Meet a Berkshire family enjoying life in their luxury Windsor home
PUBLISHED: 12:03 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:55 23 March 2015
We meet a family who have done just that - and are enjoying a fantastic life in their luxury home. Jan Raycroft tells the story
Barinder Hothi and her husband Dilshad are the first to admit that one of their big shared hobbies when not running a highly successful business is looking at other people’s homes. But it’s just possible that this abiding interest may take something of a backseat now they’ve settled in their own magnificent family home near Windsor.
“We’re passionate about houses and have always aspired to having the perfect home, so even in the days when we couldn’t really afford it we would go and look at properties! It’s always been there… the hunt for the big dream house,” says Barinder.
This is a couple who know what they want. So much so that when they first saw their now treasured family home when it was up for sale, Barinder recalls: “We now know we were both thinking ‘This is it, keep your cool, keep your cool’. Everything about the house was perfect.”
Just how perfect will now become apparent. Normally in these features we ask home owners to reveal the tales, perhaps family history, behind major decorative items and some soft furnishings. But Barinder openly admits: “The house was dressed for sale, made to look its best by someone with a superb eye for design.
“So when we did buy it we negotiated for everything – I’m a great believer in using people’s skills, and as it happened the house had been dressed in the style we love.”
She’s got a point. Why spend time looking for the perfect huge vase or wall artwork when someone’s already done it?
During a tour of her home we constantly collapse into laughter as I point out some magnificent feature or pretty decoration and ask “What about that?” and Barinder replies: “Yes, it’s beautiful isn’t it, but don’t ask me where it’s from, it came with the house.”
This spacious modern home with its white walls, marble floors, clean lines and large, airy spaces is undoubtedly complemented by the glamorous luxury hotel style. But it’s not a ‘cold’ house – this is a very much a home, where little treasures gathered by the Hothis and family photographs have been given pride of place throughout.
Interestingly, the couple had just missed out on buying another large property nearby prior to finding their current home. At the time this was a major disappointment, but now seems like fate, something which seems to be on the side of Barinder and Dilshad, although there’s been a lot of hard work along the way.
They are from traditional Indian backgrounds, introduced to each other by the families, although it’s hard to call this an arranged marriage as both could have said ‘No thank you’. They met on Boxing Day 1998, by mid-February the following year had undergone a register office wedding, but did not live together until a traditional ceremony took place that August. “It was always our call though, but both of us knew this was the right person in the right place at the right time,” she says.
As we move through the story of their business success you will see how often ‘knowing something is right’ is part of the theme, long before we reach that high speed ‘lock, stock and barrel’ house purchase a year ago.
Barinder’s family story is virtually archetypal, her father arrived here from India, working hard in the restaurant industry until he had his own successful business in Harrow. This is also a family with a strong military background courtesy of the Indian Air Force, with a grandfather winning the Military Cross.
It’s a similar story for Dilshad and both enjoyed separate and successful careers before circumstances led them to work together on launching the highly successful business that has made their name (and provided the security to purchase their treasured home).
They have every reason to be proud of this success as their jumps along the property ladder in Berkshire began with renting a house in Britwell, Slough. They ‘moved up’ to a new two-bed home in nearby Cippenham, before doing well enough to buy a detached house in a Windsor cul-de-sac.
“At the time it seemed like a dream fulfilled,” says Barinder. “But we were always looking at fabulous properties, seeing what we might have one day.”
Then in 2008 daughter Amrita fell ill with pneumonia and Barinder was made redundant. As their treasured daughter recovered Barinder found it all ‘something of a reality check’ and in 2009 they set up what was to become The Knowledge Academy in Winkfield. The first aim was to battle job losses across the UK and give people the skills they need
In just five years it has grown to be a world leader, delivering training courses across the globe in the fields of IT, technical, personal development and project management, such as PRINCE2. Barinder says the annual turnover is now around £25m.
They have been shortlisted for the title of Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Private Business Awards and we wish them success when the winners are announced in The Guildhall, London on 10 September.
In the meantime, they can enjoy the lavish family rooms, indoor pool, cinema and games rooms that have come from following a dream and being determined to make it come true.