Take a tour around a Victorian terrace in Essex that’s full of clever upcycling ideas

The owner didn't let the home's distinctive Victorian character stop her from indulging her love of modern style and just seeing what happened...

When the owners viewed this three-bed Victorian terrace in North Essex back in 2012, they managed to see beyond its dire state. ‘Someone was living in part of the property, but it was dated and rundown and needed everything doing,’ says the owner. ‘In spite of all that, I fell in love with the period features, high ceilings and good light.’

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The couple got cracking straight away, drawing up plans and choosing a local builder to carry out the work. One of the owners has her own interior design company, so she leapt at the chance to put her decorating skills to good use.

‘I love putting a quirky, modern twist on period style.’ Read on to see how she has done just that…

Kitchen-Diner

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The original kitchen was built in an extension at the back of the house and had no foundations. It was dark and dingy with a narrow scullery leading off it. ‘We wanted to create a large, light-filled kitchen-diner, so our first job was to demolish the existing room and extend properly. We knocked down a wall to open up the scullery and part of the staircase and hallway to create one large room.’

Their new kitchen island was built bespoke to fit with an old butcher’s block they already owned. ‘The island hides the appliances and I like the way the light bounces off the marble.’

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The owners choose bifold doors to maximise the light, and in summer they open straight onto the garden.

Wanting to reinstate the period character of the house, the owners shopped around for recycled materials such as this reclaimed parquet flooring.

Get the look
Buy now:
Similar units, £2348 for eight units, B&Q

Dining room

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

A room leading off the kitchen was turned into a more formal dining room for entertaining. The walls, ceiling, fireplace and piano were all painted in the same colour. This creates a seamless look that makes the room feel bigger.

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Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath Estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5ltrs, B&Q

Living room

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017 

High ceilings and grand architraves can handle bold, modern artwork. ‘I do like to see paintings on walls, but it’s too permanent, so often I’ll prop them on shelves so I can swap them around.’

Get the look
Buy now: Similar armchair, from £540, Sofa.com
Buy now: Similar rug, £250, Ikea

Main bedroom

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

Portable artwork has been introduced into the bedroom as well, with similar geometric prints echoed in the bedlinen and cushion covers.

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The owners added old fruit crates to a bookcase as drawers. ‘I love the vintage look of them.’

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Geometric bedspread, £150, Habitat

Guest bedroom

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

‘We chose shutters for the unusual windows, which a joiner made for us. They shut out the light and mean we don’t need curtains.’

Children’s bedroom

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The owner thought white walls would be too stark in the boys’ bedroom, but painting them bright yellow all over would be too overpowering. The solution? She split them into white and yellow bands for a balanced look.

Get the look
Buy now:
Similar rug, from £59, M&S

Bathroom

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

Tiling half the walls creates an interest in the bathroom, and open shelving maximises the feeling of space.

Whitfield house tour, Ideal Home September 2017

The owner made this basin unit by glueing two marble chopping boards together and adding hairpin legs she bought online.

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Buy now:
Similar ladder, £149, M&S

‘Now the house is finished, as much as I love the new space at the back, I think I like the living room the best. It’s homely and comfortable, but also a little bit quirky. It’s where we can all relax together as a family.’

Image credits: David Parmiter

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