Hidden away down a Donington lane is rather a surprise – a spacious, modern, free-flowing bungalow, tucked away around a corner, out of sight. You’d have to know it was there.
It is a gem of a spot for a gem of house – so for owners Sandra and Peter Hilton, it was simple enough task to name their newly-built property back in 2013.
“It’s literally a hidden gem,” explained Sandra, “a jewel that’s hidden away. Our dog at the time was also called Gem – so there were two reasons for the name.”
Little Gem is quite a property – it has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and three reception rooms in its more than 2,600 sq ft, all designed and built to the highest standard.
Although happily living in a six-bedroom property in Donington’s Brewers Court at the time, Peter’s eye was caught by the house in Mill Lane as it was being built.
“He knew he had to have it,” laughed Sandra. “He watched it being built and was set on making it his own.
“It’s a very different property. He first spoke to the builders when there were no internal walls! I remember first walking round it when there were holes in the floor preparing for the bathrooms.”
But despite living in his dream home for just four years, Peter now has itchy feet and wants to be on the move again. Luckily, Sandra understands his wanderlust and doesn’t mind that her salesman husband of 32 years wants to uproot them from their idyllic home.
“I swear he has gypsy blood,” said Sandra. “He enjoys the change. The longest we have been in a house is seven years. He is the motivation behind the decision to move.”
But the couple won’t be straying far – in fact, they plan to stay in the village!
“I don’t want to leave Donington – everything is here. It’s such a friendly place, you can’t go out in the village without someone saying hello and if you’re feeling lonely, you just need to go for a walk and you will meet someone to chat to. We moved to another village for a while, but part-exchanged out, as I had to get back to Donington – no one spoke to each other there!”
In addition to her personal love of the village, Sandra and Peter’s three married children and their partners all live there (with their combined eight children) and Sandra even convinced her mum to move there from nearby Quadring, where she was born.
Luckily, there is plenty of room at Little Gem to accommodate the large family – perfect for family occasions.
“It’s such a free-flowing house,” said Sandra. “It can be completely open plan, or you can shut parts off. Like at Christmastime – we have ahuge family and there is room for everybody. But when it’s just the two of us, we can close the doors and, with the log burner on, it’s perfectly cosy for two.
Being nearly new, the house is economical to run and the sun heats the glorious 23ft sun room, with its vaulted ceiling and feature window, to a toasty 25 degrees – when the heating is on 20 degrees and the temperature outside is distinctly chilly.
The super-stylish kitchen gives a nod to the 1970s, with its woodgrain panelling, solid wood worktops and Orla Keily accessories. But don’t be fooled – this sociable space is no shrine to Melamine and mushroom lamps – the hi-gloss units are home to a built-in dishwasher, double oven, American-style fridge/freezer and microwave. The sink unit overlooks the rear garden and the centre island (who doesn’t love an island?) has an electric hob (gas available if required).
Together with the aforementioned rooms, plus a study, utility room, four double bedrooms – two with en-suites – and a family bathroom, it truly is a not-so-little gem of a house.
“ We could live in something smaller,” said Sandra, “but it doesn’t matter what you live in, it’s the people who are in it. That’s the important thing.”
•Little Gem is being marketed by Sedge for £439,500.
Call 01775 713888 for more information or to book an appointment to view.