What makes a home a castle?

A home, to me, is a sanctuary, somewhere you should feel utterly content. They do say ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. I wonder whether this desire for a castle is peculiarly British?

Castle exterior with topiary

I don’t think it is, but I do think our uncertain climate makes our homes very important to us. Fifty years ago, there was a thriving cafe culture in Europe, but not here. I am half Hungarian, so I was brought up to ‘go out for coffee’, it was a huge part of my childhood, but not for many of my London friends…

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Buying a new build

Of course not everyone wants a huge garden and a rambling period home. How luxurious to buy a new build home: a completely blank canvas and just be able to choose blinds and lovely floor coverings, without having to worry about the condition of the roof or needing to scrape off dated wood chip!


I have never had that experience, but would really enjoy it. It would be a total pleasure. It might be surprisingly challenging injecting character into a brand new house or apartment. They are typically very immaculate and can seem a bit sterile if you are not careful. You would just need to do a bit of homework!

wall sticker

Colour and texture is a great way to personalise a new apartment, consider wall stickers…

It is actually possible to buy brick facing on a roll – as rough and worn looking as you wish, a great feature to add to a new build.

brick wall in kitchen

panelled door

You can add panelling to doors for more character, in a contemporary style as well, panelling does not have to be period, you could paint your newly panelled doors a pretty spearmint for a very zingy, modern touch!

Pendant lights

Lighting is an important consideration as well, look out for quirky options and add dimmers for a soothing glow of an evening.

You never know when you may have to move, you may want a change when your children leave home – apparently the trend for young at heart, empty nesters to sell the family home for a new build, modernist apartment, complete with scarily contemporary furniture is huge… You might have to move to London for work. Anyone daunted by that thought would be quite soothed by looking at the possibility of buying a new build in Hertfordshire or a period property, Hertfordshire enjoys easy commuting to the city but property is much more reasonably priced, with a choice of towns and villages of varied sizes with friendly, much more human-sized communities…

Stirlingshire home

Lovely to see this super family home on the front cover of 25 Beautiful Homes.

Living room with fireplace

Set in an idyllic setting of 3.8 acres within the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, with panoramic views of Ben Lomond and Ben Ledi, the house has been re-built after a fire with every modern comfort whilst retaining the character of the original 150 year old farmhouse. It really is so cosy and welcoming and believe it or not – for sale!

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My favourite blogs

I am starting off 2015 by ‘looking ahead’…I think that is my mantra of the moment…


Love writing this blog and have great hopes for it, it is quite hard work though and I usually only manage one post a week – that is achievable for me as I have a lot of other work on and I do not rely on it totally for my income, but I would like to do more with it, so I might try and up the ante a bit and try and do a post TWICE a week! Woah – I know…steady on…I must not wear myself out – I’ll be no use to anyone!

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All I want for Christmas…

To be a honest, right now, a skip would be really useful! It was a sister prize in that PTA fund-raiser I mentioned, where I offered a style defining session. I assumed the person who bid for me, might have wanted the skip as well!

Family are arriving for a few days any minute and we are trying to get the house ready and we still have things like ‘our children’s dressing up clothes’ in a wicker basket and ‘a box of jigsaws’ in our living room. Our children are aged 14 and 17 now, and no, we do not have grandchildren. I have kept these items thinking, ‘oh well, if a friend comes round with a couple of toddlers they will have something to play with…’ Funny how when you have teenage children, the number of close friends you have with two toddlers rapidly diminishes. Even if you do have a few lurking, it is amazing how seldom you actually invite them round to your house.

Living room

Our living room now.

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