After Being Hit by Shrapnel, Doing Up Our Family House Was like the Front Line All over Again

Article excerpt

Byline: EVE MCGOWAN

There must have been times during the radical renovation of her Grade IIlisted Georgian house in West London when former war reporter-turned-TVpresenter Andrea Catherwood felt she was back on the front line. 'The houselooked like some burnt-out building in Kosovo,' she says of the property, whichneeded its roof taking off, half the walls removing and a JCB to dig downseveral feet into the garden for an extension.

Thankfully, the 39-year-old, who as an international correspondent for ITV Newshas covered conflicts in Sierra Leone and Iraq, was able to keep it all inperspective.

She bought the six-bedroom house in St Peter's Square, on the border ofChiswick and Hammersmith, with her husband Gray Smith, a hedge-fund lawyer, for[pounds sterling]1.8million three years ago, after falling in love with the peacefulgarden-square location.

As the previous owners had done little to it in 30 years, it was hardly idealfor someone who has to catch a plane at a moment's notice.

But Andrea had just given birth to premature twins Ruari and Jago, now two, andmanaged to fit in a major house renovation during her maternity leave.

Andrea, who now fronts the weekend politics programme The Sunday Edition, saidthe renovation was nothing compared with dodging bullets for ITN.

She still has a piece of shrapnel in her knee from a grenade explosion inAfghanistan and says: 'The things I've done in my life mean I could say it'snot the end of the world if the travertine kitchen floor is the wrong colour. …