Empty Nesters Forget Downsizing at Downsview

Empty nesters whose adult children have left home are typically expected to downsize when it comes to their next move, but increasing numbers are bucking this trend, and looking for a similar or increased amount of space. According to latest NHBC research, homeowners aged over 55 are almost as likely to upsize to a new home than downsize with 40% of them opting for a four-bedroom house, despite an average occupancy of just two people.

At Downsview in Westerham, Kent, Mette and Ian Breminer have downsized by just one bedroom, with the property requiring the space they need for their various occupations. Moving from a six-bedroom detached house with a large garden in Oxted, where they spent the last 32 years raising their family, the Breminers have now bought a new five-bedroom house, built by Fernham Homes.

Mette, a freelance magazine writer, comments:

“We had been waiting to downsize for a couple of years but couldn’t find a house that had big enough rooms for what we needed. I work from home and amongst other things design needlework, and also have a collection of more than 35 miniature settings which I wanted to display. My husband insisted on having his own separate office where he could work from home, so I had to let him have a room for that. We are using ‘bedroom five’ as our formal dining room, which is about the same size as our old one, so the furniture fits perfectly. I love cooking and entertaining, so a proper dining room is a necessity. It is also very handily next to the kitchen, so Ian hasn’t got so far to go when he clears the table!”

Mette continues: “Even though we have technically downsized by just one bedroom, we are using the house like it has only two, the master bedroom and one dedicated for guests, which is perfect for what we need. The living room is almost as big as the one in our old house, so we really haven’t had to compromise on space. We ended up shutting off two of the bedrooms on the second floor in our previous property, which was such a waste so to be able to use all the rooms to their full potential here is fantastic. It is just what we were looking for and offers us the perfect balance of living and work space. An added bonus is that Ian’s office is on the ground floor, my studio is on the top so we can’t disturb each other. Our new garden is much smaller and more manageable, a further reason for the move.”

Downsview is a development of nine four and five-bedroom contemporary homes, complete with picturesque views of the North Downs. The houses have fully integrated kitchens with Bosch appliances and quartz stone worktops. They also have a garage, generous driveway parking for two cars and electric car charging points. The homes are ideal for active downsizers and growing families alike and, situated in the quintessentially sought-after Kentish town of Westerham, there is a friendly and active community, along with an enticing High Street and easy rail links to London from nearby Sevenoaks or Oxted stations.

Ian, a coffee merchant whose head office is in nearby Croydon, comments: “There is a good mix of young couples and retirees who have moved into the development so far. Friends from Oxted ended up buying here, too, so it is fantastic to know some people already. Our daughter has lived in Westerham for the last 10 years, so we knew what the historic town had to offer and love that the High Street is only an easy 10-minute walk away.”

Ian continues: “The location is ideal for me as I can drive to my office in Croydon in about 20 minutes and when Mette and I want to go into town, we can leave the car there and get the train to any part of London from East Croydon station. We are also just down the road from Gatwick Airport, which is great for Mette when she wants to visit family and friends in her native Denmark.”

Mette concludes:

“This home and location is perfect for what we want and need now, and we see ourselves living here hassle free for at least 15 years or maybe until our granddaughter leaves home (she’s six and lives just down the road). I intend to involve myself in the local community and have already joined a local WI and plan to darken the doors of the U3A once we’ve settled in completely! My old garden was opened for charity a couple of times, and, although this garden is much smaller, I’m looking forward to designing and creating a lovely patch here, too.”

Lynne Smith, Head of Sales & Marketing for Fernham Homes, comments: “With a new build home offering features such as low maintenance, low running costs, manageable gardens and a 10-year warranty, our homes at Downsview are perfect for Mette and Ian’s age group.”