“Three weeks after the filming finished, we found our ‘Bajan castle’”
Having a career break from their jobs in IT and heading out to Barbados, Ro and Nick had a great time filming with Craig in November 2021. Yet with such a generous budget (and wiggle room) the choice of houses they might buy was going to prove the trickiest part.
But the couple did find their home and are now happily ensconced on the west coast, where we caught up with them.
“We had already decided to stay on in Barbados after the filming, whether to complete the purchase or carry on looking,” says Ro, 39. “In the end we hired a car, drove around and saw a lot of houses. Being on the programme was a great learning experience about what we wanted (a large garden), and what we didn’t (something modern). We found one within three weeks.”
Their property is elevated high on a ridge between Weston and Royal Westmoreland on the ‘Platinum Coast’ so the ocean views from it were the real clincher. It’s 12 minutes from the beach but ‘looks ugly’ jokes Nick. He calls it a ‘Bajan castle’ and you’ll see why from the pictures. The local owner created the large property himself, divided into three parts, and ran out of money to complete his grand design. There’s even a tennis court on the roof. “It is utterly bizarre!” he adds.
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The couple are working with an architect to make the two-bedroom top floor flat, ground-floor four-bed apartment and two-bed ‘unfinished’ basement into one big home. The tennis court will become a roof-top swimming pool.
Sitting on two plots, it has the large garden they wanted, with bananas trees, avocadoes, ginger, pomegranates, and all sorts of tropical plants, along with the odd monkey. “It cost above our original budget but within the wiggle room,” says Nick, 51, who says it took until June to complete the purchase and get the keys. “Since then we have been pretty busy working on the house and garden, which can be very hard in the heat here.”
He says the owner seemed to fix everything with a yoghurt pot, so there’s a certain amount of remedial work, and cleaning, whilst the large garden keeps Ro busy. “We haven’t been to the beach quite as much as you might expect,” she says. Nick hasn’t taken up golf yet, either. Ro is also planning on some ‘pickled’ ceilings – it’s the traditional look of a kind of whitewashed exposed pine between the beams of many Bajan homes.
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Although the couple had sold their southwest London home to fund the purchase, they kept a flat in Southampton where they stay when they spend periods back in the UK. They are allowed to spend six months at a time on the island, but are looking into visa options. “We’ve settled into the island routine here where we get up and never quite know how the day is going to go,” says Nick. “We do like the local rum shop where we’ve met some people there. It’s sort of easy come, easy go.” It doesn’t sound like there’s much not to like.