Hedgehog House at Pembroke Gardens is a ‘new beginning’ for Annie and Tom
21 Dec 2023

Hedgehog House at Pembroke Gardens is a ‘new beginning’ for Annie and Tom

A couple who were the first residents to move into the Linden Homes’ Pembroke Gardens location in Alderbury have named their new home Hedgehog House.

Annie and Tom Earl chose the name in honour of the measures being taken at the development to protect wildlife – including hedgehog highways, which are small openings at the base of fences and walls allowing the creatures to move around the area freely.

Annie, 63, who works part-time at the children’s hospice Julia’s House in Devizes and Tom, 61, who is retired, moved into their four-bedroom detached house in Linden Homes’ Knightley design in March.

The couple, who married six years ago, had been living in the nearby village of Whiteparish in a 19th century house that Annie had owned and lived in for 11 years – so when they got the keys for their new place it felt like a new beginning.

Tom said: “I felt excited. I moved into Annie’s house before we got married and this feels like more of a joint venture for us. It was a bigger wrench for Annie to leave the old house, but it is an opportunity for us to create something together. People come into the house and say, ‘you’ve done a great job here’. A lot of love and care and thought has been put into the house and we’ve built something together.”

Annie’s favourite part of the property is symbolic of that feeling. It’s the gallery wall in the stairwell, where they have put up photographs documenting both of their lives and families.

The couple decided to move house to free up some equity so that Annie could use the money to do things such as visiting her daughter in Australia who is expecting a baby.

Plus, the old house was expensive to run in terms of heating bills, they said. “With the increase in energy costs it was ridiculous,” said Annie.

Once they made the decision to look for somewhere new to live things started to move quickly. They put the house on the market and very soon found a buyer through local friends, which put the onus on them to find a new place to live.

Tom was not keen on taking on a place that would need renovations and lots of visits from tradespeople working on the house, and the couple were both keen to find somewhere that would be warm and energy efficient.

Finding the Linden Homes development in Alderbury worked for them as it was only four miles from Salisbury, which is where Tom is from originally, and not far from the familiar places they know in Whiteparish.

They also liked the layout of the scheme. Tom said: “The houses do not feel crowded in. It’s exactly what you want. We had looked at houses elsewhere, where you can see they’ve squeezed in as much as they could, but we don’t feel that here.”

Helped by sales advisor Beckie Baker they found the right place for them – a four-bedroom house at the entrance to the development. It was almost ready and so the couple had to quickly choose their flooring, fittings and tiles to make the house their own.

Beckie’s help, friendliness and professional approach were invaluable to them during the process. “We’ve built up a lovely relationship with her,” said Annie.

The couple also praised the site team who quickly remedied any snags once they moved in.

The layout and space of the new house works well for them. Annie said: “We needed flexibility. While there’s only two of us, Tom has grandchildren who come to stay, I have family who come to stay, and we wanted to have a home that would accommodate our families as and when they visit.

“And the fourth bedroom we use as a study. In our last place the study was part of the living area but it’s much tidier to have the study as a separate room,” she said.

Tom likes the open-plan kitchen/dining room best. He said: “I do most of the cooking and the way this room is organised is just the way I want it. We have had dinner parties here and it’s worked really well.”

They have already put a lot of work into the garden. Tom said: “It already looks like it’s been there forever.”

At their previous house they had a large garden that included many plants that were chosen and planted in memory of loved ones, and those plants were not left behind. “They came with me,” said Annie. “We have roses and a magnolia, and they are all planted and are all thriving.”

They also had turf laid and the patio extended before they moved in. Now, they have planted hundreds of spring bulbs, bee-friendly plants, and a lavender hedge.

Annie said: “Moving house was a big change but we got such amazing help and attention.”

References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.

All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.