A 1920s home is lovingly extended and restored







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This week's renovation tour is of crack_the_shutters on Instagram, and is such a great example of taking a property that is much smaller than you need, but has so much potential to extend and can be transformed into something wonderful.

The home has had a huge amount of work done to it - a loft conversion adding two new bedrooms and bathroom, a large extension adding an amazing open plan kitchen / diner and an internal remodel.

Jen who owns the home has such beautiful style and has restored so many features that are sympathetic to the period of her home, like the large sweeping staircase and woodwork, but also has some really modern interiors like the beautiful pink bathroom - one of our very favourite bathrooms!

Can you tell us about your home and renovation project?

Our home is a 1920s semi-detached house that we bought in 2015. The house had fallen into a state of disrepair despite a fairly young family living here before we bought it. 

Pretty much everything needed doing – all of the windows were rotten, there was damp throughout the rear of the house, mould growing on the bathroom ceiling, the garage was subsiding and the roof was leaking! On top of the remedial work that needed doing we knew we wanted to extend upwards and to the rear, as the house was actually no bigger than the house we had left but had far more external space and thus potential to extend.

Work began 2 months after we moved in, starting in the loft, which was extended. The roof was replaced and rear and side dormers added. This gave us two double bedrooms and a shower room and we had a staircase built extra wide to give the feeling of a second floor rather than loft space.

We then started on the first floor, three rooms were knocked through to create a family bathroom and the existing rooms were replastered and decorated and all windows replaced.

On the ground floor we added a rear extension and created an open plan kitchen / dining / snug area.

Finally we had a new driveway and 2 new patios added.

We adore the impressive hallway which is just so welcoming

What was the biggest challenge and why?

The biggest challenge was definitely living through all of the renovations with 2 young children! We moved into the house with a 2 year old and an 11 week old baby. 

On the plus side I was on maternity leave so I was around to make quick decisions and keep a check of progress. However this also meant a baby that had no chance of ever napping, trying to feed children in a makeshift kitchen, no washing machine for 3 months, no running water other than the bathroom upstairs, and a period with no roof when the boys had to have baths under the stars (sounds romantic but it lost is appeal after the first day!).

Dining area in the open plan kitchen - the exposed brickwork separates the eating are from the living space really well

Did you have a budget and how did you stick to it?

We had a thoroughly planned budget on a spreadsheet, which we used to update every week. We were very lucky that our builder gave us a very detailed and transparent quote from the outset, which meant very few surprises along the way. 

I had my heart set on a bespoke inframe kitchen but the quote we had was astronomical. We found a local kitchen company who were able to replicate the exact design off the shelf for half the price. This meant more money left over for the finishing touches like soft furnishings and meant we were able to stick to our original budget.

One of our very favourite bathrooms on Instagram!

What are you most proud of?

I am really proud that we have breathed life back into what was once a beautiful property but had been so unloved for so long. I’m proud that we retained so many period features and hope that the updates we have made have been sympathetic to the character of the house whilst bringing more modern features into play. 

I’m proud of the amount of work we have done ourselves to finish the house and make it into a home. We have learnt lots of new skills including laying bricks, tiling, panelling, re-wiring and everything that goes along with redecorating!

The gorgeous guest bedroom - we love the wallpaper with the panelling

Where is your favourite place in your home now?

My favourite place is definitely the open plan kitchen. It really is the heart of the home - I love our Aga and the space always feels homely and cosy and everyone always congregates around it! I love being able to cook whilst the boys are playing in the snug and still being able to see what they are up to. I also love this space for the views into the garden, especially in summer when it is so green and we can have the bifold doors open creating another dimension to the space.

The beautiful classic shaker kitchen

What do family and friends say about your home now? 

Our family and friend’s are always really lovely about our home, and we love hosting so often have big groups to stay. Our parents in particular are really proud of what we achieved as they witnessed how hard it was living through the renovations, managing the budgets and juggling life with two young children. 

Although I do think they are concerned that we have caught the renovation bug and may be itching to do it all again soon!

How brilliant are the penny tiles - such a wonderful idea 

If you are thinking about a renovation project in the near future and need some help finding an architect or designer, we can match you with the most suitable ones for your project.

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Published: March 3, 2020

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