While their Edinburgh bungalow was fitted out to the highest specification, Susan Deaves and Chris Hansen wanted to bring it into the 21st century
TIME and clever design have seen this colourful Edinburgh bungalow evolve into a stylish and sophisticated family home. As exhibition-stand designers and builders, and the owners of FrogWorks, Susan Deaves and her partner Chris Hansen quickly saw beyond the woodchip, brown gloss ceilings and multicoloured woodwork that their new home had in abundance.
However, in 2005, when they moved in, they knew they had big shoes to fill. “The house was in good order but old,” Susan recalls. “Aside from the colour scheme, everything that had been done was to a good standard and the former owner had even left the documentation for the Poggenpohl kitchen, which had been installed about 25 years previously. Everything had been great quality; it was just time for an upgrade.”
Determined to continue the legacy of excellent workmanship, the couple took their time over the renovations. Aware that replumbing and rewiring would effectively rip the house apart, they initially decorated only a bedroom and a small room at the back of the house to give them somewhere calm to escape to and make plans.
The original layout consisted of a kitchen, bathroom, lounge, dining room and bedroom on the ground floor and one large and one small bedroom in the attic space. Having two children and coming from a house with three bathrooms, Susan knew the layout needed to change, though initially the plans weren’t quite as bold as the finished space. “We never really intended to do what we’ve done,” says Susan. “We did intend to move things around but not quite to this scale. We thought we would build a single-storey extension that would give us a large family room and kitchen. However, after a while living in the house, we realised that whilst there was plenty of living space, the bedrooms were quite small in comparison to the size of the property.”
After careful consideration and several discussions with their architect, Susan and Chris settled on the layout they thought would make the best use of their space and budget. Instead of a single storey, the extension would be two, allowing for a new master bedroom and en-suite in the attic. The kitchen would be replaced by a bathroom and the staircase would be moved from the middle of the hall to the side. The new extension would run the width of the existing property and on the ground floor would incorporate a kitchen, dining and lounge area.
The project was scheduled to take six months, Susan says. “At the start, we lived in the three front rooms, cooking on a Baby Belling stove and using the builders’ toilet in the front garden. Eventually, we had to move in with my parents, which was really good of them as ultimately it was just under a year before we were able to move back in.”
When they did move back, however, it wasn’t to a completely finished house. “The builders effectively built us the shell and Chris has done most of the finishing himself. He’s a fitter and turner to trade, and a perfectionist.”
Besides getting his hands dirty fitting skirting, windows and doors, Chris has also been involved in the design side of the project: the glass and steel staircase, with its rounded steps; the off-centre pivot door to the kitchen; the extension lighting system (to ensure each area appears separate); and the curved bathroom cupboard.Which is why, when it came to choosing the kitchen, again the couple took their time. “Once the building work was finished Chris installed a temporary kitchen. We did start looking at kitchen companies but we really didn’t know what we wanted.”
One brand that did keep popping up on their radar was Bulthaup. “My daughter lives in London, which is where we first came across Bulthaup. We liked the free-standing style and clean lines. Then Chris and I came across them again in Germany. Chris was very keen to do the kitchen himself and he wanted it to float, which is something Bulthaup is known for. We did explore a number of options but eventually spoke to Cameron Interiors.”
As Chris and Susan had been through the process with a few designers, they had a good idea of what they wanted. “Everyone encouraged us to have a work surface all the way round, which is standard practice, but it’s not what we wanted. We also didn’t want any high-level units as we wanted to keep the kitchen low so it didn’t impose on the living space.”
Designer Julie Fleming, at Cameron Interiors, took this on board and created a kitchen that is both unobtrusive and impressive. The Caesarstone worktops and grey aluminium units make a bold design statement, but in the overall scheme blend quietly into the background. “We spoke about this room a lot as we wanted to divide it into different zones, and in the end we created that effect with the ceiling and the lighting.
“The roof design also gave us extra floor space upstairs to install the pull-out Velux windows, which is something we really wanted. In the end, we actually came out a full metre more into the garden than we originally thought we would – it has been a big project.”
The renovations may have grown arms and legs since the couple started in 2009, but this gradual process has given the house time to evolve. “We still have a long way to go and a few things to save up for. Our goal was never to take the heart out of this property, just to bring it into the 21st century.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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