Downsize is a “doing word”, a transitive verb!
We had discussed downsizing for at least a couple of years. Our large Cotswolds house with 5 bedrooms over three storeys, two lounges, a separate dining room, a decent kitchen and separate utility room, plus THREE bathrooms….. was starting to seem ridiculous for a retired couple who travelled extensively! Bizarrely, though the House was clearly too big, the village was starting to seem too small with a focus more on tourists, charity shops, antique shops and hairdressers, than on the needs of locals. Our daughter lives in the thriving town of Cheltenham with its restaurants, bars, brasseries, cinemas, festivals, parks and other amenities in a penthouse apartment situated in a Georgian mansion house and it was drawing us like a moth to a candle. But moths get burned in candles!
We are a cautious couple, nothing done in haste, long term planners, analytical, systematic. One of us a psychologist the other a scientist who met and married as students in the late 1960s. We were immediately advised to start “saving” especially for retirement (!), can you believe that? But we analysed and considered the power of compound interest in different scenarios, it was the classic no-brainer and eventually led into the stock market, tax sheltered investments and property. Our poverty-ridden backgrounds, anti-credit upbringings and long term focus steered us towards wealth that the majority of working class people get nowhere near. But why tell you this?
Intuition tells us that people downsize for three reasons: to release equity from their large family home; to live in a more manageable decluttered smaller space; to live somewhere more appropriate to current lifestyle or needs. The first of these was not a priority for us, but the second and third had far greater meaning. The primary driver had become Dr C’s health; great difficulty in getting up stairs and needing less space to “manage”. Our caution told us not to rush and to have an interim step …. to downsize WITHIN our existing home by adapting and living only on the ground floor and making every room “old folks friendly”. We had the capacity for a hall, living room, kitchen, utility room, sitting room/diner, bedroom, shower room/toilet ….. all on the ground floor! So, a decision was reached, stay where we are, keep the same house but adapt it. All we need now is a builder who understands what we want and can convert our ground floor in a reasonable time and at an acceptable price.