long distance dream
Kerri Johnson and Arren Kinder managed to renovate their elegant terrace despite living in separate countries at the time
How one pair oversaw the renovation of their Cheltenham terrace from two different countries
Arren Kinder was working in Mexico as an aerospace operations manager, waiting for his partner Kerri Johnson and children, George, 10, and Billy, 8, to join him when the family suffered a bereavement.‘when my brother Lee died,’ says Kerri, ‘our plans were put on hold. It was Arren, on one of his trips back to Cheltenham, who spotted the house up for auction. We decided that if the children and I were to remain in the UK after all, the renovation would give us something positive to focus on.’
Having successfully won the bid, and in the absence of Arren, Kerri took the helm. ‘My father, Philip, is a plasterer and together we project managed the renovation, while Arren helped on his visits home,’ she explains.
Within weeks, work started on replacing the two-storey extension with a wider one to create an open-plan kitchendiner and living space on the ground floor. Upstairs, a small bathroom was turned into a guest bedroom with an en suite.
To get the best out of a new open-plan space, Kerri consulted her friend and interior designer Dan Cook from Furnish Interior Design. ‘He came up with a layout that incorporated a U-shaped kitchen that allowed for a cosy snug at the darker end of the room and a dining area that utilises the light at the other,’ says Kerri. To keep the room clutter free, a basement was converted into a playroom for the children.
‘The orange Smeg fridge, brought from our previous home, formed the starting point for the kitchen’s colour
scheme,’ says Kerri. The couple chose contemporary graphite-grey units to contrast with the electrical appliance and colourful retro-style bar stools and dining chairs. In place of a tiled splashback, the brickwork has been exposed to create an industrial-style backdrop.
With the extension completed, the builders moved upstairs to work on what the family had used as a makeshift bedroom and kitchen during the renovation, which became a spacious bathroom. ‘The upcycled roll-top bath was a bargain, given to my father by one of his clients,’ says Kerri. ‘ We spray-painted it and added new taps.’
In George’s bedroom, the decoration was dictated by his request for a Union Jack mural, which Kerri has matched with graphic bedding and accessories in primary colours.
A floral feature wall sets the tone in the master bedroom and is reminiscent of the floral wallpaper in the room when Kerri first viewed the property.
Outside, Kerri and Arren have created a lowmaintenance courtyard. In place of a cumbersome garden shed, a false wall hides a spacious, open-ended storage space.
On Arren’s return from Mexico, the house was complete, except for the sitting room at the front. When budget allowed, the couple had storage units fitted either side of the exposed brick chimneybreast and then added a leather sofa and tartan armchair. ‘It’s taken a while to get the house just the way we want it,’ says Kerri, ‘ but it’s been worth the wait. It’s wonderful to finally enjoy it as a family – and for all of us to be in the same country again.’
KITCHEN Gloss grey units teamed with white worktops create a contemporary look. Holborn Gloss Grey cabinets, from £244 for a 100cm base unit, Benchmarx. Retro stools, £ 45 each, Cult Furniture
family room a corner sofa effectively turns this space into a cosy snug. For a similar corner sofa, try the Annan, £899, Sofology. Topsy Yellow patterned cushions, £12 each, Habitat
COURTYARD Arren decorated a wall with his own mural. Rustic wooden tree log slices, from 79p each, The Wooden Box mill. For an alternative table and chairs, try the Heritage three-piece bistro set, £ 49, Asda
DINING AREA Chairs in a selection of bright colours add an element of fun to this space. Retro-style chairs, £50 each, Stonebutterfly
Master BEDROOM Make a feature of a wall by using wallpaper in a bold floral print. create a similar feel with Homebase’s charmed White multicoloured wallpaper, £12.99 per roll
George’ s BEDROOM A Union Jack mural dominates the scheme. ohpopsi Union Brick wall mural, £59.99, Wickes. traditional large desk lamp, £53, love 4 lighting, is a good match
BATHROOM Checkered flooring and a reclaimed roll-top bath add period elegance. Pisa Black White elite tiles rhinofloor vinyl flooring, £11.99sq m, online carpets. ragrund chair, £35, ikea