This four-bedroom semi hadn't had any work done to it since the 1970s - but that was exactly what the owners were hoping to find
When hunting for a new home, the owners had their eyes peeled for a project that they could renovate themselves. ‘We wanted a place that we could do up from scratch – a fixer-upper,’ they say. ‘The trouble was, we needed to find a house that was in a dreadful enough condition.’
After looking at about 20 properties, the couple stumbled across this four-bedroom, semi-detached house advertised in a local newspaper. ‘We’d done most of our property search online, so it was a bit of a surprise to finally find our ideal place in a local paper,’ say the owners. ‘As soon as we saw it, we could see its potential and knew it could be the home for us.’
The house had been lived in by the same lady since the 1930s and apart from some modernisation during the 70s, the property was untouched. ‘It was clean and tidy, but very dated,’ say the couple. ‘It had only ever been owned by one family and they had kept it the same for years. We needed to rewire, put in central heating, adjust the layout and decorate from top to bottom.’
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Despite all this, what sold the house to the couple was its perfect location – positioned opposite a pretty church and just a short walk from the seafront. The property also had high ceilings, plus the extra space the pair were craving after the arrival of their daughter. The garden was south-facing and there were plenty of opportunities to extend, too.
When the couple got the keys, they moved in with family nearby, while the builders got to work. A narrow corridor, larder, downstairs toilet, dining room and kitchen were knocked through to create the large open-plan kitchen and dining space you can see today.
To save money, the owners found most of their furniture in junk shops or flea markets and painted it to match the interior. ‘I learned how to paint furniture on a course,’ says one of the owners. ‘And now I can pick up a piece for next to nothing and give it a new look with a tin of paint.’
Get the look
Buy now: wallpaper, Laura Ashley
Bifold doors were fitted at the back of the house, opening the kitchen-dining area onto the garden. Comfortable lounge seating has been perfectly placed to take advantage of the sunshine.
In the living areas, the owners went for shimmery Laura Ashley wallpaper, teamed with soft velvet sofas for a chic but cosy feel. A window seat, built by a local carpenter, provides extra space to perch, while cupboards below it offer handy storage that keeps the room beautifully uncluttered.
Upstairs, the bedroom has a similar neutral colour scheme, complemented by plush fabrics and ornate French-style furniture. A wide-striped wallpaper on one wall adds further interest, but its subtle colour isn’t overwhelming. ‘When we pulled up the carpets, we discovered the original wooden floorboards beneath,’ say the owners. ‘We painted them with white floor paint, which saved us money on carpets.’
Main bedroom from other side
This is the same room, but viewed from the other side. The large bay window lets in plenty of light and the white chaise longue is a great spot to linger when not in a rush. ‘I created a little dressing area in the corner of the bedroom,’ says one of the owners. ‘It’s ideal for getting ready in the mornings.’
Small this room may be, but what a style statement it makes. Placing the bed in front of the window draws the eye to the view and makes the compact space appear larger than it is. Crisp white sheets and neutral curtains work really well with the floral wallpaper to create a tranquil scheme. ‘The ironwork bed was mine as a teenager,’ says one of the owners. ‘It was black and gold, but I painted it a soothing cream.’
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‘We gave our daughter a pretty fairytale bedroom with a chandelier, plus a carriage bed we found on eBay for £200,’ say the couple. Butterfly decorations have been pinned to the walls, adding pretty colour and detail to the space. This room definitely looks fit for a princess!
The original bathroom was replaced with a new modern suite. It’s a classic look, but the pairing of green tiles and delicate florals lends the space an element of the unexpected.
Even after all the work they have done, the couple still have big ideas for the house. ‘We’re planning a side extension to hold a home office, plus an attic conversion,’ they say. ‘There are a lot of tweaks we want to make, but for now we’re just enjoying living by the sea.’
This house originally appeared in Style at Home, May 2017.
Image credits: James French