Family in front of their house

From The Busy City To Village Life

Alfonso Enciso and Marcela Castro knew exactly what they wanted from their new home – a safe, quiet and spacious environment in which to raise their 22-month-old daughter Mariana. In the face of the pandemic, they chose to leave London and re-located to Fernham Homes’ Boughton Park development in historic Boughton Monchelsea.

“When we came to see the house for the first time, we liked the green spaces and the village itself and immediately fell in love with the surroundings.” Recalled Alfonso, 42, who works as a web developer. He and Marcela, a 32-year-old graphic designer, were living in their first home in Lewisham, but with Mariana now toddling around and recent lockdowns highlighting the lack of space, they were keen to leave the city behind.

“Living in London has some advantages, but it is definitively noisy, and we wanted to move somewhere quiet and a little further from the centre of town.” Explained Alfonso. With both successfully working remotely, looking further afield was straightforward, and with nearby Maidstone station offering services to London St Pancras in 51 minutes and London Victoria in just over an hour, commuting was still perfectly possible from a more rural location.

With a little financial help through the Stamp Duty holiday, the couple chose the five-bedroom detached “Greenacres” house type which comes with its own garage and two sets of French doors leading into the enclosed rear garden. “We needed a bigger place to raise our little one, and we liked the open plan spaces, kitchen, living room, bathrooms and garden. We liked pretty much everything!”

A few weeks after moving in, the couple are delighted with their home and their new surroundings. “We like how it feels like a small community when entering the development.” Said Alfonso. “There are some parks around which we have been to which are great. We feel more relaxed now that we have more space.”


Family standing in living room

Parents Watch New Home And New Baby Grow Up In Westerham

The last month has been especially exciting for new parents Emmeline and Jack Martin, as they move into the new home they have watched being built by Fernham Homes.

With their new baby Charlie now five-months old, the couple can’t wait to start enjoying the beautiful garden and three storeys of space that their new property at Downsview will provide.

“We’ve been living in an airbnb in Westerham as we sold our flat in Bermondsey and we were keen to move into the area as soon as possible,” says Jack 35, a Financial Analyst. “It’s been fascinating to watch our home take shape – Emmi has been pushing the pram past the development everyday and we can’t wait to get settled there.”

The pandemic and the arrival of baby Charlie made the couple reassess what they really want from a home, and they both decided to leave the big city living behind them and move into a more rural and peaceful location. Jack works from home on New York timings, while Emmi, 30 an Orchestral Librarian for the Philharmonia Orchestra, is currently on maternity leave – but when they do need to commute, London Bridge is just half an hour away by train nearby Oxted station.

Paul Rosbrook Before living in Bermondsey, the couple also lived in New York while renting out their London Flat, but they aren’t concerned that life in rural Kent will be too quiet for them. ” The open countryside and the little village school that’s within walking distance really appealed to us, and we will love visiting all the nearby National Trust places,” says Emmi. “The bi-fold doors that lead straight into the garden will be perfect for Charlie, and you can walk straight out from the house and into the countryside. There’s also so much going on in nearby Sevenoaks, and I’m looking forward to being able to take Charlie to concerts once restrictions have eased.”

Jack and Emmi bought their four-bedroom, end-plot detached home off-plan at an early stage. “We were really excited when we could finally see the show home – it was only two weeks before Emmi had Charlie, so she was heavily pregnant,” says Jack. “We hadn’t originally been looking for a new build, but we loved the tasteful style of Fernham’s homes and the location was perfect – we have family in Sevenoaks and Oxted which are both really close by, and we love the village green, coffee shops, tea rooms and pubs in Westerham.”

The versatile, three-storey layout is going to give the couple plenty of scope, not only for a home office, but also for a nursery or even a music room – Emmi has a piano and Jack plays both guitar and piano in his spare time. The homes have a lower ground floor with a living/dining space with bi-fold doors, a kitchen with breakfast bar, plus a utility and cloakroom. The main ground floor entrance leads to an elegant formal living room with Juliet balcony, from where you can glimpse views over the North Downs, plus bedroom two and a shower room. On the first floor is the master bedroom with en suite, bedroom three, a family bathroom and a fourth bedroom or office space.

