Laura (Watts) is a yoga teacher in Whitstable (Kent) and Paul (Brownage) works as a marketing strategist and web designer in London. We decided to move out of the big smoke after we realized that the only places we could afford to live in London were described by estate agents as “up and coming”. This normally means that you have to wait 5 years for a decent cafe and soon after that all the cool independent shops will turn into Tesco Metro. The other more important side of things was that we wanted to move somewhere we could see ourselves bringing up a family. Articles like this one from the Daily Mail (never one not to try and shock) definitely put you off family city life, maybe this copy from the Guardian summarises our concerns better….so we spent 4-6 months scouring the south east for commutable locations.
We visited Henley Upon Thames, Lewis, Rye, Saffron Walden and many other places in between. In the end we picked Whitstable. It is still affordable, arty, full of independent businesses and brilliantly connected to London by rail. We started off by moving into a short term let just off the High Street in November 2011, we fell in love with the place straight away! Windy Corner Stores, Valentines Retro Furnishing, The Neptune Pub and the local farmers Market are just a few of our favourites. Soon after New Year 2012 we were on the house hunt, the process of finding a place out of London is definitely different, the market is slower, the estate agents less slick and less smarmy, the whole experience is just, well nicer…
In April 2012 we found our house, it was probably the 33rd or so place we had looked at (including aborted London attempts earlier the year before). Initially we’d put in an offer for a house further down the same street, but we changed our mind when we saw how many original features this end of terrace gem had. Having not been decorated since the 1960’s it still had picture rails, all original floorboards and doors, virtually no dampness – this is how our parents and grandparents used to live!
We put an offer in as soon as we could which got accepted second time around, four months later the house buying process came to its long and convoluted and we moved in at the start of September 2012. This wee blog is where we plan to post photos, thoughts and rants about the process of taking our once loved 1930’s family house and bringing it bang up to date with the latest 21st century technology and design ideas.