25 Beautiful Homes
Not wanting to over develop her listed home, Lorna Jones chose to put the focus on its original features instead
When Lorna Jones started house hunting, she was constrained by a fairly narrow search area in which to find her ideal home. ‘It had to be within walking distance of my son’s father and our friends,’ she says. ‘But I also wanted a space which I could really make my own.’
Before long she discovered a three-storey Victorian terraced house in a beautiful part of London. ‘As the crow flies, it was only a few hundred yards from our previous home, but felt like a complete change of scene,’ remembers Lorna. ‘Although the house was in desperate need of an overhaul, the bare bones were in good condition which meant we were able to focus on restoring the period features and introducing comforts like underfloor heating on the main floors.’
The property is in a conservation area with protected status and Lorna was keen to ensure that the existing heritage assets were maintained. So the timber box sash windows and shutters were carefully restored while all non-original cornicing and timber mouldings were replaced with designs more in keeping with the property’s age.
To realise her vision, Lorna asked All Done Design (alldone.com) to help with the five-month renovation project. ‘Having worked with them on a previous home, I knew I could trust them to
understand what I wanted to achieve,’ she says. ‘Managing director Charlie Avara knows renovating can be an emotional journey and puts time in to build a relationship with you while working on your home.’
Advice on the bathroom and kitchen layouts from Lorna’s interior designer friend Jaci Douglas (jacandharri.co) also proved invaluable.
A key change was relocating the kitchen-diner from the ground floor to the basement. Two rooms were knocked through and wider French doors installed at the rear, leading to new stone steps and a more spacious patio area. This allowed the ground floor to be restored to its original use as a sitting room and library.
Encompassing the entire first floor is the main bedroom with new en-suite bathroom, while two more bedrooms are located on the top floor and serviced by a bathroom off the half landing.
Much work has been carried out externally too. ‘The garden was a complete mess, with rotting decking and old Astroturf,’ says Lorna. ‘As it is quite shady in parts and a lawn would not grow, we opted for bricks.’
Although the project ran pretty smoothly, it wasn’t without its challenges. ‘Within days we found out that the surveyor had missed some major damp in what is now the utility room, which meant hitting the contingency budget almost immediately,’ says Lorna. ‘But
apart from that initial glitch, the project landed on time and on budget.’
After years of living in a very minimal space, comfort and warmth were the watchwords here. ‘I love mixing old and new, and have a soft spot for Scandinavian chairs and lighting,’ says Lorna. ‘Apart from a few armchairs, a bookcase and two beds, we started from scratch and that made it much easier.’
Now happily ensconced in her home with her teenage son, Lorna has no plans to move again. ‘The house feels as if it’s been lived in for much longer than it has,’ she says. ‘It feels like home, and we enjoy using every bit of it all the time.’