HAVING built their own home in Australia, Bernie and Gordon Crangle were not fazed at all by the amount of work required at 11 Glen Brae, Bridge of Weir, when they bought it just over two years ago.
The couple are a hands-on pair, relishing the opportunity to get their hands dirty in order to get the finish and quality they want. Gordon is an electrical contractor with his own business, Pulse Electrical, so is both practical and professional when tackling work in the home.
Bernie and Gordon bought the detached four-bedroom house in Renfrewshire from a couple who had only owned it for a year – the previous owner had started the renovation, but the Crangles very quickly took the reins and led the refurbishment to the finish line, re-plastering every wall and ceiling, re-carpeting and fitting oak floors, skirtings, architraves and a staircase, replacing all three bathrooms, and creating a bespoke kitchen.
“The décor was stuck in 1981, which is when the house was built,” recalls Bernie, who runs Bernie’s Café Deli in Bridge of Weir. “Every wall had three or four layers of wallpaper which we had to take off. We had to re-plaster most walls, though some were so bad that we had to get them completely re-done with Gyproc and then plastered. There was a lot of old wood panelling around the house, the bathrooms in particular were covered with it on the walls and ceilings.”
She adds: “The previous owner had put in double glazing and a new boiler, so that was two big jobs that we didn’t need to do. Instead, we concentrated on re-doing the interior and décor. We did a lot of work ourselves, with advice and support from a joiner friend who fitted the kitchen, the doors and skirtings and so on.”
The couple also had a very important deadline to work around – while they got the keys to the house mid-August 2010, Bernie was due to give birth to Lexi, now aged two, at the end of September. Her priority was getting the kitchen complete before the baby was born.
“There was a playroom adjacent to the kitchen that had patio doors out to the garden and really good views,” says Bernie. “We decided to take the wall between the two rooms down to create a very large kitchen and living area with a sofa and TV. It’s a fabulous space. We really prioritised having the kitchen area completed by the time the baby was born – my thinking was that if the kitchen was done then I knew that we could effectively live in there as it had the seating area, and the rest of the house could be done as we went along. We had been through this kind of work before so I knew the light at the end of the tunnel would not be too far away.”
The kitchen was indeed completed by the time Lexi was born – with the exception of the silver granite and solid oak worktops which arrived two weeks later. The kitchen has a distinct chic bistro feel to it, thanks to the cream gloss and frosted glass units, the aqua glass splashbacks, wine chiller in the island, and the integrated coffee maker on tap. The couple opted for cream ceramic tiles underfoot, with the silver sofa in the living space cleverly toning with the granite worktop and chrome cooker hood. The adjacent utility room is finished with wooden units.
“Most people go for black granite but I hate the whole black and white or black and cream combo – I like softer colours,” says Bernie. “I wanted colours, like the cream floor and the aqua tones, so they are not obtrusive. We have the warmth of the oak, with the rest being subtle tones. I wanted to bring other colour in through accessories that can easily be changed.”
Throughout the house, the couple have used Dulux’s Natural Hessian range for each room. In the living room, which is accessed at half-landing level, they have used two tones, with a darker hue on the main wall where they installed a sumptuous limestone fireplace with long rectangular inset. A large L-shaped brown leather sofa dominates the room, which has doors leading out to a balcony.
“The living room walls are very long so we wanted to ensure the space was being used to its best and went for the longer style limestone fireplace that protrudes from the wall,” says Bernie. “The walls in here had thick flocked wallpaper and the roof was covered with a cherry-red wood. We had to Gyproc and plaster the whole room and put a new ceiling up.”
The dining room is a large space that engulfs an eight-seater oak table with brown leather chairs and sizeable oak sideboard. Meanwhile, the main family bathroom has now lost its apricot suite and pine panelled walls in favour of textured stone wall tiles, with a limestone alcove, rain shower and a rectangular sink set into a high-gloss, brown storage unit. The master en-suite and downstairs WC are also finished with textured stone tiles.
The couple’s love of abstract lines is continued in the master bedroom where smoked glass-fronted sliding wardrobes reflect the tones of the subtle latte and silver hexagonal feature wallpaper. One of the guest bedrooms features a bolder striped wallcovering in similar shades.
Outside, as well as monoblocking the driveway, the couple have created a large decked area to the rear and, where they kept lawn, they have replaced it with Astroturf. The views to the front and back are breathtaking – with a 180 degree panorama over Glasgow in one direction and towards the Erskine Bridge and Kilpatrick Hills in the other.
It is clear that Gordon and Bernie have relished the opportunity to bring this home into the 21st Century, though they are now selling.
“I have the café in Bridge of Weir – it is literally a few minutes walk to work for me, but it is a bit too close as I feel I never escape,” confides Bernie. “The plan is to stay within the area but just a little bit out of Bridge of Weir to give me a little bit of distance from work.” k
11 Glen Brae, Bridge of Weir, is for sale at offers over £349,000 through Cochran Dickie (01505 613807, www.cochrandickie.co.uk)