Jo Pattinson hasn’t just doubled the size of her traditional 1930s home — she has injected light and modern spaces, as well as more than a touch of glamour.

Jo grew up watching properties being constructed by her family’s building company, so it’s no surprise that she decided to continue the tradition and work in the business herself.

“I’ve always loved the atmosphere and character of period properties, and was horrified when my father would demolish older houses to make way for new builds,” Jo recalls. “When it came to my own home, I decided to try to combine the best of old and new.”

The Project

  • Name: Jo Pattinson
  • Build cost: £450,000 (£967/m²)
  • Build time: 7 months
  • Location: Surrey

After viewing a number of potential properties, Jo purchased a detached 1930s house in Cobham, Surrey, which stood on an impressive ¾ acre plot backing on to woodland. An added bonus was the deep diving pool in the back garden, which she knew her daughters would enjoy. “The location was perfect and 1930s houses have a feeling of being strong and well built, with thick walls and high ceilings,” says Jo.

Surveyors and Jo’s family all disagreed with her choice – believing that the awkward layout wouldn’t lend itself to a successful renovation – but Jo chose to go with her instinct and ignore their advice, purchasing the 288m2 house in March 2010. An architect friend worked with Jo and her structural engineer to produce plans, which involved dramatically extending and remodelling the existing building. Seven months later, the property had almost doubled in size and was virtually unrecognisable inside and out.

“There was lapsed planning permission to build above the garage, which I applied to reinstate, in addition to changing the front elevation and adding a gabled entrance. The entire back of the house has been extended out by 2m, with a further single storey kitchen extension added to the rear,” Jo explains.

Jo purchased materials and was on site regularly to organise trades and deliveries. She gathered inspiration from a number of sources, including a Victorian boutique hotel in London — where she photographed newel posts from a staircase which were later copied by her own joiner. Painted kitchen cabinets were also made to Jo’s own design, and various items have been purchased at auction and customised to suit.

Jo and her daughters moved in at the beginning of November 2010, and in spite of the hold-ups and slow snagging she is rightly proud of the speed and finish of her project.

“The house feels fresh and modern to live in, despite all the traditional elements,” she believes. “It’s possible to mix and match vintage and contemporary to get the best of both worlds, and I love the character of the open fireplace in the hallway and the original internal doors. In some ways it would have been easier to demolish the original house and build from scratch, but I’m so glad I decided to work with what was here. It’s a home with history.”

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