Homeowners Luke Snape and Claire Orpin tell us why their Victorian terraced house on Belton Road, Easton has been such a special place to call home.
It was the strong and diverse community, as well as a wide array of local cafés and restaurants, that initially attracted Luke Snape and Claire Orpin to Easton. “Claire, who’s a gardener, had lived here previously around 2013 when many coffee shops started opening up, and it felt like a really nice and friendly neighbourhood to move into,” explains Luke, a software engineer.
Luke and Claire decided to buy a two-bedroom property on Belton Road and moved in October 2015. The house – which they now live in with their 22-month-old son, Oscar, and cat named Luna – is a Victorian terrace with a courtyard garden. It’s one of many former miner’s cottages found in the residential streets of Easton. “It’s a typical three-up, three-down layout,” says Luke. “We were quite naive when we first moved in and thought we could decorate everything at once. It turned out to be more work than we thought,” he adds.
Luke and Claire set about sanding the floors, installing a wood-burning stove in the front room, and painting each room to their taste. “We replaced the staircase, and installed clever storage beneath,” says Luke. “We also removed the paint from the outside of the house, so the Bath Stone is now exposed, and redid the garden.” The most notable update to the house though, is that they removed the wall from the dining room to create an open-plan kitchen and dining space. “It's completely transformed downstairs, we no longer have a dining room partitioned off from the rest of the house. We now have this big space to use all the time. You can be in the kitchen and have a conversation with somebody in the dining area, it’s much more sociable.”
While recent lockdowns have put restrictions in place, Claire and Luke both feel Easton’s community is as strong as ever. “Having lived here for five years, we've got a really good relationship with our immediate neighbours, and I frequently run with a couple of them,” says Luke. “When Oscar was born Claire got to meet lots of mums in the area, they have a WhatsApp group and meet up when allowed. There are street pockets on our road, and there’s been plenty of times on a Friday afternoon where we’ve been able to close the street to traffic so kids can happily play in the street. I think because everybody lives so close together, and there’s a diverse mix of people in the area, there’s something really special about the community in Easton.”
The couple enjoy having everything on their doorstep, from local parks to independent eateries. “We loved Maitreya, a vegetarian restaurant on St Marks Street which has shut down, but Garden of Easton is opening in the same place and looks interesting,” Luke recommends. “The Public Market recently opened up too on Mivart Street, it’s been great to pick up locally sourced food there – we usually get lunch from the deli, they do things like focaccia, scotch eggs, and delicious cakes.”
Though the family have loved living in the area, after five years they have decided it’s time to move on. “We need more space, but we’ll really miss the friends we’ve made, the mums from Claire’s support group and the nursery Oscar likes, Raised in Easton. It’s a really nice community here, and Belton Road is a family-friendly street with lovely neighbours.”