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director at Fernham Homes, says:

“We designed these homes to be as versatile as possible for modern families, especially for the growing number of people who are working from home. The good-sized fourth bedroom, on the first floor, is away from the hustle and bustle of family life so would make a perfect home office or a superb nursery. Alternatively, bedroom two, which has a door directly into the shower room, could be used as a guest suite, kids’ room or hobby room. There’s both space and privacy for the whole family.”

Emmi and Jack paid £780,000 for their detached end plot, but four-bedroom semi-detached homes at Downsview are currently available from £695,000. For more information or to arrange an appointment to view the show suite, call 01959 580 313 or visit www.fernham-homes.co.uk


Community Spirit Makes a Comeback

With the Office for National Statistics having recorded a surge in community spirit across the UK since the coronavirus outbreak*, it is not surprising, that the local community is now becoming a more prominent factor for those thinking about moving.

Paul and Beverley Lincoln (69 and 64) moved to Fernham Homes’ Ellesmere development, which is situated in the tight knit village community of Hollingbourne, near Maidstone in Kent, just before lockdown in early March, and immediately felt the benefit of living in an area where people looked out for each other and did things together.

Paul, a consultant for a construction design company, comments: “If we have to go back into lockdown again, then I couldn’t think of a better place to be than Hollingbourne. At the height of the lockdown in April and May, the pub in the village was serving takeaway meals, and Woods, the village shop took on its role as lynchpin of the community and stayed open all the time. They were superb and even operated a local delivery service to elderly people. Union Jack bunting to mark VE Day still adorns the main street and you can see rainbows in most windows.

Paul continues: “Another attraction of the village is that it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is surrounded by a network of public footpaths, which lead right onto the North Downs, which meant we could spend most days wandering around the local countryside.

The exclusive Ellesmere development of 12 family homes is situated in the small hamlet of Hollingbourne at the foot of the North Downs. The area is renowned for the beauty of the surrounding countryside, and offers residents numerous walking and cycling routes, forming part of the National Cycle Network and historic Leeds Castle is also just a stone’s throw away. The village is home to three pubs, including ‘The Dirty Habit’, which dates to the 11th century. The village store, Woods of Hollingbourne, prides itself on only selling locally sourced Kentish produce where it can, and is still offering a local delivery service for those who are self-isolating or are unable to leave their home.

Paul continues:

“We quickly got friendly with our neighbours after moving in and we started having a takeaway evening meal from The Dirty Habit every fortnight with them; sitting on tables located at opposite ends of the green in front of our homes! Fernham inevitably had to stay off site during lockdown, so the residents took it upon themselves to look after the common areas, water the plants and cut the grass where we could. That is the kind of community we’re living in; everyone wants their home to look nice.”

The development at Ellesmere comprises four two-bedroom, three four-bedroom homes and five larger, five-bedroom houses, all with landscaped gardens and with the four and five-bedroom homes benefitting from large garages. The exteriors, designed by DHA Architecture, have been detailed to reflect the historic homes in and around Hollingbourne, featuring two colours of red bricks, brown and red roof tiles and white render, as well as gable-ended roofs typical of the area. Great care has been taken to preserve the country feel of the development, with many of the existing trees and hedges being retained.

Paul, who moved from Hempstead in Gillingham where Beverley and he had lived for the last 25 years, wanted to downsize and find a property that required less maintenance, continues: “Working in the building profession, I like the traditional build methods and design elements that Fernham has used. The quality of the finishes are also second to none. The house itself is exactly what we wanted, it’s smaller than our previous home, easier to maintain and with lower running costs, but still has the space for family to come and visit when we get back in more normal times.”

Paul Rosbrook, Operations Director at Fernham Homes, comments:

“The lure of a new lifestyle, one that is quieter, with open green space and countryside walks on the doorstep and a strong local community, was an attraction for buyers like Paul and Beverley before lockdown. But since lockdown, people are looking for this in greater numbers with rural Kentish villages like Hollingbourne now appealing to those who have the flexibility to commute less often.”

