Connect with us

Real Estate

Expats reveal what they miss most about home in Britain amid the pandemic

Published

on

The cold weather, log fires and Sunday roasts around the dining table with the family are just some of the things that expats miss most about living away from home.

While many Britons are desperate to get their annual summer holiday overseas this year, the three expats we spoke to reminded us about about the good stuff right here on our doorstep. 

We asked them several questions about what they miss most about the British home that they last lived in and what they love most about typically British interiors.

The expats are based as far as the other side of the world in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The other two are closer to home in the Alps and in the Netherlands

Georgian architecture and sash windows were named as some of the things our expats missed most

Georgian architecture and sash windows were named as some of the things our expats missed most

This terrace property in Bath, Somerset, (also pictured above) contrasts modern interiors with original features such as sash windows - and is for sale for £1.4million via agents Carter Jonas

This terrace property in Bath, Somerset, (also pictured above) contrasts modern interiors with original features such as sash windows – and is for sale for £1.4million via agents Carter Jonas

The first expat we spoke to was Holly Seddon, a Briton who lives in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

What do you miss most about Britain? 

Missing home: Author Holly Seddon, lives in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, but is soon heading back to Britain

Missing home: Author Holly Seddon, lives in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, but is soon heading back to Britain

I really miss the hills, the seaside and the higgledy-piggledy countryside. 

The Netherlands is notoriously flat, and although it’s a small country it can feel quite sparse and empty outside of the cities. 

There are pretty little villages and stunning waterways but there’s nothing that scratches the itch of chocolate box cottages, winding roads and country pubs.

I’m an author and my books are all set in the UK, so I spend a lot of my time wistfully writing about the things I miss and letting my characters go to my favourite places. In my novel The Hit List, a lot of the action takes place in the Surrey countryside for this very reason.

I’m not going to lie though, most of what I miss is food-based and we’ve already got a long list of meals planned for when we first move back, starting with fish, chips and mushy peas.

What do you miss most about the last British property you lived in?

The last British property we lived in had a nice garden with bi-fold doors that were pretty much permanently open during the summer. Our apartment here is lovely and we’re lucky enough to have roof terraces but I do miss having a garden and being able to boot the kids and dogs outside.

It’s also not standard in the Netherlands to have hot water in the WC. We have it in the bathroom, of course, but it’s just cold water in the little toilet and when you come inside from the Dutch winter and want to wash your hands, that can be a bit punishing.

What do you love most about your current home that you’d introduce in a British house? 

We absolutely love the Amsterdam interior style. It’s unique to the city, but I’d say it’s a mix of Scandinavian and Parisian, with floor to ceiling windows, open-plan living and beautiful oak floors. 

Black interior metal and glass doors are really popular here, as are marble features like worktops and mantelpieces. We’re moving back this summer and have bought a new-build that is something of a blank canvas for us to try to recreate our favourite element of the style.

One of the first things we did when we bought our house here was build a huge bookcase – my pride and joy – which we’ll definitely do again. I also have an instant boiling water and filter tap here which I’m obsessed with, so we’ll get another one of those.

How has living abroad made you change where you would like to live once you return to Britain?

Amsterdam offers a safe, ‘village’ version of city life and it’s been a brilliant place to raise our children. My eldest two love it so much that they’ve decided to stay on to university here.

Now we hanker for a pretty town in the countryside but still want to be able to reach London easily. We’ve been spoiled with museums, shops and restaurants so we don’t want to be too out in the sticks. 

We realised that the Kent town we’d lived in before we moved here actually offered everything we wanted. So after years of feeling like newcomers and navigating our way through a different culture, we’re looking forward to going home.

What do you like most about British interiors and is there a typically British feature you miss?  

I do miss the fireplaces and cosy living rooms. But as crazy as it sounds, I am really looking forward to having some gently sloping British stairs. 

