No strangers to property renovations this Essex bungalow was the latest project for keen property developer and designer couple Luke and Heather. The couple have built-up a wealth of experience over recent years buying project homes and renovating them beautifully.
Luke explains, “It was about eight years ago that we did our first project home. I think I took inspiration from my Grandad who has always had such a hands-on can do work ethic and this led me to challenge myself from my normal day job, learning the skills I would need to complete a lot of the work on that first house myself. Heather has always had a really keen eye for interior design too so with that combined we quickly realised that we made a perfect team for renovating properties and it was something we would look to continue to do as we enjoyed it so much.”
When this two-bedroom bungalow came on the market last year the couple were quick to see its potential.
“It had been home to an elderly couple and barely touched in years. All of the décor was extremely dated and the electrics and plumbing would all require a complete overhaul, but knowing I could do most of the work myself we could see this being a really nice project to transform into a modern and appealing home pretty quickly.”
Working every weekend on the project, the home was completely gutted by Luke leaving a blank canvas to install all of the new electrics and plumbing before re-plastering all of the rooms to create clean and modern spaces that were ready for decorating and dressing. New windows and doors were also completed to transform the home’s exterior.
It was the kitchen that would require more significant building work as it had the scope to be extended to create a larger open plan space. “The home originally had a fairly small kitchen which led through to a separate lean-to style conservatory. We knew creating a larger open plan kitchen would really add value and appeal to this home so we decided to remove the existing back wall on the kitchen, and the old conservatory, adding a new flat roof extension in its place to create one much bigger space, all filled with natural light and pretty views out to the garden.”
When it came to the interior styling of the home it was over to Heather who was keen to blend her usual modern approach to design with a slightly more traditional feel on this project. Heather explains,
“I do tend to typically style things with a very contemporary approach as it’s more to my taste, however on this project, for the style of the home and its location, I felt that a slightly more traditional feel would be the right way to go. I guess the best way to describe my vision here was to add modern twists on country chic styling.
“I wanted to keep the colour palette light to make the home feel bright and open, especially in the new kitchen space. I eventually chose a Magnet Kitchen finished in the soft grey tones of their Dove Grey. The shaker style of the cabinets were perfect for that traditional meets modern style I had in mind. These were finished with a white quartz worktop from Dial a Worktop to give a modern work surface finish, and then brass handles from The Handles Studio add a lovely aged brass twist.”
When it came to flooring the couple were keen to find a good quality light grey laminate wood floor. Heather explains, “Budget wise we were keen to go with laminate. We had previously installed a light grey laminate in a previous project that we were really pleased with but it had been discontinued so we went on the search to find something similar. V4 Wood Flooring kept popping up on Instagram so I headed to their website where I discovered the Natureffect laminate wood floor collections. We spotted a few light options and ordered samples.
“When they arrived I was immediately drawn to the Arctic Sky sample. It had the perfect mix of light grey tones that felt really modern, but also a rustic, traditional feel created from the oak grains and character running over the surface.”
As ever it would be over to Luke to install the new floors and he was impressed with the size of the planks and the solid thickness of each board at 12mm. “I’ve worked with a few different laminate floors in previous projects and these really were fantastic to install. I was so impressed with the thickness which makes them really robust and such a close feel to real wood. I had to complete a small amount of levelling work, but then they were really quick to install straight over the Wood’s Good Eco Gold underlay that we also got from V4.”
Natureffect XXL laminate floors are imprinted and embossed with natural textured grains on extra large laminate planks making it almost impossible to tell them apart from solid oak floors. The boards measure a generous 243 x 2175mm and feature a simple 5G locking system that can be installed as a floating floor over underlay without the need for adhesive. They are also fully compatible with underfloor heating systems.
The finished Arctic Sky floors run from the home’s front door, through the hallway and into the new open plan kitchen. The large nature of the planks really enhances the feeling of space and creates a seamless flow to the home. The whole project was completed in under four months, turning a very tired and dated property into a completely transformed house that feels bright, spacious and homely.
Heather completed the finishing design touches and is thrilled with the outcome. “The beauty of being able to do most of the renovation work yourself is that you don’t have to wait around for trades to be available. Luke is so enthusiastic and has become so skilled he really does turn the building work around quickly, leaving me to follow-up with the design input. We’re really pleased with this project, it was another one that we lived in while we completed the work and with it now on the market we have just completed on our next project house which we may think about making a longer term family home.
“We will have no hesitation about speaking to V4 about flooring for that one too, they were so incredibly helpful throughout the decision and installation process and the finished floors really do look fantastic and they are such good quality. They are so easily mistaken for real wood floors and work so well to deliver a modern floor finish in the kitchen that also has an element of traditional rustic character, just perfect for the styling I wanted to create.”
You can follow the couple’s on-going renovation and design projects on the Instagram account @interior_styling_18