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Latest Video Tour Of Luxury Berkshire Property

The Property

This wonderful property is presented to an exceptional standard and provides around 4,000 sq. ft. of luxurious space, enclosed within distinctive architectural styling.

McCarthy Holden are renowned for producing high end video productions for special properties in and around Finchampstead Ridges near Wellington College, so it’s no surprise that this beautiful property got that special added marketing bonus.

There is hundreds of acres of National  Trust land on the doorstep of this property, providing access to wonderful woodland walks nearby, yet this location benefits from ease of access to London, Heathrow and the M3 / M4 motorways, and of course towns such as Wokingham, Reading, Bracknell and Basingstoke.

Ground Floor

The impressive reception hall sets the scene for exploring this luxury property, with high specification indicators such as the French polished internal oak doors, skirtings, architraves and a bespoke oak staircase, French polished with handmade architectural metal balustrade.

Additional ground floor accommodation includes a significant kitchen/family/dining room, a fine living room, a dining room, sitting/tv family room, study, a substantial gym room, cloakroom and a utility room.

The Optiplan kitchen is complemented by a granite work surface, natural stone flooring and under cupboard and plinth lighting. Features and appliances include three  Villeroy and Boch white ceramic sinks, a Rangemaster Cooker with Extractor Hood, Samsung USA style Fridge/Freezer with ice and water, a Bosch fully integrated dishwasher and a Caple built in wine cooler. Best of all the stunning kitchen opens directly into a wonderful breakfast garden room with vaulted ceiling and the benefit of views over the grounds to the rear.

First Floor

On the first floor there is an impressive landing. There are five bedrooms, three with an en-suite.

The vast master bedroom suite benefits from a fine range of built in bedroom furniture with soft close doors with French polished wood finish. The luxurious en-suite bathroom and shower room features a distinctive Edwardian style bath tub, a shower cubicle, a wc, bidet and pedestal wash basin. The property benefits from heating by way of a gas fired condensing Worcester Bosch boiler, with radiators.

Grounds

To the front of the property there is a sweeping driveway with two electronic gated entry / exit stations. To the rear of the property there is a vast natural stone patio leading to tree fringed formal gardens.

Location

The property is located about 5 miles to the South West of the charming market town of Wokingham.  There is excellent schooling in the area including Holme Grange, Luckley House, Yateley Manor St Neots,, and Wellington College which is less than a mile away, Heathrow Airport is about 35 miles and Farnborough Airport is about 11 miles distant. Private aircraft facilities are also available at Blackbushe Airport (about 6 miles).

Contact our Hartley Wintney branch / Telephone 01252 842100 for further details.

Video Tour Of Period Property, New to The Market Today

This distinctive period property is a landmark Grade 11 Listed family home, known locally as The Cat, which offers a wealth of character which is equalled by the history surrounding the property.

The property went on sale today with the Odiham branch of McCarthy Holden, who created a presenter lead video to showcase this fine home.

Accommodation is generous and offers four double bedrooms, plus two bonus rooms on the second floor, four well sized reception rooms and a kitchen with separate utility room. Outside the garden wraps round the house and offers a large patio area with historic well, vegetable beds and various flower and shrub beds. There is a large wooden workshop with double door access for vehicle access. There is a detached  double garage power and light and workbench.

There is access to wonderful walks nearby including along the Basingstoke canal, yet this location benefits from ease of access to London, Heathrow and the M3  motorway, and of course towns such as Farnham, Reading, and Basingstoke.

 The downstairs accommodation offers flexible use and is currently set up to offer a dining room (a dual aspect room with door leading into the garden, inglenook fireplace with beam over, beams to ceiling) a snug with fireplace and log burner, a study, a sitting / living room (in the oldest part of the property with a wealth of character features including exposed beams and a charming fireplace), a farmhouse style fitted kitchen with Aga and a utility room with cloakroom and w.c.

 The upstairs accommodation is generous and well laid out, with the master bedroom benefiting from an adjacent en-suite shower room. There are four spacious double bedrooms, all with built in wardrobes. There is a family bathroom on the first floor. In addition, there are two bonus rooms on the second floor which have been used as bedrooms from time to time. Through half of the first floor are stunning wide elm floorboards and exposed beams to wall and ceiling.