The houses and apartment blocks here are very tall and the staircases can be quite hair raising. To get from our front door to our living room you climb a two-storey staircase with no bend, and then we have another two staircases in our apartment. 

It’s great for your legs and the stairs are quite a talking point when we have international guests, but it’ll be nice to take it a bit easier and not worry about tumbling down after a few glasses of wine.

This eight-bedroom Georgian country house is in the village of Wall in Staffordshire and is for sale for £4.25million via Aston Knowles estate agents

This eight-bedroom Georgian country house is in the village of Wall in Staffordshire and is for sale for £4.25million via Aston Knowles estate agents

The house in Wall has retains several original features including this open fireplace with a brick hearth and an oak beam

The house in Wall has retains several original features including this open fireplace with a brick hearth and an oak beam

Another expat we spoke to was Jo Sawyer, who lived in London before moving to Vietnam, where she is a primary school teacher at an International School.

Former Londoner Jo Sawyer is a teacher at an International School in Vietnam

Former Londoner Jo Sawyer is a teacher at an International School in Vietnam

What do you miss most about Britain and your last British home?

Apart from family and friends, I miss all the things I took for granted or complained about when I lived in England. 

I haven’t been cold at any point during the four years that I have lived here as it is only hot and dry, or hot and wet in Vietnam. 

I miss wrapping up against the chilly weather on a country walk, experiencing different seasons, quaint English villages and reading the Sunday newspapers. 

Thank goodness for MailOnline, as I can read it over here and it keeps me in touch with what is going on back home and around the world. 

There is only one thing I miss about my old property in East Dulwich and that is a bath. It is rare to have property with a bath here in Vietnam and I think longingly about my hours spent relaxing in one after a hard day at work.

What do you love most about your current home that you would like to  introduce back here?

Having a huge balcony filled with tropical plants is a joy to look at daily and I still get excited by seeing palm trees when I open my curtains every morning. I will miss living in an open-plan property, it’s very different to the small Victorian flat I lived in before and has a lot more natural light and wonderful views of daily life in Ho Chi Minh City. Having a pool is also a big plus of living in the tropics and I can’t imagine being so enthusiastic about outdoor swimming in Britain.

How has living abroad made you change where you would like to live once you return to Britain?

Living in a vibrant and busy city is wonderful, but I will definitely be looking to move to the countryside when my son and I return to the UK. Being in lockdown last year made me realise the benefits of access to open countryside or a coastline. Being able to walk to a beach is top on my list of priorities when we go home.

What do you like most about British interiors?

I do miss anything linked to being cold over here. Log fires are a distant dream and I am looking forward to eating a Sunday roast at home with my family, with a cosy log fire in the background.

The final expat we spoke to is Helen Watts, of the Alpine French School, which welcomes international students to the Alps to learn French in the villages of Morzine and Les Gets. 

Helen Watts, of the Alpine French School, lives in the French Alps

Helen Watts, of the Alpine French School, lives in the French Alps 

What do you miss most about Britain and the last house you lived in here? 

I miss take-away food. And the variety of food in general but also international cuisine like Indian, Thai and Chinese, but then I do live in the French Alps where food choices are quite traditional and aren’t that varied. 

I miss the cosiness of curtains and carpets in bedrooms and living areas, especially during the winter months. In France, houses typically have tiled or wooden floors and although the house is warm, it doesn’t feel the same. In fact we’re building a new house at the moment and have decided to add carpets in the bedrooms as we miss them.

What do you love most about your current home that you would like to introduce in a house back in Britain?

I live in a beautiful wooden chalet with a lot of large windows and this is something I would replicate in a future house to ensure it was really light and bright. But in Britain, finding or building a house like that would be quite a challenge.

How has living abroad made you change your mind about where to live in Britain?

I grew up in Sutton Coldfield on the outskirts of Birmingham so I grew up as a city girl. If I moved back to Britain, I would definitely live in the countryside or by the coast and not in a city. The UK doesn’t have mountains like The Alps, but there are some really beautiful places all the same.

