Real home: a dilapidated 1920s house regains its elegance

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No one was more surprised than Jen Rothbury when she and her husband Miles found themselves undertaking a renovation project.

“At 36 weeks pregnant, moving was the last thing I thought about, so when Miles suggested going to see a semi-rundown, it was just curiosity on my part,” Jen explains. “I walked out and said to Miles, ‘It was awful, wasn’t it? to which he replied: ‘No, I loved it!’ That night we looked at the floor plans and he explained how we could make it work – and the rest is history.

Miles and Jen got bigger to create their dream home.

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

The wooden windows at the front of the house were rotten and had to be replaced. The shutters collapsed when Jen tried to open them, inspiring her Instagram name @crack_the_shutters

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

Instead of removing the original black and terracotta tiles in the hallway, Jen and Miles put vinyl siding on top. “This space doesn’t get a lot of natural light, so we figured it needed a lighter, less dark look,” Jen explains. “We are delighted with the result – as well as the low cost. No one realizes it’s vinyl. Nostalgia 09 Vinyl Flooring, Best 4 Flooring. Radiator, Cast iron radiator center. Walls painted in Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball Try it Mullan, Ideas 4 Lighting, for a similar wall light

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

The profile

The owners Jen Rothbury (@crack_the_shutters), physiotherapist, her husband, Miles, banker, and their sons, Leo and Magnus, as well as Danny the bastard
The property A 1920s semi-detached house in Bramhall, Cheshire
Project cost £ 171,000

Jen’s reservations were based on the house having the same number of bedrooms as their existing property. “But when we met the builders, they explained how simple it would be to add an attic conversion, giving us two more bedrooms and a shower room,” she says. Most exciting of all for Jen was the prospect of building in the back to create an open plan kitchen-diner.

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

The wall above the island proved to be the perfect space to add a shock of greenery, which is why a shelf made from old scaffolding plank was installed. “The hard part was making sure it would stay stable while we put it on drywall and it’s really heavy,” Jen explains. Cabinets under Eildon, first impressions. Units painted in Cornforth White and Downpipe, Farrow & Ball. Aga, AgaLive. Bar stools, Garden trade. Sign above the stove, Beehive sign

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

“The kitchen-diner has established itself as the heart of the home, where we all gravitate,” Jen explains. Corinth Tumbled Travertine Flooring, Mandarin Stone. Suspension, Elstead Lighting. United painted in Downpipe, Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

The ramshackle kitchen certainly needed a facelift – it smelled musty with ripped and stained psychedelic linoleum and kitchen items falling apart. “Everything had to be done and I told Miles we would only buy it if we started the renovation soon after we moved in,” Jen explains. “The first thing we did was decorate the place to make it more bearable – even though we knew it was temporary.

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

The sloping ceiling with a bare brick wall adds comfort and texture here. Positioned to overlook the garden, the table has chairs for the adults and a bench for the boys. Dinner table, The guy at the table. Wishbone Dining Chairs, ByKallevig. Painted woodwork Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball. Tripod floor lamp, Lights of value

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Although the construction took eight months, with a kitchen installed in the study, the hardest part were the 10 weeks the family was without running water. “With thick brick dust in the air all over the house, it wasn’t the easiest environment to raise our then two-year-old Leo and baby Magnus,” Jen explains.

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

Adjacent to the kitchen-diner, this friendly space has a comfortable sofa at its heart. “When I’m in the kitchen, the boys like to snuggle up here,” Jen says. “It’s nice to see what they’re doing but still have separate areas in the same area.” Sofa, Sofa.com. Low table, Habitat. Blanket, Do. Wall light, The Redoubt. Bedside lamp, Ikea

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Other drawbacks included additional expense due to faulty gutters and an unsafe chimney. But once the builders left, it was clear that the unforeseen issues were worth enduring, and the open plan kitchen-diner quickly proved to be perfect for family living. One of the biggest hits is the snug. “We were going to have it as our dining room, but the fireplace had such great potential to be a warm focal point,” Jen explains. “We bought a new sofa and a new chair and that space immediately worked for us and the boys, especially in the evenings.”

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

To reflect the atmosphere of the time and allude to the decorative ceiling, moldings were used to create paneling on several walls. Low table, The Cotswolds Company. Trumeau mirror. John Lewis & Associates. Industrial retro wall lights, Homary. Chalk emulsion of dried plaster, Craig & Rose

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

Plant support, H&M Home. Chevron, Cox & Cox oak sideboard

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

The loft conversion created two generously sized guest bedrooms and a bathroom, and here, as elsewhere, Jen and Miles added wall panels to create character. “It makes a huge difference for relatively little effort,” Jen explains. “Miles did the actual carpentry – I just painted them. “

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

Being long and narrow, this friends room needed a lift of color, so Jen added yellow over blue to create this classic combination. The predominantly white ceiling and walls maximize the light, while a section of blue wallpaper adds interest. Paneling painted in Blackened; bumblebee wallpaper, both Farrow & Ball. Curtains, Ikea. Table lamp with jam jar shade, Iconic lights

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

Three small pieces have been combined to create a stunning L-shaped master bathroom that Jen considers perhaps her most satisfying achievement. “I love the contrast between the pretty pink and the industrial look of the cladding wall,” she says. “I am even more proud of the floor that I painted myself. “

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

“I painted the existing tile white, then stenciled and varnished it,” Jen explains. “Replacing the old tiles would have cost over £ 3,000.” Hampton cabinets, sinks and faucets, all Roper rhodes. Units painted in Camisole, Valspar. Zarzis Tile stencil, Dizzy Duck Designs. Mirrors, John Lewis & Associates. Wall cladding London Town, Kuci Design

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

All of the rooms in the Rothbury’s house have their own unique identity and each has a sense of fun that reflects the personalities of the couple. “I find dark and heavy colors quite oppressive and tend to go for hues that are both calming and vibrant,” Jen explains. “There is so much to help you – online tutorials and different ways of doing things – and with a few basic tools, you can do so much on your own, cutting costs in the process. “

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

Paneling was also used in this bedroom. The addition of small stakes allows you to change accessories regularly Blue Oval Room, Farrow & Ball. Bed, Happy beds. Bedside tables and wall lights, Ikea

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)

The result is a home that has proven to be an ideal home for family and friends, as Jen concludes: the spaces we have worked hard to create. ‘

Jen and Miles Rothbury's home owes its uniqueness to the couple's creative talents

the bedroom color scheme is coordinated and quiet. “The intention is that when guests stay here, they will feel like they are escaping the chaos of the rest of the house,” Jen explains. Bed, The Cotswolds Company. Bedside table, La Redoute. Towel ladder, Vanity design. Wall and paneling painted in Earth Green, Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez)



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