Our House

PUBLISHED: 13:09 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013

IMG 1435 copy

IMG 1435 copy

A Tunbridge Wells family talks Kent Life through the renovation of its Tunbridge Wells home

Oakholt, Tunbridge Wells
Bought for: £265,000
Renovation costs: £200,000
For sale today: £1.2m
Owners: Andrew, Kay and Jack Holdstock

Company director Andrew moved from Sevenoaks to Tunbridge Wells 12 years ago for a better social life, and discovered the potential of the Oakholt property.

A substantial detached family home, Oakholt is situated on a prestigious road near Tunbridge Wells station and the famous Pantiles. Andrew and Kay have happily lived together for four years, spending more than a year converting the 1970s decor into a modern, luxury home.

"It was the location that initially attracted me to the property; we're
10 minutes from town, a five-minute walk to the Pantiles and it's right next to the tennis court, where I used to play
a lot of tennis," says Andrew.

Taking a year to renovate, the project was a huge amount of time and work for Andrew and Kay, who had to
quickly become accustomed to swift decision making.

"It was all very scary to start with, being asked by the builders where we want the electricity points to go in a room before we've had a chance to even think," says Kay.

The Holdstocks have lovingly renovated the property with the intention of staying, but Andrew has a business in Prague and he will be spending more time there, so the family has decided to reluctantly move, explains Kay.

"We are absolutely gutted that we've got to sell. We did this house up with real love and care, we put the best we could afford into it. We were thinking of staying here for a long time and we had all the schools worked out for the kids."

Andrew and Kay wanted to achieve a feel for their home that would be quite timeless, chic, classic contemporary and have the 'wow' factor. At the same time, Kay wanted it to be homely and liveable.
"Initially, the kitchen used to be a single garage, and the snug used to be
the laundry room. We also opened the archway to make it open plan from the dining room into the lounge area.

"In the lounge we fitted a new marble fireplace. Before, it had a nasty brick sandstone 1970s fireplace - the whole house was very 1970s, with floral wallpaper everywhere. Upstairs, the master bedroom was painted pink, while the bathroom was avocado with brown tiles. Bedroom number four was initially only a single-story garage below, but we built the new bedroom above."

Outside, Andrew and Kay wanted the extension for the garage and gym to be finished to a high standard so it would match the house. This meant buying the bricks from Belgium so the colour would match.

"The garage location was an issue because it was so close to the oak tree, it had to have a special raft foundation. The whole bottom of the building had to have foundation, yet it can move and not let the roots come through - it's so strong, the Empire State building can be built on there," explains Andrew.

The nursery is Kay's favourite room: "I'm particularly pleased with the nursery because I hand-painted all the murals on the walls. I feel the nursery has more of my personal touch," she says.

For Andrew, it is the triple-aspect lounge: "I love the fireplace, it's such
a major feature, and probably the most expensive one item in the
whole house.

It took us a long time to choose the right one to fit the size of the room."
Taking pride of place in the lounge is Kay's grand piano, given to her by a friend of Andrew's mum, who heard her play and she said
"you're going to have to have my late husband's piano". Kay admits:
"I don't read music, I play by ear and I compose music. What I do enjoy
is getting my son, Jack into music as well by bashing a few keys!"

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