Renovation Tour - 1950s Bungalow Renovation







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There is something completely calming and tranquil inside the home of this week's renovation tour from Insta account

The family bought a 1950s bungalow which had been extended over the years, but needed a remodel and extension to bring it up to date. The result is a spacious and sociable family home, where every room works so well together finished in a similar modern country style and soft colour palette.

We chat to Nellie who shares with us her renovation story, as well as some inspiring pictures of her beautiful home.

Can you tell us about your home and renovation project?

Our plot was originally a pair of thatched cottages and a timber yard, following a fire in the 1920’s the property was rebuilt as a bungalow in 1958. 

Through the years it received a small loft conversion, two conservatories and retrofitted central heating, before we purchased it as a project in 2015. But the bungalow was ultimately a collection of small, dark rooms with poor flow and no connection to the garden.

At the time we had a 13 month old, and I think lots of our friends and family thought we were mad, questioning why we didn’t buy a relatively new-build which came onto the market at the same time further down the village….but we’d fallen in love with the whimsical garden, the beautiful cedar tree and the endless views over the countryside…which ironically you could only enjoy from the (out of reach!) roofline velux.

We love the beautiful shaker kitchen with the granite worktops...the brass adds warmth and works well with the oak too

What attracted you to renovating and have there been any particular challenges due to the age and style of the property?

We never set out to buy a renovation, certainly not on this scale! We’d been house hunting within a small collection of villages for about 6 months and had come to the conclusion that we weren’t going to be able to buy what we wanted – but if we were lucky we might be able to buy something which would allow us to build it. 

Essentially I’m a dreamer, my husband is a problem solver (and a very talented engineer!), and perhaps that’s the perfect combination!

The biggest early challenge for us was getting through planning, as the bungalow was within a conservation area and we were restricted with ridge height, and not being able to alter the way the property looked from the road. 

The second challenge was designing the big extensions in such a way that we could continue to live in the bungalow for as long as possible, before having to move out. Avoiding moving into a rental was key to us being able to afford the project. 

We designed most of the house ourselves, Craig spent weeks modelling the old bungalow on CAD and then we started to get creative.

The bath looks perfect in the loft space and the tiles give the feeling of space

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

We did have a tight budget for the initial works that involved builders and contractors, we paid for them to take us to first and second fix, leaving us with a plastered shell to complete the rest of the works ourselves. 

After the builders left, we were only 5% over budget, which for a 6 figure project is pretty reasonable. 

I think the key to this was really good planning, probably over 12 months of quoting up, building baskets of materials online and shopping around. We kept a tight rein on materials coming to site and paid for lots of things directly, rather than going through a builder.

The fireplace is styled perfectly with a palette of calming colours

What are you most proud of as part of the renovation?

I’m most proud that we’re not divorced…! In all seriousness, I’m proud that we took the initial disappointment of house hunting and turned it round, and into an adventure instead. 

Taking the leap of buying a project in spite of the challenges of having a young family was definitely brave, and I’m proud that we then followed through with our plans and achieved our vision (and that we’re still married!).

Another angle of the kitchen...the curved seating area is so sociable at the end of the island

Where is your favourite place in your home now?

This is hard! I love so many spaces now for different reasons. 

One of the biggest tasks we set ourselves was to connect the house better with the outside, we wanted to be able to see the countryside from the moment you walked through the door, and stay connected with it as you move through the home. I think we’ve managed to achieve that, so my favourite place is probably ‘anywhere I can watch the seasons change’!

The bedroom has stunning views into the garden - perfect to wake up to on a summer morning

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

Be brave! It’s a worrying, stressful time going through a renovation. It’s a constant learning curve no matter how prepared you are, or how much research you’ve done. Even the most simple of jobs, or the most trustworthy of tradespeople can become unexpectedly challenging! 

It’s easy to become overwhelmed, some days it feels like you’re having to make lots of big decisions, and often all too quickly. 

Stay positive, prioritise the work and get creative with your problem solving! Day by day, week by week, you’ll make progress.

We love this kids bedroom and the lovely shade of pink

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: November 15, 2020

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