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Sam and Joe's story on finding their perfect home in Walthamstow
“It was fate!” A newspaper clipping and childhood memories lead first time buyers to finding their perfect home in Walthamstow. After months of unsuccessful viewings, first time buyers and university sweethearts Samuel Higgison, 26, and Joe Alvarez, 27, came across their first home at Countryside’s Feature17 development in Walthamstow in the newspaper.
The couple, who had been renting in Vauxhall, South London, couldn’t believe their luck, “when I saw Feature17 in the paper, I was convinced that we wouldn’t be able to afford it and imagined it would be something for the future. But, after arranging a viewing, we realised it was perfect for us and with the use of Help to Buy, everything fell into place. We are proud owners of a lovely three-bedroom apartment in London. It was fate - I’ve still got the newspaper clipping!”
It wasn’t just the newspaper that brought the couple to this part of the capital. Joe’s family is from the area and he lived there as a baby. “I knew the area well from coming to visit aunts and uncles; they are all proper cockney. I brought Sam to Walthamstow in 2014 to show him Walthamstow village and the flat I lived in as a baby, so it's kind of crazy that we’ve brought our first home together in the same area.”
“It's amazing how much the area has transformed over the years but still has its east London history at the heart of it.”
Walthamstow is known for being a hub of creativity with an array of interesting shops and businesses, along with bars, pubs and cafes, having transformed from an unloved area of the city. “It’s such a welcoming part of London and the community really sticks together,” said Joe.
“We love the food culture in Walthamstow, so much so, we created our own Instagram page, Feast in the East, to celebrate all the local cuisines. For drinks, we love The Duke and, our favourite is, The Flowerpot. It’s a proper old geezer pub with a great atmosphere and live music.”
Along with great amenities, Walthamstow offers access to a range of wide-open green spaces. Feature17 is within close proximity of Epping Forest - 8,000 acres of ancient woodland to be explored by foot or bicycle. “I grew up in the countryside so I’ve always needed to be surrounded by greenery, so having Epping Forest on our doorstep is amazing. You instantly feel like you’re outside of London and there is so much to explore. We also nip out to Essex in the car to enjoy the countryside too – it's so easy.” Sam said.
Another advantage of Feature17 is its connectivity and proximity to central London. The development is a short walk from Wood Street train station, offering regular trains to London Liverpool Street in 20 minutes. Sam, who works in retail in Paddington has a swift commute and Joe, an NHS worker, is based in Hertfordshire and benefits from the A406 North Circular and M11 being so close by as he travels by car.
The homes at Feature17 are all created to a high specification and offer a blank canvas for residents to make their own. The apartments are also filled with natural light to maintain residents’ wellbeing. “Our apartment is on the fifth floor and we have the most amazing view, we can see the Shard and all of the city. Our balcony always gets the sun which makes the apartment feel so spacious.”
Feature17 has a Co-op supermarket on-site and the multi-use games area (MUGA), which is set to open this month. The development uses distinctive architecture and landscaping, providing open spaces and play parks. Outdoor space plays a key part in Feature17’s design to promote play, social activity and relaxation for residents.