North Warnborough is an area that was held by King Harold before the Norman invasion of 1066, and today, North Warnborough consists of a conservation area, bounded by Mill Corner in the north and The Street in the south. Most of the village’s 40 listed buildings lie within the conservation area. The Cat is in the centre of the conservation area and is within close proximity of The Millhouse and North Warnborough Green which has the ford and gives access to the canal and extensive walks.

The property is located about mile from the charming village of Odiham. There is excellent schooling in the area including Mayhill, Buryfields and Robert May’s.

Contact McCarthy Holden in Odiham to view – by phone 01256 704851

Renewed Optimism Among Retailers

Some Good News On The Retail Front

Retail sales were slightly above average, up 4%, for the time of year in February, while average selling prices growth slowed compared with the previous quarter, when it had risen to its highest since 1991.

Grocers reported strong sales volumes growth in the year to February, up 65%, while “robust” growth was also reported in internet and mail order goods, hardware and DIY. However this was partly offset by falling sales in department stores, down 45%, clothing, down 77%, furniture and carpets, and footwear and leather.

A third of retailers (32%) reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago in February while 24% said they were down, but 34% expect them to pick up again next month while just 13% think they will fall, according to the latest CBI Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

While sales growth slowed for the third month in a row in the year to February, while employment in the sector continued to fall for the fifth quarter in a row, albeit at the slowest pace in a year. However, for the first time since November 2016, retailers said they expect their business situation to improve over the next three months.

Their investment intentions for the year ahead also strengthened to hit their highest point since August 2015. The CBI said retail momentum was “modest” for most of 2017, mainly reflecting the weakness in household income.

Anna Leach, head of economic intelligence at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “While trading conditions remain tough, it’s encouraging to see retailers’ investment intentions improving to their highest since August 2015, in addition to signs of renewed business optimism for the first time in more than a year.

“With labour-intensive businesses such as retailers finding it increasingly difficult to find workers, agreeing a jobs-first transition between the EU and the UK, in writing, by the end of March would provide some much-needed certainty.”

Conclusion

From a property perspective this is more good news following the 2017 uplift in manufacturing exports, and this means employment and confidence is on the up despite the oft-voiced doom and gloom we hear from some about the impact of Brexit.

Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Home Office

Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Home OfficeA calm and stylish space can boost productivity and look good, as entrepreneur Liz Earle tells Gabrielle Fagan. Millions of us now spending some, if not all, of our time working from home. And one of the joys of working in your own space is that you’re the boss when it comes to design and ambience – so you can escape dull desks and bland decor and kit out your own personalised sanctuary to suit your taste. Entrepreneur and beauty and wellbeing expert, Liz Earle, has teamed up with blinds and curtain specialist Hillarys (hillarys.co.uk), to reveal her own home office and simple but effective tips to help you conjure a stylish work area of your own, where you can be happy as well as productive. “It’s a quick and easy strategy for creating the perfect space, or could be used for an existing office makeover, which could be just what you need to reinvigorate your home-working life,” enthuses mother-of-five Earle, 54, who lives on a farm in the West Country. “There’s undoubtedly a whole host of benefits to home-working, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective, whether that’s because you’re escaping the daily commute or because you’re able to spend more time with the family.” Read on to discover Earle’s approach for creating a calm and stylish home office… 1. Work with the light “Put your desk in front of a window; plenty of natural light is the holy grail, as it’s known to significantly help increase energy, creativity and productivity,” advises Earle. “Wood or faux wood Venetian blinds are perfect for home office windows as they filter light, which will minimise glare on a computer screen and the slats can be adjusted to control light levels when the sun moves round during the day. Go for function but don’t forget about style. Roman blinds soften the look, and a pretty botanical fabric brings a lovely feel of nature into the room.” Make your office more eco-friendly2. Make an eco desk choice “Make your office more eco-friendly with a desk made from reclaimed scaffolding boards and simple trestle legs,” Earle suggests. “Scaffolding boards can be picked up cheaply from a salvage yard, and the beauty of doing this is that you can design your desk according to your space and needs. Make sure there’s room for a task light and desk accessories.” 3. Invest in a great chair “As tempting as it sounds, dragging a chair from the dining room or a stool from the kitchen is a false economy,” Earle warns. “An ergonomically designed chair may not give you the designer feel you had in mind – but your back will thank you for it!  You can always pretty it up with a cosy sheepskin or throw. “Don’t hunch over a laptop – set up a computer monitor at eye level and use a separate keyboard, ergonomic mouse or track pad. Rest forearms on the desk while typing and invest in a simple foot rest to ensure you sit with legs at a comfortable 90-degree angle to the floor.” TIP: Try to do simple stretches and strength moves regularly throughout the day. You don’t necessarily need equipment – try out chair yoga which can be done while seated. 4. Get crafty with accessories “It needn’t cost the earth to decorate your office. Charity shops and car-boot sales are perfect hunting grounds for quirky, vintage pieces, or you could indulge in some DIY creativity,” says Earle. “Cover plain cardboard box files with wallpaper or fabric for a fabulous bespoke look. A pin-board, made from a wooden picture frame, foam and fabric, is a great way to display photos, to-do lists or other information you want to see at a glance.” TIP: Schedule things in your diary that make you happy, not just work tasks. 5. Bring nature into your space “It’s been proven that plants in the workplace can reduce stress levels and increase productivity,” Earle points out. “Aside from these health benefits, plants are a cheap and cheerful way to add decoration and bring the outdoors in. I opt for green, leafy plants like ferns or ivy, avoiding cacti whose spikes can create the opposite of a relaxed feeling, or flowers with a strong scent, which can be distracting or irritating.” And if caring for real plants doesn’t quite work out for you, there are great faux options available these days, so you can still get that calming, leafy look. Whether selling or letting, at McCarthy Holden we see first hand how much demand there is from home buyers to find that perfect home working space6. Conceal the clutter “But remember, the more stuff you add to your desk, the more your brain has to keep track of,” adds Earle. “Working in a crowded space can be mentally exhausting and distracting, even if you don’t realise it. Get creative with storage. I’ve used soft, floaty voile curtains to disguise a shelving unit.” 7. Create an uplifting display Finally, treasured photos that spark joy, and meaningful sayings to keep motivation levels up, make an ideal finishing touch. “Pictures and photographs can be a great way to inspire creativity and a feeling of wellness,” says Earle. “Pick out three or four that are significant to you and make sure those are in your view.” Conclusion Whether selling or letting, at McCarthy Holden we see first hand how much demand there is from home buyers to find that perfect home working space, and top tips numbers one, six and seven are spot on, perhaps with the addition of inviting your favourite cat or dog into the highly productivity space.

Housing Wealth Hotspots In Britain’s Major Cities Revealed

Housing Wealth HotspotsLondon Tops The Tables

The total value of London’s homes is now over £1.5 trillion – more than twice the value of Britain’s next nine largest cities combined – analysis has found. Zoopla made the findings after analysing property values in Britain’s 10 largest cities.

It found the total value of London’s housing has increased by 1.54% over the past 12 months – the slowest growth rate of any of the top 10 cities. Sheffield had the highest annual growth rate at 5.63%, followed by Glasgow at 5.38% and Manchester at 4.49%. Bristol is the next most valuable city after London, with homes there worth an estimated £115.21 billion. Bristol is the only city in Britain apart from London where the total value of homes is over £100 billion.

Glasgow is in third place with a property market value of £90.75 billion, having also seen particularly strong growth in property values over the past year compared with the other major cities. Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for Zoopla, said: “It comes as no surprise that London is significantly more valuable as a residential property market than any other British city. “However, the data does show that, in comparison to cities further north and across the Scottish border, the rate of growth in London has slowed.”

The research also looked at the pockets in each city where total property values are particularly high. Within London, the SW1 area, which includes Belgravia, Pimlico and Westminster, was identified as being the most valuable area of the capital. Homes there are worth £54.57 billion in total – nearly as much as the whole of Sheffield’s housing – according to these estimates.

Bristol’s BS16 neighbourhood was identified as the city’s most valuable enclave, with a total value of £10.1 billion. The area includes Downend, Emersons Green, Fishponds, French, Pucklechurch and Staple Hill.

In Glasgow, G12, which includes the West End and the University of Glasgow, has a total property value of £4.27 billion, while Birmingham’s most valuable area is B13, including Moseley and Billesley, with a total value of £3.97 billion, according to the findings.

Meanwhile, homes in the M20 area of Manchester, which includes Didsbury and Withington, are valued at a total of £6.48 billion.