What do you like most about British interiors?

I love traditional Georgian houses and sash windows and you just don’t see the same style in France. There isn’t really anything that I miss in terms of household items as we actually imported a few bits and pieces from the UK that aren’t so commonplace in France like a boiling water tap and a slow cooker.  

Source link

Real Estate

New-build flats with communal work-from-home space are just the job 

Published

on

Whether it’s perching computers on ironing boards or struggling to find a peaceful corner in the chaos of a noisy family house, most of us have had to adapt our homes over the past 18 months.

But as the trend for flexible working looks set to continue, a new concept in housing is gaining traction.

Work from home (WFH) developments with a ‘hub’ shared by other residents are popping up across the country.

Modern living: Work from home developments with a 'hub' shared by other residents, which aim to retain the social aspect of office life, are popping up across the country

Modern living: Work from home developments with a ‘hub’ shared by other residents, which aim to retain the social aspect of office life, are popping up across the country

‘The hub is a way of retaining the social aspect of office life,’ says Karly Williams, director of Barratt North Thames. ‘Being close to home enables residents to manage domestic issues, while mixing with others staves off any sense of loneliness and alienation.’

At Barratt’s Linmere development in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, which is due to launch in December, the office hub will be surrounded by cafes, shops and green outdoor space.

WFH residents won’t feel they are missing out on the coffee breaks and sandwich lunches they used to enjoy as part of conventional office life. Barratt’s co-working offices and homes are priced from £101,000 to £439,500.

WFH developments can also be effective in regenerating rural areas where unemployment is a problem.

In the village of Lawrenny in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, planning permission has just been granted to a local farmer, David Lort-Phillips, to build a WFH development of 39 homes with shared offices. 

Lawrenny has been in steady decline since the 1980s and until recently looked like becoming little more than a cluster of holiday homes.

‘A village should be more than that; it should be a place to earn a living and to have a busy family life,’ says Lort-Phillips. ‘Many of the new WFH houses will be bought by people returning to Lawrenny, having been brought up here.

‘They will put back into the community, using local businesses and training up local young people.’

Prices of the new homes will range from £300,000 to £500,000 for two to four bedrooms, with management fees of £400 per annum.

One danger of building this kind of development in the countryside is that the new homes will jar architecturally with older, nearby properties. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Galion Homes builds its developments in Somerset with home-workers in mind, so all the homes have offices with superfast broadband as well as nearby hubs and cafes.

‘We won’t be ugly “tack-ons” to villages,’ says Victoria Creber, sales director at Galion. ‘We build developments of no more than 50 homes, at low density, using local stone with a big nod to the local vernacular.’

Disturbing research, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, was published recently showing 25 per cent of WFH Londoners said they had suffered reduced well-being.

Fizzy Living, which targets its rental apartments at young professionals with an average age of 32 and earning £44,000 a year, tries to make life as stress-free as possible in its East 16 block in Canning Town. 

The scheme comprises 292 apartments, each with its own balcony. Amenities include a meeting room, residents’ lounge, games area and yoga studio.

It claims to be the most pet-friendly building in London, having a specially designed dog washroom (known as the Pawder Room) and it offers a pet-friendly furniture pack for the more delinquent cats and dogs.

‘This block works for me because I can use different spaces for different activities and this combats stress,’ says designer Asher Peruscini, 37, from San Francisco.

‘I use my desk when I’m in design mode, the balcony for more creative stuff and the meeting rooms downstairs for socialising.’ Rentals are from £1,430 pcm.

For those who appreciate the zany side of life, Quintain Living has built The Robinson, a collection of three apartment blocks at Wembley Park in North-West London, in what its describes as ‘retro kitsch’ style.

Each building has a roof terrace where there are surreal delights such as a giant orange-shaped juice bar, a 50-yard row of sun loungers — reputedly the longest in Britain — and a slide that runs down to a courtyard in the floor below.

