‘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
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.
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