Now they’ve moved into a former show home at The Hawthorns, a Kingswood Homes development in the village of Elswick – and they’re looking forward to a trouble free, happy, and healthy future together.
Caroline, also 50, explains: “John and I got together about 12-13 years ago and, in that time, we have renovated quite a few houses including the one I was in and, more recently, a big bungalow in Great Eccleston which was meant to be our forever home and which we’d just more or less finished.
“But when John had a heart attack last year we decided to downsize and reduce our monthly outgoings – and not get another project.
“My husband was working weekends and then, when he came home, any spare time was spent working on our own properties.
She adds: “We wanted a new build home to reduce the pressure sand stop working so hard. We could just move in and it would be all done apart from a few personal touches.”
Caroline and John chose Elswick because it was close to where they lived and they liked the area.
“It’s quite rural and safe, and we can get everything we need from the shops nearby,” Caroline explains.
And after visiting a number of new-homes developments, The Hawthorns, was the outstanding choice.
Surrounded by fields with village amenities, yet only a 30-minute drive from Preston, the development, with only a few homes still available, offers the ideal combination of rural and city living.
Caroline, a project manager in the aerospace industry, says: “We liked The Hawthorns because the homes were just a little bit different and they stood out from other new-builds; it was refreshing to see a different exterior with their wooden frontage.
“We liked the size of the development and the build was of a better quality and standard to other new builds.”
The couple chose a former show home, a Byre 4 detached style with double garage and large garden.
The Byre 4 is usually a four-bedroom home with downstairs accommodation including a kitchen and dining area, with a separate lounge with bi-fold doors leading to the rear garden, as well as a cloakroom and utility.
While Caroline and John’s home was the same downstairs, upstairs had been re-configured with Shape Your Home, Kingswood’s innovative concept that offers buyers a choice of internal layouts. Instead of four bedrooms and family bathroom, their home has three bigger bedrooms, each with its own en-suite.
“We love the spacious hallway and the size of the utility and toilet area. The kitchen and dining area is big enough to have a sofa and a casual sitting area too,” adds Caroline.
“Everything’s finished so nicely. The flow of the house really works for us. We have the main bedroom, and we have kept another for one of John’s children and the other we will keep as a guest room for visitors.”
Having downsized to a more energy efficient property, they’ve already found they’re using less electricity.
“The Nest Smart heating system is good because we can see what we’re using and it’s handy to be able to have the app so you can control it even when you’re not home and personalise it. We’ve never had anything like this before and I’d hoped it wasn’t going to be too difficult to use because I’m not very techy – and it wasn’t,” Caroline says.
With nothing on the ‘to-do’ list other than countryside walks and ‘perhaps a few more holidays’, Caroline and John are delighted with their new home and their new life.
“John has recovered well – and he’s not working as much –and we love our new home. Now we want to settle in and look forward to a happy and healthy future,” Caroline adds.