Having worked in the TV business for over 30 years, Nick Knowles has enjoyed all the trappings that fame and success bring, including a big house. However, the DIY SOS presenter has given up his large dwelling for somewhere a fair bit smaller – and says he’s has never been happier.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Knowles told host Kate Thornton that two years ago he had a “road to Damascus moment” that has changed his life for the better.
“I was living in a Georgian house in Windsor,” he told her. “My ex and my little boy were living away in Cheltenham.”
He continued: “I went to find my watch and I couldn't find it and I went two rooms I hadn't been into for a year. I was like, 'What the hell am I doing in this house?' I sat down and I looked at everything – 'I don't use that cupboard. I don't use that wardrobe. I don't use that antique that I bought.’”
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Knowles swapped his rented house in Windsor, which cost him a reported £3,500 a month, for a smaller house near his son in the Cotswolds.
He told Thornton: “Basically, I gave away all my furniture to friends who had nice houses, got rid of the house, skipped 80% of my possessions and moved out to the countryside near Cheltenham. It's a little village in the middle of nowhere. I now live in a tiny little cottage!”
When asked by Thornton how getting rid of all his possessions felt, he said it made him feel free.
“It's amazing, it's unbelievably free,” declared the presenter.
“I'm not really interested in what's happened before because today and tomorrow is really what's interesting. The further you get in life, the more you realise that stuff is meaningless. People are really important.”
While his house in the Cotswolds is, according to Nick, worth probably a 10th of what his Windsor property was worth, he says he has all that he needs – in particular somewhere he can finally call home.
“I'm happier than I've ever been in my life,” he declared.
“Journalists would say, ‘Where do you feel at home?’ and I could never answer the question because I never had a home. The only sense of home I could ever have was when I flew back from somewhere and I saw the Thames…
“But there was nowhere that I ever considered home until I came here - and then suddenly I'm home. This is where I'll stay.”
While the former I’m A Celebrity star moved to be closer to his young son, Eddie, he’s relishing the remote location – although he told Thornton that if things ever change, he may need to move somewhere a bit closer to civilisation.
“I'm kind of here on my own and I'm surrounded by fields,” he explained.
“There's not like a pub that I go to regularly around here and for a gregarious person, who spent his whole life dealing with people, it's a bit like Zsa Za Gabor…
“I'll worry when I start growing my fingernails and storing urine in the corner - that's when I need to start with the next chapter of the book!”