Retired Beccles couple receive interiors makeover to reflect their bright outlook
Beccles retirees Stuart, 76 and Helen Gordon, 74, moved into their brand-new McCarthy Stone apartment at Foundry Place in July 2022, and although had begun to settle in well, jumped at the chance after seeing a competition to have their apartment designed by a home design stylist for John Lewis.
Never thinking they would win Stuart says they were “completely gobsmacked and couldn’t quite take in the news.”
“We were already feeling nicely at home in our new apartment and were taking our time to put our own stamp on the décor gradually, but the prospect of having an interior stylist at our disposal made us feel like kids in a sweet shop.”
Once the couple were over the shock, they met with professional Interior Stylist from the John Lewis team, Emma Valerio, who helped them to turn on their style by drawing up plans of what their apartment could look like, selecting beds, carpets, curtains, and a multitude of other pieces of high-quality furniture to suit their personalities.
Helen continues: “While we felt we had done quite a lot to personalise our apartment, winning this prize really opened up our eyes to how we could truly put our own stamp on our home.
“With a budget of 20K to spend nothing was off limits. We were asked to imagine that our apartment was a blank canvas, and we could truly transform it to our heart’s content. This was the perfect opportunity for us to splurge on higher quality items than we would ever normally consider while at the same time finding ways to blend some of our keepsakes that we’d brought with us, with more fresh and contemporary items.
Stuart jokes: “There’s only so many samples a man could look at before his head is spinning, but Helen was in her element and we both looked forward to being able to show it off to friends. We’re sure our transformation will inspire the other homeowners to totally revamp their apartments to put their own stamp on it.”
Helen adds: “I’ve always had my head in glamourous lifestyle magazines and saw the beautifully designed sideboards. I’ve always dreamed of being able to have a similar one myself. Thanks to McCarthy Stone and Emma, I’ve been able to treat myself to my very own. This is something I wouldn’t have dared to purchase otherwise, but I feel so happy when I see it in our lounge with our TV positioned on top.”
Speaking of the process, Helen says: “McCarthy Stone truly looked after us. We moved out of our apartment for one week during the makeover and into the amazing guest suite at Foundry Place. This was fantastic as it meant we could check in on the progress of the transformation as we were only down the hall.”
Winning the competition was only the tip of the iceberg for Stuart and Helen, as since moving to Foundry Place, they’ve benefited most from all the new friendships they have made.
Helen says: “Foundry Place has such a lovely community. There was around 30 of us who all moved in at the same time, and you wouldn’t believe how quick we all became such good friends.
“There’s always something going on here with several hobby groups in full swing. We
had a visit from the local U3A choir group, which was amazing, and on quieter days a bunch of us love getting together over a coffee in the shared lounge.”
“We do joke about having a better social life now then we ever did when we were younger, but it’s true. We can be as social or as private as we like.
The lifestyle at Foundry Place suits the couple well, Stuart comments: “Helen and I are still very active, so we like to get out and about. Whether it’s days out to visit museums, trips to the coast, or a jaunt out for some fish and chips, there’s always something to partake in, if you wish to do so.”
The couple originally became interested in the development after starting to become overwhelmed by the ongoing maintenance and rising costs involved in the upkeep of their previous property – a 3 bedroom Victorian semi-detached in Great Yarmouth.
Stuart says: “I can honestly say that having a home we don’t need to worry about the maintenance of is a real blessing. We couldn’t have made a better choice in Foundry Place. In fact, we feel as if we’re on holiday.”