The homes at Ellesmere are located less than half a mile from the railway station which offers direct services to London Victoria in as little as one hour and 12 minutes. The area also offers a good selection of schools, including Hollingbourne Primary School in the village and Grammar schools in Maidstone. Nearby Bearsted and Maidstone offer more extensive facilities, and the M20 provides easy access to the motorway network.

In addition to the pubs and village store, there is also a church and village hall within easy walking distance from Ellesmere. For a village of its size, there are numerous local groups and clubs to get involved with, including a Cricket Club, Breton Dancing, Golf Society, Football Club, Art Group, Garden Society, Pantomime Group, Pilates, Bowls and the Women’s Institute. A mobile library also normally runs in the village hall car park each week.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/14may2020


Unstoppable Second Time Buyer Goes Ahead With Move

Despite the property market seemingly screeching to a halt earlier this year as Britain went into lockdown, some buyers were still able to complete their new home moves. Second stepper Stacey Bates (36) was able to do just that, and moved with her daughter Evie (8), into their new three-bedroom, semi-detached home at Fernham Homes’ Empire Park development in Greenhithe, Kent on 15th May.

Stacey explains: “As I was moving to a new build property the risks were minimal, and I fortunately wasn’t reliant on removal companies, so decided to go ahead. The move itself went very smoothly – Fernham kept in contact with me and provided updates throughout the entire process, even more so than my own solicitor! When it came to moving day, the keys were waiting for me at the address and the house had been deep cleaned, so it was very safe and easy to move into.”

Stacey continues: “I’m definitely glad that I didn’t postpone the move. Being in our new home has given myself and my daughter much more space, and on the days that I’ve worked from home I’ve been able to potter around and get things sorted in the house. My brother’s family also live on the development, so we have been able to easily check up on each other and say hello – from a distance!”

Set in a quiet valley in northern Kent, the development at Empire Park features a mix of detached and semi-detached three, four and five-bedroom homes, all with private gardens and garages. The exteriors reflect traditional Kent architecture, while inside, the homes have been beautifully equipped and finished including Bosch integrated appliances in the kitchen, energy-efficient boilers and turfed gardens with sandstone patios.

Stacey continues: “Although my previous home in Greenhithe was also a three-bedroom house, the quality at Fernham is a world apart. Compared to other new builds that I looked at in the area, the finishes are far superior. I also really like the sense of community at the development – there are only 28 homes, six yet to be sold, and as it’s a cul-de-sac set away from the road, my daughter can play outside with her friends whilst the adults keep an eye and make sure they’re social distancing.

“As a Detective Sargent in the Metropolitan Police I’ve been working throughout lockdown and Evie has still been attending school, which has definitely helped us to maintain a routine during the move. The community is also really supportive – everyone is so friendly and chatty, and we have a Mums’ Whatsapp group which we’ve used to help each other out with the shopping. As most people living at the development have young families, the windows are full of rainbows and everyone joined in with ‘Clap for Carers’. I feel very confident that my new neighbours would happily help out with any issues – moving to Empire Park is one hundred per cent the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Lynne Smith, Sales and Marketing Director for Fernham Homes, commented: “It’s great to see buyers like Stacey making their way up the property ladder, and we’re so pleased that we were able to help her complete her move during the lockdown period. We know how important it is for buyers to be able to move into their new homes on time, which is why we are so proud to have helped 6 new residents move to our developments since lockdown began on 23rd March. It’s vital that we help to keep the housing market moving, and we are over the moon that our sales suites and show homes have been able to reopen on an appointment only basis, as this means we can continue helping people to find their perfect home.”

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Ebbsfleet International station, the homes at Empire Park are perfectly situated for homeowners to experience the best of both worlds. The trip into the capital takes from just 17 minutes, yet the development is within walking distance of Swanscombe Heritage Park and the banks of the Thames. Less than ten minutes’ drive away are Beacon Wood Country Park and Darenth Country Park with its Site of Special Scientific Interest, whilst three Outstanding Areas of National Beauty – Surrey Hills, High Weald and the Kent Downs – are all under an hour’s drive away, as is the coast. Shoppers will also appreciate the fact that Bluewater shopping centre, one of the largest in Europe, is just two miles away.

