Here’s one I made earlier...
PUBLISHED: 08:55 21 December 2020 | UPDATED: 10:50 21 December 2020
Emma Moore grew up in Knutsford and wanted the same life for her son as she had enjoyed herself, in this small and sought-after county town with great schools, a thriving community life and an enviable selection of shops and dining spots. There was just one problem – buying the property you want in Knutsford can be financially challenging.
“I had lived away from Knutsford for 25 years,” says graphic designer Emma. “When I had Henry I knew I wanted to be back where my family are but it was impossible to find the kind of property I wanted in the price range I could afford. I had done the Victorian tall-ceiling, original features thing when I lived in Manchester and while they are beautiful, they are very restrictive in terms of floor plan and what you can do. I had collected mid-century furniture and accessories for over 25 years and wanted a home where I could use everything. Eventually I found the solution – a bungalow built in the 1950’s: as soon as I saw it I knew what I could do with it. The proportions are great, the footprint great and the garden the perfect size for Henry and I. I saw instantly that if I reconfigured it, I could create more space and make it just what I needed.”
Emma and Henry moved in three years ago, on a Saturday afternoon. By Monday morning a team of builders was in place knocking down the lean-to garage to create space for an extension.
“I found an incredible team of Polish builders who basically did whatever I asked. They occasionally looked at me like I was mad, but didn’t argue. One of the first things to do was remove the garage, which turned out to be made using asbestos, which slowed us a little. I needed the new ground floor extension to be load bearing, for my roof terrace, and they discovered that really deep foundations had been dug below the garage which also created some problems. Luckily these were the worst of the surprises.”
The new extension to the side of the house houses a guest bedroom and a utility room, which leads off a bathroom that Emma created in place of what was the master bedroom. A bathroom on the ground floor at the front of a house is unusual, but Emma created both natural light and privacy by removing the bay window and replacing the top half of the space with glass bricks. It’s now a fabulous large bathroom, with a hidden laundry room behind, something many of us dream of.
This house came with live-in guests (sorry, ghosts) ). How would you feel about that?
The previous owners had built a small extension to the other side of the property, creating an L-shape. Interestingly, this doesn’t link to the main house, Emma’s bedroom therefor is accessed through a spiral staircase in what was the lounge, but is now the entrance hall, leaving the original staircase in what was the hallway and is now a separate room housing said staircase and Emma’s shoe collection.
“Yes, this is a problem,” Emma laughs. “And it is one I have plans to resolve. At the moment, that staircase leads to Henry’s room and bathroom, and the spiral to my room and the roof terrace. Being sensible I would remove the spiral staircase and link the two upstairs spaces – but I do love my spiral!”
Emma’s bedroom sits in the roof space and leads through to a garden space that gives her sunshine options whatever the time of day.
Back downstairs, Emma undertook some reconfiguration to open up the living space, and has really shown her creativity and love of mid-century style in every décor decision she made.
“When we moved in every ceiling was swirly Artex and the floors were covered in a cheap laminate. I opened up the hallway and fitted a double-size front door, something I had always wanted, then opened up the space between the kitchen and the living room and the living room and the dining area, took the floors back to the original floorboards and stripped and varnished those. I plan eventually to tile or put new boards down all through here and into the kitchen. The kitchen was great, no need to replace, all I did was paint the cupboards and add new hardware. There was a lot of stripping and plastering and painting to do, lots of carpet to lift – the spiral staircase was all carpeted and that needed stripping off. I had the bay windows replaced in the ‘stairs room’ too – much to the amazement of my neighbours, who came to tell me that they’d not long been in. ”
Emma’s style of décor is, unsurprisingly, informed by her love of mid-century style. It’s quite marvellous.
“I have collected a lot of beautiful pieces over the years,” she says. “I didn’t want to be slavish about it – I don’t want to live in a museum, it’s certainly not a devotion to the exclusion of all else, but there is so much I love about that style era. I love the shape of the buildings, I love the use of wood – particularly by the Scandinavian designers. No fancy flourishes, nothing ornate, no carving, just beautiful simple lines and finishes. It’s very easy to live with.
“There’s a lot I love about modern décor too - the bold colour palettes, the rich fabrics. I have a small graphic design agency – Damsel in Design – and we work for a really wide range of clients, so there is the constant stimuli of responding creatively to radically different challenges and this inspires me when it comes to décor considerations too. I have no intention to move into interior design though; I can’t wear someone else’s taste in that as I can in graphics.”
Emma’s home isn’t finished yet – but when will she know that it is?
“Where do you stop, when you love what you do? I guess when you know you aren’t adding value to your home any more. But then, if it’s to be your forever home, do what you like!”
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