Section Home Page 30 Date 17 June 2007 Circulation 1,359,159 Author Emma Wells Costa fortune The least likely DIY couple reveal how not to do up your dream home. By Emma Wells R occo Barker and Dawn house they found in the village of The couple continue to lurch Buckler would look more Sant Feliu del Raco. He also has a through disasters: deposit crises, at home backstage at bent for design — and an awesome mortgage dilemmas, problems with Glastonbury than on a collection of abstract art and vintage workmen, lovers’ tiffs. They even building site in Spain. Rocco furniture — that he was desperate to — who you may or may not put to good use. survive — just — an onslaught from recognise as the lead guitarist from the Though he describes himself as Dawn’s girlfriends and the intrusion 1980s goth band Flesh for Lulu — and “quite handy”, Rocco’s main problem of a live-in builder. Dawn, his Canadian girlfriend, a media is getting out of bed, much to the fury It is mostly good-natured. “We PA, have no money and no DIY skills. of the leopardskin-clad Dawn, 31, wanted to have fun,” says Rocco. “It In fact, they don’t even know which who snarls at him, in the first episode: was my job to do the design of the airport flights to Girona leave from. “I’m not your bloody mother.” house, and I love the huge living-room But they do have a dream. Well, The house is about a 30-minute extension. I walked out just before I Dawn does, anyway. A dream to drive from Barcelona. The couple, who finished it, though. I couldn’t take any escape their humdrum lives in north have been together for about four more — it was too stressful. But I will London and restore and redesign a years, spotted the alpine-style 1970s go back and finish it.” house in the hills outside Barcelona, property in January 2005; they bought So, what would they do differently which they will then rent out as a retro it four months later for £202,000. next time? “Um, well, we’d have a retreat to A-listers. Rocco would They have spent “three times that”, budget,” says Dawn regretfully. “We actually rather have created a private according to Dawn, or “beyond five are so in debt.” And what advice home — but that’s after the fact. times”, if you believe Rocco, doing it would she give to anyone else looking The couple’s torturous and up. And no, the pair didn’t agree a to create their dream home in sometimes disastrous renovation budget beforehand. the Spanish sun? Starting off with project — think Spinal Tap meets A “We gutted the house, added an some money is a good idea, says Place in the Sun — is the subject of a extension, built a swimming pool, put Dawn. Then learn some of the new 10-part Channel 4 series, A Place in new tiles everywhere,” says Dawn. basics — “like what foundations and in Spain: Costa Chaos, which starts “I can’t quite believe Casa Jet Set is electrics are”. on Friday. “I loved making the series, nearly finished.” The whole process has been but I hated nearly every moment of The series charts their turbulent plagued with mishaps. “The crap working on the house,” says Rocco, progress. In the first episode, they miss electricians took down our lightning 46, clearly not a natural DIY-er. conductor and forgot to put it back However, disillusioned with the their flight, leaving José, their property rock’n’roll lifestyle — “One minute, lawyer, waiting for hours at Girona up,” Dawn says. Lightning struck it’s a stretch limo outside the London airport. In an attempt to appease him, three weeks ago, destroying their Hilton, the next it’s signing on in they take him out on the town, where £8,000 hot tub. Kilburn High Road” — Rocco, who they proceed to drink themselves into Dawn and Rocco, now back in resembles Jarvis Cocker in his oblivion. “God, you must be horny,” London for a break, are hoping their oversized glasses and big-collared she slurs to the unfortunate Spaniard first guests will arrive in October. The retro shirts, admits he immediately at 3am, after he admits that he hasn’t website for the villa, which sleeps fell in love with the five-bedroom had a girlfriend for seven years. eight, puts weekly rental at £1,800, The contents of the publications from which these extracts have been taken are copyright works and without prior permission of the relevant collecting society or save as permitted by statute may not be copied or otherwise reproduced (even for internal purposes) or resold. Section Home Page 30 Date 17 June 2007 Circulation 1,359,159 Author Emma Wells or £2,500 including 24-hour butler and translator service, plus a daily maid. How is their relationship now? “Strained,” Dawn says. “But we’re still together.” As for the future, Dawn will probably stay in Spain for a bit, running Casa Jet Set as a small business; Rocco says he “didn’t want to turn into Basil Fawlty”, so is going back to his roots to work on his new band, Rocco’s Ruthless Cartel, which he describes as an all-girl band, “including me. We’re a mix of the New York Dolls and the Velvet Underground, with a splash of Dean Martin”. What are his final words of caution for the would-be overseas property renovator? “If it’s a dream you have as a couple, make sure you’re set on each other — you have such big decisions to make. And don’t be fooled by any of those programmes you see on telly showing you how easy it is to create your dream home. That’s rubbish.” n A Place in Spain: Costa Chaos starts on Friday, on Channel 4, 8pm; www.casajetset.com The contents of the publications from which these extracts have been taken are copyright works and without prior permission of the relevant collecting society or save as permitted by statute may not be copied or otherwise reproduced (even for internal purposes) or resold. Section Home Page 30 Date 17 June 2007 Circulation 1,359,159 Author Emma Wells Matt Fagg/Alamy The village house is set in the hills, 30 minutes’ drive from Barcelona Casa Jet Set is due to have its first guests in October. Above right: still smiling, Rocco Barker and Dawn Buckler The contents of the publications from which these extracts have been taken are copyright works and without prior permission of the relevant collecting society or save as permitted by statute may not be copied or otherwise reproduced (even for internal purposes) or resold.