“It was the worst house on a nice street,” says Paul Sinclair of the tired 1930s Spanish-style chalet bungalow in Bournemouth he and wife Gemma bought 10 years ago. The couple invested money in ripping everything out, and sketched ideas down and made a list of must haves and like to haves. They liked the softer feel of New England-style architecture too, and approached their designer Tony Holt with a brief to give the house an overhaul inside and out.

With a series of extensions and a recladding scheme proposed, the couple made a point of keeping the neighbours informed, and went round the neighbourhood to share their plans. “We did a lot of research into the local vernacular, and the theme was very ‘beachy’. We knocked on doors to ask where certain finishes and fixings came from. It was quite a personal process, and we talked to anyone and everyone,” says Paul. Wanting to be on hand and get stuck in, Paul and Gemma also project managed the work themselves.

Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Paul and Gemma Sinclair
  • Project: Renovation and extension
  • Size: 292m²
  • Build time: One year
  • Build cost: £420,000
  • Value: Approx. £1.15million
Weatherboard cladding and steep gables lend to the New England American style of this remodel

Weatherboard cladding and steep gables lend to the New England American style of this remodel

The project has delivered a beautiful home — almost unrecognisable as a once tired chalet bungalow. To the front, the entire elevation has been extended forward by 3m, with a large side extension to the left housing a new garage with room above — the old garage on the lower ground floor has been converted into an annexe for the children’s au pair, comprising kitchen, dining room and lounge opening to the garden.

Bifold doors open out onto a BBQ deck perfect for outdoor entertaining

Bifold doors open out to a large BBQ deck, perfect for outdoor entertaining

While a separate living space offers more private relaxing space, the family area within the open plan kitchen diner is an inviting space complete with a woodburning stove which acts as a focal point

While a separate living space offers more private relaxing space, the family area within the open plan kitchen diner is an inviting space complete with a woodburning stove which acts as a focal point

Twin gables and the new Marley Eternit Cedral weatherboarding help to create the New England feel. Local stone clads the lower ground floor level to add contrast; this material also helps embed the home within the slope. A new Spanish slate roof replaces the old-fashioned concrete Roman tiles. “Tony went to the next level with the design and materials, especially having the purlins coming out from the top of the roof — it adds so much character,” adds Paul.

The open plan kitchen is the heart of the home. A large centre island doubles as a breakfast bar

The open plan kitchen is the heart of the home. A large centre island doubles as a breakfast bar

Inside, the dark, cramped spaces have been completely opened up, and from the entrance door you are met with views straight out to the garden beyond.

The ground floor now provides the family with a generous open plan kitchen/dining/family space as well as more private living accommodation when preferred. On the first floor, a master bedroom offers a large luxurious space complete with dressing room and en suite. A covered balcony here offers distant views across Bournemouth.

Bespoke joinery provides an ideal place to display wares in the dining area. Bifold doors open out onto the BBQ deck

Bespoke joinery provides an ideal place to display wares in the dining area. Bifold doors open out onto the BBQ deck

Elsewhere, a second bedroom to the front of the property features a vaulted ceiling and a small mezzanine area, while the remaining bedrooms sit under the existing roof profile.

Now the project is complete, the family are able to enjoy the home and the new lifestyle it affords.

“We have so much space now and it’s such a luxury — we feel so lucky. Having the open fireplace outdoors is a great feature too as we can have everyone round to hang out, and it’s a focal point on summer nights after a BBQ or a day spent at the beach. Every time I drive home from work I get a spark of happiness as I drive up to the house.”

Voluminous vaulted ceilings add wow factor to the master bedroom in this New England remodel. French doors open out to a covered balcony to enjoy the garden views in all weather

Voluminous vaulted ceilings add wow factor to the master bedroom in this New England remodel. French doors open out to a covered balcony to enjoy the garden views in all weather

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