Creating Your Unique Park and Leisure Home
Bespoke, exclusive, customised… All three words are used in the park and holiday home manufacturing industry to mean one thing: the options that buyers have to create a home that’s unique.
Most of the major manufacturers offer this service. Among them are Tingdene Homes, Prestige Homeseeker, Pathfinder, Willerby, Lissett, Oakwood Park & Leisure Homes, Omar, Wessex and Kingston Park & Leisure Home.
In addition, some parks have leisure and residential homes created to their specification. Examples are Wells Holiday Park in Somerset, which has its own lodges created especially for the park, and Avon Estates, a residential park in Warwickshire, for which Omar makes the Atherstone model with a completely custom layout.
Another example is Higher Charaton Park in Cornwall, for which Devon manufacturer Pathfinder makes exclusive homes – and also gives buyers the opportunity to design their own home. And in Scotland, a park on the shore of the Mull of Kintyre is having custom lodges made by Wessex.
In the case of park homes, the idea of buyers having opportunities to decide on options for their home brings the concept of park homes closer to bricks and mortar homes; when you buy one of those, you take for granted that you will be making all of the decisions about kitchens, bathrooms, curtains, carpets and décor.
Buyers of park homes don’t need to do any of that – they can buy a home ‘off the peg’, complete with every detail including the cushions. That’s one of the big attractions of going for a park home. It’s a one-stop shop. Not only can you choose your home complete, ready to walk into, but there is nothing else for which you have to budget. But what if you prefer to make your own design decisions? I’ve been finding out some of the options…
Omar Park & Leisure Homes, Wessex Unique Lodges & Park Homes
A headline on Omar’s website seems to sum up the enticing prospect of bespoke design opportunity: “Ever dreamed of designing your new home?”
Omar and Wessex are two distinct ranges made by one company, based in Suffolk.
The procedure for customers to have input into design usually starts with the buyer making a visit to the factory, in Brandon, to meet one of the company’s designers. Or a designer can go to meet the customer at home if a visit to Suffolk isn’t practical.
A visit to the factory is far more than a meeting; you can arrange to go on a tour of the factory to see homes in the course of construction and learn how they are made.
As Omar is one of the few manufacturers which designs and makes its own chassis, roof trusses, doors and windows, you are likely to get a fascinating insight into park and leisure home construction by visiting the factory.
The company has a showground at the factory; up to five homes are usually on show at any one time.
Omar and Wessex also have a manufacturing facility and a showground in Hull, where there are usually four homes on display.
Omar’s offering in terms of your choices goes a lot further than aesthetics; you can make changes to a home’s layout, plus positions of sockets and switches, with the help of the computer-aided design (CAD) team.
There’s a vast choice of tiles, carpets and flooring, furniture, curtains and fixtures and fittings, so you really can create your own unique home. And you can even have a dog shower!
In Scotland: Designed for the view
One of the latest Wessex homes to be designed specifically for a park is the Allure Kintyre, made for Point Sands Holiday Park which is on the shore of the Mull of Kintyre in west Scotland.
The Kintyre is a special edition version of the popular Wessex Allure. It has been designed for the position in which it will be sited, with views of the park’s own beach and across the Mull of Kintyre, and a vista of islands.
The Allure Kintyre was designed by Nathalie Montague, of Wessex Unique Lodges and Park Homes, and Rebecca Maxwell Macdonald who, with her husband, Angus, runs Point Sands.
Rebecca explained: “The Kintyre was designed with a family in mind. We wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the home and also maximising the view, so there is a large dining room window as well as large windows at the front of the lodge.” Both views can be enjoyed from the kitchen. The kitchen has a T-shaped working surface, bordering the lounge and dining area, and has a walk-in pantry.
The Allure Kintyre’s décor incorporates tartan-inspired pattern for the curtains. “We wanted a Scottish feel,” says Rebecca.
Mulberry upholstery and a log burner-effect fire in a corner of the lounge are designed to create a cosy look. Features include a surround sound system and a wine cooler by the dining room.
Point Sands is two hours from Glasgow. It’s sheltered by the islands of Islay and Gigha. The estate has its own island, called Cara, which is inhabited by wild goats. The beach is about 100 metres from the lodges.
Manufacturing in Northamptonshire, Prestige Homeseeker has a large outdoor showground and offers opportunities to tour the factory, at Rushden.
The company has a Special Bespoke Service which allows buyers to incorporate features and specifications to give a home individuality. Buyers can get advice from the sales team and spend time with an interior designer to decide on options and changes.
All of Prestige Homeseeker’s residential and leisure homes are built to order, so buyers have the opportunity to design their home to suit their tastes and lifestyle.
Fundamental changes to standard homes are among the options. You can, for example, have a separate dining room, a large lounge or an office. And if you want en suite bathrooms to both bedrooms, you can.
The external appearance of a home can be changed to suit your taste, too; example options include Georgian-style windows, more windows than standard, or a higher pitched roof.
Tingdene has an indoor showroom displaying both park and leisure homes. Typically, seven homes are on display.
The factory is in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Buyers can come here to explore options for making changes to their home at the company’s design suite. They can have one-to-one ‘customisation consultations’ and explore samples of finishes with the team of designers at the company’s design suite.
Tingdene gives the option of changing colours and items of furniture to suit tastes of looks and comfort.
Lisa Worsdell, Tingdene Homes’ Sales Manager, explained: “We have fabric swatches from which customers can choose curtains, carpets, headboard fabrics and more. We have 15 different kitchen work surfaces, 18-20 flooring options, and an array of bathroom tiles. People can choose from a range of bathroom suites and even tap styles.”
