Thanks to my new annex, our family have now lived here for five generations
Lockdown update from Muriel and Jennie, July 2020 - "It's been a godsend being so close as we didn't have to 'go out' to make sure mum was OK,” says Jennie. “We did her shopping for the first month and we would leave it at her door and didn’t go in, but she is fiercely Independent and in the end we worked out the safest time for her to shop on her own as she was determined to do so. I’ve been working from home so it’s been lovely to work on the garden together during my lunch breaks."
Not many families can claim to have lived on the same spot for nearly 75 years but Muriel Seamon’s can. In 1945 her grandmother retired to the tucked-away house with four acres of land in rural Kent, and since then five generations have resided there.
Muriel moved in permanently in 1961, having spent many happy childhood holidays there, and, thanks to a 21st century Norwegian Log annex home, she continues to live at exactly the same address. Her daughter Jennie, husband and two sons are the latest occupants of the bricks and mortar building opposite, and Muriel could not be happier.
“It’s absolutely marvellous,” she explains. “They have their privacy and I don’t go over there unless I need something. In fact, I tend to text her as I don’t want to get under her feet and want them to have their own space. They are leading their lives, and me, mine. But if they do need to help me, they don’t have to go very far.”
Muriel’s traditional-style Malvern cabin has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious open-plan living and kitchen area, plus a utility room and entrance hall. A path leads through the large garden to her private patio and decking area. “Everyone thinks it’s just lovely,” she says. “They step through the door and say, ‘Oh I like this, I want one of these’.”
Like many retired people, Muriel had been finding the upkeep of her original property increasingly difficult. “My husband had died and I was living in the house on my own for two years. I said to my children that I just couldn’t manage any more as four acres of land takes a lot of looking after,” she says. Not wanting to sell the much-loved family property, Jennie agreed to buy it and they discovered an annex would allow both mother and daughter to live side-by-side but with their own front doors.
“We found Norwegian Log Buildings on the internet and then we visited their Reading showroom. I spoke to Nick (Forrester) and the way he explained it all, and the look and feel of the cabins, I just wanted one then and there,” she laughs.
The family used Norwegian Log’s planning consultant to confirm with their local authority that no planning permission was required, just a certificate of lawful use, and construction began. Within a few months, Muriel was settled in her new home, content that her family were now within easy reach but all with their own privacy. “It’s wonderful. My tall grandsons sometimes come over to help if I need something high up as I can’t climb ladders any more. I’m only a shout away!” she laughs.
For Jennie, a former Great Britain 400m hurdler, living back at her childhood home is a dream come true. “I absolutely love it here. This house is more than just bricks and mortar, it was where I was born and I’ve always wanted to come back,” she says. And like her mum, living next door to each other provides reassurance. “I can look out of my kitchen window and see her sitting at her window. I don’t go over there every day but if she needs me, I can. It’s peace of mind for us both,” she says.