Contemporary style at its very best
"Everything in this house has been chosen with as much care and attention to detail as possible," says David Lovell, development director of the well-known top-quality developers Heritage Homes. David is showing me around his latest development in Exeter today. He is, quite rightly, extremely proud of this lovely house.
David was an estate agent and surveyor for many years before launching Heritage Homes eight years ago. I soon discover that what he doesn't know about making a home comfortable and beautiful is not worth knowing. That's probably why four of the five stunning houses in this new development, called The Lyndons, sold off plan before they were even built. There is just this one – the biggest, Number 4 – that is still up for grabs. And whoever does buy it is in for a fantastic lifestyle, that's for sure.
The development is gated and tucked into the corner of a pretty street called Lyndhurst Road. This is in the heart of an exceptionally quiet and peaceful part of Exeter, known as St Leonards. It's tranquil and long-established, with many lovely Georgian houses, a small tennis club and plenty of trees. But it is also just a stone's throw from the quirky shops and cafes of nearby Magdalen Road, where you can visit a top-quality traditional butchers, an award-winning fishmonger, restaurants and lovely designer clothes boutiques.
"St Leonards offers a wonderful lifestyle within Exeter and is the city's most sought-after area, by far," says David. "It's also home to some excellent private schools – the Maynard School St Margaret's School and Exeter School – which are all a big draw for families."
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The area is also within walking distance, though you'd never guess it, of the huge Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital so, not surprisingly, St Leonards is popular with doctors who work there.
But back to the house itself. It is top of the range in every way, from its beautifully-landscaped garden to the Swiss bathroom fittings and German kitchen. It really does offer city living at its most restful and relaxing.
The staircases alone cost the developers a cool £50,000 and is a combination of structural glass, polished steel and solid oak.
The garden wraps around two sides of the house and is fully enclosed, not at all overlooked and has been landscaped and planted up by expert gardener Penny Pritchard of Tony Benger Landscaping. If it was not for the fact that I can just about discern the stripes of where the turf had been laid, I would never have guessed that the well-established shrubs, trees and colourful flowers had all been put in just a week ago. As time goes by, no doubt this garden will mature and establish into something even more beautiful.
You can park in the integral double garage, or right outside the front door in the spacious paved area. Once inside through the bespoke oak front door, there is a roomy and light-filled hallway. All the lines are clean and contemporary, the finish absolutely perfect.
The ground floor is all about relaxing and eating, David explains. "We chose an Alno kitchen from Germany," he tells me. "It is just so stylish and works so well."
It certainly is a cook's dream, with no fewer than four ovens mounted on a wall (two fan, one steam, one combi) and an enviable amount of easy-to-reach storage.
"We find deep drawers for pans and other storage works so much better than cupboards, as you can find everything much more easily," says David.
On the ground floor, the kitchen is open plan with a large space perfect for a big kitchen table at one end and sofas and a TV at the other.
There are electrical and satellite sockets just awaiting a wall-mounted television. The space opens out through a wall of glass onto the patio and garden, and is such an easy, convenient space for entertaining family and friends.
But there are times when open- plan living needs some privacy too. To that end, part of the kitchen is tucked away to hide the washing up area and sinks. There is also a separate room altogether nearby that could be used as a formal dining room. This would also make a children's playroom, ideal for keeping toys apart from the living area.
I loved the fact that there is a separate utility room just off the kitchen, with its own door onto the garden. It would be so useful if the owners had a dog, as a place for a quick canine clean up or serving doggy dinners. In the utility room, too, is another clever touch, a food lift – or dumb waiter – which goes all the way up to the top floor, where there is yet more entertaining space.
And it is here that we visit next, up the wonderful and architectural staircase. This top floor really is something. It is one vast room, 22 x 17ft, which opens onto a huge glass-walled open-air roof terrace. Here, you could have parties to your heart's content or perhaps just use it as the most amazing master bedroom suite. To make entertaining easy, there is a neat wall of sleek white doors which open at a touch to reveal a sink, fridge, storage and even a boiling water tap instead of a kettle. "If you want a coffee or a cup of tea, it saves you going to the kitchen," David explains. Here, too, is where the food lift emerges, making it so easy to cater for guests and clear away afterwards.
The top floor also boasts a swish study, complete with a remote-controlled roof window.
"All the communications in the house are centralised here," explains David. "Every room has phone and satellite connections, so you can watch TV everywhere and listen to music.
"It just makes it so much easier to have all that put in place and organised when the house is built, to avoid the problems of wires all over the place later on."
This house has such hi-tech communications it even comes with its own iMac computer for the new owner to control everything from the study.
With its cool white walls, stunning oak floors and dazzling finish, not to mention the wonderful countryside views from the terrace, the entertainment suite is really rather marvellous. I can imagine people having a lot of fun here.
We now head back downstairs to the first floor, where four bedrooms are laid out with every thought to comfort and style. Two of the larger bedrooms (one 21 x 14 ft, the other 13 x 10 ft) have their own bathrooms and there is also a lovely family bathroom. Each is slightly different, with carefully-chosen Villeroy Boch tiling and first-class Swiss-made bathroom fittings from Laufer or Duravit.
The master bedroom and the family bathroom both have glamorous freestanding baths made from volcanic limestone and all the shower enclosures are huge with lovely fittings. Overall, the look of all the bathrooms is simply stunning – sultry, gorgeous and reminiscent of a very expensive hotel.
All in all, this is a large, luxury home that offers the most laid-back and comfortable of lifestyles in a beautiful contemporary setting. Whoever lives here is in for a seriously nice time – lucky things!
Jackson-Stops & Staff, Exeter (01392 214222) www.jackson-stops.co.uk, is marketing the property at £1,400,000.