'I own Britain's second-best home'

A WOMAN from Suffolk has said she was quite happy to have been pipped to the post in her bid to be crowned the owner of “Britain's best home”.

Elliot Furniss

A WOMAN from Suffolk has said she was quite happy to have been pipped to the post in her bid to be crowned the owner of “Britain's best home”.

Stephanie Renouf bought her home in Walberswick five years ago and has transformed the interior and exterior of the 1980s bungalow beyond recognition.

Last night the final of Channel Five's I Own Britain's Best Home was aired and viewers saw Mrs Renouf and her husband Johnnie finish in second place.

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Mrs Renouf, a PR consultant, said she had received very supportive feedback from both the celebrity panel, including showbiz interior design expert Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, and fellow Walberswick residents.

She said: “We have had so many lovely compliments from people in the village - and no complaints at all.

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“We didn't tell anybody about being on the programme and people have read about it and seen the shows and have voted for us, which is really nice.

“I love the house because it works - it doesn't matter whether it's just the two of us there or a house full of guests - it works as a home.”

The building was originally built as a chalet bungalow and Mrs Renouf described it as “a bit of a mish-mash” before it was converted into the grand design that exists today, based on the style of houses found in picturesque Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

She added: “We never ever thought we'd end up on TV and this isn't why we did it. We sat there watching it and said 'how did we get from buying a property in the area where we love to being on a telly programme?'

“To be the runner-up on something like this is quite incredible. To think of the houses that were selected, any one of them could have won.”

Over eight weeks of the series, presenters Melissa Porter, Russell Harris and Michael Holmes took an in-depth look behind the front doors of the 24 outstanding houses from around the UK.

During last night's final, Laurence Llewelyn- Bowen, Wayne Hemingway, Jenny Eclair and Kelly Hoppen joined the presenters to cast their expert eyes over the finalists' comfiest, quirkiest and homeliest homes.

The house with the largest percentage of viewers' votes throughout the series, the Woodland New Build, was named Britain's Best Home 2009.

The owner of the Norfolk woodland hideaway walked away with the title and �20,000 for the charity of her choice after spending eight years creating her eco-friendly dream home.

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