“We ended up both buying – and hadn’t set out to do such a big project!”
Best friends Sarah and Jo have loved going on holiday with their families for many years and especially like Corfu. They met at school and still have a lot of fun together which was clear on the show. But it wasn’t just Sarah who ended up buying after the couple’s trip out to Corfu three years ago! Their episode, with Danni Menzies, was filmed in June 2020 and they have achieved an awful lot in that time, even with Greek timeframes…
Sarah’s ‘head was blown’ when the friends viewed property three in Velonades, for sale at £146,500 – but so too was Jo’s. When the filming was over the couple met Spyros, a local builder, the next day for some quotes and stayed on in Greece to have a further think.
Says Sara, 59, who runs a catering business in Manchester: “It was such an exciting but daunting project. But it all hinged on one thing: could we divide the property in two legally, so it was a joint purchase? Luckily the answer was yes, and we confirmed an offer of £148k.”
But that not quite the end of the legals. “When we got home we showed it to my son Josh and his wife Lisa and they wanted to come in on the purchase too,” says Sarah. “So we divided up the property into three parts – the two-bed main house for Mark and I, the two-bedroom barn for Jo and her husband and then the one-bed annexe for Josh and Lisa. The common parts - like the pool we were planning to build - would be owned jointly.”
This took until January 2021 at which point their amazing transformation – with Spyros’s team of builders – began. Of course like most grand designs it’s taken longer than they thought but there were permissions required to build a swimming pool too (that cost €50k alone to build) but as you can see from these images it is without doubt one of the most dramatic transformations we’ve seen in a follow-up.
“We went out in April 2023 to furnish it and that was also a lot of fun,” says Sara. “We had a huge IKEA delivery but then wondered if the lorry would get up the single track to reach the house! We also discovered JYSK – a wonderful Danish furniture shop like IKEA that has a branch in Corfu Town.”
The property is now perfectly set up for the families – both Sara and Jo have three grown-up children each – to enjoy together, or separately, and also to rent out (you too could stay there next summer). “It sleeps 16. Each house has a sofa bed too, and we’ve had a great time making the most of it this summer,” says Sara. And they do love a party or two…
“It’s been stressful, and we’ve overspent, but we just sit on our balcony having a coffee and admiring that view and can’t believe we’ve done it. We didn’t plan such a big project! This is something that our children will have to enjoy for many years – the whole experience has been amazing.”