Posted on September 30, 2020
Welcome to the first instalment of our new interview series called "The Leap", where we're excited to share stories from residents who made the leap from city life to the beautiful Cotswolds countryside.
We're kicking things off with Charlotte and Jack who have been happily residing in the Cotswolds' rolling hills for two years now. Find out more about their journey to countryside living and their advice to anyone else thinking about making the leap!
Do you remember the moment that the seed was sown to make the move to The Cotswolds?
We were living on our houseboat Trafalgar in London, on Chelsea Reach. Charlotte was pregnant with our first, and a friend was coming over with her baby. She called from the road, saying she couldn’t get her buggy, shopping and other such baby paraphernalia down the ramps without help - we knew it was time for a change - either abroad or to the country, and when we decided on the country, it was only going to be The Cotswolds.
Tell us about your property search
We rented first in Quenington so we had time to search, and viewed loads of properties in the area between Burford and Chipping Norton. We were sitting at Daylesford having lunch after yet another disappointing viewing, feeling rather glum and dejected. We couldn’t find anything in our budget that justified the move to the Cotswolds. The night before, as a last attempt, I had widened our search area towards Cheltenham. Sitting in the courtyard, about to head back to town, my phone beeped. It was a property alert. Sharvell Property had just loaded Keeper’s Lodge in Cranham. Within 2 minutes we had spoken to Peter and arranged a viewing for the following morning.
Did you have a wish list for the features/style of house/amenities you wanted?
We wanted space - open countryside - and charm. Old and in need of work, but liveable at the same time. Charlotte is an Interior Architect and I develop properties, so we wanted a project.
The Marlborough Downs. Image credit: Michelin Travel
What made you think your new home was ‘the one’?
Keeper’s Lodge has that immediate ‘wow’ impact on arrival. We were actually in the woods behind the house when we both said “this is the one”. We hadn’t been inside yet. That didn’t matter. We made an offer there and then. Surrounded by its own land, with unbroken views as far as the Marlborough Downs, we knew we’d found our home.
How are you settling in?
We have been here for two years now, and in that time had two daughters and set up two companies. We converted the stables into a guest suite and have had many an enjoyable weekend hosting friends. Peter and Francesca have actually now sold Keeper’s for us! We adored being here, especially for those nesting days before and after each child, and for ‘lockdown’. We were incredibly grateful for the space to walk, see the seasons change in nature and be outside without actually leaving home. But we are moving to be closer to our family near Oxford, so it’s time for another family to enjoy this amazing home. We are incredibly grateful for the memories here.
What’s been your biggest adjustment?
The biggest adjustment has to be working from home. We do still go to London for meetings when necessary, Char commuted 2 days a week for 18 months when she had a big project in Kensington and now the projects are country based it’s only necessary for the occasional sourcing trip. We set up Headboards & Ottomans from home as so many friends were asking for help with having these made and it’s so tricky to find nice bespoke upholstered furniture that isn’t extortionately expensive without the help of an interior designer.
Keeper's Lodge, Cranham
How has it changed your day to day living for the better?
We spend so much more time outside - whether it’s in the snow or sun. We feel less stressed generally, no London traffic, no sirens, and a much more friendly community. When we see friends and family, we feel like we have quality time with them - rather than fleeting visits and rushing off to the next appointment in town.
What would you say to someone who’s considering making the move from city to country?
Try before you buy. We found renting for a period really useful - in terms of seeing if country living was for us, and more specifically, which area you want to be in. Make the most of people like Peter and Francesca, who know The Cotswolds inside out, and can do the hard work for you.
Can you share some of your favourite local haunts?
We have loved being between Cheltenham and Cirencester. Both offer everything you could need, from the Ivy and YO! Sushi, to Paint-a Pot for the kids. A family favourite is Jolly Nice - just to the West of Cirencester, a converted petrol station serves up the best burgers around, and the deli/shop is full of some amazing treats. Our local shop in Miserden is the most amazing village shop going, with endless walks that start and end from it.
Jolly Nice in Stroud. Image credit: Jolly Nice IG
What does a weekend in The Cotswolds look like for you?
Long walks, roast lunches, roaring fires, adventures in the woods, jumping in puddles, tennis and golf, newspapers in bed (yeah right....we have two young children).
Do you miss anything about city life?
Having all your friends on your doorstep or within 5 minutes is always nice, but they make the most of our house at weekends. We often go to London for a few days. The ease of walking out of the door to your favourite coffee shop, or dropping into the theatre or cinema around the corner is always nice, but it only takes a day or two before we feel the pull of the countryside. We honestly haven’t looked back.
Finish the sentence: ‘Life in The Cotswolds is….’
...perfect for us at this stage of our life right now. Knowing us, we will have an adventure somewhere else in the world, but I suspect we will end up in The Cotswolds long-term. It feels like home.
Are you thinking about making the leap to The Cotswolds? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org