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When the owners bought this two-bed semi-detached Victorian home in Hertfordshire they were renting a property in the same street. ‘This was a godsend as we were lucky enough to be able to carry on renting for a month after completing, which meant we could get a lot of the messier jobs done before actually moving in.’
The owners have renovated the whole house. It has a cosy but modern feel to it, combined with traditional elements. ‘We were excited about its potential and having our own home, but knew there was a lot of work to be done. Structurally, the house was sound, but internally, there was a huge amount to do.’
Despite the great location, the house had a few problems and they knew every room would need to be revamped. There were rotten windows, the kitchen and bathroom were falling apart and they even had a slug problem due to damp! They began by having the house rewired, fitted new gas piping and installed new radiators in each room. Soon after, UPVC sash windows were put in to replace the worn-out 1970s glazing.
Brighten a dark sofa with colourful soft furnishings. Alternatively, paint floorboards in a neutral colour to make the rooms appear light and airy. A warm leather sofa alongside neutral units add natural, rustic touches, while colourful accessories and throws create a striking focal point. 'I love to sew and crocheted all of the throws and cushions myself. It took time, but it adds a personal touch to the room and makes it unique and special to us. It's a bit of a mish-mash, but it all works well together to create a homely feel.'
Not on the High Street
Dried grasses and different-sized vases in opposing colours add interest and height to this predominantly white scheme. Keep the rest of the space minimal, with just a few well-placed accessories and furniture for decorative detail.
Dulux at B&Q
Replacing the kitchen was at the top of a very long list. They went for an affordable, hand-made wooden design, as they preferred a more traditional, timeless look, but mixed it with modern accessories. The wall tiles were a gift and they used a dark grout to enhance the pattern. Red accessories give the kitchen a bold look, alongside neutral units and black appliances.
Next on the list was the open-plan dining room, where they had to replaster the ceiling after discovering the woodchip wallpaper was concealing cracked plaster. They picked a neutral shade for all the walls downstairs to keep the house bright and link each area together. The colours of the accessories also create an homogenous feel. The dining room is a real feature, with its eclectic mix of frames, a vintage barometer and roe-deer antlers - yet more antique finds. To add some period character back into the space, they chose to fit reproduction plaster coving.
With the downstairs finished, they began work upstairs, where both bedrooms needed a complete overhaul. Stripping back several layers of wallpaper caused the Victorian plaster to fall off the walls, so they ended up having to reboard and plaster again. It was then sanded and painted in a pale shade that really lightens the space. The owners painted two of the walls in the same colour they used downstairs on the dining room storage unit. 'I love the colour and it definitely livens up the bedroom walls.'
Storm by Fired Earth
Add a touch of elegance to your bathroom with monochrome accessories, such as this botanical-inspired shower curtain. The owners have opted for classic fittings and fixtures, which are in keeping with the period properties decor.
Ellen Tunstall Ceramics
The owners found great second-hand buys for the nursery, which means the furniture is a bit mismatched. 'It's great that we can easily replace a piece if it gets ruined.' In terms of colour, going gender-neutral is a practical decorating choice for a nursery or for when a boy and girl are sharing a room. 'I'm not keen on pink so we went for yellow for a bright and modern feel.'
After the couple finished the nursery, they soon realised that they would need an office, so they had one fitted in the garden. It's proved perfect, as the owner now has space to run his graphic-design business - and it also provides ample space for sewing. The garden office has a very calm feel, which makes it the ideal place to work. 'In the process of doing up our house, we've learnt so much about what style we like and how to achieve it on a budget by being thrifty and by upcycling. We've still got a few projects to finish off, but we're really proud of the home we've created.'