Home Interiors

I was very privileged to have been featured in 25 Beautiful homes magazine. I have attached below some of the images and text from the article.

Buying their forever home was a bit of a busman’s holiday for Laura Ann Barr and
her husband Chris. As an estate agent Laura Ann sees the pick of property everyday
so when she spotted the down at heel semi close to where the couple were already
living, her interest was immediately piqued. ‘We loved the area – it’s close to the city
but has a village feel to it and everything you could want is on your doorstep. We’d
been living in a new build house about five minutes away but we wanted more space
and our goal had always been to buy an older property at some stage. As soon as
we stepped inside this place we loved it! It had lots of character thanks to high
ceilings, not to mention it original mouldings and the bedrooms were all doubles
which was perfect, a real bonus in fact. It wasn’t the finished article by any means
and although it had been loved at some stage, nothing much had been done to it for
many years. We knew we’d need to extend but there was plenty of scope for that
and anyway that would give us the chance to put our own stamp on the place. It also
needed quite a bit of remedial refurbishment too but even so nothing was going to
put us off and we were able to close the deal quite quickly.’
First on the Barr’s to do list was replacing the damp course, re-wiring and re-
plastering. Fortunately they were able to time the sale of their other home to allow
them to stay there until that work was completed. ‘It was such a bonus and in an
ideal world we’d have done the extension then too so as to finish all the upheaval of
building work in one go while we didn’t have to live there. Unfortunately, though,
funds didn’t permit and it wasn’t until two years after we’d moved in that we were in a
position to embark on the extension,’ says Laura Ann, who by this stage was
pregnant with Bertie.
‘Because I’m involved with property through my job I’ve been fortunate enough to
see through many, many homes of all shapes and sizes and to see what people
have done to them. You can’t help seeing things and taking a mental note that you’d
maybe like to incorporate that idea in your own home at some stage. I’ve always
loved the idea of an open-plan kitchen/family/dining area but a separate, more formal
drawing room and this house was perfect for that kind of transformation. With three
receptions rooms our plan was to knock the third reception room at the back of the
house into the kitchen and then extend outwards across the width of the house at the
rear. Because we were building within permitted develop limits we didn’t need
planning permission, just building control and that was very straightforward,’ said
Laura Ann, who project-managed the build with Chris using contractors she knew
through work.
However, with an ever-expanding baby bump, the clock was ticking. ‘There’s nothing
like a baby’s due date to focus the mind of your builders – never mind your own!’
laughs Laura Ann as she recalls how the contractors watched her growing waistline
as the deadline for completion – and Bertie’s arrival – came ever closer. ‘It was
certainly a tough 12 weeks which wasn’t made any easier by the fact it was the
middle of winter. How we wished we’d been able to do the work when we’d moved
in! I think the lowest point was somewhere about the middle of the four weeks when
we had no back wall on the house at all, just polythene sheeting which did little to
keep out the weather. I don’t think we took off out coats for most of the build. I
remember standing in the kitchen in coat, hat and scarf trying to cook! And the mess
– well, you can imagine a building site in winter.’ With hours to spare, however, the
builders were putting the finishing touches to their exterior work the day Laura Ann
brought her little son home from the hospital.
‘We were on a real high – we’d our beautiful baby boy and all the upheaval of the
building work was behind us,’ says Laura Ann who was at last able – between nappy
changes and feeds – to start turning the former building site into her new family’s
dream home. ‘I’d had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted from the start – I read the
magazines, surf the net and of course Pinterest is a go-to must. If you’re not sure of
your style it’s a good way to discover it as you start to see trends in the types of
interiors to which you’re drawn. Mine were always very light, bright rooms – quite
feminine really with a touch of vintage and even some French country just to add
depth and texture. I like florals too and intricate, delicate patterns and I’m never
happier than when I’m upcycling some forgotten old piece of furniture to give it a new
lease of life! Chris was great about it all and just let me get on with it! I don’t have
any dark colours at all in the house – the darkest piece is probably the lovely old
mahogany fireplace in the drawing room and it works well there as it’s our “grown up”
space where we entertain or sometimes sit in the evening once Bertie’s settled,’ says
Laura Ann who is soon to make their threesome four with a brother or sister for him.
‘I’ve been able to enjoy the pregnancy this time round as my recollections of the last
one during the build are quite fraught! I still see other people’s lovely houses every
day but I’ve yet to see anything which has changed my mind about our forever home
here, a place where we can make new memories…all four of us!’

Special thanks to Stuart, Marie & Mandi.xx




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