Kevin Gallagher has transformed a dated ‘70s bungalow into a charming new home — for just £38,000

‘Leawood’ is one of those gems of a project which, radically transformed within a mere five months for a very modest sum of £38,000, would have many envying – and admiring the ambition of – its owner, Kevin Gallagher. From the now inviting cottage-style exterior and sleek interiors, it’s difficult to imagine that the resulting home has been carved from a dated 1970s bungalow with little to offer beside its established garden and quaint village location in the Staffordshire countryside.

Kevin first laid eyes upon the bungalow while driving through the village after dropping off his sons Jake and Sam. The brick bungalow could have easily gone unnoticed nestled between its two storey neighbours, yet when Kevin glanced upon it he had a eureka moment: “It was one of the ugliest houses in the village, but I instantly thought if you rendered it and added a porch, it could be really fantastic,” he recalls. Some 12 months later Kevin noted a ‘for sale’ sign outside and promptly sealed the purchase.

Kevin’s plans to create a new home out of the old included adding a side extension stretching from the front of the bungalow to the rear garage. The garage would, in turn, be converted into usable living space; the large gravelled drive now provides plentiful parking. Such additions would not only provide Kevin with much-needed space and scope to remodel the existing floorplan, but bring symmetry to the front elevation. The existing front door opening would be central on the façade and finished off with an oak porch perched on a brick plinth.

Three bedrooms – including a spacious master suite – and a family bathroom now feature within the one storey property, while the rear of the house has been given over to a large living room and a lengthy galley kitchen.

The bungalow now looks and feels like an entirely different house inside and out, but Kevin ensured that all proposed work fell within Permitted Development. As such, he successfully applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness prior to the work, hiring a designer to ready his plans for presentation to the local planning authority.

Juggling his full-time job with project management, Kevin hired trades directly to undertake tasks such as rewiring, installing a new boiler and tiling the new bathrooms. “I couldn’t have done it without a great team of subcontractors. I knew a few of them already through work,” explains Kevin, who heads up a construction firm.

With the existing bungalow attached to the neighbouring property on one side, and the new extension abutting the party wall to the other, Kevin faced the challenge of introducing light into the rooms without windows. Rooflights, which punctuate the roof space between the existing rafters, provided the solution. Light streams through the thick openings, creating interesting effects.

In the kitchen – formerly the garage – the existing window opening remains, and a large roof lantern has also been installed within the ceiling. Raised upon glass blocks, the lantern floods the room with light, bouncing off the high-gloss units to make the kitchen feel even larger. Finally, two poky rear windows have made way for an expanse of folding sliding doors in the living room.

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