After a repeat viewing, the owners took on a run-down Victorian house and turned it into a light-filled oasis of calm
The owners first looked around their southwest London home on a wet winter’s day, and were really not impressed by what they saw. ‘We didn’t like it,’ they admit. ‘Our hearts were set on a Victorian house around the corner, and this one felt gloomy and cold by comparison.’ But when they were outbid on the other property, the couple returned for a second visit. ‘This time, the sun was streaming in and we could see its true potential,’ they say.
The interior designer and chartered surveyor couple are no strangers to property renovation, but this time they wanted to use their professional skills on their own house. ‘We had been living in a small flat and wanted more space, so we decided to buy what we could afford in an area we liked and restore the house to make it suit us,’ they explain. ‘It’s our first “proper” family home with our daughter, who’s two.’
Undeterred by the poor state of the three-storey property, the pair set to work on a major five-month renovation while living in their old flat. As well as new ceilings, sash windows, flooring and bathrooms, rewiring and repairs to the roof, the couple replanned the lighting to ensure it was bright all year round.
The owners tripled the size of the kitchen by adding an extension at the rear, which took in the side return. ‘It has totally transformed the house, changing it from feeling poky and closed into a spacious and airy home,’ they say. Steel-framed doors across the width of the room add character, while also helping to maximise natural light.
‘We wanted the kitchen to feel calm and welcoming, especially when friends come over,’ the pair say, ‘so getting the practicalities right was important.’ Cupboard space was key so there is plenty of built-in storage, including a breakfast unit that conceals the toaster, coffee machine and cereals.
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Compartments hidden in the dining area benches are great for stashing the couple’s daughter’s toys and keeping everything clutter-free. Bench seating set against tongue-and-groove panelling makes an inviting nook for family meals.
Glass doors open directly out from the kitchen-diner onto the patio, which has space for al-fresco meals. The dining set has been chosen to echo the colour of the windows.
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The owners’ love of printed textiles is evident throughout, from pretty cushions to chair covers, which complement their mix of antique and modern furniture. ‘We like to put together patterns and plains, old and new, but nothing too garish,’ they say. ‘We also don’t buy anything unless we love it – after all, we want to live with it and enjoy it for a long time.’
‘Usually we will start a room with a piece that we love, like the antique mirrors in the bedroom, and build from there.’ The owners favour a neutral palette, often picking up on a favourite painting or print. ‘Each room looks as if it has evolved over time,’ they say. ‘That’s how you give a home character.’
The couple wanted a timeless scheme that their daughter wouldn’t grow out of. Toys and prints give it subtle interest that a child will love.
A cast-iron tub and traditional mixer create a classic look in the bathroom. The artwork adds colour to the all-white space without being overly dominant.
Now, with a second child on the way, the owners are glad they were outbid on the first house. ‘This was a much better choice,’ they say. ‘It had the potential to become a more spacious family-sized home. We feel so fortunate that we came back here for that second look.’
This house tour originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes, July 2017.
Image credits: Malcolm Menzies