Summary / Conclusion

At McCarthy Holden there was no surprise in London topping the tables, however there is an interesting trend currently because there is a significant uplift in buyers leaving London to find a new home and settle in places like Fleet, Odiham and Hartley Wintney, perhaps indicating that lifestyle and environmental criteria play an important a part in moving house.

Here is the annual percentage growth in the value of homes, according to the research, followed by the total value in January 2018:

1. London, 1.54%, £1.506 trillion

2. Bristol, 3.8%, £115.21 billion

3. Glasgow, 5.38% £90.75 billion

4. Birmingham, 4.08%, £81.66 billion

5. Manchester, 4.49%, £80.47 billion

6. Edinburgh, 4.04%, £68.27 billion

7. Nottingham, 3.69%, £66.13 billion

8. Reading, 2.37%, £60.55 billion

9. Leeds, 4.2%, £59.05 billion

10. Sheffield, 5.63%, £55.69 billion

And here are the most valuable areas in each of the top 10 cities and the annual percentage growth in their value, according to Zoopla (cities ranked in order of the total housing value in each city):

1. London, SW1, includes Belgravia, Pimlico, Westminster, 0.01%, £54.57 billion

2. Bristol, BS16, includes Downend, Emersons Green, Fishponds, 4.43%, £10.1 billion

3. Glasgow, G12, includes West End, Cleveden, Dowanhill, 7.18%, £4.27 billion

4. Birmingham, B13, includes Moseley, Billesley,  5.37%, £3.97 billion

5. Manchester, M20, includes Didsbury, Withington, 4.78%, £6.48 billion

6. Edinburgh EH4, includes Dean Village, Comely Bank, 5.09%, £8.61 billion

7. Nottingham, NG9, includes Beeston, Stapleford, Lenton Abbey, 5.31%, £6.93 billion

8. Reading, RG4, includes Caversham, Sonning, Sonning Common, 1.23%, £8.54 billion

9. Leeds, LS17, includes Alwoodley, Bardsey, East Keswick, Eccup, 5.63%, £6.46 billion

10. Sheffield, S10 includes Broomhill, Broomhall, Crookes, 5.39%, £5.68 billion

Small Spaces Big Ideas: 7 Secrets For Making The Most Of Every Inch

Small Spaces Big Ideas

Interior designers and award-winning bloggers, Athena Bluff and Amy Brandhorst from Topology (topologyinteriors.com), have joined forces with Habitat, in a mission to help the nation maximise the space in their homes.

While there’s nothing anyone can do about the bricks and mortar and actual dimensions of your property you live in, their seven home hacks could help you make the best of the space available, meaning rooms feel larger.

Read on for their space-enhancing secrets…

Hack #1: Shine a light

“Ensure you have multiple light sources within a room to maximise light at night,” says Bluff. “You should aim to have around six light sources around the room, which will ‘replace’ natural daylight and allow light to flow through the space. Enhance the effect with mirrored surfaces, which will bounce light around. Those and metallics, which  reflect warm light,  will create a sense of more space.”

Hack #2: Be free with flooring

“An easy trick for floors to is to continue the hallway flooring into your small room. Creating a visually unbroken flow of space will make it appear as though it’s one big area, and creates an illusion that the floor is expanding,” points out Bluff.

Hack #3: Create colour harmony

“Try painting walls, skirting boards and door frames all the same colour. Painting them different colours can actually break up a space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room,” says Brandhorst.”If they’re all the same colour, they’ll blend into one and make the room appear bigger.”

Create colour harmony

Hack #4: Make a great reflection

“Hang a mirror opposite a window. It’s simple but extremely effective – both in terms of cost and visual impact,” suggests Brandhorst. “The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making it appear larger. If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiple mirrors to reflect as much light as possible. More light equals more sense of space.”

Hack #5:  Choose multi-functional furniture

“Opt for dual usage furniture that can be folded or expanded to suit your needs,” says Bluff. “If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table which, with an extension, turns into a four-person dining table for entertaining. Check out sofa bed options, which can easily turn a sitting room into bedroom for guests. Always consider storage in items like ottomans, pouffes, trunks, coffee tables. If there’s a design that also hides clutter (the enemy of small spaces), choose it!”

