Take a tour of this extended contemporary home in Hertfordshire

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  • This family took a boxy, modern brick house, extended it and completely replanned the internal layout

    Plenty of people spotted the potential of a neat, detached, red-brick house, tucked away in a quiet, no-through-road. ‘The location was brilliant, and there was space to extend at the side, and it had a gorgeous back garden,’ says the owner.

    ‘Other buyers clearly thought the same, as it went to sealed bids, and amazingly, we got lucky.’ The house had been well maintained, so the family moved in straightaway.

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    They lived with the dated kitchen and bathroom and wall-to-wall peach decor for five years, coming to understand how the family lived and moved around within it.

    ‘We learned that we love being together, so an open-plan layout would suit us,’ says the owner. ‘We needed more living space and more natural light, as well as a fourth bedroom and en suite upstairs.’

    Exterior

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    To achieve this, the ground floor was extended and the kitchen, dining room and living room knocked into one space with big windows and skylights set into a high, vaulted ceiling.

    A second extension was built over the garage, which was also converted into a playroom. At the same time, the red-brick exterior was given a makeover with nearly black render.

    Hallway

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    A porch was built onto the front of the house and the old front door was replaced with glass panels that let light flow into the hallway.

    Living room

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Pippa’s seating area has high ceilings and lots of windows, so the walls aren’t overwhelming. ‘I chose Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue, which is a super-dark blue-green, in the seating area. It’s so rich and inviting, and we loved to see how our artwork pings out against it.’

    A similar vintage sideboard can be picked up at auction (the owner got hers for £40) to give a corner characterful storage.

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    ‘The space felt vast and overwhelming, but the key to making 
it work was creating ‘zones’ to make 
it feel calm and ordered ,’ says the owner. ‘I used colour to distinguish the different areas. I’ve gone 
for paler shades around the dining table and kitchen to boost light and give them a more functional, active feel.’

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    Dining area

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Kitchen

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    ‘In an open-plan layout, you have to think about what can be seen from elsewhere in the space, so we planned the kitchen with that in mind. As we cook a lot, I factored in plenty of storage for equipment and ingredients,’ says the owner.

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Chunky shelves 
in unfinished wood add warm colour to the cool, grey kitchen. ‘I designed the kitchen so that when we’re relaxing or at the table, we’re looking at lovely display shelves.’

    Master bedroom

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    ‘We made sure that the new master suite is tucked away from the girls’ bedrooms and bathroom, so that everyone can have privacy when they’re older,’ says the owner.

    The owner’s pale grey walls and carpet mean she can change her feature wall to almost any colour. ‘The wall of deep, dark green makes the area around the bed feel restful and calm, but it doesn’t overwhelm the wall,’ she says. ‘
We used a pale grey on the other walls which feels more energising and frames the green view from the window.’

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    Children’s bedroom

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

    The dark palette extends into the couple’s eight-year-old daughter’s cool bedroom, where it’s lifted by tonal greens from deep teal to pretty aqua. Her black metal bed and salvaged school chair echo the house’s functional, mix-and-match vibe.

    Bathroom

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    Image credit: Colin Poole

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    ‘I wanted the same look and feel to run through the whole house, so it all seems connected,’ says the owner. ‘The bathroom’s painted in the same green as our bedroom and I’ve used similar floor tiles in the hallway.’

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    ‘It would have been easier to buy a new washstand, but I like having something unconventional,’ says Pippa. ‘This was an old gin cabinet I found in a charity shop and painted.’

    ‘We’re proud of the home we’ve created,’ she adds. ‘Waiting such a long time before we started extending the house paid off. We were able to think it through carefully and we got the layout right. It’s everything we hoped it would be.’

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