room at the top
After many years spent cultivating a retro look, Lisa Henderson and Dan Mcbean topped off their project with an attic cinema room
For this County Durham couple, the only way is up after completing a dream attic conversion
When Lisa Henderson bought her first home at the age of 24, she never imagined that she would still be uncovering its potential more than two decades later. ‘A friend who lived on the same street told me that a three-bedroom semi had come up for sale,’ says Lisa. ‘It was originally a council house and the owner had lived there since it was built in the Fifties.’ Having grown up just a few streets away, Lisa wanted to live close to her family, so despite the woodchip wallpaper and patterned carpets, she made an immediate offer on the house as property sales in that area were rare.
Looking back, Lisa admits she didn’t realise what she had let herself in for. ‘Every time I stripped wallpaper, the
walls would come away,’ she says. ‘Each cosmetic job ended up being a largescale project. It was a bit of a money pit.’ However, after Lisa’s partner, Dan Mcbean, moved in nine years later, the renovation work moved up a gear. ‘We thought about moving, but realised this house had a lot going for it,’ says Lisa.
The pair decided to stay put and open up the ground floor by knocking the kitchen and dining room together and removing the double doors into the sitting room. They also replaced all the doors and windows.
A few years later, Dan drew plans to convert the loft into a cinema and music room. This allowed them to repurpose the existing first-floor cinema room as a guest bedroom. ‘It wasn’t a great idea to start the work in January as it was
freezing when the roof came off,’ says Lisa. ‘But we had the log burner in the sitting room and ended up burning the old roof beams to keep warm!’
As the couple didn’t want to shrink one of the bedrooms to accommodate the new stairway, they decided to make the bathroom slightly smaller and reconfigure its layout. This room now features an unusual vanity unit made from a vintage record cabinet, creating a cool retro feel, plus a striking red wall tap and patterned encaustic floor tiles, which pack quite a punch.
Luckily, Dan loves mid-century style just as much as Lisa, and their taste has evolved organically over the years. ‘We like to add random things from junk stores and charity shops, and we’re not necessarily bothered about it all
matching,’ says Lisa. ‘It makes for a heady mishmash of items, but reflects our individual personalities very well.’
Over the years, Dan has become more confident at DIY and has tackled tiling, made furniture and radiator covers, and created artwork for the house. He even stripped out the kitchen, reconfigured the existing carcasses, and added new doors and worktops. ‘Dan is very good at sourcing a bargain,’ says Lisa. ‘He’s like a dog with a bone and spends hours trawling the internet.’
Next, the pair plan to fit out their third bedroom as a dressing room and there is potential for a rear extension as Lisa would love a bigger dining area. ‘You could go on forever,’ she laughs. ‘So perhaps it’s time to spend a bit of money on ourselves rather than the house.’
DINING AREA Lisa and dan knocked through to create a roomy, light-filled and characterful cooking and eating space. Try Santini gloss white slab kitchen units, £30 for a 500mm door, B&Q. The Sorrento Swivel bar stools in Yellow, £79.96 for two, Simply...
KITCHEN- DINER A bold wall mural suits this area’s kitsch, retro style. Forest wallpaper wall mural, £39.99, World of Wallpaper, is a close comparison. The Muuto Fluid pendant light, £155, Nest, is a similar style to this one
BATHROOM The upcycled record cabinet and wooden mirror bring a vintage feel. Neve rubinetterie Volante Voxman1r0 red tap handle, £259, gaia Interni. try the Atomic mid-century mirror, £ 45, etsy CINEMA ROOM ‘The sideboard was a bargain at just £20 from...
MAIN BEDROOM Old drawers have been turned into box shelves lined with bright wallpaper. Irvine bed, £210, Next home. eventail double duvet cover, £38, La redoute. try retro Sixties 746 telephone, £69, Notonthehighstreet.com GUEST BEDROOM Dark walls...