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One of the most traumatic things about downsizing is having to get rid of cherished items collected over the years.

What if you could find a retirement apartment big enough for those treasures you can’t live without?

Anne Hobson

Retired businesswoman Anne Hobson, 78, found room for no fewer than three antique dollshouses – one dating from 1740, as well as a toy shop and a grocer’s shop in her bedroom at her apartment in Battersea Place, London’s first retirement village managed by Lifecare Residences (www.lifecareresidences.co.uk)

“I am so happy to have these lovely things around me and feel lucky that I have the space,” says widow Anne who moved to her two-bedroom home a year ago.

“Even though I had to either sell or give my other toys to my family it was important for me to bring these with me,” she adds. The other treasure that made the move is Winnie the Pooh, an exact replica of the original bear made in 1921.

Her companion Christopher Buckmaster, 79, a former Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, has a collection of Napoleonic china spanning an entire wall in his penthouse at the development.

“I am particularly proud of my collection of Napoleonic china. Originally made in honour of Napoleon, they were seized by an ancestor of mine after the Battle of Waterloo and subsequently handed down through generations of my family as an heirloom.

“When I was looking to downsize, it was essential to move somewhere with enough room to display the special pieces in. When I was searching for a home within a retirement community, I instantly dismissed apartments that couldn’t accommodate my collection.

“At Battersea Place, there is more than enough space to showcase my collection – I am so thrilled. I can also rest assured knowing it is all safe and secure. The range of security measures in place, from the concierge on the front desk to the key code system, helps me feel at ease too.”

Christopher Buckmaster with his collection of Napoleonic china

For David Seabrook, 79, his collection of toy automobiles, on display in his apartment at Richmond Letcomb, Richmond village’s development in Oxfordshire, is a reminder of his childhood.

“I started collecting when I was a boy,” he says of his 1,000 strong collection of Matchbox, Corgi and Dinky trucks and cars. “It is lovely to have the space to display them. And it was important that I was able to bring them.”

His collection has also attracted a lot of interest from fellow owners. “A lot of the residents come and admire them. And I try to change the display every year.”

(www.richmond-villages.com /01993 627355 is selling apartments at its newest development in Witney priced from £225,000 – £660,000)

The other solution to acquiring more space is to buy two apartments and knock them through. This is what Judith and Mike Webb did at Wadswick Green retirement village near Bath in Wiltshire creating 1,660 feet of living space and three bedrooms. The treasures they wanted to accommodate in their case were their family.

“These will provide flexible spaces; accommodation for visiting family or extra space if one of us wants to listen to music while the other wants a craft area or quiet area for reading,” explained retired-businessman Mike, 71 who paid £26,000 to knock their two-bed apartment through to a one-bed (the apartments having a combined value of £630,000).

Once completed, Wadswick Green will comprise of 248, one, two or three bedroom apartments, set over 25 acres. A new phase of 45 two and three bedroom apartments is being launched in the spring. (www.wadswickgreen.co.uk)