Stacey said: “My commute to Woolwich only takes 30 minutes, yet we are surrounded by country walks and green spaces so the location really couldn’t get any better for myself or my daughter.”

Part of the attraction of the new homes at Empire Park is the green spaces that are being carefully curated around the new community at Ebbsfleet Garden City, including seven parks with impressive views and new Thames-side walkways that will give the public access to the waterfront for the first time in more than a century.


Hard Work and Saving Pays off

The average age for a first time buyer has now risen to 33, according to recent statistics1, with many facing the prospect of having to pay a mortgage well into retirement. That isn’t going to be a problem for new homeowners Fiona English and Thomas Frankland, however, as in November they gained the keys to their three-bedroom house aged just 24 and 25.

Fiona and Thomas were the first viewers to visit Fernham Homes’ Lockesley Chase development in Orpington, in the London Borough of Bromley, and they loved the property so much that they put in an offer the very next day. “We just happened to walk past at the right time, so on the opening day we were the first people to view there,” says Thomas.

“We have been together nearly six years and have been living together and renting for four years, saving up and budgeting carefully all the while,” adds Thomas, who is a primary school teacher in the town. His partner Fiona works in financial planning, so putting down a solid foundation for their future was second nature. “We worked at weekends and saved all the way through university,” she says.

By the time they saw their home at Lockesley Chase, which they bought using London Help to Buy, they had saved up around £40,000. This enabled them to put down their deposit and pay for the legal fees and Stamp Duty, keeping costs down by moving themselves in with the help of family and friends and using furniture from Thomas’s grandmother.

Lockesley Chase is just down the road from where the couple were renting, but a world away in terms of comfort. “We love the location as it’s really quiet,” says Fiona. “We know the area very well and it’s easy to get to work.” Fiona is not a fan of completely open-plan living, so when she visited Lockesley Chase she was delighted to find that they could afford a home with a separate kitchen/diner and living area, as well as three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The property has a small garden with a patio and a long driveway with room for three cars – plus eco-friendly solar panels to keep the bills down.

“We have come from a two-bed flat with a damp problem and mould,” says Thomas.

“Finding something this spacious within our price range was perfect. The top-up from Help to Buy enabled us to afford something that was materially better than we otherwise could have afforded – we love the size of the rooms and that it’s at the end of a quiet road. We fell in love with it when we first looked around it.”

The budget-conscious couple were even more delighted to find that the cost of their new mortgage is slightly less than they were paying in rent, even though the property is so much bigger and a house rather than a flat. The savings habit is continuing though, as they are aware that the Help to Buy Equity Loan is only interest-free for the first five years. “We are putting money aside every month towards the Help to Buy loan as well, so we can pay a good chunk of it off before we have to pay any interest on it,” explains Thomas.

“Everyone from Fernham Homes has been really helpful,” says Fiona, who was impressed by the personal service they received throughout the process, even down to a visit explaining how all the appliances work. Speaking just a fortnight after moving in, she is delighted with how everything has gone, and plans to spend many years enjoying the new home and whatever the future may bring. “It’s much bigger than we really need right now, so there’s no pressure to move again,” she says.

“It’s so much more than we could have hoped for,” adds Thomas, “and we are very lucky to have got one of these places.” While Thomas and Fiona were particularly quick off the mark in their purchase, other properties at Lockesley Chase have also been selling fast, with just three homes remaining on Phase 1 of the development which has 23 new homes, with prices from £499,500.

Set in the ancient parish of St Mary Cray, to the north of Orpington, the homes have easy pedestrian access to schools, parks and leisure facilities and excellent commuter links – St Mary Cray railway station is a 15-minute walk away and offers services to London Bridge in just over 20 minutes, while the fabulous shopping destination of Bluewater is only 25 minutes away by car. Orpington’s lively High Street, a cinema complex and Nugent Shopping Park are all five minutes’ drive away, adding to the convenience of the location.

