Thomas Aries talks about finding his dream first home at Graven Hill.


Thomas and Adam were first time buyers looking for a home that was more than just a short-term starter property. When they came across Graven Hill, they found that the houses were better quality and more spacious than others eligible for Help to Buy, and their interest was piqued.

Before their move to Graven Hill, the pair were renting a 300-year-old, Grade II listed property. A home full of character but lacking the modern and practical features they desired.

Graven Hill’s Custom Build New Homes appealed to Thomas and Adam, and their adventure began in February 2018, completing in July of the same year.

Case Study - Thomas Aries - Graven Hill - Terraces

Realising the dream

Case Study - Thomas Aries - Graven Hill - Dining Area“The floorplan options were what originally drew us to Graven Hill’s Custom Build New Homes. We had three different floorplans to choose from, allowing us to select the layout we felt most connected to. We also liked the fact that re-configuring the floorplan at a later stage is always an option due to the lack of internal load-bearing walls. The level of customisation options really intrigued us.”

The location

“Bicester was the ideal area for us to move to. We’d both lived in quiet villages when we were younger and enjoyed the rural peace, but we also wanted a balance. Bicester has the best of both worlds. Graven Hill has the village-feel we love but has easy access to town life too. The M40 is nearby for Adam’s work and the train station and town centre are within walking distance.

“We also like the uniqueness of the village. Each property is built by different people with different personalities and that is reflected in the look of the street we live on. Rather than having a street of clones, we have a street of individuals.

The community that is developing around us is great. We moved in around the same time as our neighbours and we were able to bond over our various building journeys.”

The build

“Adam and I started to consider Graven Hill in the Autumn of 2017. We went on one of the bus tours in January 2018 and popped into the Plot Shop while we were there.

Case Study - Thomas Aries - Graven Hill - Dining Area“The size and quality you get for your money was something we couldn’t resist, and we reserved a plot in February. By July 2018 we had moved in. It all happened very quickly, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

The design

“The ability to customise has meant that our first home is not a compromise. Most first-time buyers look at their first house as a way to step onto the property ladder, somewhere that they can live in until they can afford somewhere better. Choosing a custom build property has enabled our first home to be a long-term prospect.

“Our home instantly suited our needs. It has a spacious and bright layout that’s perfect for socialising. Plus, if in the future we do decide to change things around, we can without issue thanks to there being no internal load-bearing walls. As we grow, the house can grow with us.”

The eco aspects

Case Study - Thomas Aries - Graven Hill - Kitchen“Having an eco-friendly house was important to us. Housing, like most other things, is moving in a green direction, and it’s great that we can be part of that move.

“Our home has triple-glazing, passive heating and a smart meter. A far cry from the single glazing and storage heaters we had in our old cottage!

“Since moving in, we’ve found that our heating bills have dropped significantly. A very welcome benefit of having an eco-friendly house.”

Advice to others

“Visiting the site before you buy is a must, especially now more houses have been completed. Going on a bus tour helped us to imagine what our house could be like and gave us a feel for the village.

“Speaking to the experts at the Plot Shop is also a wise move, as they can give you all the information and support you need. Graven Hill’s team really streamlined the process for us and made sure there were minimal hurdles to get over along the way.

“Adam’s parents and some of our friends are actually considering a move to Graven Hill too after seeing how high-quality and great value for money our home is. We’ll be encouraging them to come along and have a proper look around the site.”

If you’re interested in our Custom Build New Homes and finding out more about making Graven Hill your new home, get in touch with our Sales team on 01869 390 009 or email [email protected] to make an appointment or arrange a site visit.