Article by Janice Morley
Johanna Proudlove is one of those women who, judging by the enviable amount she can pack into 24 hours, seems to have a day that’s twice as long as everyone else’s.
In her late fifties and divorced, she has a daughter, Chloe, aged 13, plus two dogs, and is deeply committed to the next phase in their lives. After an art foundation year she has completed her degree course at the University of Suffolk, focusing on mixed media and digital fabric printing. This is the platform on which she is building her new company – with a strong environmental message.
Like so many of us, Johanna began reviewing her life during lockdown. She decided it was time to move from her Suffolk cottage into a lively town. As her family said: “Get yourself into Bury.” Her search took her to a pretty, four-bedroom, three-storey townhouse at Peckston Place, part of the Tayfields development by Weston Homes, bang in the centre of the historic Suffolk market town of Bury St Edmunds.
STYLISH FAMILY HOMES IN PLENTY OF GREEN SPACE
“What I like about it is that it does not look like an estate,” enthuses Johanna. “There is a lot of green space, I think it is going to settle down nicely. And there are a good many trees going in. It has everything for me.
“After moving from an old cottage, it was lovely to have straight walls – and to know that nothing needed doing to the place. We chose it immediately and my daughter loves it. She has the whole of the top floor to herself.”
When she was in her twenties Johanna worked in property, as a sales agent for Savills. “And I saw a lot of property being built very quickly. No one was really thinking about its energy ratings.” These days, carbon footprint is of great concern to many of us, and Johanna, a passionate environmentalist, felt it was essential to have a low-energy, sustainable yet warm home.
Weston Homes shares her passion, putting huge technological research into the build of its homes in its specialist factories. Fabric comes first: Weston Homes properties are wrapped in the finest insulation, for heat capture.
As a single mother, security is important to Johanna – she says it’s vital that the area surrounding her family home is well-lit, for their walks home in winter, including Chloe’s walks to and from school. So she appreciates the neighbourhood’s ample roadside lighting: “I think it is even solar.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY
It’s important to us all to have friends looking out for us, and for our children. And Johanna cannot speak too highly of their community. “When we moved in, I put a note through everyone’s door saying I was here and another lady said she was having drinks – and it went from there.
“The group, all different ages, look after each other And we all spent New Year together. As a single mother you spend a lot of time on your own – but community changes all that.’’
Having moved in last summer, Johanna has had time to create her own interiors style. She is enthusiastic about using her newly mastered printing skills. “I’m going to print my own wallpaper (on organic paper, of course), I love flowers and fruit. You will find me in charity shops looking for ideas, for quality pieces of furniture and for other items that will last.
“We inherited white walls so we will build on these – I have created a wall hanging full of colour for my bedroom. And I love the ‘build-in’ of light by Weston Homes, with our big windows. It is so essential to have good light.”
Johanna’s home boasts gardens back and front. “They are a decent size and I can make them beautiful,” she smiles.
They will certainly be perfect for enjoying summer drinks with her new neighbours.