Katey Korzenietz transformed a 1970s bungalow into a contemporary family home, turning the dated, split-level layout into a striking design feature
A single-storey house in Devon has been given a first-class makeover with a revised layout
After waiting patiently for the right property to come up, Katey Korzenietz and her husband, Simon Wannop, thought they had finally found their dream family home. That was until their plans went awry at the last moment. ‘The sale suddenly fell through, which only left us a month to find somewhere else to live,’ explains Katey. ‘As a result, this property was a bit of a panic buy, but when we saw it, I knew I could do something with it.’
Katey and Simon’s fall-back choice was a roomy 1970s bungalow. Its garish decor and fussy, dated details were not at all to the couple’s taste, but the quiet, convenient location, four bedrooms and secluded garden were all plus points. The biggest draw of all was the striking, split-level, open-plan kitchen, dining area and sitting room. ‘ Without that feature, we might not have gone for this house,’ says Katey. ‘The split-level layout could seem a bit old-fashioned but we’ve always loved the idea of open-plan living. It’s ideal with our eight-year-old, Heidi, because we can all be doing different things and still be together.’
Having secured the house, Katey spent the first few days pulling up old carpets and painting all the interior walls white before embarking on a top-down, room-by-room refurbishment. ‘There was a lot to do,’ she recalls. ‘I wanted a clean, modern look and I adore colour, but I was wary of doing anything too bold, in case we decide to sell again within a few years.’
Katey, who runs her own interior design business, (homerestyler.co.uk), focused on creating contemporary, easy-to-live-with changes that would add value and maintain the appeal of the house for future buyers. The ornamental wrought-ironwork on the stairs and between the dining and sitting rooms was replaced with modern, low-key glass. Whites, greys and crisp, contemporary lines now link the rooms, while contrasting pattern, colour and accessories give each space its own identity.
Subtle wallpapers teamed with corals, tangerines and blues bring warmth and energy to the bedrooms, and dark, wood
blinds and accessories add contrast to the bathroom’s pale walls and fittings.
Within the open-plan living area, each zone feels distinct, thanks to clever combinations of colour and materials. the light-filled kitchen has a sleek and understated style, while warm wood and a black feature wall add depth and drama to the dining area. the glass partition allows a clear view into the sitting room below, where Katey lets some of her favourite hues take centre stage.
‘i’ve always loved yellows as well as teals and turquoises,’ she says. ‘i found a fabric for the blinds and cushions that brought them together and that was my starting point.’ Colour is just one of Katey’s tools when it comes creating an impact. as her taste for bolder, statement pieces has developed, she has brought in eye-catching accessories to add another dimension. ‘i had lots of small bits before, but now i prefer fewer, larger items, such as oversized vases and attractive lighting,’ she says. ‘i go for strong, almost architectural shapes that make a real impression.’
although this home may not have been Katey and simon’s first choice, they feel that what it has provided is far from second best. ‘this house has lent itself incredibly well to our taste and lifestyle,’ says Katey. ‘ We’ve been able to truly make it our own.’
Decorating advice ‘Use navy as a contrast with brights – it’s a softer and more sophisticated alternative to black’
sitting room Two arches connect this low-level area with the kitchen-diner above, while also allowing more light to flow into the space. Dillon corner sofa, £1,732, Sofa Workshop. Print cushions in romo ilsa mimosa fabric, £ 45m, Tm interiors. bow floor lamp, £119, made
Dining Area The honey-coloured oak of the large table lends a warm, natural feel, while the black feature wall makes a dramatic statement. Bethan Gray Newman table, £1,200; bench, £ 429, both John Lewis. Karlsson Belt wall clock, £59, Contemporaryclocks.co.uk
Bathroom The generous, curved bath and marble tiles set a luxurious tone. duravit Happy d2 corner bath, £1,132, Qs supplies. st moritz Vein polished marble tiles, £108sq m, mandarin stone master Bedroom Katey’s grey theme continues here with shades from dark charcoal to pale silver. oslo upholstered bed, £299, time4sleep
heidi’s Bedroom A neat desk and folding chair create a study area that makes best use of space. mini stroller desk, £229, made. mattram curtains, £20, ikea