Down­size, but don’t set­tle for less

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Downsizing -

It’s funny how it sud­denly hap­pens. You spend large parts of your life strug­gling to buy big­ger houses, to ac­com­mo­date your chil­dren and your am­bi­tions. Then just as you reach your 50s, your chil­dren leave home, and you are liv­ing in a home that is two or three times big­ger than you need.

At which point, you can do one of two things. Ei­ther carry on re­gard­less, fran­ti­cally em­ploy­ing a cleaner to tidy up rooms in which no one sleeps, ex­cept per­haps at Christ­mas and the odd week­end. Or you have a long, hard look at your present home, and de­cide to sell up and move some­where smaller.

Of the two op­tions, the lat­ter is a lot harder. Sell­ing up a place so full of mem­o­ries is a painful process. That said, there is no rule which says you have to move to a place which is less com­fort­able and the size of a card­board box.

De­vel­oper Ray Tod, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Hale­bourne Group, spe­cialises in build­ing homes that en­able you to fill that chil­dren-sized gap, but don’t make you sud­denly feel old.

Far from cram­ming empty nest par­ents into tiny flats where you can hear slip­pered feet cross­ing the floor above, he has come up with a bet­ter idea – cre­at­ing apart­ments that have the feel of houses but are ac­tu­ally part of a man­sion block.

His lat­est scheme, The Ridge, is a group of 10 large apart­ments and pent­houses in Sun­ning­dale, near As­cot in Sur­rey. This area is known for its leafy lanes and huge man­sions hid­den be­hind fore­bod­ing gates, and was once home to Dame Agatha Christie. The devel­op­ment is just a three-minute walk from Sun­ning­dale Sta­tion ( jour­ney time to Water­loo: 50 min­utes).

These hand­somely pro­por­tioned places are near Went­worth Coun­try Club, and op­po­site the fa­mous Sun­ning­dale golf club, with its two 18hole cour­ses.

James Wy­att, part­ner of lo­cal es­tate agency Bar­ton Wy­att, says the flats are “the most fab­u­lous op­por­tu­nity for keen golfers to own their own tee-side seat at Sun­ning­dale.”

The apart­ments are filled with light; all have bi­fold doors that open out on to sunny gar­dens or bal­conies, blend­ing out­doors and in. Down­siz­ing doesn’t have to mean skimp­ing on style or tech, and these homes are filled with cut­ting edge gad­gets such as a re­mote con­trolled au­dio-vis­ual sys­tem, un­der­floor heat­ing and an in­stant hot wa­ter tap.

But it doesn’t come cheap: you get a two-bed­roomed apart­ment with three bal­conies for £2 mil­lion, or a three­bed­roomed pent­house (with views over half the county) for £2.95 mil­lion.

Each apart­ment gets two un­der­ground park­ing spa­ces, and there is a concierge ser­vice and com­mu­nal land­scaped gar­dents as well.

“What we have aimed to do is cre­ate some­thing that wasn’t al­ready on the mar­ket,” says Tod, who be­gan his con­struc­tion ca­reer with well­known names in­clud­ing Berke­ley and Glee­son Homes.

And while it was felt that the odd spare room might be handy if any­one came to stay, the em­pha­sis in build­ing these homes was that they should pro­vide lux­ury and com­fort for the full-time own­ers.

“These are places for peo­ple who are down­siz­ing but don’t want to feel they are hav­ing to set­tle for some­thing less than they are used to,” says Tod.

Stylish apart­ments de­liver space and ser­vices, says Christo­pher Mid­dle­ton

High ceil­ings and a hand­some out­look in The Ridge apart­ments, Sun­ning­dale

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