Bowdon home renovation delivers superb results
PUBLISHED: 14:42 01 July 2020
This Bowdon home is a dream come true
Annie Beddy was perfectly happy in her old home and had no thoughts of moving elsewhere, with all the disruption and hassle it would incur, but greater forces were at work.
“Four years ago, we were living just 10 minutes away from where we are now, with absolutely no intention whatsoever of moving. We had a lovely little house, it suited us all down to the ground and we were very happy there. Then my neighbour, Jane Warren, sent me a text: ‘I think the house of your dreams has just come on the market’. She got my curiosity up and I had to do a drive-by – and I just thought, wow, what a beautiful house. I booked a viewing immediately, just on my own. It was owned by an elderly couple who had been there for a very long time.
“The house was charming but really dark and really dated – but I absolutely fell in love with it. The high ceilings, the grandeur; it was absolutely beautiful. I spoke to the agent who said there was a lot of interest and it would sell fast – and as my house wasn’t even on the market, I would just have to rule it out. Well, I love a challenge. My next call was to my brother Peter Waterson, who owns Watersons estate agents in Hale. He came and looked at the house on the same day, with my husband too this time, and said ‘you’ve got to go for it’.
“He came to our home that evening, did the floor plan and we had ours on the market, had accepted an offer and had our offer on this one accepted in eight days flat. It all just felt like it was meant to be. I had always, always wanted to do up a house, but hadn’t thought I would ever be able to.”
Have you seen our recent feature about Instagram influencer Jen Rothbury’s home ? See the photos and read her story.
Serendipity played her hand again and gave Annie a two-week period before she had to leave her own home and move her family to the new home – a gap she took full advantage of.
“I had a damp-proof course put in, a central heating system and painted the whole thing white. Then we moved in and literally sat on it for a year and a half, working out how we would best be able to live in it. I spent the time putting together scrapbooks of ideas and sketching out my thoughts. Eventually, we decided we needed a kitchen-diner-living space as the hub of the house, and I wanted a utility-cum-laundry room that would open into its own outside space, not the main garden. There was also an old garage right at the back of the house, that to me just immediately lent itself to being a really beautiful family room. We had a glass link built between the house and the garage, just taking out a little bit from what was a morning room, which we then opened up into the new kitchen diner space. The house had three big bedrooms and one tiny bedroom, so I wanted a loft conversion to create a bedroom and en suite for my daughter.”
Annie and her husband were working, she says, on, “the tightest of budgets – not a chance of overspend,” so her next step was to have a technical drawing done for the planning permissions needed and to avoid the expense of an architect. At the time, Annie worked as a freelance business development consultant and decided to put that on hold and project manage the work herself.
“Because the budget was so tight, I thought if I did that myself, I could source all the materials and work very closely with the builder to make sure we were getting the best value. For example, there was a section where we needed a bit of a bespoke, glazed roof area. I went to five companies and the difference between them was huge. I did this on every single thing that was bought. I would research it, source it – and there is no question that I saved tens of thousands of pounds. Plus, we found a fantastic builder, Paul Caddick of Bowdon Building Contractors; he’s brilliant – he really understood where I was coming from.
“We started the project in January 2018. As speed was of the essence, as well as Paul and his team we had a loft conversion specialist in too. For a while it was really challenging – it felt as though every time you opened a door somebody was there. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to living like that though. Every day big and little decisions needed to be made and unexpected challenges arose. It was a very full-on year, but I loved it all.”
Indeed, Annie loved it so much she has now established herself as a project manager for home builds and renovations.
“It’s been a bit of a career change,” she laughs, “but it’s going well. I had one home 95% complete just as lockdown was enforced, but the recent relaxation has meant we’re getting back on track there.”
Once Annie’s house was complete, it was time to set about the décor. Not an easy task when the furniture brought from a smaller home is simply eaten up in new high-ceilinged spaces.
We painted all the new spaces white, to give us time to think,’ she says. “In the sitting room, which we haven’t changed, I have chosen a soft rose shade. We managed to prise the original shutters off the walls – they’d been painted over many times – and we can now close these at night, so no need to buy curtains. I chose a soft grey from Little Greene for my husband’s office-cum-library, using a darker Farrow & Ball shade on the bookshelves. The hallway is Farrow and Ball Ammonite.”
The kitchen is Annie’s pride and joy. Again, a tight budget drove her to be creative and she found a kitchen company in Northwich who understood, and could deliver, just what she wanted.
“Pineland in Northwich were marvellous. I went in with grandiose ideas and a tiny budget, for a challenging space (it’s large, but there’s not a lot of wall space) and they totally understood me. They built me a fully bespoke, solid wood kitchen. I chose the paints and they arranged to have it sprayed for me. To make it all work the cabinets are taller than average and they created an island that is just perfect. I had always dreamed of having an Aga; it couldn’t be done, of course, but I do have an Aga kettle, so that’s that box ticked.
“They also made a fitted wardrobe for me. Most of the furniture from our old home was too small. I trawled eBay and spent a lot of time at the antiques village in Levenshulme. I got my fireplace in the kitchen from a salvage yard for £50. I like quirky, so I find pieces of furniture I can paint and give a new lease of life to. I have bought lots of nests of tables, corner cabinets... I can always find somewhere to put the things I find.”
Now Annie is so happy with her home that she’s signed up with Lifestyle Locations, which promotes it for use by companies needing locations for commercials and photoshoots.
“I need some return on my time and expense,” she laughs. “It’s time for the house to pay back some of the love and money we have put into it. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t appreciate how lucky we are to live here. We really, really appreciate it and really, really live in it. It’s a proper, lived-in, family house.”
For more photos of Annie’s beautiful home, grab a copy of Cheshire Life’s July 2020 issue.
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