The WFH component isn’t forgotten — high-speed wifi is found in converted campervans on the terrace.

To de-stress, there is even a rentable spa caravan with a hot tub. From £1,755 furnished; £1,670 unfurnished.

Are WFH developments here to stay?

‘I don’t think working from home will ever replace the buzz of a team of people working towards one goal in the same office,’ says Harry Downes, managing director of Fizzy Living.

‘But I do foresee people being given the freedom to work at home when they need to, reporting into the office only to be kept updated on the bigger picture. It’s a new lifestyle and this type of development caters for it.’ 

On the market… with office space 

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

South Africa 17 Lions 22

Published

on

15 Stuart Hogg

Something of a flip-flop in terms of his strengths as a player as one or two misplaced passes in attack but resolute and solid in defence. A couple of glimpses of his footwork and pace but he’ll be hoping for more ball next Saturday. Rating: 6

14 Anthony Watson

He was excellent in the first half, the Lions most potent force in attack in being able to escape multiple tacklers, albeit most of the time in lifting pressure in his own 22/half. The ball didn’t run his way after the interval. Rating: 7

13 Elliot Daly

It was his first game at outside centre in Test rugby in five years and it showed. He gave away a couple of penalties, missed his trademark long-range penalty, was bested physically in the collisions and will be under pressure to retain his place. Rating: 5

Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

12 Robbie Henshaw

Shaded his physical duel with Damian de Allende, carried aggressively, was accurate in the tackle and scrambled well, highlighted by forcing a crucial knock-on from Lukhanyo Am. He made one fine break albeit losing possession and a couple of finger-tip knocks-on but generally good. Rating: 7

11 Duhan van der Merwe

A couple of snapshots of his power in the tackle but like Watson was never given the type of ball where he could impose his strength. He didn’t have many questions to answer in defence because Cheslin Kolbe got very little ball. Rating: 6

10 Dan Biggar

The Welsh outhalf kicked 14 points from the tee and in a general sense, one pulled place-kick aside, his kicking game was reasonably well directed. He didn’t really bring his backline into play at any stage, suffocated by the Boks’ defensive press but overall the ledger was appreciably positive. Rating: 7


The British & Irish Lions

Full coverage of all the action in South Africa READ MORE

9 Ali Price

He looked a little overwhelmed by the pace and physicality in the first 20 minutes but he gradually settled to the task. It was his excellent box-kicking after the restart that yielded opportunities for the Lions to regain possession and wrest control. Rating: 7

1 Rory Sutherland

A late call-up to the starting team due to Wyn Jones’s unavailability he was pinged twice at the scrum and the fact that his replacement Mako Vunipola made an appreciable difference when introduced could see him struggle to be in the matchday 23 next Saturday. Rating: 5

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie

Two errant lineouts, one overthrown the other crooked, were the only real blemishes on his try-scoring performance that was accompanied by a high work-rate on both sides of the ball. Rating: 6

Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

3 Tadhg Furlong

Loves a good celebration from the lineout maul tries, he won an important scrum penalty and was an important buffer in that set-piece when the Boks chased dominance there. He carried and tackled with typical application in a robust performance over the 67 minutes. Rating: 7

4 Maro Itoje

Deserved man-of-the-match, three turnovers in the first half alone including one within a few metres of the Lions’ line that saved a try. Immense in every facet of the game, he led by example especially in defence; intelligent and unrelenting. Rating: 9

5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt)

He was very quiet in the first half but considering the injury from which he has recovered that was to be expected. He was a key figure in the Lions’ second-half revival that included work-rate and decision-making. Rating: 7

6 Courtney Lawes

A huge performance in all aspects of the game, out of touch, carrying, making an eye-catching break that took him through three attempted tackles as a pre-cursor to one of his side’s better attacking moments. Tackled with authority. Rating: 8

