A peaceful home on Coppice Avenue, Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire
Peace and tranquillity are easy to find on Coppice Avenue, a tree-lined, private road only a 10-minute walk from the railway station in Great Shelford.
There have been family connections with No 3 since it was built in 1973. “It was built for my grandparents,” recalled Andrew Hills, who lives there with his other half Robert Stock.
“My aunt took it on and then put it up for sale, and Robert and I bought it in 2007.”
The three-bedroom bungalow features an open-plan living area with doors that open out onto the sunny back garden. It is on the market with Cooke Curtis for £825,000.
As a young boy, Andrew visited the plot before the house had even been built. “I can remember it from foundations,” he said.
“I grew up in Shelford and can remember riding my bike down here and having a wander around the foundations and wondering how it was going to look – and then seeing it grow. There’s been a connection for quite some while.”
Of the work he and Robert have carried out on the property, Andrew said: “We put a lot of effort into refurbishing it because when we bought it, it was in an older style, I suppose you could say.
“So we’ve replaced the kitchen, we’ve replaced the bathrooms, we’ve redecorated, we’ve put down new flooring throughout. We redid the garden, new doors, new radiators, new boiler...”
The couple – both of whom are dedicated wine connoisseurs – lived abroad prior to moving to Coppice Avenue: near Marbella, Spain, from 2001 to 2004 and in Cape Town, South Africa, from 2006 to 2010.
“Having spent a few years in Spain and a few years in South Africa, we like being outdoors and, of course, the weather isn’t always as predictable here,” said Andrew.
“So we had a covered pergola put up outside and we’ve spent many a happy evening sitting out there, having friends over for barbecues and so on – it’s a very sociable house, I think.”
Andrew and Robert’s cats, Adolfo and Kenzo, are originally from Spain and lived with them in South Africa. Much of the furniture has also accompanied them on their travels.
The couple, who have another property project on the horizon, describe their taste as “shabby chic” – but “heavy on the chic and less of the shabby”.
Andrew and Robert bought the house in 2007 while living in South Africa. They let it out for the next three years before moving to Coppice Avenue in August 2010.
“It’s been our home for seven years now,” said Robert, who runs his own translation and market research business.
Asked to name his favourite rooms and features of the house, Andrew, who works in the fashion department at John Lewis, replied: “I love this room [the living room] because I think the sense of space and light in here is wonderful.
“In summer, with the patio doors open, you can walk straight outside into the garden.
“We’ve had a living flame gas fire installed so it can be really cosy in the winter. Having said that, the central heating system we’ve got works extremely well.”
Robert – an ABBA fan who met the Swedish supergroup outside a hotel in Dorset in 1981 – said: “I like my office – that’s a nice snug place – and our bedroom is rather special because it’s massive!
“But this [the living room] is a nice space. We’ve got our own, separate sofas and the cats have their favourite places to curl up on. It’s been a lovely home.”
Andrew concluded: “It’s a lovely avenue – it’s so peaceful down here. Wednesday evening is bell-ringing practice in St Andrew’s Church in Stapleford, and if you sit outside you can hear the bells being rung, which is quintessentially English.”