Nicola Dunn from Cheltenham extended her once run of the mill bungaliw then decorated with a dash of French style to create a warm and inviting family home
“There was no denying that our bungalow was very worse for wear when we bought it,” says Nicola Dunn, who lives here with her husband Matt. “But we’d fallen In love with the area and could see past the property’s flaws.”
It took three months for the couple to get planning permission. “We wanted two extensions – one at the back of the house for the kitchen, and one to the side that would become the conservatory. As soon as permission was granted, we spent all our evenings and weekends knocking down walls and shifting bricks out to a skip. Our home was uninhabitable for a whole year, so we moved in with Matt’s parents.
“Fortunately, my dad and brother are both builders, so we made the most of their expertise. Our first task was to dig the foundations for the extensions, which Matt and I did ourselves – partly with a digger and partly by hand. It was hard work but quite exciting to see it all taking shape.
“Once the building work was done, we could get on with tackling the interior. I wanted a kitchen where we could eat as a family, with a dining table and a breakfast bar. We went for plain white
units and added an American-style fridge-freezer for extra character.
“A second window to the side of the kitchen was a stroke of genius – it lets in lots of light and gives us great views of the surrounding countryside. We also added double doors leading onto the garden – it’s lovely to leave them open in the summer: this really brings the outside in. Our kitchen-diner has become a great space for entertaining and we seem to spend most of our time in here.
“When we gutted the bungalow we took the opportunity to install central heating, but it wasn’t possible to restore the original fireplace in the living room so we turned the chimney recess into a log store, which makes a lovely feature. Originally, the living area was divided into two rooms but we knocked them through to make one large space – the windows at the front of the house let in so much light.
“However, the hallway was rather dark, long and narrow, so we added two strips glass bricks in the walls adjacent to the conservatory. It wasn’t too expensive (my brother helped us). The result looks really stylish and brightens up the both the hall and conservatory brilliantly.
“The conservatory happens to be my favourite part of the house – it’s small but really airy and peaceful, and it’s nice to have a place to escape to from all of Keeva’s toys! It gets the most sun in the morning and, as it’s north facing, never too hot. The corner sofa and coffee table are both really lightweight so in summer we move them outside onto the decking.
When we first bought the house we used Keeva’s room as a study, but when I found out I was expecting a daughter, we went for a no-holds-barred cute and girly theme in pink and cream. I’ve added lots of butterflies – you’ll find them in the wallpaper and on the rug, as well as on the fabric covering a small pink sofa. And, as children seem to need so much stuff, we made sure to factor in lots of storage.
“I’m definitely a girly girl at heart, and it took quite a while to convince Matt to have pink bed linen in our bedroom. And now we have Keeva he knows he’s never going to win the “pink” argument! Although it’s taken a while to get our home just right. we’re really happy with it It’s a far cry from the house we bought nine years ago – and it’s been worth it.”
This feature originally appeared in Style at Home with photography by Colin Poole