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

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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015