Jamal Badrashi and Kim Loddo have remodelled and extended a dated ex-council house, transforming it into a contemporary urban haven — all for under £80,000.

“Buying an ex-council house was the only way that we could afford to upgrade from our tiny flat,” says Jamal. “We wanted more space, but most houses in this part of London were way over our budget and the rest were pretty uninspiring.”

Fortunately both Jamal and his partner, Kim, are architects and were able to see past the unappealing façade of the modest ex-local authority terraced house in Kennington, which they purchased in 2006. With little money left over to update the tired and dingy 1960s property, they realised that imagination and compromise would be required in equal measures if they were to make their mark.

The couple lived in the three storey house for a year before starting work on the renovation, and their ideas changed dramatically during that time. “We’d originally intended to convert the integral garage into a kitchen, but having lived here for a while we decided to leave the kitchen where it was and extend out to the rear,” Jamal explains.

A strange timber lean-to at the rear was replaced with a contemporary dining extension, opening onto the garden, which has dramatically transformed the rear elevation and created a more cohesive, flowing layout.

Internal steps now lead down from the open plan kitchen to the new dining area, which concludes in glazed sliding doors. “Those doors were one of the most expensive elements of the whole project, but they’ve also added the most in terms of the whole look of the house,” says Jamal.

The new single storey extension was built under Permitted Development rights, without the need for a planning application. Cladding the flat-roofed structure in fibre-cement panels with visible galvanised fixings has given the rear a contemporary, industrial feel. “The clout nails form a grid-like pattern and our builder was very careful to space them precisely so that everything lines up,” explains Jamal.

The house was also completely rewired, and storage cupboards were removed to create a tall landing space, which is lit from above by a rooflight and serves as a study area.

The couple kept costs down by setting out a highly detailed scheme of work for their builder to price, as well as by shopping carefully and using high-impact, low cost finishes. IKEA kitchen base units have been teamed with bespoke MDF doors made by the builder and professionally spray-painted in a bright green. Forbo’s ‘Desktop’ furniture linoleum – which costs around £27/m² – was also used to face the now dark burgundy drawer fronts on the island unit.

“The money ran out before we could change the flooring, so we took up carpets to expose the wooden floors to start with and later decided to paint them grey,” says Jamal. “Our builder made several bespoke features — including the bright staircase handrail and the plywood box seat in the extension with a hinged lift-up lid for storing toys. Our only extravagances were the light fittings and two yellow Italian armchairs in the sitting room — but even those were bought in a sale.”

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