Astronomy author Stuart Clark shares his property secrets
PUBLISHED: 17:59 15 November 2016 | UPDATED: 18:09 15 November 2016
Astronomy journalist and author Stuart Clark is Hertfordshire born and bred. He shares his property secrets…
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Welwyn Garden City and lived for most of my childhood just outside Codicote. I’ve never lived anywhere apart from Hertfordshire.
When did you buy your first property?
In my late twenties, in the mid-nineties. It was a first floor two-bedroom flat in Welwyn Garden City, in Corners, Panshanger.
What did you like about it?
I loved playing house in it! I understood the security of having your own front door. And I really enjoyed arranging all my stuff just how I wanted it.
How long did you live there?
I had that flat for about five years, and then moved into a converted dairy in Hunsdon, East Herts.
Why did you decide to move?
I wanted to try village living instead of town living. And wanted a house with a garden and some more rooms to stretch out.
Which other areas have you lived in?
I lived for seven years in Pirton in a comfortable four bedroom detached property. It had a brick walled garden that I loved but at the end of that time I decided I was done with village living – at least for now.
Where do you live now?
I live in the Purwell area of Hitchin. I bought an extended and converted semi-detached three bedroom bungalow.
Who do you live with?
I live alone at the moment but, let’s just say, keep your fingers crossed for me!
How long have you lived there?
Not long! I only moved in August. I’d spent the last few years living in rented accommodation and it’s so nice to be back in your own place.
How would you describe your home in three words?
Warm, work-in-progress, sanctuary.
What do you like and dislike about the area?
I’m five minutes walk from a number of my closest friends. I value that sense of belonging greatly. Ideally I’d love to be 10 minutes walk from the town rather than 25 but that’s fine.
What’s your favourite local pub, and why?
The Millstream! I share office space with many of the friends I live close to. We often stop in there for a cheeky one after work. On Fridays those with children sometimes bring them along too. It is a warm, lovely extended family feel.
Have you changed much about your house since you’ve lived there?
No but I’ve got plans! I’ve never carried out any major work – I often dream about doing something like that but in reality I know that my job is so busy that I wouldn’t have the time to stay on top of the building project. So for the moment, it is better that I don’t.
Is there anything you’d still like to change about your property?
There are approved plans for a further extension and a loft conversion, I’d love to do those when I can afford it. But first I want to remodel the bathroom. I also think about replacing the sheds with a nice summer house. I live in hope of spending next summer in my garden.
Where do you shop for interiors items?
Anywhere with something stylish at a good price. I’m all for a bargain but don’t mind spending if it gets me exactly what I want. My best buys tend to be my guitars rather than furniture. I love relaxing in the evening, just playing whatever falls naturally under my fingers.
What’s the best thing about your home? And the worst?
It has a fabulous split-level living area that faces the garden, and the most amazing room upstairs. It is a beautiful, inspiring bedroom with a Juliet balcony. I’m torn between keeping it as a bedroom, and turning it into a music studio. This is why I want to convert the rest of the loft space into something similarly inspirational.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Hitchin for now. I love the town and the people. I’m close to friends and family (in Baldock) and that increasingly means the most to me.
Do you have a ‘dream road’ locally?
Not really. I don’t aspire to live anywhere. I don’t have road envy!
When do you see yourself moving on?
Not in the near future, but if I’ve learnt anything in the last few years it’s that you cannot predict anything. I’m settled for now but flexible about the future and about life in general.
What would your dream home be like?
Gosh I don’t know really. I’m always happy with what I have at the time. What I look for is something within budget with a bit of wow factor that will feel homely and feed my creativity. It should also have enough space for a really big music room!
The Search for Earth’s Twin by Stuart Clark is out now. Find out more about him at www.stuartclark.com.