Redrow's 100,000th home is Chester couple's first home of their own
Finding themselves the owners of Redrow’s milestone 100,000th home came as a complete surprise to Chester restaurateur Tom Culshaw and his wife Claire.
The couple, both 33, are first time buyers and chose Redrow’s Regent’s Grange, in Huntington, on the edge of Chester, to make that all-important first purchase.
Tom and Claire, assistant head teacher at a primary school in Wirral, have been living with Claire’s parents in Hoole while Redrow built their four-bedroom detached Oxford style home.
They previously lived in rented accommodation in Leeds before making the move back across the Pennines for their jobs.
Tom is general manager of Opera Grill, in Chester, a 400-seater restaurant housed in a grade II listed building on Pepper Street. It’s part of the Individual Restaurants group, for whom Tom has worked for the best part of 10 years, after graduating from university.
“After seven years in Leeds and doing the whole city centre apartment living thing, we both thought it was about time we settled down, got on the property ladder and found our ‘forever home’, the place where we’ll hopefully bring up our children,” said Tom, who is originally from Ormskirk, in Lancashire.
“We chose Chester because Claire’s family are here and it’s handy for our work. initially we looked at some older properties but once we saw Redrow’s Heritage Collection of homes at Regent’s Grange we were blown away. We kept coming back to look at the show homes and eventually decided we liked the Oxford best. We couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
The four-bedroom detached home the couple chose is a favourite of the Arts & Crafts inspired Heritage Collection and, at 1,300 sq ft, very much a mid-range family home, a mainstay of the company’s output over the years – but it’s anything but average in the space, style and quality it offers.
“We love the fact that it’s a new build but has so much character; it’s classic and yet contemporary. For us, the Oxford is the perfect home for making that transition from entertaining friends to having a family,” said Tom.
But it wasn’t just the property that tempted the couple. They were also very impressed by the level of service provided by Redrow.
“The help, advice and support we got from Jan and Simon in the sales centre was unbelievable. Nothing was too much trouble. Even when we kept coming back with lots of questions – and sometimes we visited three or four times a week – they were always happy to see us and provided whatever we needed,” Tom added.
“And when we had an unexpected delay in our completion date they went ‘from zero to hero’ in the way they dealt with it so professionally. With hindsight it all worked out for the best, as we had more time to plan and prepare for our first home, to get it exactly how we want it. And, of course, if it had been ready two months ago we probably wouldn’t have been Redrow’s 100,000th customers!”
Tom and Claire’s Oxford was only at foundation stage when they reserved, so they have spent six months watching it being built.
“We’ve seen it go from a patch of mud with a digger on it to the beautiful finished product. It was exciting stuff and we’ve got hundreds of photos to look back on,” he continued.
“One of the most exciting things was our ‘hard hat tour’. We got to see inside the house at what builders call ‘first fix’ stage. The roof was on, services had been installed but the walls hadn’t been plastered. We walked around with the site manager and literally saw our home taking shape in front of our eyes. We got to see everything that goes into it behind the scenes. We both took as many photographs as we could of what will be our forever home – that’s something we’ll be able to show our children in the future.”
By reserving off-plan at such an early stage in the build process, Claire and Tom were also able to personalise their home, using the ‘My Redrow’ online service to make their specification choices and select optional extras and upgrades.
“That was great fun,” said Tom. “We really went to town on our master bedroom and en-suite, adding bedside cabinets and a console table to match the wardrobes, and vanity units in the bathroom. We decided we’d splash out and get one room exactly how we want it. We’ll focus on the other rooms more now we’ve moved in.”
Tom and Claire’s move-in day was made more special when Redrow founder and chairman Steve Morgan turned up to hand over their keys. They also got to meet a whole host of ‘hidden heroes’ who helped build Redrow’s 100,000th property – and the couple’s first home – from the tradespeople and apprentices on site to the designers, planners, engineers, quantity surveyors and legal teams back at the office.