ENTER the open plan living spaces of Gainsborough Road’s latest small development in Saxilby, Lincolnshire, and you’ll be met with stunning tree view living at its finest.
Designed and developed by husband and wife duo Martin and Mel Holliday, founders of the Chiselwood joinery firm, their vision was to create an eco-housing site bringing luxury and distinctive natural living to the area. Paired with the talents of nationwide home stagers Lemon & Lime Interiors, the team has produced an attractive eco exterior inspired by the memorable tree houses and wooden-clad chalets of family escapes to Center Parcs, with an interior dressed for a modern and luxury lifestyle.
We spoke to Mel to find out more about the project and how skilled home ‘staging’ helped to sell these homes with a difference…
Why did you embark on this project?
In the UK we are fairly regimented with what we consider an everyday home, from its layout to what it’s built from. We wanted to show people how you could push the boundaries and redefine the norm.
With our experience in joinery, we wanted to showcase how quality storage and craftmanship can be logically built in as an existing function to a building – something which traditional builds don’t seem to dedicate space to.
Likewise, it was about shifting the traditional layout behind a build and changing people’s lifestyles for the better – why not have your bedrooms downstairs and create open-living on the upper floor? Why not extend your living space onto balconies, or create large dramatic windows to boost light and our immersion within natural habitats?
“Storage is also a big part of people’s lives and should be valued within the construction of a home from the beginning, being part of its character and architecture.
We’ve had 30 years of clients complaining about their seemingly large spaces being overtaken by bulky wardrobes and units, or the fact they can’t gain to access things, for instance to maintain their boilers – so it was important for us to build homes that resonated with our customers’ needs, ensuring adequate storage that combined design and functionality.
Why did you position these as eco-homes?
There was nothing in our area that offered high-end design and living with nature at its core. We strove to lead the way when it came to bringing to the area homes of quality, individuality and sustainability, something which remained at the heart of the design.
Creating something unique with our plot of land really resonated with us, with new housing standards coming into play such as the Future Homes Standard and with the cost-of-living rising, it was equally necessary to fulfil energy-saving elements within the six dwellings.
Every home has an integrated air source heat pump and is fully insulated. As a fairly new concept for homes, people often don’t understand that these devices are only effective with the right insulation and fittings in place in order to keep heat in during winter and heat out throughout summer.
Thanks to the lovely staging that was created, we have now sold two properties, with the third under offer and a fourth being used as the show home while the final buildings are being finished. The staging furniture and accessories were circulated between the houses to maximise our return-on-investment.
What materials did you use?
For the exterior we selected a larch cladding treated with a black coating to give an organic feel. The roofing was inspired by Scandinavian architecture and the height of the rooms was influenced by our love of Lincoln Cathedral. The windows are aluminum outside with timber on the inside to ensure no maintenance is needed on the external features.
It was an exploration period for us – collaboration and rejuvenation was our philosophy all the way through. As experienced joiners we made all the gates and fences from off-cuts to ensure there was no waste.
The concept of staging is rental vs buy, rental being the more sustainable model. We also kept our carbon footprint minimal by hiring local labourers and, with all the furnishings made at the Chiselwood workshop, everything was totally bespoke.
Why did you choose home staging?
Our agents Fine & Country introduced us to the concept of staging. We were unfamiliar with it at first but the proof is in the results.
“Pre-staging, the first home sat on the market for over four weeks, but post-staging we had our first acceptable offer within just six days and accepted at full asking price.
With the home being so unique, we were only reaching out to a small group of potential buyers. We found that people struggled to see how bare rooms could be transformed and how best to use the space – we had to sell the ‘lifestyle’ as well as the home.
Lemon & Lime consulted with us on how we wanted the space to look and feel when entering, helping us to harness a contemporary feel. They highlighted elements such as the pendular lighting, and made use of the curves in the room by staging our integrated cabinets and shelving. By using mirrors to elongate the rooms and artworks to depict colour and tone in a basic white-walled space, they ensured buyers could visualise themselves in the home, including entertaining guests outside on the colourful patio, or relaxing with a book in a comfortable nook.
They also added some simple touches such as bedside tables and sideboards with digital inputs, highlighting the ease of plugging in your devices and electricals.
What else does staging offer?
Lemon & Lime’s services not only include the staging of the home for developers and estate agents, the consultancy provides decluttering and redecorating for individual vendors looking to sell their home. It also offers furniture and art rental services, on-site home staging, including gardens, as well as the option for buyers to purchase the home fully furnished if staging a new build. Many previous projects have resulted not only in a quick sale, but one that is often above the original asking price.