‘it’s small but per­fect for us’

Down­siz­ing gave Phyl and Paul the chance to try out open-plan liv­ing for the first time and put their DIY skills to the test

Style at Home (UK) - - Inside -

A bold choice to down­size cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity for Phyl and Paul but they had to har­ness their DIY skills

Hav­ing al­ready moved once from our fam­ily home into a smaller prop­erty in the cen­tre of town, we de­cided we’d like to down­size again,’ says Phyl. ‘the plan was to pay off our mort­gage so that I could give up work and go to univer­sity to study fine art, just be­cause I’d al­ways wanted to. Plus, we wanted to re­lease some cap­i­tal to help our daugh­ters pur­chase their own homes.

As I un­luck­ily fall into the age group of women who have had their pen­sions de­layed, this also helped to sup­ple­ment our in­come and gave us some money to­wards do­ing up our new home.

Liv­ing min­utes from the sea, with South­sea seafront a short walk away, was a big bonus for us, so we were keen to stay in the same area. We were orig­i­nally going to buy a new-build flat, but at the last minute we de­cided the rooms were too small, and as we al­ready had a buyer for our house, we ur­gently needed to find some­thing else. This was the first place we saw when we started look­ing again and the lo­ca­tion and the open-plan liv­ing space im­me­di­ately sold it to us. We felt it had the po­ten­tial to be a stylish and comfortabl­e home for the two of us, plus it was within walk­ing dis­tance of all the shops, bars and res­tau­rants.

Time to brighten up

It was late Au­gust when the sale went through, and al­though the weather was fabulous, in­side the flat felt dark, so Paul and I painted the whole place white and put white shut­ters on all the win­dows to give it a bright, clean look. We found a lovely light oak wood floor­ing in the sale for a frac­tion of the usual price, so we de­cided to buy it

even though we couldn’t lay it un­til the kitchen had been fit­ted, so we lived with huge stacks of it all around us.

Stream­lined look

Our first ma­jor job was the kitchen as it was in a state, with old ap­pli­ances and the sink and tap held to­gether with tape! We chose a sim­ple white gloss kitchen from B&Q and fit­ted it our­selves. The units were great value, but we paid ex­tra to have an Earth­stone work­top, also from B&Q, fit­ted to give it a more ex­pen­sive feel, and we chose high-gloss splash­backs in­stead of tiles to con­tinue the sleek look. Once fin­ished, we could get on with fit­ting the floor­ing, which we laid through­out the whole flat (with a wa­ter-re­sis­tant ver­sion in the bath­room), to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of space and es­tab­lish a co­he­sive flow be­tween the rooms.

The bath­room was the last room to be done and by the time we got round to it three out of four taps had bro­ken! There was an un­sightly waste pipe run­ning

‘I use small trays to dis­play fam­ily keep­sakes and hol­i­day me­men­tos’ pre­cious pieces

‘We chose two large match­ing so­fas from next home to pro­vide plenty of seat­ing for fam­ily gath­er­ings’ TAKE A seat

tac­tile el­e­ments ‘I chose cush­ions and throws, from tk Maxx and online stores, that have a tex­tu­ral qual­ity to add cosi­ness’

‘the din­ing ta­ble is a vin­tage piece, bought from a lo­cal junk shop’ great find

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