DJ Taylor: Serial refurbisher Barry Stucco is blissfully unaware of the ticking time-bombs buried beneath his lucrative lifestyle

 

Share

Just now the Stuccos - Barry, Mel and their daughters Kayleigh and Tricia-Ann - are living in a converted oast-house on the Surrey-Sussex border: a "really nice place", Mrs Stucco assures her acquaintance, with half an acre and the out-of-town Tesco only three miles away.

The only problem is that this highly desirable residence, which Barry bought for a song late in 2012 and has spent the past year-and-a-half energetically doing up, is on the market for £750,000. Six weeks from now it will be sold, and the Stuccos sent forth to negotiate the next chapter of their peripatetic existence.

In fact, the oast-house sojourn is one of their longer stays. Usually they reckon to be in and out of a property inside nine months. Two years back they were in Essex, where Barry had chanced upon a moth-eaten guest house outside Billericay just crying out to be turned into flats. The site cost £300,000. The flats – a bit cramped, but it's a seller's market isn't it – went for £150,000 each, and once the contractors had been paid off, Barry cleared £200,000. It meant the Stuccos camping out in the first one while the others were being coaxed into existence, and the noise was a nightmare, but how else can you make this kind of money for what, basically, is a bit of high-grade interior decorating?

In the past decade or so the Stuccos have fetched up in a variety of inviting south-of-England locations: a townhouse in Gravesend, which Barry acquired for £350,000, fitted out with a Jacuzzi and a sun-room and then sold for £550,000; a small hotel in Andover, which a little judicious reconfiguration saw carved up into no fewer than four maisonettes. There was a bad moment after the banking crash when the buyer for a redeveloped stable block in Caterham pulled out leaving him with a £250,000 bank loan to renegotiate, but that's property for you, and you have to take the rough with the smooth.

In his late forties now, hair beginning to recede, his only exercise the mid-morning potter around the current site in espadrilles and Hawaiian shirt, Barry is blissfully unaware of the two ticking time-bombs buried beneath this lucrative but somewhat breathless lifestyle. The first is a zealous tax inspector who came across the Billericay project. The second is Mel's increasing resentment at having to take the children out of school every other year. Who knows which will be the first to detonate?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul
 

Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living