Ore Oduba lived ‘upstairs with a camping stove’ during lockdown


Ore Odubda
Ore Odubda: ‘It was fun, though’ (Picture: Getty)

Strictly champion Ore Oduba and his wife Portia’s first property was a house in north London – where they initially had to move into a room upstairs to camp out.

The house was extended and improved and now they are heading to Kent for a slower-paced lifestyle and their chance to put their stamp on a new-build.

Ore and Portia have partnered with the British Airways American Express Card to celebrate the Companion Voucher, which provides a second seat on the same British Airways flight for a companion when they make a Reward Flight booking.

Where did you buy your first home?

We bought our first home in London, having lived in Manchester for five years together. We rented in north London for two years and bought the first place in December 2018.

How was the buying experience for you both?

It’s a bit of a shock to the system. It’s a bit of a jolt. In my experience I wanted to have a family and buy my own house. Then you get to the position of saving up so much money and then it’s just gone. The whole point is investing in property and you see your bank balance go from loads of green to loads of red and it’s quite daunting. But we loved the place. The house had been owned by an older couple and was only built around 2000.

Ore and Portia Oduba
Ore and wife Portia had to get used to making do (Picture: @oreodubaofficial)

What did you do with the place?

We were very lucky as Portia’s dad has built quite a few homes before, so with things like the bathrooms that needed updating, he kindly offered to give them a spruce, put in some shelving… All those things to not make it feel like living in someone else’s house. It felt like our own home.

Did you do anything structurally?

We did a whole downstairs conversion and put an extension on the back. It was during lockdown and we moved upstairs to live and used a camping stove for a few months. It was fun, though. Lockdown was stressful, but it gave us something to get on with. We had company from the builders and gave us a structure.

What did you learn from the experience of buying?

When we bought that first place we were probably looking to be there a bit longer. It is a huge disruption to move but life can take so many turns but you never know how long you might be in that place. So it’s just important to appreciate where 
you are.

So, you have just moved to a new-build family home in Kent. How did moving go with two small children?

Roman had his first steps in that house. You go through the wonder years and phases in the house. We brought our little girl back to that house, it was our Covid hideaway, so much happens in a home and there are so many memories there. But you get to a point where you have to be professional and clinical.

Ore still thinks that buying and designing your home can be exciting and stimulating
Ore still thinks that buying and designing your home can be exciting and stimulating (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

You have to clear out that attic. Luckily I had planned clearing out that attic for five years and everything was labelled – seasons, clothes, toys – and when the time came to put my plan into action it was all there. It was an attic attack.

Why did a more rural setting appeal?

It’s important to live in a place that is going to make you happy. From a work perspective it doesn’t matter so much now [if I’m in London]. We just got lucky finding the one in Kent. Portia always had a new-build on her radar, and all the boxes were ticked with the place.

Should people consider new-builds more?

It doesn’t make sense to put every new-build in the same bracket. It’s an old house that has been knocked down and rebuilt using the same bricks. Don’t be scared of new-builds, there are lots of benefits. It holds in heat more, and there are newer boilers and things like that and you can spec it like you want it. It is also done quite neutrally, so you can bring it up to how you want it, it’s really exciting.

Find out more about Ore’s work with British Airways on their website.

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