‘This house was originally built for my great uncle and aunts back in the 1960s, and I like the idea that it’s still in our family today,’ says the owner. She and her husband bought it from her elderly great aunt about six years ago. They had been living in a nearby town at the time, but had always imagined themselves moving to the country once their sons had left school.
The peace and tranquillity of the location were a big draw, but the house had been empty for a while and the couple were concerned that it needed complete modernisation. However, that didn’t put them off and they were confident that they could transform it.
There was a huge amount of work to be done, starting with basics like fitting brand-new windows, connecting the gas, installing central heating and rewiring. ‘The rewiring was probably the worst part,’ say the owners. ‘There was dust everywhere and when we saw the rooms with the walls chiselled out, the scale of our challenge really hit home.’ Not long after, though, once the replastering got underway, they could finally see the house starting to take shape.
Renovating their home has really helped the owners to develop their own look. In turn, that has encouraged them to build up their online business, Hugsandhearts.co.uk, making and selling all sorts of pretty and personalised gifts. ‘We knew moving here would mean a different lifestyle for us and working from home suits us perfectly,’ they say. ‘Living somewhere that has belonged in our family since it was built is a lovely thought, too.’
This four-bedroom 1960s house has been given a big dose of TLC and is now the owners’ dream home. A lot of work was required to bring the interior up to date, but the bare bones of the property were exactly what they’d hoped for.
A little space was taken from the hall to create an orangery-style dining area at the back of the house that leads off from the kitchen. The owners sketched out the initial plan and worked together with a local builder to create a fabulous new space with a glass apex roof, big windows and French doors opening out to the garden.
The kitchen needed a complete rethink. The original dark oak cabinets weren’t to the owners’ taste and they really wanted a central island and a light, open feel. They decided to redesign the whole room and it now connects to the orangery-style dining room, giving them a great sense of flow and space.
Choosing the new kitchen was one of the owners’ earliest decisions, and they went for simple white cabinetry and oak worktops. Rather than wall units, they added two long oak shelves with Shaker-type pegs underneath that they built themselves. ‘We’re delighted with the result. With everything so easily to hand, the kitchen feels so friendly and homely,’ they say.
‘Discovering the wooden parquet floors underneath was a real bonus, as they’ve been in the house since it was built,’ say the owners. ‘They needed sanding and lots of care, but they make a really lovely feature now.’ Renovation has played a part in furnishing the hall, too – the console table was formerly the bottom half of an old dresser. With a coat of soft green paint, it looks as if it were new.
After putting the woodburner in, the owners painted the fire surround in an off-white colour, so it wouldn’t look too heavy. As the character of the house has come through, it’s influenced the couple’s taste, so they’ve found themselves leaning more and more towards the country look.
‘These days, we go for soft pastel colours and floral patterns, and we’ve become big fans of pretty wallpapers and fabrics,’ say the owners. Warm neutrals provide the perfect backdrop to the bolder prints that they’ve chosen for their living room scheme.
This wall is one of the first things you see on entering the house, so the owners have made sure that it’s eye-catching – the letters and clocks make it look fun and interesting. White walls let the flooring stand out, too.
Velux windows provide maximum light in this airy attic bedroom. The chests of drawers double up as bedside tables, as a neat space-saving trick that ensures there is plenty of storage. The cushions and throws are coordinated in a pale pastel palette that warms up the neutral scheme.
The guest bedroom’s colour scheme was inspired by the dainty wallpaper design. Furniture, such as the bedside table and shelves, have been painted to coordinate with the paper, while patterned textiles feature the same pale blue as their central colour, to tie the look together.
The main bathroom is downstairs, but four years ago, the owners put a second one in upstairs. Rather than lose a bedroom, they converted a built-in coat cupboard on the landing. ‘Even though it’s a small room, it’s definitely got the wow factor,’ they say.
The bathroom also has space for this basin and a loo, which required careful planning to squeeze everything in. Trademark peg shelves and beautiful trinkets have been used throughout the house, and the bathroom is no exception.
This house tour originally appeared in Style at Home, February 2017