This 1930s three-bedroom semi-detached property in Leicestershire was bought by its owners in 2006 – they moved into it in 2008. ‘It was in a terrible state,’ says the owner. ‘There were dated features, such as 1970s stone cladding and gas fire, and the boiler had been condemned.’
The couple redesigned and renovated the ground floor first. When they moved in it was a collection of strange little rooms and the owners had to work with what they had alongside their dream of spacious semi open-plan living.
The building work took almost three months. They widened and raised an archway from the living room through to the dining area, ripped out the stone cladding and Artex chimney breast in the living room and replaced the old gas fire with a vintage cast-iron fireplace they found at a local supplier. They rebuilt the extension and added modern patio doors that lead out to the garden.
Since finishing the initial ground floor work, they have gradually added new bathrooms and a kitchen and redecorated throughout.
‘We took on the renovation projects one step at a time,’ say the owners, ‘so we didn’t have many setbacks because we weren’t rushing to get the whole project done at once. We’ve completed one job every year (apart from the year we got married) – even in the years the kids were born.’
In the hall the owners got rid of the porch that was using up precious space and gained extra room in the entrance area. This has freed up space for a console table – a £14 Ebay find that has been refreshed with a new coat of paint – and a mirror made from an old pallet. ‘I’m so proud of it,’ says the owner. ‘People always ask where I got it!’
The living area was the last room to be completed. The owners laid a carpet and got a new armchair and sofa. They went for a turquoise shade on the chimney breast to bring the reclaimed fireplace to life and, in the knocked through space, have teamed the blue with a wall of white to mark out different zones.
The large window in the living room was originally flat fronted, but the owners converted it into a bay design that gives the impression of a much bigger room. The deep Venetian blinds were made to measure and look a bit like traditional wooden shutters. ‘Not much was left untouched,’ say the owners. ‘We even had some old panel radiators replaced with Victorian-style ones. They make a feature out of something you’d normally want to hide.’
The dining area is just off the living room and leads into a bright, sun-filled extension. The wooden bureau is an heirloom piece. It had sentimental value and the owners loved the shape of it, but the dark-wood finish didn’t fit with their light and bright interiors. ‘We sanded it down and the wood came up beautifully,’ say the owners. ‘It now adds character to a previously empty corner as well as providing storage.’
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The old kitchen was replaced with bright white cabinets. ‘I love white, it’s just so clean and contemporary and it provides a blank canvas so that you can create your own look with accessories.’ There was an old exterior window between the kitchen and utility room when the owners moved in and they replaced it with glass bricks. They still allow light through but add a real feature. An old doorway to the garden was also filled with the same glass squares.
Gentle colours and warming neutrals have been chosen by the owners for their main bedroom. They have used wallpaper with a shimmer to create an indulgent feel in low light. The bedspread, throw and cushions create a luxurious look.
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The owners have used a combination of ice-cream shades to bring their daughter’s room to life. Traditional wooden furniture has been painted to match the scheme and can be re-done should tastes change further down the line. ‘Our daughter’s room can grow from a toddler’s space to a little lady’s,’ they say.
A white and grey scheme makes the most of the owners’ small bathroom. Keeping the window free of blinds or curtains helps to open up the space as long as privacy is not an issue. ‘Now the interior is complete, I think that the only thing left to do is the back garden,’ say the owners. ‘That’s our project this year – although we’re not sure what we want to do with it yet.’
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