Crown Pavilions share how homeowners are spending more than ever to create a room in the garden:
The humble Brit is being besieged from all sides. Whether it’s the calm intensity of Kevin McCloud on Grand Designs or the lilting Geordie George Clarke, you can’t move for pearls of wisdom on how an Englishman can improve his castle.
Of course, the state of the housing market and the economy at large has a huge impact on such trends. When property prices rocket we just sit back and enjoy the boom, but when the market stagnates we look at how we can maximise our returns.
Many have held off moving in recent years in order to improve their homes instead, thanks mainly to eye-watering stamp duty costs. Yet with few property hot-spots outside London, one manufacturer is noticing an altogether different trend.
Oxford-based Crown Pavilions has been making gazebos and garden rooms for more than a decade. Using long-lasting materials such as Canadian cedar and English oak, the company has an impressive reputation and a glut of high-profile clients from Duncan Bannatyne to Alan Titchmarsh.
But while customers were spending an average of £17,000 back in 2006, that spend has more than doubled to £37,000 in 2016 as homeowners look to maximise an often overlooked area – the garden.
Yes, we’ve all tarted up our little patches of green in the weeks before a house sale – hastily planting the borders and rushing in some statement furniture – but increasingly garden rooms and gazebos are being seen as the ultimate must-have outside the back door.
Crown Pavilions owner Luke Dejahang explains.
“Our customers’ needs have changed in the last few years – many don’t want to move or extend as they’ve already done that, so they’re looking to make the most of the garden instead,” he says. “It’s pretty much the last area that’s in need of a makeover.
“Forget the rickety old summer houses of yesteryear – nowadays people want all the tech they enjoy inside the house to be on-hand outside too.
“We focus very much on quality and longevity – we use the finest materials (Canadian cedar, Cumbrian slate) because our garden rooms are significant investments.
They’re insulated, heated, secure extensions of someone’s home and our customers want their personality to be reflected in their building too.”
A recent project saw a client splash out just north of £150,000 for the ultimate entertaining and relaxing space.
“It really is quite an impressive site,” Luke admits. “The L-shaped building houses everything from a hot-tub and pizza oven to a games arcade and a giant cinema screen.
“The family were keen to have somewhere for their older children to enjoy away from the limitations of the house and it also makes an incredible space to entertain friends.”
And here lies the key – a home from home but at the bottom of the garden.
Naturally no expense was spared when it came to tech, with finger-print entry, underfloor heating, built in surround sound and a kitchen which wouldn’t be out of place in Gordon Ramsay’s house.
Not sure we’ve got the weather for it? Think again. Despite 2016 getting off to a thoroughly damp start, Luke says beleaguered homeowners seem determined to make the most of the great outdoors regardless of Britain’s climate.
Orders are up 23% on this time last year and Luke believes the British bulldog spirit is responsible.
He said: “Our customers are a hardy lot and they do love their gardens, so for many the first three months of the year have been pure misery.
“The rain has been incessant but the reaction has been fascinating – no-one likes being beaten by the weather so a lot of our new customers have made a conscious decision to enjoy their gardens regardless of Mother Nature.”
Sarah Bailey-King, a customer from Lincolnshire who bought a Hampton pavilion last year, says it enables her to use the garden throughout the year.
“I know it sounds strange but there’s nothing better than unzipping the canvas, popping the heating on and enjoying a stolen moment in there,” she laughs.
“Most people will be cursing their gardens in the winter months but I have a completely wonderful way of making the most of mine thanks to Crown Pavilions.”
With prices starting at £7,000, Luke says there’s never been a better time to invest in the garden.
“The last couple of months have proved that the weather can have a big impact on our lives but it’s very much a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
“Our garden rooms enable everyone to enjoy their garden all year round and our 30-year guarantee gives peace of mind too.”
Gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh was vocal in his praise for the company.
“Crown Pavilions can really change your life,” he said. “These fabulous buildings manage to extend the use of your garden at both ends of the year.”
Former ‘Dragon’ Duncan Bannatyne has installed two Crown Pavilions at hotels he owns, while Gloria Hunniford and Alan Titchmarsh have had them constructed in their gardens.
Said Duncan: “I love Crown Pavilions. The ones we’ve had installed look terrific and they’ve been a great company to deal with.”