Lynne Smith, Head of Sales & Marketing at Fernham Homes, is not surprised that the homes at Lockesley Chase are being snapped up: “These houses, which come with gardens and parking, offer great value for Orpington, and give buyers the chance to move into a proper house for the price they would often have to pay for an apartment. With so many amenities within easy reach, these are the perfect properties for first time buyers, as well as upsizers looking for more space for their money in the tough London property market. With the availability of the Government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan this means that many of the homes at Lockesley Chase can be purchased with just a 5% deposit.


Healthier Lifestyle at Clean and Green Empire Park

IT’S not surprising that parents worry about children spending too long on their screens and too little time playing outside. Research suggests that not only is the average child heavier, weaker and less fit than 18 years ago1, but just 22% of children take enough exercise outside of school, spending around four hours a day on screen compared with only an hour and half in active play2. In fact, shocking figures3 suggest that three quarters of British children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates!

Add to that worries about mental health of young people spending all their time on social media4 and it’s clear that developments where children can safely play and roam have a big part to play in improving the health of the next generation.

One place where children are happily enjoying the great outdoors is Fernham Homes’ Empire Park development at Greenhithe, part of the exciting new Ebbsfleet Garden City masterplan. It’s where Vikki Goodwin, 34, and her children Eve and Logan, aged six and two, have made their new home – and former teacher Vikki is delighted at how the move will help her children to have freer and more active lives.

“We used to live in Swanley, which is only 10 minutes’ drive away, but it’s nowhere near such a nice area. I didn’t want to stay there as the kids got older, as I knew I would always be worrying about their safety,” she says. “The whole environment is so much better at Empire Park. I’ve already met the neighbours, and it’s lovely to see all the children playing together outside, running in and out of each other’s houses and being able to go out on their scooters and bikes in a safe environment. Our big garden is also perfect for the kids, and seeing them running around happily out there makes me confident that I made the right choice to move here.”

Vikki, who now works as an administrator for a stonework and restoration company and as a personal organiser in her spare time, sold a three-bedroom semi-detached home and upsized to a four-bedroom detached property at Empire Park. She liked the Ebbsfleet Garden City area, but found that some of the developments were rather too large and impersonal for her taste. Instead, she loved Fernham’s more human scale, with just 28 new homes, as well as the personal touch from sales staff who helped her to sell and complete on the new property in a whistlestop 10 weeks.

Because she bought her property at an early stage, Vikki was able to personalise aspects of it to her taste. For example, she could choose the colours of her kitchen, with grey gloss and a geometric patterned floor, to make the heart of the house just the way she liked it.

As well as the gardens and green areas at Empire Park itself, Ebbsfleet Garden City as a whole has seven different parks with impressive views and new Thames-side walkways that will give the public access to the waterfront for the first time in more than a century. Beacon Wood Country Park and Swanscombe Heritage Park are also close by, offering lots more possibilities for youngsters to let off steam. Bluewater shopping centre is just two miles away and has 300 shops, 50 restaurants, a 17-screen cinema and an adventure park and soft play for the kids.

Homes at Empire Park are selling fast, thanks not only to the green spaces, but also the great location, just 10 minutes’ drive from Ebbsfleet International station. As well as direct links into Europe, the station also offers high speed services into central London taking from just 17 minutes. The stations of Greenhithe and Swanscombe, which also offer trains into the capital, are within walking distance, and there’s a new network of cycle paths, bus routes and walkways that have been designed as part of the Government’s Healthy New Towns initiative at Ebbsfleet.

Lynne Smith, Head of Sales & Marketing at Fernham Homes, comments: “Empire Park has so much to offer families who are looking for a healthier lifestyle with plenty of outdoor space, but need to be within easy reach of London. The commute is short, giving families more time to spend together, and the house prices are a pleasant surprise in comparison with the London market – house hunters will be amazed how much space they get for their money here.”

