
on a two-year deadline for negotiating
post-Brexit deals - after Prime Minister
Theresa May triggered Article 50 last
month - but Sarah, 45, dismisses fears
that UK property values will plummet.
'It will not make any difference. The
government is much more ineffectual
than we think it is and if people want
to buy and sell stuff, then they will
work out a way of making that happen
- and not through the government.
'House prices are driven by people
who've got enough money to buy that
house. Crashes in the market happen
when people have to sell. So if no one
has to sell, they just don't sell.
'People only really have to sell when
the interest rates go up, for example,
by 10% overnight. But the Bank of
England isn't going to do that, because
it's not stupid. So what is Brexit going
to do to the market? Not a lot, really.'
Sarah knows what she is talking
about, as she became a household
name while advising would-be
developers on Channel 4's Property
Ladder series back in 2001.
She's rarely been offscreen since,
presenting even while pregnant with
her sons Billy, now 12, Charlie, 11,
Rafferty, eight, and Laurie, seven.
She also runs the online estate
agency Teplio.com, the restored East
Yorkshire mansion and wedding
venue Rise Hall, and her own range
of handles - on top of family duties.
I ask Sarah if she thinks she will
ever be able to slow down.
'No, probably not. As the children
get older, they take up a lot more of
my time. There are big chunks of the
day that I try to devote to them, which
makes the rest of the day shorter.
'I suppose if you are someone who's
quite manic, it just depends what you
want to be manic about. I'm not very
good at just sitting around.'
do for a living - I buy and sell things:
houses. It's the same basic principle,
so for me the show was a really
obvious thing to do.'
'I like the show, I like antiques, I
like dealing and I wanted to try a
studio show. It's a really different
discipline to the way I film normally.
'We made 40 shows in a month,
whereas I'm used to making 12 shows
in about a year and a half. That was
something I wanted to experience:
what it's like to make shows with lots
of people in a studio, all completely
controlled. It was amazing.'
That's not all Sarah's been working
on. Channel 4 broadcast a one-hour
special called UK's Best Place To Live
'THE OUTCOME AND PROSPECTS OF
AN AREA ARE COMPLETELY DRIVEN
BY ITS CULTURE. IN SOUTH RIBBLE,
PEOPLE CELEBRATE SUCCESS'
MUM'S THE WORD
She's finding that parenting doesn't
get easier as her sons get older, either.
With a self-deprecating laugh, she
says: 'Every morning I wake up and
think: who am I going to disappoint
today? And there's always someone.'
'Normally me!' shouts her husband,
the artist Graham Swift, 44, who is
working in the room next door.
Sarah smiles ruefully: 'My youngest
one has been quite negative recently
and you sort of think: "Oh God, am I
screwing him up? Do I need to be more
positive and encourage him more?"
'With babies - so long as someone
gives them a cuddle, feeds them, keeps
them warm and changes their bum
- they don't really care who does it.
'But as they get older, every single
reaction that you have to them
matters and they need so much
one-on-one time, which is physically
impossible to achieve.'
As part of trying to rejig her hectic
timetable, Sarah is helming the
popular antiques dealing TV show
Sarah Beeny's Four Rooms. She sees it
as a natural move: 'Dealing is what I
back in February, which found the top
area for 20-somethings isn't London
or Birmingham, but South Ribble, in
Lancashire (see pg 38). It topped the
combined rankings for property prices,
job opportunities, infrastructure and
potential for family life.
Rather an unexpected winner, I say,
but Sarah wasn't surprised: 'I know that
patch is amazing for transport to lots of
big cities, so lots of opportunities.
'I've visited and filmed in lots of
these places over the years and I'm
absolutely aware that the outcome and
prospects of an area are completely
driven by its culture.
'In South Ribble, I think the local
councillors are hungry for change and
people celebrate success, they think it's
exciting and think: "Wow, I'm going to
try something, too".
'Whereas in lots of other parts of the
country, if someone's doing well, there's
a sense of: "We'll bring them down,
they've got too big for their boots".
'Actually, I think that's part of what
fuelled all of Brexit: the culture of
jealousy, of feeling "it's not fair, other
people have got stuff and I haven't, so >
www.athomemagazine.co.uk MAY 2017 | 031