Renovation Tour - A Victorian Terrace Transformed With Bold Colours

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This week we chat to Kate (@thehouseonhollydale on Instagram) about how she renovated this stunning Victorian terraced home in London. The style of the home is traditional with some contemporary twists such as the crittall doors onto the terrace. The jewel tones used throughout are wonderful and give this home so much personality and style, perfectly complementing the period property.

Renovations can be extremely stressful, particularly when everyday life is challenging too. We love how honest Kate is about her renovation story and the personal challenges she faced when things were tough with the renovation; often we just see a beautiful home but don't know the story along the way. Thanks to Kate for sharing her beautiful home.


Can you tell us about your home and renovation project?

I’m Kate, I’m a true northerner, from Cheshire but I’ve lived in London for the last 11 years but I still have my northern accent! I work in the city in London as a chief of staff, which can mean any number of things from writing a presentation for my boss to planning roadmaps. I’m married to Mr S and have a 9 month old son.

We have a Victorian terraced house which I think dates back to the late 1800s. We bought the house in June 2017 and started our real renovation work in Feb 2018. We essentially re-built a lot of the house. We tore down the hallway, kitchen, downstairs loo, dining room and pantry and rebuilt the downstairs into an open plan kitchen, living room and loo. 

We also tore out the upstairs bathroom, the spare room fireplace and the third bedroom and made a larger bathroom and bedrooms.  

The stunning kitchen - we love the herringbone floor


What was your biggest challenge during the renovation?

We lived in the house the whole time which I definitely wouldn’t do again. 

The project was meant to take 3 months but the building company that we found were awful which was disappointing as we’d done so much research. They immediately sub contracted the work without asking us and then left everything to the sub contractor. After a few weeks we could tell things weren’t great as the management's communication was awful and supplies were delayed. It materialised that they had underpriced the job and didn’t want to do it. They were also using our money to pay for our work and another house nearby. They also stopped paying the subcontractors. Luckily we stopped transferring them money. They then ignored our calls and sent an email saying they had to stop work until October (it was June and we had a hole where the kitchen was with a bit of ply board). 

Legally, they were obliged to do the work for the amount they agreed but enforcing that is so hard. They were registered with the federation of master builders but they said that to have their help we had to go through mediation and couldn’t do any more work until it was sorted. That meant that we would have had to live in a building site with no kitchen for months. Long story short the sub contractor agreed to stay on but we had to pay an extra £10k which we didn’t really have however, he did us a huge favour as I think it should have cost way more. 

At the same time I was also really busy and unhappy with work and in addition had just had a miscarriage after fertility treatment and so all in all it was a really tough time for us both in terms of stress and worry. 

That said we were just unfortunate and I definitely don’t regret the renovation. We love our home and would definitely do another renovation, I just wouldn’t live on site!      

The beautiful crittall doors from the patio


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

It was originally £70k for the structure which ended up at £85ish, plus around £15k for fixtures and fittings 

Freestanding pink bath with the deep purple panelling 


What are you most proud of and why?

That we designed our own home and stuck with it through thick and thin. We really budgeted and so we made some tough choices and had the foresight to know that ultimately it wasn’t worth getting ourselves into debt over things where we could save. 

We also got stuck in and did a ton of work ourselves as well as roping in friends and family which was super tough but saved us thousands! 

The lovely shower and bold tiles which work so well in the period property


Where is your favourite place in your home now?

Unquestionably the kitchen! It’s where we spend most of our time. I love the style of the room, it was kind of ‘fashionable’ but also timeless. I’m a bit sick of some of the decor in our house but not this room! It’s where we cook, eat and relax and where Raf plays. When it’s summer the doors open our and we have the garden space too. 

The lovely kitchen island unit


What would be your biggest piece of advice for anyone about to start out?

Think about why you’re doing it, what’s most important to you and what isn’t. If you're renovating with someone else, agree together on your priorities and where you're happy to compromise.

Really research your builders and go and speak to their current clients to get feedback. Get a really detailed quote broken down line by line and make sure you get a contract with your builder too. 

If you're planning rooms then mark out the space on a piece of floor with masking tape so you can see how to move around the room. Have a plan so you know when you have to make decisions by, especially big ones and you aren’t overwhelmed and finally, enjoy it - take lots of pics! 

Gorgeous hallway with the stunning runner



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: July 28, 2020


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