Our renovation journey: buying a plot to build the house of our dreams

In the second of a series of catch ups with previous clients, we get the lowdown on how their new life in the country is going and, now that they are settled, what words of wisdom they can pass on to others who are about to embark on a similar journey.

This time, we chat to Michaela who moved to Chiddingfold from London, with her husband and three very young boys in 2019.

When we started the hunt, they weren’t looking for a project but they fell in love with a house that had the loveliest garden, in Chiddingfold, which is one of Surrey’s most sought after villages. The old cottage needed extending or completely renovating to bring it up to modern standards. With the support and guidance from professionals we introduced them to, they have designed a beautiful brand new house. And coincidently, when we met up with them, construction had just begun.

How did you decide where to live and what were your priorities when you were moving out?

The distance from London was a big priority because of my husband’s work, and to be near my in-laws as my parents are in South Africa.   They live in Richmond, so Surrey seemed like a good spot plus I knew of people moving this way.

What advice would you have for those looking to do the same move as you?

Get you two because basically, I wouldn’t have coped! I didn’t grow up in the UK so just didn’t have the same level of knowledge of the areas outside London. I also had a young family and was juggling the demands of that. Trying to come out to areas I didn’t know was really challenging, plus by the time I organised myself to get out to view a house, it would have been snapped up.  The orientation tour we did with you guys was just brilliant. You gave me the confidence to pick an area based on insider knowledge and I knew you knew the best places that would suit us.

When we were house hunting for you, we ended up finding you a great plot in Chiddingfold with a smaller property on it,  and you decided to take on building a new house!  How is that going?

It’s been such a long process but I love where the house is, and I can’t wait to build the end house.  With Covid the planning got pushed back and it has all taken so much longer than we could have imagined pre lockdown. I know when the house is done though, I will be very happy, so you might need to ask me again in a year!   The diggers finally arrived this week and we’ve been in the cottage a lot longer than we thought so I’m ready for the new house now!

Your children were very young when we met you.  How did you find choosing a school?

Amesbury has been excellent. We made most of our friends through the school and the boys have been very happy there. We knew from the first viewing that it was the school for us and there is a school bus from the village which is fantastic.

What is your favourite thing about living in Surrey and where do you like to hang out?

Just being out in the green countryside. I go back into London and I’m excited to see friends but from the minute I leave I get this huge sense of calm and relief and am always happy to be heading back to the beautiful countryside again.

Our lifestyle has changed hugely and we walk a lot more now that we have a dog (a girl to balance out having three sons!) We have chickens now too.  No one who met me in London would have believed that!

Mulberry Inn, Chiddingfold

We love Elliot’s Coffee Shop and The Mulberry Inn in Chiddingfold, as local eating haunts.

For fitness I go to CYC:D in Haslemere, which offers a range of different classes.

Circle Boutique in Haslemere, does the most wonderful pre-loved clothes if you like your fashion, like I do.