The development at Empire Park features a mix of detached and semi-detached three, four and five-bedroom homes, all with their own gardens, complete with turf and patio, and either garages or parking spaces. Inside, the homes include Bosch integrated appliances in the kitchens, energy-efficient boilers and elegant bathrooms. Homes start from £420,000 for a three-bedroom house, with Help to Buy available. For more information, or to arrange an appointment to visit the show suite, call 01322 472 917 or visit www.fernham-homes.co.uk.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45651719

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46456104

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8984614/planet-child-prisoners-shock-tv-parents/

https://www.ft.com/content/e37f876c-bdb9-11e9-b350-db00d509634e


Great Choice for First Home Together

Charlotte Alexander, 30, and her partner Chris Yates, 31, had three essential factors in mind when they started house-hunting together. They wanted a spacious, three-bedroom home that would suit them now and far into the future, they needed off-road parking, and it was essential to be able to commute easily into London where Charlotte is an executive assistant at a financial services company and Chris is an insurance broker for private medical insurance.

“We really wanted to be within walking distance of a railway station where could get the train to London easily,” says Charlotte. “We also wanted to move into a new-build property so that everything would be already done and we wouldn’t need to do any work on the home.” The couple found what they were looking for at Fernham Homes’ Pearsall Place development at Borough Green near Sevenoaks in Kent, just a short walk from Borough Green & Wrotham station.

Southeastern already offers train services from Borough Green & Wrotham station to London Victoria in as little as 46 minutes, and to London Blackfriars in just over an hour, as well as trains to Ashford International for connections into Europe, and local services to Canterbury. However, a new service from Govia Thameslink, due to start next year, will offer direct trains from Borough Green, to London Bridge, then to Blackfriars, Farringdon and onward to Cambridge, opening up a whole range of new commuter possibilities.

Finding the right new home in what can be an expensive area of Kent was certainly a challenge for Charlotte and Chris. Charlotte grew up in Sevenoaks, while Chris was from Crowborough, and they wanted to stay within easy reach of Charlotte’s parents at Ightham. “We originally started looking in Tunbridge Wells, but the train fares were so much more expensive, and we thought about moving to London, but we couldn’t afford to live in a nice area,” says Charlotte. “We also looked at property within walking distance of Sevenoaks station, but when we found Pearsall Place it just seemed perfect for us.

“Borough Green is a nice little town that has really come into its own over the last few years. It still has a village feel, but has lots of places to go for lunch, a Sainsbury’s Local and everything that we need on the doorstep. It’s so quiet, that sometimes if we’re at home during the day you can’t hear anything except the birds!”

While Chris was a first time buyer, Charlotte bought her first property, a shared ownership flat in Dunton Green near Sevenoaks, shortly after the couple got together. “I really wanted to get on the property ladder, but as we hadn’t been together that long we weren’t ready financially. Shared ownership was a great way to take a first step on the property ladder, but I always knew it was going to be a short term thing until we could afford a whole home together,” she says.

“We are planning to live here long term – perhaps 15 years or so – so we wanted somewhere we would could really put down roots, with a good commute and local amenities. We hope to start a family in a few years’ time, so it was important to have the extra rooms ready and waiting. The new train service should mean that the property will be a good investment, too; you always hope that your house will go up in value!”

All the houses at Pearsall Place are reserved, but Fernham Homes’ development at Boughton Park in the pretty village of Boughton Monchelsea is also in a great location to take advantage of the improved transport links from Maidstone East station, which is just a couple of stops further down the line from Borough Green, five miles away. The setting has the same mix of village life and easy access to amenities, including an Ofsted-rated Good primary school a stroll away.

“When it comes to location, Boughton Park has it all,” says Lynne Smith, Head of Sales & Marketing at Fernham Homes. “There’s a thriving village community and a great school you can walk to, but bustling Maidstone, the county town of Kent, is just up the road and is ranked in the top five shopping areas in the south east of England, with more than a million square feet of retail space. The planned improvements to the already excellent rail service, which will make commuting into London a breeze, are only going to increase the appeal of Boughton Park.”

The development comprises a selection of 20 four and five-bedroom homes starting from £399,995. All have garages and private gardens, kitchens with integrated Bosch appliances and Quartz worktops, and are beautifully finished throughout. Fernham Homes has recently opened a new show home, enabling visitors to look around the superb five-bedroom, three-storey Redwood design which features bi-fold doors into the garden as well as a balcony to the top floor bedroom.


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.”