Take a tour around a Victorian terrace in Essex that's full of clever upcycling ideas

The owner didn't let the home's distinctive Victorian character stop her from indulging her love of modern style and just seeing what happened...

living room with wooden flooring and photoframe on wall
(Image credit: Sharon Smith, Vanessa Ri)

When the owners viewed this three-bed Victorian terrace in North Essex back in 2012, they managed to see beyond its dire state. 'Someone was living in part of the property, but it was dated and rundown and needed everything doing,' says the owner. 'In spite of all that, I fell in love with the period features, high ceilings and good light.'

building with exposed brick walls and arched windows

(Image credit: TBC)

The couple got cracking straight away, drawing up plans and choosing a local builder to carry out the work. One of the owners has her own interior design company, so she leapt at the chance to put her decorating skills to good use.

'I love putting a quirky, modern twist on period style.' Read on to see how she has done just that...

Kitchen-Diner

kitchen with white tiled walls and white kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: TBC)

The original kitchen was built in an extension at the back of the house and had no foundations. It was dark and dingy with a narrow scullery leading off it. 'We wanted to create a large, light-filled kitchen-diner, so our first job was to demolish the existing room and extend properly. We knocked down a wall to open up the scullery and part of the staircase and hallway to create one large room.'

Their new kitchen island was built bespoke to fit with an old butcher's block they already owned. 'The island hides the appliances and I like the way the light bounces off the marble.'

room with white wall and wooden flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

The owners choose bifold doors to maximise the light, and in summer they open straight onto the garden.

Wanting to reinstate the period character of the house, the owners shopped around for recycled materials such as this reclaimed parquet flooring.

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Similar units, £2348 for eight units, B&Q (opens in new tab)

Dining room

dining room with white walls and wooden table with bench

(Image credit: TBC)

A room leading off the kitchen was turned into a more formal dining room for entertaining. The walls, ceiling, fireplace and piano were all painted in the same colour. This creates a seamless look that makes the room feel bigger.

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Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath Estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5ltrs, B&Q (opens in new tab)

Living room

living room with sofa set and photo frame on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

living room with wooden flooring and shelves

(Image credit: TBC)

High ceilings and grand architraves can handle bold, modern artwork. 'I do like to see paintings on walls, but it's too permanent, so often I'll prop them on shelves so I can swap them around.'

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Similar armchair, from £540, Sofa.com (opens in new tab)
Buy now: Similar rug, £250, Ikea (opens in new tab)

Main bedroom

main bedroom with white arched windows and wooden flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

Portable artwork has been introduced into the bedroom as well, with similar geometric prints echoed in the bedlinen and cushion covers.

bedroom with wooden flooring and white wall

(Image credit: TBC)

The owners added old fruit crates to a bookcase as drawers. 'I love the vintage look of them.'

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Geometric bedspread, £150, Habitat (opens in new tab)

Guest bedroom

guest bedroom with wooden flooring and white walls

(Image credit: TBC)

'We chose shutters for the unusual windows, which a joiner made for us. They shut out the light and mean we don't need curtains.'

Children's bedroom

kids bedroom with white and yellow walls and book shelves

(Image credit: TBC)

The owner thought white walls would be too stark in the boys' bedroom, but painting them bright yellow all over would be too overpowering. The solution? She split them into white and yellow bands for a balanced look.

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Similar rug, from £59, M&S (opens in new tab)

Bathroom

bathroom with bathtub and tiled walls

(Image credit: TBC)

Tiling half the walls creates an interest in the bathroom, and open shelving maximises the feeling of space.

bathroom with bathtub white tiled walls and printed tiled flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

The owner made this basin unit by glueing two marble chopping boards together and adding hairpin legs she bought online.

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Buy now:
Similar ladder, £149, M&S (opens in new tab)

'Now the house is finished, as much as I love the new space at the back, I think I like the living room the best. It's homely and comfortable, but also a little bit quirky. It's where we can all relax together as a family.'

Image credits: David Parmiter