Hack #6: Embrace the dark side

“This is one for the brave! Don’t be afraid of going dark in small spaces,” advises Bluff. “It may sound counter-intuitive, but dark shades – navy and grey – can actually disguise the perimeters of a room and blur boundaries which extend the space, so don’t feel you can only use ‘Brilliant White’ to achieve a sense of more space. Walk on the dark side – trust us, it works!”

Hack #7: Work the walls

“As you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead,” advises Brandhorst. “Floating shelves, clothes hooks, wall-mounted magazine racks and bike hooks will allow you to store things like folding chairs, or display belongings without cluttering the floor. Make use of dead space, such as corners, and have wall-mounted shelves.”

Athina Bluff and Amy Brandhorst of Topology Interiors will be hosting special workshops at Habitat’s Tottenham Court Road store in London on February 24. For tickets, further hacks and inspiration, visit habitat.co.uk/smallspaceliving

The Fascinating History Of 7 Iconic Winter Olympic Sports

olympics-1.jpg

Some of the world’s top athletes have descended upon PyeongChang in a bid for gold medal glory in sub-zero temperatures, but have you ever wondered how these snowy sports began?

Here, we look back at the origins of some of the most iconic Olympic Winter Games events…

1. Figure skating

olympics-4.jpgBefore the Winter Games were established as their own separate event, the London Summer Games in 1908 actually included figure skating, making it the oldest official Olympic sport and the only event in which women could participate from the very beginning.

At the first Winter Games at Chamonix in 1924, 11-year-old Sonja Henie represented Norway in the figure skating. She came last – but went on to take gold at the next three consecutive Games.

2. Cross-country skiing

As a mode of transport, cross-country skiing dates back as far as 8000 BC in Russia, but it officially became an Olympic sport for men in 1924,when Norwegian master skier Thorleif Haug took home gold for all three distance events (18km, 50km and combined).

It wasn’t until 1952 and the Oslo Games that women were allowed to participate, and even then, only in the 10km event. But nowadays, male and female athletes can both compete in six different cross-country distances.

3. Curling

Introduced during the 1912 Olympics in Sweden, demonstration sports were a typical feature of the Summer and Winter Games alike, designed to allow countries to showcase their national sports on the world stage. Competitors in these events would still receive medals, but they were smaller and not counted in the total count for each nation.

Curling – in which teams compete to get their ‘stones’ as close to the centre of a target as possible, by sliding and guiding them across the ice – was one such demonstration sport in the inaugural Winter Olympiad, but was dropped for the second Games at St Moritz, Switzerland. After decades of being a demonstration sport thereafter, it joined the official Olympic programme in 1998.

4. Biathlon

The Biathlon, which has its roots in Scandinavian hunting practises, combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It also started out as a demonstration sport, in St Moritz, before being officially added to the men’s Olympic roster at the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley, California. It took another 32 years before women could compete in individual, sprint and relay biathlon events, at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. More recently, pursuit and mass-start events have been added to the biathlon line-up.

5. Luge

olympics-3.jpgOne of the oldest Olympic sports, Luge, which comes from the French word for sledge, sees athletes lying on their backs on a very small sled, and zipping down an icy track at around 140kmph – without brakes!

This mind-boggling – and terrifying-looking – pursuit started out as a tourist attraction for adrenaline junkies back in the 1870s and eventually became an Olympic sport in 1964 at the Innsbruck Games, with men’s, women’s and mixed events. The programme hasn’t changed since.

6. Freestyle skiing

In contrast, freestyle skiing is one of the youngest Winter Olympic sports. It originates from the 1920s, when skiers in the US started to experiment with acrobatic flips and tricks on the slops, which came to be known as ‘hotdogging’.

In the late Seventies, the International Ski Federation brought in regulations to curb some of the more dangerous elements of the sport, paving the way for the official introduction of the ‘mogul’ event at the Albertville Games. Since that year, several other events have been added, most recently the ‘slopestyle’ and ‘halfpipe’ at Sochi in 2014.

7. Snowboarding

Even more modern than freestyle skiing, snowboarding also has its origins in America, where it began life as a sort of hybrid of skateboarding, surfing and skiing.

Initially greeted with hostility by skiers, who saw the slopes as ‘their’ domain, the sport gained global popularity by the Nineties and made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Nagano Games. Initially, athletes competed individually but at the Turin Games in 2006, a Cross event was added, which sees four or six snowboarders race down a course.

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