Property Secrets: Cllr Alun Davies reveals all
PUBLISHED: 09:16 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:31 23 November 2016
From Newport to New York, Cllr Alun Davies lived all over the world before he settled in St Albans.
He sits on the council’s central planning committee, chairs the city neighbourhoods committee and says there’s now nowhere in the world he’d rather live. He shares his property secrets...
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Brazil and lived there until I was nine years old. I lived in a four bedroom apartment in the north side of Rio de Janeiro with my mum, dad, two sisters and brother. It was really sociable with an outdoor playground on the ground floor.
Why did you leave?
My parents separated so my mother came back to the UK with the four children.
Which other areas have you lived in?
In the UK I have lived on a council estate in Newport, South Wales, and in private rental accommodation in Richmond, Belsize Park and Islington in London. I have also lived and worked in Zurich in Switzerland and New York in the US, when I was a business manager with an investment bank. In New York I lived in a one bedroom flat on the corner of Broadway and 22nd street, right opposite the Flatiron building.
Where do you live now?
St Albans, in a three-bed semi. This is the first property that I have owned. I like the period features and the scope for improving the house. I dislike the amount of mess that is made every time any work is done on it!
Who do you live with?
My wife, Anna, and four children, Isobel, Phoebe, Alexander and Florence.
How long have you lived there?
How would you describe your home in three words?
Cosy, noisy, busy.
What do you like about the area?
I love that we have so many fantastic neighbours and friends in St Albans. The sense of community is exactly why I moved out from London.
What’s your favourite local shop, park, pub or restaurant?
I have many favourites. Hatch for lunch, Zaffran for curry, all of the parks for entertaining the kids! I also like shopping for presents in Raindrops on Roses.
Have you changed much about your house since you’ve lived there?
New kitchen, new patio. It was a typical Victorian house with side return. The garden felt totally disconnected from the house and the kitchen window looked over the neighbours’ garden rather than our own, so we couldn’t see the children when they were outside. By blocking off the side door and the window and opening up the rear of the house we have reconnected the two again - life changing, especially in the summer months.
There are two great things we have done to our house to make life easier with our growing family. First was to buy a fridge called ‘Goliath’. Due to our small hallway we had to literally take off the bottom step of our wooden staircase in order to get the fridge into the house! The equally great thing we did was to turn the entire space under the stairs into drawers for shoes, bags and toys - things that were previously cluttering up an already narrow hallway.
Is there anything you’d still like to change about your property?
Create another bedroom and bathroom by doing a loft conversion.
Where do you shop for interiors items?
My wife, Anna, does all of that stuff! She has excellent taste though the kids usually trash it within a few minutes of it being put in place!
What’s the best thing about your home? And the worst?
Best - the people who live in it! Worst - the small bathroom.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
St Albans of course! That’s the honest answer at the moment because if I had a better answer then we would be moving there now!
Do you have a ‘dream road’ locally?
Battlefield Road. The houses are wide at the back which helps to make the gardens an extension of the house, which is ideal with kids. The properties are also still close to the city centre which means you retain a community feel.
Do you see yourself moving on in the near future?
Yes, in the next five years - to a bigger house in St Albans.
What would your dream home be like?
Lots of rooms and a good sized garden with not too much lawn to mow and a good sized games room!