7 Tom Curry

There could be no faulting his desire and work ethic but in conceding three penalties he demonstrated an impetuous streak that proved a bit of a handicap to his team in that opening half. His place will be under threat. Rating: 5

8 Jack Conan

He provided illustrations of the many qualities that he brings to a team, making one of two line breaks, defending and tackling with intelligence and carried the ball more than any other Lions player. Rating: 7

Replacements

In a collective sense they, to a man, added energy and momentum at a crucial stage. Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler gave their team a rock solid scrum, forcing a penalty there to boot. Hamish Watson was lucky to avoid a card for a dangerous tackle. Conor Murray and Owen Farrell brought control and maturity for the most part. Rating: 8

Coach

Warren Gatland deserves great credit for the team selection initially as most of the big calls that he made work out superbly. His half-time recalibration of tactics and focus worked a treat as did the timing of the replacements. He’s never been afraid to change things up and that may be reflected in a couple of changes for the second Test one of which could see Bundee Aki drafted in at 12 with Henshaw moving to 13. Rating: 8

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house prices

Published

on

Seaside sun… rises! Norfolk’s Hemsby leads villages with the biggest property value boom as buyers search for coastal countryside views

  • Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house price increases
  • The average value of a home in Hemsby is up 22% during the past year
  • Three of the top five villages with the biggest price increases are in Norfolk

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed and dominating the list are seaside locations.

The pandemic has seen a ‘race for space’ with people living in cities moving to rural and coastal areas due to more flexible working practices.

They are shunning busy city landscapes for open green spaces in the countryside and easy access to expansive sea views.

Britain's village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Hemsby, just north of Great Yarmouth, tops the rankings produced by Rightmove, having seen the biggest rise in average house prices during the past year.

The typical value of a home in the Norfolk village has increased 22 per cent in the 12 months from June last year, from £221,533 to £270,144.

Three of the top five villages with the biggest house prices increases were in Norfolk, with Heacham and Caister-On-Sea also making the list.

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in June 2021 compared to the same period last year, while asking prices in Caister-On-Sea rose by 12 per cent.

Caister-On-Sea also saw one of the biggest rises in demand for villages, with buyer demand up 46 per cent in June 2021 compared to June 2020. Average asking prices in Caister-On-Sea are £240,909.

David Lowes, of estate agents Mr & Mrs Clark in Norfolk, said: ‘With a general “escape to the country” desire prevalent for many, the rural county of Norfolk is in high demand.

‘With its 90 odd miles of varied coastline, the added possibility of a “next-to-the-sea” lifestyle, and the simple pleasure of a stunning sunrise or sunset means the coastal villages are of particular attraction.’

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove 

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

He added: ‘Hemsby and Caister in the east and Heacham in the west of the county offer some of the more affordable options thus driving strong percentage price growth. 

‘Each of these villages are close to larger towns too which helps with the transition to the countryside in terms of availability of amenities and activities.’

Rightmove defined demand as the number of enquiries it had via emails and calls to agents via its website. 

Average prices percentage increases in these villages appear to be around three times as much elsewhere. But this may be affected by villages having lower stock and fewer transactions. 

The average price of a home in Britain increased 6 per cent during the past year to June, from £317,058 to £336,073, according to Rightmove.

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Rightmove revealed that six out of the top 10 villages with the biggest annual price growth in June are near the sea. House price growth in all of these villages rose at a higher rate than the national average.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘During the past year, we’ve spoken a lot about the changes we’re seeing in where people are choosing to live, and this data shows continued demand from buyers looking for villages and rural locations outside of traditional major cities.

‘While we have seen signs that cities are starting to make a steady comeback, particularly in the rental market, price growth across all areas of Britain continues to be strong.

‘With the summer weather finally here, we’re seeing an added drive from buyers looking for that perfect village location by the sea, which is supporting price growth in these areas.’

Advertisement



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!