If you’ve ever looked at a property and thought the proportion between living and sleeping space is all wrong then then this one’s for you. The problem is often that two bedrooms might suffice but then the downstairs is proportionally small so in order to get the living space you want you have to buy more bedrooms which you can then use as office space or secondary sitting rooms. This two bedroom semi-detached house was originally built as servants’ quarters for a bigger house nearby but the vendors have added a spectacular glass dining room which has dramatically increased the living space.
It also cost £100,000 and I don’t know if that investment is reflected in the asking price. of £750,000 One has to assume that it is but it’s also always worth considering if you will get a corresponding uplift in value if you invest in expanding your property. I’m told – but I don’t know this for certain so you should investigate – that doing a side return to extend the kitchen doesn’t always reflect in the sales price (on the basis that it’s not a huge increase in square footage) but that converting a loft will come back for you as you are adding a whole extra room.
That said, if extending the kitchen into the side return will massively improve your life during the time you live in the house then it’s worth doing. We can’t be doing everything with one eye on the resale value as it’s also about quality of life, but I merely point this out. And say that adding a 15ft x 10ft glass atrium dining room onto this house must clearly have improved the living in it.
It’s on the market for £750,000 with Winkworth and is a really pretty Hansel and Gretel style cottage with diamond brickwork and proper gingergbread house trim. The glass addition is a perfect contrast as adding something in the same style would have looked like a poor copy and a mere pastiche of the original. This is a much cleverer idea. Don’t fancy the window cleaner bills much though.
Inside it’s mostly white – spot that mini white AGA above – with accents of black and natural white. This is another good trick in cottages, which can be dark with those leaded windows and also traditionally have low ceilings, use lots of white (off white) paint. That instantly looks more modern than a range of traditional pastel colours and will bounce the light around – if you have the natural light coming in from the windows.
I know I’ve been all about banning the white paint but that’s not a total ban more of a requirement that you stop to think about why you are reaching for white paint so that you don’t just do it automatically. In a chocolate boxy cottage like this the white paint will be a modern and fresh contrast to the olde worlde features inside.
And I do mean white, off white, in this case. Step away from the reds and creams which seem to feature so strongly in all the country houses I look at every week. In a house like this white is your friend. Consider also subverting all the country style fabrics and using them in modern colours. So consider the William Morris traditional Acanthus pattern but instead of the classic pinks and greens use it in black and white so that it feels more modern.
Consider also – if budget permits – using House of Hackney papers, which are a bit more of a cliche in London town houses but their slightly punkish colourways lend themselves well to subverting that country house decor.
So we like? Who’s moving to Surrey then? There are more pictures if you follow the Winkworth link above so you can see the bedrooms but there isn’t a really good image of the dining room. For that you will have to be a serious buyer and go and visit.