Despite the run-down nature of the collection of offices located in a Grade II listed Victorian terrace, Mike and Rebecca Fairhurst could see the building’s potential for the family home they had been searching for.
“It had been used as offices for the past 52 years,” says Mike. “There were literally just offices on all three floors. There was a tiny office kitchen on the first floor and ladies and gents looks on the ground floor — along with a huge old photocopier and green nylon carpet everywhere.”
Having purchased the property and applied for a change of use early on in the process, Mike and Rebecca decided to live in the property whilst work took place. Although Mike admits that “it was a bit too much really, with three children,” the decision meant they could understand how the building needed to work.
Remodelling the Space
Carrying out work on a room-by-room basis (and prioritising the family bathroom), a complete rewire was one of the first projects undertaken — “all the wiring was lead,” explains Mike.
The ground floor originally consisted of four rooms and suffered from a lack of natural light. “We had to find a way to open up the ground floor to generate a modern way of life,” explains Mike.
By removing the wall between the old scullery and office kitchenette, light can now flow through the space.
The main purpose of the new kitchen was to bring in extra light. A such, a narrow glazed pane sits at the junction between the old and new sections of the house, whilst a large rooflight, internal window (below) and bi-fold doors bring in further natural light
In addition to removing walls, a side-return extension has also been created.
The extension fills in the space between the neighbouring property and the Fairhurst’s and creates an open kitchen diner and new informal living space.
“It is a relatively tiny extension at just five feet wide, but it makes all the difference,” says Mike.
A glazed ‘slot’ runs through the extension, providing a margin between the old and new sections of the house as well as bringing in extra natural light.
Other methods to bring in more light include the roof light, large pane of fixed glazing, sash window and patio doors.
Restoring Original Features
The Fairhursts were careful to restore and reinstate the period features that remained in the house, including a wealth of elaborate original mouldings, fireplaces and floorboards.
“The original floorboards have been cleaned and sanded on the upper storeys,” says Mike, “and the original fireplaces and mouldings have also been restored.”
The result is a home that combines contemporary and period design perfectly, with no jarring between the two.