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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Our new home gave us a blank canvas

First-time buyers Danielle Rutherford and Andy Lisle have loved getting creative in their new-build townhouse
Having the living room on the first floor across the hallway from the kitchen/diner is a sociable layout that suits Danielle and Andy’s lifestyle, and they’ve put their own stamp on the modern townhouse by replacing the builder’s cream carpets with oak flooring

When Danielle Rutherford and Andy Lisle decided to buy their first home together in November 2013, they were luckier than many first-time buyers as the North East has some of the most affordable homes in the country.

Although their previous rented home in Newcastle was great for a night out in the city, they didn’t really have friends living nearby so when Andy came across a partially-built Barratt development in Blyth, Northumberland, they jumped at the chance to visit. ‘We had friends living there and Andy’s parents live 10 minutes away,’ explains Danielle. ‘So we visited a couple of show homes and just fell in love with the townhouse. As my parents lived in a townhouse, I’d grown up with that sort of layout and I liked the familiarity. It felt very homely with loads of space, and was cheaper than the traditional two-storey homes as well. As I travel all over the North East for my job as a careers advisor, it was also handy for all the main roads.’

After returning with their parents for another viewing, they were ready to take the plunge and three days later had reserved their home. ‘It was very quick as we moved in within four weeks,’ recalls Danielle. ‘The price had already been reduced by £30,000 and we were told we’d get all the carpets included if we reserved within a week. Being in a strong position as first-time buyers, we also did a bit of negotiating and Barratt agreed to pay the £1,500 stamp duty too.’

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At last we can kiss goodbye to the dark, dreary days of winter and look forward to the lighter, brighter days of spring. Easter comes early this year, so to celebrate we’ve put together some scrummy recipe ideas that are perfect if you’re having family and friends over during the Easter weekend (p.100). And, if you want to make it extra special, why not try your hand at our beautiful Easter craft projects to decorate your dining table too (p.60)? If you’re planning to make the most of the long bank holiday weekend with a spot of decorating, make sure you take a look at our brilliant eight-page spring trends forecast on page 36. We’ve picked the five hottest looks from the high street, so whether you’re drawn to laid-back coastal blues, eye-popping tropical brights or calming candy colours, you’re sure to find some inspiration for your new colour scheme. Sick of waiting for your other half to do the decorating? Then turn to page 66, where we’ll guide you step by step through the basics of tiling. I know the bank holiday is the time of year when many of you are ready to get back out in the garden. So on page 114, you’ll find our suggestions for which plants to include in your beds and borders to guarantee your garden is full of colour all year long – yes, even in winter! Finally, if like me, your pets are important members of your family, then make sure you read our low-down on pet insurance on page 18. Your furry friends will thank you!