A Place in Surrey
A PLACE IN SURREY
Angela Sara West chats to A Place in the Sun presenter Laura Hamilton about her favourite local spots…
From flash Floridian condos to idiosyncratic Italian dwellings, this well-travelled Surreyite has seen, and showed us, them all. As a presenter on Channel 4’s popular property-hunting programme ‘A Place in the Sun’, she has travelled the world in her quest to help people find their dream homes abroad.
But, for Laura Hamilton, having found her very own place in the sun (when it’s out!) here in Surrey, the best part of her prolific TV travels is coming home. “I have filmed all over the UK and abroad, but I always love coming back to Surrey,” she tells me.
Laura, who lives in Purley with her husband Alex Goward and her two children, seven- year-old son Rocco and six-year-old daughter Tahlia, adores the area, having also lived in Cheam.
“We love it here, it’s so green and leafy… we’re surrounded by such beautiful countryside. I often take the children to the Surrey Hills and Reigate Park, which they really like!”
She also enjoys the famous view from Box Hill, and a day out at Bocketts Farm in Leatherhead or Hobbledown in Epsom, and the woods between Chipstead and Banstead, home to the wooden-carving trail of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.
And, having seen the beautiful setting of Surrey’s Silent Pool Gin, and learned the ethos behind it, she has become an ambassador for the brand.
Laura also loves the community vibe where she lives, and she herself can be found at the hub of it, having taken over the village shop. The Lord Roberts has historically served the community since 1907. Forward-wind a century, and in 2017, Laura and Alex not only renovated the site, but created the impressive ‘Lord Roberts on The Green‘, an independent restaurant and coffee shop offering artisan produce, alongside everyday necessities.
During the lockdowns, the store served as a pillar of stability, helping locals residents with their food shopping.
The time has now come though to sell the business. Laura explains: “When you love doing up properties or building brands as I do, you reach a point of wanting to move on. Lord Roberts has the potential to go to another level, but I don’t want to take it there. I am ready to pass the reins on to someone else and am excited to see what they do with it.”
Renovation, renovation, renovation…
With a love of interior design and renovation, Laura has recently been doing up her home. Her luxury red-brick property, situated on Purley’s exclusive residential Webb Estate, is adorned with artwork, and Laura’s elegant eye for design gives glamorous hotels a good run for their money… “I get a lot of interior inspiration from boutique hotels I stay in,” she explains.
With lockdowns slamming the brakes on her travels, it proved the perfect time for her to pick up a paintbrush, seeing her paint her house from top to bottom, and renovating her kitchen “at a fraction of the cost” of what it would be to have a new one installed. She also reupholstered Rocco’s bedroom headboard, and loves sharing improvement tips for people wanting to update on a budget
Laura inexpensively re-tiled her kitchen with Moroccan-style patterned tiles, inspired by her travels, fitted low-hanging dome pendant lamp shades over the central kitchen island with its traditional Belfast sink and leather-look bar stools, and painted the panelling to complement the kitchen’s new two-tone colour scheme of off-white and grey, creating a contemporary-classic look. She also advises on changing handles, taps and shower heads to totally transform your living space easily.
The TV star likes to support local charities, including The Children’s Trust in Tadworth and The Sandcastle Trust in Coulsdon. Earlier this month, she joined in the Boycott Your Bed campaign for Action for Children
In celebration of its 152nd birthday, Laura snuggled down in Surrey to read some soothing bedtime stories to a captivated audience. “I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my life to sleep in some lovely AND unusual places…. I have slept on a beach in Sri Lanka, with Bedouin Monks in the Sahara Dessert, in a treehouse on a mat in the jungle in Thailand and more!” she reveals. “My adventures have been incredible… I know that so many other people haven’t been as fortunate, especially over the last 18 months, hence I wanted to support this campaign.”
So, what’s next for Laura? She is hoping to enjoy some sunshine in her gorgeous garden, complete with luxurious loungers plus a private pool she recently retiled. Laura is not one to rest on her laurels!