Liv­ing with the builders cre­ates big­ger, bet­ter, brighter bun­ga­low

This tra­di­tional bun­ga­low has had a mod­ern makeover. Heather Dixon re­ports. Pic­tures by Jeremy Phillips.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

PHILIP Rus­sell might never have ren­o­vated a prop­erty if it hadn’t been for a mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent which nearly killed him.

“I was re­cov­er­ing in hospi­tal and re­think­ing my fu­ture when a friend brought me a copy of Home­build­ing & Ren­o­vat­ing mag­a­zine to read. I de­cided that when I was back on my feet I would do more with my life and that would in­clude ren­o­vat­ing a prop­erty,” he says.

Ten years later he kept his res­o­lu­tion and, with his wife Natalie, bought a dated 1960s bun­ga­low near Leeds with the aim of turn­ing the tra­di­tional three-bed prop­erty into a mod­ern open-plan fam­ily home.

“A cou­ple of sales had fallen through and the price was re­duced by £50,000 by the time we bought it,” says Philip. “The orig­i­nal plan was to con­vert just the front sec­tion of the bun­ga­low, where the liv­ing room was, and give it a mod­ern facelift, but a friend sug­gested flip­ping the prop­erty round, build­ing an ex­ten­sion at the rear and hav­ing the kitchen over­look­ing the gar­den.”

The cou­ple paid a de­signer to draw up a sim­ple re­design from which the fi­nal plans emerged. They in­cluded an open-plan ex­tended kitchen, liv­ing and din­ing area and ad­join­ing study, with fold­ing slid­ing doors open­ing onto the back gar­den. The liv­ing room at the front of the house would be­come the main bed­room. The old flat-roof kitchen ex­ten­sion would be de­mol­ished and the rest of the kitchen area turned into a fam­ily bath­room. The orig­i­nal bath­room would be trans­formed into a spa­cious en­trance hall. There would also be a new sin­gle garage and a walled gar­den with resin ag­gre­gate pa­tio.

Natalie and Philip lived in the bun­ga­low while it was ren­o­vated, camp­ing out in a sin­gle room and cre­at­ing tem­po­rary walls for pri­vacy when the old bath­room be­came the builders’ main thor­ough­fare.

“We cre­ated a new front door which, for a while, opened straight onto the bath and toi­let, so we had to be very imag­i­na­tive and cre­ate makeshift walls with large pieces of card­board,” smiles Natalie. “The bath pro­vided our only source of run­ning wa­ter for a few weeks.”

The ren­o­va­tion be­gan with Philip strip­ping out the in­ter­nal fit­tings and putting the con­tents of the garage, in­clud­ing much of their fur­ni­ture, into a stor­age con­tainer in the front gar­den. The old garage was then knocked down to cre­ate ac­cess to the back of the house.

The ex­ist­ing kitchen ex­ten­sion was also de­mol­ished and 30 skiploads of rub­ble re­moved from site. The con­crete raft foot­ings for the ex­ten­sion across the back of the bun­ga­low were then dug out ready for the build­ing of the Mar­ley Rochester brick plinth and breeze­block walls.

The old room lay­out was re­versed and the new ex­ten­sion cre­ated an open-plan kitchen, din­ing and sit­ting room. This meant tak­ing out inside walls and in­stalling lin­tels “ev­ery­where” to cre­ate the new frame­work.

Three months into the project, Natalie, who by this time was ex­pect­ing their first child, gave up work and was spend­ing more and more time among the chaos. As work pro­gressed she and Philip moved from room to room, tak­ing the up­heaval in their stride.

“At one point the elec­tric­ity was off and we were cook­ing with a head torch on,” says Natalie. “We just saw the whole thing as an ad­ven­ture. It was re­ally good fun.”

The new plumb­ing went in and the walls were in­su­lated and plas­tered be­fore solid oak and tiled floors were laid ready for the fit­ting of the new kitchen and bath­rooms.

A study/bed­room was built at the back of the in­te­grated garage so that it, too, could ben­e­fit from fold­ing slid­ing doors over­look­ing the gar­den.

“Dur­ing the build­ing of the ex­ten­sion we re­alised there was space above the garage to cre­ate an­other small room,” says Philip, who went back to the plan­ning depart­ment to ap­ply for an amend­ment to the orig­i­nal plans. “There isn’t much head­room but by us­ing the right trusses we were able to cre­ate a use­ful space which can be used for stor­age or as a den.”

The orig­i­nal part of the prop­erty and the ex­ten­sion were then tiled with slate to cre­ate a seam­less mod­ern fin­ish. When it came to sourc­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als and fur­ni­ture for the new-look bun­ga­low, Philip and Natalie spent hours on the in­ter­net, look­ing for the best deals and find­ing some money-sav­ing bar­gains in the process.

The re­vamp has cer­tainly caused a stir with the neigh­bours but the over­all feed­back has been en­cour­ag­ing and it was worth­while fi­nan­cially. The bun­ga­low cost £174,000 and the build cost was £100,000. It was re­cently val­ued at £375,000.

“We wanted to show that a quite dated bun­ga­low could be trans­formed into a mod­ern home with­out rad­i­cally al­ter­ing its ba­sic shape,” says Philip.

“By turn­ing it round and re­or­gan­is­ing the rooms, we have been able to cre­ate a light, spa­cious home which gives the bun­ga­low a rad­i­cal new im­age.”

Use­ful con­tacts:

Join­ery, JK Bench­marks, tel: 07894 865162

De­signer, Owens De­sign, tel: 01977 702450

Builder, Do­minic Moss, tel: 07917 341798

Ex­ter­nal Epoxy resin ag­gre­gate, so­lar shad­ing and floor­ing, Fresco Group, tel: 0113 245 4050

In­ter­nal doors Doo­ria, doo­ria. se

Gate: David Wright Join­ery, tel: 01977 681832

Kitchen: Diane Berry Kitchens, tel: 0161 798 5335

For fur­ther in­spi­ra­tion and ad­vice for your build­ing project, pick up the De­cem­ber is­sue of

mag­a­zine and check out The North­ern Har­ro­gate Home­build­ing and Ren­o­vat­ing Show at the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, Har­ro­gate, Novem­ber 2-4.

THEN AND NOW: A flat-roof kitchen ex­ten­sion, above right, was de­mol­ished and an in­te­gral garage built fur­ther down the drive, cre­at­ing an el­e­gant L-shaped bun­ga­low.

The open plan-kitchen, din­ing and sit­ting room used to be bed­rooms un­til the lay­out of the bun­ga­low was changed. The Rus­sell’s added warmth to the bun­ga­low by us­ing rich, dark colours.


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