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A smaller property such as an apartment or bungalow usually tops the house hunting list for many retirees choosing to downsize, as they look to adopt a quieter, lower maintenance lifestyle. For retired engineer Robert James, 73, however, bucking the trend and upsizing to a three bedroom house at Millwood Designer Homes’ Hawthornden development in Yalding, Kent, has helped to put a smile on his face again after his wife unexpectedly passed away. With a spacious garden to grow his own vegetables, a large open-plan kitchen to pursue his love of cooking and two spare bedrooms for his grandsons to stay, Robert’s new home is the perfect space for making new family memories

Robert previously lived 15 miles down the road in Headcorn with his wife Maureen, before moving to a three bedroom semi-detached property at Hawthornden in December 2020. Robert comments,  “We lived in our bungalow in Headcorn for 11 years. After Maureen sadly passed away, I couldn’t stay in the house anymore as it reminded me too much of her, so I decided to move. My intention was to move into another bungalow, but when I visited Hawthornden for the very first time, I knew I wanted to be here. The development was small and seemed to be friendly; it reminded me a lot of when I was younger and used to live in the countryside. When I viewed this property, I fell in love with it and everything just felt right.”

He continues, “I love everything about this property, especially the beautiful garden and the huge kitchen. My wife was a gardener, but I have made strides to get this garden landscaped and I am going to try and grow my own vegetables in the raised flower beds. Once the vegetables have grown, I’m looking forward to cooking with them in my new kitchen; I’ve already spent so much time in the kitchen since I moved in! I really like experimenting with my cooking and creating new recipes, and this kitchen/diner has everything I need to get started. It’s a really nice size too; I’ve got a big country style dining table in the middle and there’s heaps of room to entertain my family when we are allowed to.”

Hawthornden is situated in the quaint historic village of Yalding, within walking distance to a selection of local amenities in the village. Robert said, “I chose to move to Yalding as it is central to both of my children, but also because there are lots of places I can walk to from here; it doesn’t seem too secluded. I can walk to the local shops and post office in Yalding village, and there’s a doctor’s surgery there too which is great. My son lives 15 minutes from here, and my daughter and grandsons live just 20 minutes away, so it’s really nice to not be too far away from all of them. My grandsons absolutely love this house, and they can’t wait to come and stay! That’s one of the reasons I bought a three bedroom house, so that they can have a bedroom each when they come and stay with me.”

Speaking of the buying process, Robert comments, “Once I had viewed the property, I reserved it within the week. I had looked at other properties, but my son and daughter came with me to view this one, and they fell in love with it too. I knew I had to reserve it, as I would have been so disappointed if I someone else had got it before me! The sales girls in the office were really lovely and have been so helpful throughout the process. They have made it as smooth as possible for me, which I’m really grateful for.

 “I think a new build property is ideal for someone like me. When you get to my age and you’re on your own, you want a lower maintenance home. With my property, I didn’t want to downsize as I wanted the space for my family to visit, but I have still managed to get a home where everything has been done for me, so I can just enjoy spending time with them. You also get a 10-year guarantee if anything major goes wrong, so I’m effectively being looked after for 10 years – something you wouldn’t get in a second hand home – which is great.” 

Set in a perfectly secluded area of woodland, Hawthornden comprises a unique collection of three, four and five bedroom homes. The last remaining property is The Bluebell, a three bedroom house available for £495,000.

For more information, please visit millwooddesignerhomes.co.uk or call 01843 880843