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, No­ton­the­high­ GUEST BED­ROOM Dark walls...

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