MAXINE GORDON speaks to the York winner of BBC show Best House In Town

YORK interiors lover Pandora Maxton is delighted to have fought off tough competition to win BBC One's Best House in Town title – especially because she impressed judges with her shabby chic style.

"You can make a beautiful house that doesn't have to be a showroom and cost mega bucks to make it homely," says the mum of three who lives in a 1960s detached house in Dunnington, just outside York.

Pandora's home featured in the first episode of the week-long TV competition, which pitted different York properties against each other daily. Each day's winner competed in a final, with Pandora declared the winner.

Tasked with making the tough decision was a team of five local judges – all with an eye for a good interior. Leading the pack was York gallery owner Greg McGee, of According To McGee, Tower Street. He was joined by Maureen Scott, of Flax & Twine in Shambles, electrician Alex Cowton, cafe owner Joe Ferraioli of Teajaunas in Skeldergate and student Sophie Austin.

Greg said Pandora's house was "the clear winner".

"Every part of her house felt like a home. It grabbed you by the lapels and welcomed you in. It was a warm and witty place to be – and I didn't want to leave."

Greg said he was impressed by the other properties in the competition. "I knew the homes would be top-notch and it didn't make my job any easier."

Pandora was picked to compete in the show after BBC producers spotted her on instagram (pandora.maxton), where she posts interior images, tips and a blog.

She said: "I am a stylist on instagram which means I post pictures of pieces of furniture I buy or paint and sometimes companies send me products to use."

Since setting up her instagram account, Pandora has gained more than 36,000 followers.

She said she was "delighted" to have won the TV show, adding: "It makes all the hard work worth it."

Pandora moved into her house 16 years ago and has totally transformed it. She lives there with her husband James and children, Finlay, 17, Cameron, nine, and Ellen, eight.

She said: "It's had a total renovation. We've built two extensions: to the side and back to create a lovely sunroom. We took out nearly all of the internal walls to create an open-plan space and have all glass at the back so we can see the garden from wherever we sit in the house – we like to bring the outside in."

Judge Greg described Pandora's style as "maximalist" – and, certainly, her design ethos seems to be "more is more" and definitely the opposite of stark, modern, minimalism.

Walls are decorated in bold colours and wallpaper and plastered in photographs and paintings while furniture is covered in throws and cushions. It's a busy look.

"I have words that describe my home: maximalistic, boho, shabby, eclectic, country – all in one fell swoop," said Pandora.

She said she hadn't spent much money on the interiors. "I pick up pieces second hand or from a house clearance shop, or buy pieces from a friend."

Pandora impressed judges with her use of pallets around the house, which she used for storage and even to make a sofa.

"I tied some pallets together and bought the seating from Amazon to fit on top – it's really easy and I have a story on my instagram about it."

Pandora has also shared on social media how she brought some bedroom furniture back to life by rubbing it down and painting it black, which cost her about £20.

Why does she think the judges crowned her home Best House in Town?

"I've given my house personality; I don't shove everything in drawers. In my bathroom I have on the wall a newspaper story about me and my mum when I was about two and she bought a horse-drawn gypsy caravan and toured across Spain – just me, her, and a menagerie of animals."

Now that sounds like a story for another day – and maybe another TV show.

If you missed Best House in Town, you can catch it on BBC iPlayer.