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When the owners started house hunting in 2016, the Brexit referendum may have helped them secure their home. ‘We turned up to the open day expecting a long queue, but we were the only viewers,’ they recall. ‘It had 1980s decor, but the previous owner had kept it immaculate and although each room was crammed with furniture, we could see how large the rooms were.’
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Impressed by the size of the property and the original features, the couple were convinced that this could be their perfect family home.
‘We made the decision to stay where we were and renovate before we moved in. It was an expensive decision, as we were paying two mortgages and money was tight, but with a new baby we didn’t want to live in a building site,’ says the owner.
‘The house had a 1990s extension and a side return, so we were able to work within the footprint. With the help of Shacklewell Architects, we built a modern rear extension and broke through to the basement, creating a new stairway access.’
Original period features were key to the renovation, as fireplaces were revealed and cornices repaired. Redoing the layout included adding en-suites to the main and guest bedrooms. ‘The kitchen-diner now flows from the living room via a glazed side-return extension with steps leading down to the basement, which has become our cinema room and utility room.’
‘Although we have a modern glass extension, we went for a traditional, Shaker-style kitchen, which we felt was more sympathetic to our home’s Edwardian past,’ says Alice.
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‘The dark grey cabinets create a link to the living room, which is also painted grey. Paired with white walls and a cement floor, the simple colour palette looks clean and elegant.’
‘I wanted a cave-like, cosy vibe in the living room and I love the way the dark grey wall colour feels like it’s wrapping around, cocooning you,’ says the owner. Plush cushions in a variety of patterns and textures and a tufted rug stop the one-colour walls from looking flat. Painted picture rail Makes the ceiling seem higher.
“It was exciting to find fireplaces that had been boarded up for years and original floorboards under the carpets”
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‘We painted all the windows, built-in furniture and skirting in the same colour. The cupboards melt into the background and it makes our bedroom feel really snug.’
En-suite shower room
‘I’m a great fan of geometric encaustic tiles. I felt we needed a strong patterned tile in the en suite that would add character and drama.’ A marble countertop and brass taps add a little luxury.
‘We built a shallow shelf out from the wall to hide the waste pipes and it also adds character to the room. It’s a great place for plants, which bring vibrant green into the colour scheme.’ The oval bath cuts corners to boost the impression of space.
‘I admit that I spent loads of time on my daughter’s bedroom, but it was so much fun. I loved sourcing everything from the door knobs to her bed.’
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After a year of building work, the renovation journey has ended. ‘We’ll save up to give the front of the house a makeover next and build a wine cellar in the basement, but the small garden may prompt us to look for a house with more outside space in the future,’ says the owner. ‘This renovation left us exhausted and broke, but we put so much love into it that we have to pinch ourselves every time we walk through the front door.’