Conversation with Mrs Patti Mackie
Homeowner at Broadway Heritage’s St Leonard’s House, Malvern, 25 March 2021
Mrs Patti Mackie is a retired music teacher and coach, and former BBC broadcaster. She lived locally before buying a ground floor apartment in St Leonard’s House – an impressive Victorian building in
Malvern Link, formerly a convent and now converted into luxury homes. Here she answers questions about why she chose St Leonard’s House and what she likes about living there.
What brought you to St Leonard’s?
“I lived locally before but needed to downsize and be on one level. For a long time I had been set on an apartment in town, but I found they were mostly for ‘retired’ people, all living in one building, and the quality was often poor. I looked at lots of bungalows and flats as well, without success. But then the husband of a friend of mine found Gospel Place online and persuaded me to have a look. I usually live in characterful old properties with history, so the idea of living in a former nunnery was certainly interesting. I love the high ceilings here and the style of the rooms.”
What do you think of the location?
“I was pleasantly surprised by the location – I wasn’t in the town centre but could still walk to some good shops and I the railway station is close. Getting onto the motorway from here is a doddle, as well. I drive to London frequently and to Aberdeen four times a year.” Patti lives on the ground floor and being a passionate gardener. The developer was delighted when she offered to do the gardens. She firstly planted up the public area – complete with fragrant herbs by the front doors – and now has turned her attention to her own garden. She puts out table and chairs and really enjoys the space.
Why did you take on creating the public garden area?
“The garden is so important for us all here to enjoy, and for visitors it’s the first and last thing they see as they come and go. I wanted it to be special. I love gardening and was pleased to do it.” Your apartment faces north. What about the light levels? “Although my flat is north-facing, I love it that it’s still so bright. Actually, the bedroom has a big beautiful, west-facing window that floods the room with soft sunshine in the late afternoons. Delightful.” Patti is originally from Aberdeen, as her charming Scottish lilt betrays. “The flat is just gorgeous in the summer months and, of course, down here the summer is much longer than the winter. But in Aberdeen
where I come from, it’s the reverse.”
How does the quality of the apartment compare with other properties you saw?
“The quality of the conversion here is outstanding. Michael [Hodges] has preserved so much of the character of the house, all the original features like cornices, architraves, and the period fireplaces, and
he restored all the windows. It all really works and is easy to maintain.”
Do you like the sash windows?
“Because this building (St Leonard’s house) is Grade-2- listed, double glazing isn’t possible but the big sash windows have all been restored and draughtproofed. I’ve got lined curtains and then there are the shutters, so the flat stays lovely and warm. The central heating system it excellent; it works perfectly.”
What is your impression of the range of occupants at St Leonard’s?
“I really like the mix of age ranges in the building,” she adds. “Unlike retirement flats where everyone is old, here it’s lovely to have young and older people living under the same roof. The stairwells and hallways are also wide enough to stand and chat if we want to, as well, which is so nice. There’s a growing sense of community here. Although I’m now retired, I don’t want to live with a lot of other old people. Living with younger people around keeps me young! I think the same goes for neighbouring Gospel Place, the newbuild homes close by. There, too, there seems to be a mix of age ranges and I hear a real community is growing there, too.”
Conversation with PH
A property investment professional and homeowner at Gospel Place, Malvern
What did you think of Gospel Place as a new development?
My wife and I were living in Great Malvern previously and were keen to move, so when we first knew about Gospel Place I kept an eye on it as construction progressed – we liked the quiet area and the design of the homes that was keeping with the local historical surroundings. From our bedroom we look out over neighbouring St Leonard’s House – an attractive Victorian former home for nuns, with lots of character and shutters on all the windows. It’s a real pleasure to look at. Here we have the best of both worlds: all the comforts of a modern, up-to-the minute, new- build home but looking out at a restored period building.
What do you especially like about Gospel Place?
I like the character and individuality of each of the homes; the fact that the interiors are so light and then there are all the energy efficiency aspects. Here we have photovoltaic solar panels and an electric car charging point near adjacent to our ground floor parking space. Actually, I bought an electric car as a result. Having the landscaped gardens that we don’t have to look after ourselves is also a great plus.
How was your purchasing experience?
Actually, I only ever dealt with Michael [Hodges – the developer], and not with any of the agents. Everything went very smoothly, and even the post-completion snagging be expected with any new build, has been carried out well.
Do you work from home?
Yes, I’m self-employed and have been working from home for the past 12 months. It’s a very pleasant working environment!
What do you think of the community at Gospel Place?
We’ve met a number of our neighbours and I’ve noticed that we all seem to be of quite a similar mindset – in the way we’re attracted to Gospel Place. My parents liked our place so much that they have just bought a home here as well. They’re downsizing from a much larger, very different house but here, with the generous room sizes and the lift in the building, they felt the move really made sense for them, looking ahead. Being just a short walk to the retail park, too, is an added bonus: no need to use the car all the time.
What’s your overall impression of the development?
Principally, that it’s truly unique, yet in keeping with the historical architecture of the buildings around it. The developer has made a really good job of it. There is history to admire yet all the modern comforts like solar and so on. Design-wise, he’s really gone above and beyond. We love living here.