Design and build firm Oakbridge Bespoke has reported a significant rise in enquiries from families looking to create their own properties, rather than buy existing homes. Many of those seeking to escape to their own bespoke country pile are fleeing London, as the pandemic continues to make life in the capital far less desirable than it used to be.

Knight Frank has reported the country market delivering its best performance in over six years. As buyers prioritise space, solitude and greenery like never before, London is losing out to the surrounding countryside in a major way. The number of offers accepted outside the capital were 37% up on the five-year average at the end of 2020.

The top end of the market has seen the strongest levels of activity, with Savills reporting that sales of properties costing £1 million and above were up by 48% compared with 2019.

“With these kinds of budgets to play with, many buyers are looking for something bespoke that is shaped around their needs. We are all spending so much time at home that families want to fit their homes to their lifestyle preferences, not the other way around. Many of our clients want to escape to the country but can’t find what they want, so they design their own.”

Designing and building your own home can deliver some serious savings when compared to remodeling an existing property.

There’s no VAT payable on new build homes, creating plenty of scope for savings. Add to this the fact that buyers can add in anything they wish from wellness areas and entertainment spaces, to dedicated home working suites and the design and build process becomes increasingly attractive.

For Oakbridge Bespoke, what has been interesting of late is that the age of those looking to exchange city life for the space of country living has jumped down. The firm used to work largely with clients in their 40s; now, it is families in their 30s who are increasing looking connect with the natural environment and raise their young families in an environment that counters our intense digital connectivity.

“As the age of those designing their own homes has changed, so too have the design features that they are seeking. We’re now seeing dedicated study spaces for both adults and children tagged on to family areas, as a nod to the pandemic’s blending of the home, work and school environments.”

A further notable 2021 design trend has been having not just a laundry room on the first floor but a kitchenette in the main suite. Large country manors can have quite a walk between the bedroom and the kitchen. With in-suite kitchenettes, everything from a morning cup of coffee to a late-night snack can be achieved far more easily.

The Oakbridge Bespoke team reports that guest annexes are also on the rise. It seems that many families are eagerly preparing for the end of social distancing and creating space for their old city friends to come and stay. Oakbridge Bespoke’s Head of Design, Michael Clifton, comments:

“Normally, these extra bedrooms are situated in the attic space with a joint bathroom. However, we have more recently been putting the extra rooms into basements or above garages. With their own bathrooms and kitchenettes, guests can enjoy a more independent space when they come to stay.”

For more information, please contact Oakbridge Bespoke Homes on 01727 261071 or or visit