A house in the city, country and abroad is the new middle-class boast

Gaynor Morgan-Hoole, 46, runs a property company. She is married to Tim, 46, a company director and they live in Prestbury, Cheshire, with daughter Jessica, 11. Gaynor also has a son, Alex, 25. She and Tim have other properties on the Algarve, Portugal, and in Altrincham. Gaynor says:

Ask me to name my favourite house and it’s a struggle. Currently, I’m utterly in love with my house in Portugal. I remember sitting by the pool with my family at Easter, sun-kissed and happy, finishing a gorgeous meal as the sun dipped below the horizon and thinking there was nowhere on earth I’d rather be.

But ‘home’ is definitely Cheshire. There is a 360-degree horizon of rolling hills blanketed in gold in the autumn. The smell of wood smoke and sodden earth on a chill evening makes me fall in love with England all over again.

Then, of course, there’s my flat in Altrincham, which I use when in town for business meetings: gleaming, sleek ultra-modern with lots of steel appliances, it’s efficient and impressive. Just how business should be.

Gaynor Morgan-Hoole's 'gleaming, sleek ultra-modern' flat in Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Her villa in the Algarve, on which she spent £500,000 has four bedrooms, each with en suite

Her villa in the Algarve, on which she spent £500,000 has four bedrooms, each with en suite

I know I am lucky — but I’ve worked hard for everything. My parents ignited my property bug. When I was in my early 20s they gave me a plot of land next to their home and said I could do what I wanted with it. Battling for planning permission and studying plans allowed me to see the potential for investment. I sold it a few years later at a good profit.

We bought a property in Cheshire three years ago for £850,000. I razed the ugly house and started again.

We spent £500,000 building our perfect family home — four bedrooms, each with an en suite. It is now worth double what we paid and we love it. We bought the villa in Portugal in 2008 after falling in love with the area while visiting friends and built it from the ground up. It is a two-acre estate. It has four bedrooms, all en suite, with a pool and an outside kitchen and bar. It is worth around €3 million.

We rent out the villa when we are not there. A property abroad has to make money for us.

‘home’ is definitely Cheshire. There is a 360-degree horizon of rolling hills blanketed in gold in the autumn. The smell of wood smoke and sodden earth on a chill evening

Her ‘home’ is definitely Prestbury, Cheshire, with a a 360-degree horizon of rolling hills blanketed in gold in the autumn and a smell of wood smoke and sodden earth 

Gaynor Morgan-Hoole, 46, runs a property company and owns three luxury properties

Gaynor Morgan-Hoole, 46, runs a property company and owns three luxury properties

The flat in Altrincham was a purchase I made ten years ago. Alex loves to crash there, too.

We keep clothes and towels at each property. It allows us to head off to Portugal at short notice, taking just hand luggage.

I do have moments at night when I wake up not knowing which home I am in, and wander off to the loo in the wrong direction!

Some people who don’t know us can make jealous comments. Those in our social circle know how hard my husband and I have worked for what we have.

Sarah Cross is an interior designer and married mother of five to Oliver, 12; Jonny, ten; Eloise, eight; and Harry and Lottie, five. The family lives in Cambridge and also have properties in Anglesey and St Lucia. Sarah, 45, says:

After a trying day juggling the demands of five children, I like to let my mind wander. It doesn’t have to go too far: just to the beaches of Anglesey or the azure sea of St Lucia. And I can do that — and still be at home!

I got on the property ladder after I was awarded financial compensation. I’d been badly injured in a hit-and-run accident in London in 1995.

The sum I received just about allowed us to put a deposit on our first property in West London. It was while I was renovating the flat, enjoying experimenting with fabrics and colours, that I realised I could earn a living from design and interiors.

Sarah Cross, an interior designer, outside her detached six-bedroom house in Cambridge

Sarah Cross, an interior designer, outside her detached six-bedroom house in Cambridge

The home is 'modern and practical' with an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room

The home is 'modern and

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