This project has been done and dusted for a while now but I only managed to get the professional photos done before Christmas. Now that I have them, it finally feels fully completed!
So I thought I would share the project with you in a little bit more detail.
The first thing I have to tell you is that I sort of fell in love with this family the moment I went to my consultation. This was an extremely hard-working couple + 3 children combo with a decent-sized home, but one that started to feel slightly snug the bigger the kids were getting. They loved the village they lived in – it is a small, quintessentially English place with a good school, a really nice pub and the prettiest parks – so like many others, have decided to look at re-shaping their existing home instead of moving away.
A 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom house built in the early 2000s near Chester, Cheshire- the building itself didn’t have much character but it had its size and a beautiful back garden to counterbalance the flaws. At its current state when I first saw it in 2018, the main problem was with the ground floor. It somehow felt disjointed with no flow and no comfortable communal area for the whole family to spend time together in. The mezzanine staircase was also an issue because with three young kids, whenever the adults wanted to entertain and have guests round the noise travelled upstairs and the children couldn’t sleep. The issues weren’t ones you couldn’t live with; but they were issues that could be fixed with some thought and creativity, especially if it comes down to making your forever home just that bit more comfortable.
By the time I came on board, the clients had a very good idea of what they wanted to achieve. They wanted to open up the ground floor and turn it into a spacious, contemporary living space for everyone to enjoy. After some discussion, the plan was to:
- Attach an extension to the back of the house
- Knock through some of the internal walls to open up the existing sitting room and double its size
- Reposition the staircase
- Make most of the garden view by installing aluminium sliding doors across the full back of the house
- Reconfigure the first floor bedrooms, make the master bedroom larger and install a walk-in wardrobe
- Make 2 of the 5 bedrooms en-suites
The Design process
My brief was to design a contemporary, liveable, family-friendly home. This house was never going to be a ‘show house’; it was to become a home for two very busy medical professionals and their 3 under 15 sports-mad kids. It had to be durable and reliable whilst still looking pretty! When we finally got to designing the rooms, the starting point was one of the many artworks the family had owned. This original painting with a dark blue sky and golden fields was one of the first things that caught my eyes at our very first meeting. I tend to use nature as a starting point in one way or another for each and every one of the projects I work on. During our first few meetings, I learnt that this family loved nothing more than to be outside. They are big nature lovers and spend as much time in the open air as possible. It made perfect sense to use nature and more precisely their back garden and that beautiful artwork as our main source of inspiration for the interior design of the house.
Our main keywords when we started working on the design was ‘calm’, ‘minimal’, ‘clean’ and ‘contemporary’. We then added the colours blue, green and gold against a white canvas and opted for adding matt black and brass accents into the scheme to elevate it and give it an industrial feel. We also wanted to flood the house with natural light so if there was an area on the roof where a window or lightwell could be added, it was happening. The best example for this is the small light well we have installed just above the showerhead in the master en-suite. It’s amazing how a cleverly positioned light source can completely transform a space! Which takes me to why it was important to me to bring the new staircase to life by incorporating a channel into the wall going up to stairs; this was to house LED lighting on a sensor.
When you enter the house, you are greeted by a spacious hallway. We chose a honey-coloured wooden flooring to run from the hallway into the main living space, connecting the two areas together. The bespoke joinery we have designed also has a bench seating to make sure that there is somewhere to take shoes off without having to clutter the space with chairs or free standing benches.
The crittall door was something I really wanted to incorporate into this area – I thought it would relate to the big sliding aluminium doors just on the other side of the wall. This was a really lucky find on eBay for a fraction of the price we have been quoted from a few companies.
We have gone through the painful process of having pocket doors installed (painful, because we’ve been sent every single variation of the wrong parts before we finally managed to fit the doors) in the new living space – the doors would offer privacy between the dining area and the new lounge, but could be completely hidden with a ‘floating’ look when not in use.
The main star of the extension is probably the windows. The 9m long glazing system opens up the back of the house and runs from the corner of the living room into the kitchen, and around the corner. The now landscaped garden delivers the views and offers a gorgeous outdoor living space. We really wanted to maximise this space and bring the outside inside so it was important that the doors go from one corner of the house to the other, and that they can be opened during the warmer months. We wanted the two spaces to always feel connected and chose to add a rotating fireplace inside – the clients will turn this around on long summer evenings and they’ll be able to enjoy the fire even when they are sitting outside.
The main focal point in the living room is the TV wall (built by none other than my talented client!) and all the artwork and memorabilia owned by the family.
The upstairs area was reconfigured by the addition of the new staircase, Velux windows and of course the brand new bedroom and dressing room. I wanted the dressing room to stay true to the simple, minimal design the clients are drawn to but to be a relaxing, luxurious space. When designing the wardrobes, I wanted to make sure that everything the clients owned had a home so what’s behind the doors is probably moor intricate than the doors themselves. We opted for a faux linen-textured finish for the cabinetry and finished it off by thin, barely-there brass hardware.
The master bedroom is the only dark space in the house. Faux silk navy wallpaper with a touch of gold sparkle covers the walls and offsets the kingside bed.
From here you enter the small master ensuite – concrete effect floor tiles are paired with the prettiest wall tiles with a wavy pattern. We went for matt black fittings because we had a very clear industrial style in mind for this space.
The extension took us just over a year and as with anything else, it didn’t always go according to plan! Delivery for the glazing system took 4 months longer than we’ve been told, only to find out we have been sent the wrong windows when they finally arrived. And a few days after the wooden flooring was fitted, a big storm came down and flooded the study from a leak we didn’t know was there. But, there really is a solution to everything, and with patience and a little bit of perseverance, things can be sorted.
I loved this project and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Head over to the Gallery to see all the pictures of the finished house, taken by the lovely Kathryn Taylor Photography!
I’ll leave you with the clients’ kind words I have recently received!
‘Melinda did an amazing job. She helped us redecorate our entire house. The process was fun & Melinda was flexible about visit times as we both work full time. She carefully picked products in keeping with our taste but encouraged us to be brave & the end result is stunning. We couldn’t have done it without her! She is very competitively priced. You will not regret choosing her.’