Rebecca and her husband Ben are a couple after my own heart. They have ‘DIYed’ and upcycled their three bed Victorian house into a calm, cosy and collated home. I actually wouldn’t mind joining them for a G&T in their perfectly manicured garden as it looks like just the place to relax after a hard day at work. Not only I have included oodles of images in the gallery, you’ll also find a few suggestions at the very end of the post to steal Rebecca’s style, so please do keep scrolling.
Blogger Rebecca has some great ‘before’ shots over on her blog, Roses and Rolltops so hop over later if you’d like take a gander at how their beautiful home has progressed over the last few years. Now I’ll hand over to the lady of the house…
Back in the summer of 2012, my husband, then fiancé, and I had just got engaged and were living in North London. We loved the city but prices were crazy and all of our friends and family were back in a village in Hertfordshire where we both grew up. So we started looking on Rightmove and rushed back ‘home’ for an open day on a 3 bedroom Victorian terrace that cost less than the price of our tiny one bed flat! The house had been rented out for the past few years so needed a lot of love putting back into it. I love looking back at the before photos now to see how much it’s changed. We moved in with my parents for a couple of months so that Ben could essentially gut the whole house, think bright purple carpets everywhere and a dated bathroom. I’m lucky that he’s so handy from building sheds to tiling to knocking down walls, he’s up for any kind of DIY challenge. We changed everything, from replacing the plastic windows back to original looking wooden sash and added in more character with fireplaces, panelled doors and shutters that suit the age and style of the property.
We moved in just after Christmas of 2013 and then applied for planning permission to extend the kitchen and back of the house. The biggest change we made was knocking down an old conservatory and opened up most of the downstairs to create a large kitchen diner with space for a sofa and a log burner. We’re lucky that Ben’s uncle makes bespoke, Farrow and Ball hand painted kitchens in Scotland. In fact his two most recent clients were Duchesses (!!) so I was so thrilled when he agreed to make a kitchen for us and bring it down. We get so many compliments on it.
The garden was another big project, it was overgrown and boring when we first moved in so we created a new patio area, built a summerhouse and filled it up with flowers. We’ve been collecting galvanised containers over the years and now have a seasonal display on the patio, updating the flowers every couple of months. With the bifold doors that open out on to it, we feel like it’s another room of the house for us and a little sun trap!
I’ve got a bit of a thing for vintage knick knacks so absolutely love scouring car boot sales, antique/junk shops and markets. We’ve filled the house with all of our finds; our cast iron rolltop bath was a real bargain from good old eBay. We’ve also upcycled a lot of pieces which has meant we haven’t had to spend the earth yet have some unique pieces of furniture that we absolutely love. Chalk paint has been our best friend for transforming chairs or pine chest of drawers. We’ve upcycled scaffold boards by sanding and varnishing them as shelves in the kitchen keeping the original metal bands as hidden brackets, painted them with jewellery hooks in our bedroom and used them for table tops! Our dining table, and outside table, have old Singer sewing machine bases and then scaffold boards on top. You can find out more about the process on my blog.
I’ve also got a bit of an obsession with wooden crates and have used some as side tables topped with my favourite candles, hung some on the wall to display our wedding photos and stacked lots together for a new take on a bookshelf in the dining room.
In terms of our style, I’m a huge fan of neutrals and like to play it safe with light colours throughout but then accessorise with quirky finds like coloured penguin books on a shelf or floral cushions, artwork and a constant stream of fresh flowers for colour that I can change easily and won’t get sick of.
If you’re looking for vintage markets to find some treasure then although I hate to tell people my secret, Kempton Antiques market is the best place ever ever with sellers from France and Belgium. And you’ll be amazed at what’s lurking amongst the tat of car boot sales.