JUST outside Henley, on the way to Stoke Row, is a fairytale Victorian Gothic mansion set deep ... [more]
Thursday, 19 July 2018
BRAND new purpose-built properties — new builds — are appealing to home buyers for a number of reasons.
Perhaps you have a growing family and need a house with all the right number of bedrooms and layout?
Or maybe you’re looking for a
low-maintenance option for your later years?
There are several other bonuses to new builds, including the fact that you will be the first to live in the property. Repairs and redecoration costs should be zero, so no hidden costs, and a house built with the latest technology means energy bills can be extremely low.
What’s more, new builds come with all kinds of guarantees, including the the National House Building Council’s 10-year warranty.
In fact, is there any downside to buying a new build? Perhaps going “new” isn’t your style?
Then again, you can easily inject a bit of character with your own trinkets, photos, artworks, etc — in fact, a new build is the perfect blank canvas on which to paint your own personality.
That leaves only one potential pitfall of buying a new build — that of the quality of the developer, which can vary acutely despite like-for-like properties coming to market with similar price tags. Which is why Standard Property was so happy to meet Richard Stow, 56, of Hedgerow Developments.
Richard’s is a family-run business, that’s known for its one-offs and quality of work.
Finding the right plot of land in the right location is always Richard’s starting point, while the finishing point of interior decor is the territory of wife Maggs, who is also in her Fifties.
The couple live in Stoke Row and have tackled some 54 family builds in the local area in their 36 years in property.
The principles Stow Developments adhere to are “Keep projects small and personal and deliver a high-end polished finish while still offering value for money.”
“We only take on between one and two properties a year,” adds Richard.
Low key and personal indeed. Which is a real advantage — you know the developer’s focus is entirely fixed on a single property rather than spread thinly over several.
Gallowstree Common’s five-bedroom Dormers is the latest project — and what a winner it is.
Sleek, with nuanced lighting and high-end products, it’s the finish on Richard’s builds that is known for being second to none.
As Julie Norman of Davis Tate, which is marketing the property, says: “Richard’s professionalism makes working with him just fantastic — and we’ve worked with Richard a lot over the years.
“Even while the build for Dormers was going on, the building site was the tidiest you’ll ever see. Every time I came to check how things were going, I was surprised by just how clean and tidy everything was — so organised.”
Which bodes well for the end product, no?
The “perfect-ness” of it all, is also what struck Standard Property when she toured the property recently.
Wide, airy landing? Check. Beautifully finished soft-close wardrobes? Check. Well-laid carpets and flooring? Check. Solid oak, hand-finished star railings, bathroom mood lighting, underfloor heating? Check. Even outside, the front and back landscaping has been manicured to a tee.
The pièce de résistance no doubt is the 38ft/11.5m kitchen/dining/family room, to the right of the property as you enter. This is a space which literally spans the length of the house.
Visualise yourself cooking in the kitchen while also watching — simultaneously — family members drive in to the spacious front drive, at the same time managing to keep an eye on your two-year-old who has a penchant for crayon wall art and witnessing your dog chase his own tail in the garden.
Idyllic enough for you? But let’s go back to that kitchen.
“I made it with families who love entertaining in mind,” says Richard, who always uses Buckinghamshire-based Extreme for his kitchens, where custom-made luxury kitchens and bespoke furniture is the ethos. This is a high-profile company which recently won a much-coveted Best of Houzz 2017 award.
Richard continues: “I always make the kitchen/family room a priority. It’s the space people spend most of their time, these days. Working closely with Extreme we’ve created an ultra-convenient entertaining and cooking space with high-end products and a sleek finish.”
Julie Norman adds: “Extreme designed the kitchen with one long bank of utilities, so there isn’t just one cooker but three [steam microwave, plus two conventional]. There isn’t just one floor to ceiling fridge freezer but two — one at each end. You could have one for the adults, one for the children!”
Also on the menu: a five-ring electric induction hob, cool “hidden” cutlery drawer, boiling water tap — and that’s just for starters.
The kitchen dissolves into the dining area/family area via an L-shape, which overlooks the garden via a set of bi-folding doors. Lovely. The wraparound terrace extends past the living room (which has a matching bi-folding door) and down the left side of the house to the front, going right past the utility room which also has an external door. This is a great space for sorting out those muddy wellies and drying the washing.
Another ground floor room Standard Property was pleased to see was done so well was the office. Rather than just a room which has been named “office/study” on the particulars, this is already kitted out as a proper office, with units, wiring and lighting galore.
“I’ve only ever seen Hedgerow Developments provide a proper office, and not just a poor excuse for one,” adds Julie Norman. “It’s another of those things which separate out one developer from another.”
As we’ve already said, Richard was careful to choose his location, too.
Gallowstree Common is much sought after as a place to live: close to Henley and Reading, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, yet within catchment of Kidmore End Primary School and close to the Oratory School (a 15-minute drive).
The nearest amenities, such as a health centre, dentist, vets, hairdressers, restaurants and shops are at Sonning Common, a quick jog up the road.
“Gallowstree Common has seen an amazing transformation over the past 12 months,” says Julie Norman. “There have been a number of new-build homes built and sold. It’s because Gallowstree Common has become a really well-regarded place to live.”
As a bonus, the exceptional gastropub The Reformation is a few doors down from the house, too. For when you don’t feel like entertaining at home, perhaps?
Externally, Richard went for a classic design in flint and red brick which blends with its environment neatly.
The drive up to the front door is large enough to accommodate up to 10 cars. And then there’s the two-bay garage for your classic car, plus extra storage perhaps? Or even a workshop?
A superb high-spec, spacious one-off with plenty of polish for those who love to entertain.
For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Davis Tate’s Goring office on 0118 972 4242.
AT A GLANCE
DORMERS, GALLOWSTREE COMMON
• Bedrooms: five
• Bathrooms: three
• Reception rooms: two/three
• Other: large entrance hall; utility room with side access; office; landscaped gardens to the front and rear; large drive able to accommodate eight to 10 cars; detached double garage; Cat 6 cabling; two Megaflow hot water systems; private sewage treatment system; low-maintenance aluminium powder-coated windows and doors; high insulation (B rating)
• Space: 2,714 sq ft / 252 sq m
Guide price £1,250,000
Agents: Davis Tate on 0118 972 4242
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