As the new season of Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It drops, Tara Ward investigates how the gurus can help us with our own interpersonal property dilemmas.
We’re approaching the second week of national lockdown, and it’s about now that many of us will begin to have the “love it or list it” conversations. Somewhere between the “but have you really washed your hands?” tête-à-tête and the “does Ashley Bloomfield ever get a day off?” chinwag, you’ll start to loathe the layout of your house, detest the colour of the walls, or wish you could add an additional bubble onto your already too-small bubble; somewhere to lock yourself away and watch all 156 glorious episodes of The West Wing.
This is where the new season of Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It comes in. Property gurus Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer team up with Brits who have a love/hate relationship with their home. These homeowners are stuck between a feature wall and a hard place, with one person adoring the property and the other despising it with a blind fury that would see them happily set fire to the many, many ornamental cushions stuffed into their already overcrowded conservatory.
Kirstie and Phil are here to help, swooping in like two property superheroes ready to solve problems and save lives. Phil seduces the homeowners with bigger and better houses for sale, while Kirstie transforms their existing home so they can spend the rest of their days basking in the joy that superior indoor/outdoor flow brings. At the end of each episode, the owners nervously announce their decision. Will they stay and enjoy their renovated home, or take the added value and make a run for it?
Marriages are at stake, reputations are on the line. It’s a battle between the head, the heart and the wallet, and I know from the time I spent too much money on a plastic fish that sang ‘Take Me To The River’ whenever someone walked past it, that sort of situation leads to a lot of conflict. Luckily, Kirstie and Phil are experts at handling stressful situations. They’re saving the nation, one knocked-through kitchen at a time, so let’s take a closer look at the Phil and Kirstie guide to conflict resolution.
Always communicate, especially if you think you are a bird
Kirstie and Phil are marriage counsellors cloaked in a veil of home renovation. Their soothing, calming presence releases an emotional valve that makes complete strangers open up about their lives on national television, but what else are we here for? Let’s live, laugh, love, and then cover all of our problems in three square metres of concrete.
“This house makes me feel like spitting feathers!” says one disgruntled homeowner, who is not a bird. “We’re fed up with the house,” says another. “But I love the heat from the wood burner!” begs her husband, even though he’s six foot four and doesn’t fit in the bathroom. Even Kirstie and Phil practice what they preach, communicating openly and honestly at all times. “You’re a snob, you’re obsessed with being in the country, and you’re a prude,”says Kirstie to her BFF Phil. See? Works a treat.
Competition is an excellent motivator
Competition is everything in the property market, and if you’re not winning, you’re trapped in an empty loft of your own untapped potential. Love it or List it is all about Kirstie and Phil’s battle for supremacy as they boast about how many ‘love’ or ‘lists’ they get. “I trounce Kirsty at every moment!” Phil proudly shouts, as he tempts couples with mansions and swimming pools. “Let the battle begin! Phil doesn’t stand a chance!” Kirstie cries as another house is pulled to pieces. Ha ha ha, games are fun!
Solve your problems head on
There is no problem a sledgehammer cannot solve, and that is the law.
Stress management is key
Kirstie and Phil know property ownership can be a right shitshow. They know renovating your home sucks, and they know putting £50,000 of your own money into a house you hate is a wild idea. You know what helps with stress? A new feature wall, big French doors, and a private garden with a hot tub. Own it, embrace it, take that stress and paint your new front porch with it.
The road to happiness is paved with compromise
The most tense part of Love it or List it are the final moments when Phil and Kirstie ask the big question: “so, will you…love it…or will you…list it?”. It’s a journey of a thousand compromises, whether it’s Phil and Kirsty compromising over who played the better game, or the couples compromising over the new bathroom tiles. But at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. Karen and Duncan have an open plan kitchen, Richard and Sarah are moving into their dream home, and Kirstie and Phil have restored peace and harmony to the world. Happy days, everyone.
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Love it or List it airs every Wednesday from tonight at 8pm.
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