Customers can have a second bedroom changed into a multi-purpose room, designed for hobbies. That means taking out the bedroom furniture and replacing it with a desk and storage areas, and also installing sockets in the right places for the use of the room. There’s also the option to have a sofa bed so that this room can be used as an occasional bedroom.
Bathroom alterations include opting for a shower rather than a bath, and installing a wet room. In addition, bespoke designs are available geared to those with disabilities.
Lissett is a small manufacturer in terms of leisure lodge and park home numbers but makes some of the largest units in the industry – and has possibly the largest showroom of options for purchasers.
The showroom contains complete bathrooms and kitchens as well as a vast range of light fittings, fireplaces, furniture and a great array of curtain fabrics.
Adaptations can be made at the design stage to suit requirements. For example, a bedroom can be turned into a study and can be also used as an occasional bedroom by having a bed settee. You can have a conservatory. Window styles can be specified (Lissett makes all of its own windows). External appearance can be altered to include shutters and stonework.
And Lissett is one of the manufacturers which can adapt a home to provide wheelchair access, ramps, wet rooms, grab rails and specialist fittings.
You can take a tour of the factory at Pocklington in Yorkshire; you can see homes being built from chassis to final finishes – and then spend time choosing your options in the showroom which is within the factory.
Kingston Park & Leisure Homes
Kingston majors on creating its holiday lodges and park homes to buyers’ specification. The company, based in Hull, calls the service a Customisation Framework. Whatever your preference, Kingston will create it for you. The company says: “With a huge range of options, our Customisation Framework allows you to stamp your identity onto your lodge, whether you’re looking for a high-end luxury feel or a simple style.”
Customer requirements are at the heart of Pathfinder’s service. Buyers can decide on every aspect of a homes from the exterior finish to the kitchen sink. Features including dog baths, cat flaps, cinema rooms, crafts rooms, voice-activated lighting and roof terraces can be incorporated into a Pathfinder lodge.
The company has a Selection Studio at its base in Devon. Pathfinder’s interior designers work with buyers to achieve exactly what they want, down to fine details. “From carpets to curtains, flooring to door handles, our Selection Studio is the perfect place to be inspired. You can start from a blank canvas or from a preselected, standard design.”
Among parks for which Pathfinder designs lodges is Brean Country Club in Somerset.
In Cornwall and Devon: Design your own lodge!
At Higher Charaton Park in Cornwall, just nine lodges are being installed, made by Pathfinder to customers’ own design if required.
At Springfield Retreat in Devon, eight lodges, designed specifically for the park, will form the first phase of a development. These lodges have a basic yet creative interior scheme; you can take it as it is, or put your own stamp on it. The essence of these lodges is that they include all of the necessities of lodge living at an affordable price.
For each of its holiday homes, Willerby offers a range of options, to enable you to personalise your home.
These can include, depending on the model, a retractable awning to attach to the front of one model, a choice of cladding, sliding patio doors, a washer-dryer or dishwasher, mattress upgrades, a lift-up storage bed, dining furniture options, TV point positions and showers instead of baths. There’s also Willerby’s Simply Pawsome dog-friendly pack that includes barriers to confine your pet to certain parts of your holiday home and an outside tap to wash dogs’ paws!
Willerby has two showgrounds – one close to its factory in Hull, where, typically, you can find 15 models on show; the other in Scotland, at Livingston, where you will usually find nine models.
Oakgrove Lodges and Park Homes
Oakgrove manufactures in Northern Ireland – but you don’t have to go there to choose options to customise your lodge or park home. The company has a design studio in Bristol, where you can go, by appointment, to peruse options. There are more than 100 fabrics to choose from, plus a range of tiles, and flooring choices. The design team there can also give advice on different kitchen finishes and furniture ranges.
Oakgrove also offers options including an exterior tap, Velux roof windows, and an external power point. External cladding options are also available for some models, plus vaulted ceilings and downlights in bedrooms.
All of the Oakgrove lodges are individually built through a bespoke process that starts when the team first meets a customer. Oakgrove creates bespoke plans based on a customer’s requirements and also to suit views from a chosen plot.
Pemberton Park & Leisure Homes
Like almost every manufacturer, Pemberton offers a choice of sizes, layouts and number of bedrooms within each model range.
Options also include sound systems, a wine cooler, a shower instead of a bath, an external power socket, a stowaway occasional bed, 3ft-wide twin beds (wider than standard), extra dining chairs, a bed with a lift-up base for storage, a washing machine, a dishwasher, and even all-electric versions (that includes central heating).
Among options offered by Carnaby is a choice of 10 colours for exterior finish and four different window frame colours.
Interior options include lift-up bed bases for storage, TV points in bedrooms and, in twin rooms, a bed which folds under the other bed, to create extra floor space if the room is being used for just one person. Dishwashers, washing machines and washer-dryers, speakers in the lounge and extractor fans in the bathrooms are also options for
Oakwood Park & Leisure Homes
Lots of options are available for homes in Oakwood’s park home range. Buyers can upgrade, on some models, from flat windows to bay windows, for example. There’s a choice of kitchens. You can opt for a bath or a shower. You can choose floor finishes. And layout options for some models enable you to choose either a utility room or a walk-in wardrobe. Oakwood manufactures in Doncaster.
• Most manufacturers of both holiday and residential homes have a standard list of options for each model.
• ABI, for example, offers everything from duvets and pillowcases to galvanised chassis (to protect against salt air in seaside locations). Pocket-sprung mattresses, dishwashers and a sound system are among options.
• Most residential and holiday homes are available in a large range of sizes.
• You can upgrade a holiday home to have residential specification; that’s ideal if it’s to be sited on a park on which you can use your holiday home at any time of the year. Upgraded insulation is the key element of this option.