This retro 1960s bungalow renovation is like stepping back in time

Two orange sofas in a room with electric blue carpet and a wooden ceiling
The owners of this renovation went as far as recreating the original Sixties carpet using a scrap of old fabric they found (Image credit: Terry Huggett)

This retro bungalow has been restored to its original Sixties glory — with parana pine ceilings, tangerine sunken geometric couch and an electric blue carpet.

Ravine House, which is tucked away in secluded woodland in Derbyshire, even has its own bar for Sixties-inspired cocktails like the Snowball and White Russian.

The home features in RIBA and Grand Design's House of the Year, and the couple who own it, inherited the bungalow from the wife's stepfather. The home had been in the family for a long time, with the stepfather's own father having built the original bungalow back in 1967.

When renovating the house, Ian and his wife laboriously tried to keep much of the bungalow's original features, while stitching on new elements to bring it into the 21st century such as eco efficient features. 

Copper chimneys blend with the original Sixties bricks

A photograph of the exterior of the home with copper chimneys attached to the original bungalow

The copper chimneys and extension complement the pale yellow bricks of the original bungalow (Image credit: Terry Huggett)

When Ian and his wife first inherited the bungalow five years ago it was relatively untouched with much of its original Sixties decor intact. However, it didn't have central heating in half the house and, like many older properties, featured incredibly poor insulation.

"It is a very special house," Ian said as he explained the history of the bungalow. "It's one of the very small number of houses that have survived relatively untouched. But it needed some attention. The roof was about to fail. There was no heating in half the house, there was very little insulation. The windows were on their last legs, apart from that it was perfect."

An exterior view of the bungalow from a hill in the garden looking down

The bungalow is positioned in secluded woodland (Image credit: Dug Wilders)

They got to work updating the property rebuilding a central box on the roof that looks like an air traffic control tower, adding a geometric extension as well as two giant towering chimneys, all clad in copper. They also fitted out the property with high levels of insulation, a new roof with solar panels, and central heating.

Kevin McCloud called the architecture of the extension "exciting" after visiting the home, dubbing it a "symphony" that "hums with the authentic spirit of the sixties".

"The extension and two towering new chimneys are clad in the same gleaming copper in dialogue with the original sixties bricks," McCloud explains when talking about the home's unique retro architecture. "The RIBA judges admired the way new elements had been stitched onto the old while every possible original feature has been attentively preserved."

Stepping inside is like stepping back in time

a look up into the meticulously renovated wooden ceiling

The original parana pine ceiling required careful preservation when restoring the roof of the building (Image credit: Dug Wilders)

The home is all about the narrative, with the new elements telling the story of the old. And as such, stepping inside the home is like reconnecting with the past. Many of the fittings are restored originals – like the light fittings – and where that wasn't possible, every effort was made to recreate them. "We were very careful about what we put in," explains Ian.

Old pictures from the sixties of the bungalow

These old photographs of the bungalow from the Sixties show how careful consideration has been put into all features, inside and out (Image credit: CECA architects)

For instance, the couple found a scrap of old carpet and took it to a specialist factory to weave it again from scratch, using a 100-year-old loom. The finished carpet is a delightful and shocking shade of electric blue with bright green threads woven in.

"The original bungalow has been sensitively updated and extended," McCloud says. "At one end is a rectangular bedroom wing, connected to a hexagonal block containing an entrance hall and living room, topped by a mezzanine study. The kitchen and dining area flow into a new geometric sunken garden room."

Hexagonal Sixties seating in a geometric garden room

Orange hexagonal seating in the extension of the bungalow

A tangerine orange sofa makes for the perfect evening retreat after a meal (Image credit: Dug Wilders)

The geometric extension is a triumph, becoming an area specifically designed with fun and the swinging Sixties in mind. Ian explains how the bright tangerine hexagonal seating was designed for pre-dinner drinks but said after eating everyone naturally gravitates back to the area, where the huge windows become this fabulous big, black void in the darker, winter months.

But in the living room is a real 1960s treat with a giant fan of a wooden vaulted ceiling in original parana pine, a tree from Brazil that was used extensively for veneering, interior millwork and flooring but is now critically endangered. 

When renovating, they had to remove and replace the roof of the building, which could have potentially exposed the rare hardwood to the elements. To avoid this, the couple chose to encapsulate the entire home in an aircraft hanger-style tent using scaffolding to avoid the weather damaging anything while the roof was renovated.

It worked and the bungalow now features the wood in all its glory as well as extending to the adjoining, and rather groovy retro bar.

The renovation of the bungalow earned itself a place on the longlist for RIBA's House of the Year.

A view of the exterior of the bungalow from behind where the extension and copper chimneys were added

The home made the long list for RIBA and Grand Design's Home of the Year (Image credit: Dug Wilders)
Amy Willis

Amy spent over a decade in London editing and writing for The Daily Telegraph, MailOnline, and before moving to East Anglia where she began renovating a period property in rural Suffolk. During this time she also did some TV work at ITV Anglia and CBS as well as freelancing for Yahoo, AOL, ESPN and The Mirror. When the pandemic hit she switched to full-time building work on her renovation and spent nearly two years focusing solely on that. She's taken a hands-on DIY approach to the project, knocking down walls, restoring oak beams and laying slabs with the help of family members to save costs. She has largely focused on using natural materials, such as limestone, oak and sisal carpet, to put character back into the property that was largely removed during the eighties. The project has extended into the garden too, with the cottage's exterior completely re-landscaped with a digger and a new driveway added. She has dealt with de-listing a property as well as handling land disputes and conveyancing administration.