You know you’ve truly caught the renovation bug when you’re still upbeat and enjoying the dust-filled weekends 18 months in. So today we bring you the full refurbishment of a dilapidated seven-bed, three-storey Victorian villa. I don’t know about you, but the 18-month renovation gives me shivers (not helped by my own doer-upper experience).
A bath in the bedroom is so glam… but an 18-month renovation gives me the shudders. Especially knowing the homeowners still have five rooms, a driveway, and a garden to tend to. But this doesn’t faze Morgan Scott-Murch. However, she admits that sometimes the gigantic project she has on her hands can – at times – can be horrendous. Especially around the time she was five weeks pregnant and, I quote, ‘living in a hell hole’.
We start the tour on the top floor, where Morgan says the most work has probably been done. As we walk up the stairs, she tells me when she and husband Jon first moved in, the place was awful. All the carpet stank, the curtains were disgusting and there were holes in the walls. In addition, there was no heating during the winter (I couldn’t do it, could you?)
But the bath in the bedroom made it all worth it
Not only that, they had to put the house back together after it was separated into bedsits. But the couple weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. As soon as they got the keys to the grand semi-detached property, they immediately started the renovation. Apart from things that needed expert attention – including complete replumbing and restoring the windows – Morgan and Jon have done most of the renovation work themselves. They’ve done everything from taking every wall down to reinsulating and replasterboarding.
And as their budget didn’t allow for renting elsewhere while the work was ongoing, they concocted a plan to ensure they had a sanctuary to retreat to after a long day’s work. This was the master suite, which I am now standing in. And wow, is it cool.
The couple completely reconfigured the top floor, which originally comprised a bedroom, an ensuite, and a kitchen. They knocked all three rooms together to create their open-plan scheme.
A bath in the bedroom
The star of the show? The hotel-chic copper bath in the bedroom. (So jealous!) The couple then built a stud wall behind the bed to house their dressing area – located here to make best use of the sloping ceiling.
The décor, described by Morgan as “neutral masculine with industrial aspects”, consists of brickwork, original floorboards, and black panels. But plants, pictures and textiles soften the space.
For the ensuite, accessed via a small staircase, the pair chose a large walk-in shower. It complements the bath in the bedroom. This was framed by statement green tiles laid vertically. Around the time the suite was finished, Morgan and Jon fell pregnant with their daughter Loxley – time pressure really kicked in then. So the nursery, along with the rest of the first floor, was high on the agenda.
They renovated the ground floor the least – although they added a large rear extension, creating an open-plan kitchen-diner. They plan to create a pantry or utility room out of the original kitchen, which was very small.
An amazingly bright and light kitchen
For the 40sq m extension, Morgan really didn’t like the idea of a modern glass box – it had to be sympathetic to the property’s era. So they went for an orangery style, replicated the bay window they have at the front, and included a big aluminium roof lantern. Similarly, the couple were opposed to an ultra-modern kitchen, so chose a country-style design. It’s perfect for dogs and kids and feels very homely rather than sterile. Much like the bath in the bedroom, it has its own unique character.
For the kitchen, the couple chose the colours green and pink, accessorised with brass and jaguar-design (yes, jaguar!) handles. They wanted something a little different. They then opened up the kitchen-diner to the living room, creating an L-shaped broken-plan space. Morgan says this is where they spend most of their time.
Despite the big push at the beginning, and accomplishing so much, there’s still a way to go until the project is complete. The couple also plan to include a playroom, utility, pantry, and a Victorian formal front room. They’re going to continue every weekend until it’s done. Now, that’s dedication. I ask if this is their forever home, to which Morgan laughs. “It could be, for a few years – but I don’t think I can live without another renovation.”
Photography: Rachael Smith
Feature image: The bath in the bedroom creates a luxurious feel
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