A chance find online led to Sarah and Kev Reape buying their detached six-bedroom Edwardian house in Surrey. ‘We weren’t overly familiar with the area we were looking in, so while we were house hunting, I decided to use Google Street View to take a virtual tour,’ explains Sarah. ‘We were looking for a family home with a garden to share with our boys, Zach, nine Leo, seven, and Miles, five. I saw this house and immediately searched for the address to get some idea of the value, and I discovered it was being let, but had been for sale the year before.’
Sarah phoned the letting agent and found that the owners were going to be putting the house back on the market, so she and Kev views it and made an offer before it went up for sale.
‘We loved the high ceilings and Edwardian Staircase, but the layout wasn’t ideal,’ says Kev. ‘It had a dark dining room and a separate kitchen, and we wanted an open-plan lifestyle.’
THINKING AHEAD In the three months it took for the sale to go through, the Reapes had gained planning permission to extend the ground floor. They worked with and architect friend to redesign the layout, which involved demolishing an existing lean-to and building a new flat roof extension to the rear, containing a living and dining space.
The substantial extension features three sets of striking, Art Deco-style, steel-framed French windows, made by Clement Windows (01428 643393; clement windows.co.uk). ‘The back of the house faces northeast, so we knew we wouldn’t choose bifold doors opening across the whole width of the extension, as it would prove too chilly’. says Sarah. ‘Our doors open onto the patio to avoid taking up space inside.’
FAST PROGRESS Sarah and Kev chose Plus Rooms (0800 917 7127; plusrooms.com) to undertake the work, and builders were on site 2 days after the sale completed. With the family living in a rented house, work began on talking the extension, on replacing the bathrooms and also on decorating throughout. Concrete trench foundations were excavated for the extension, which was constructed from clockwork, with a GRP fibreglass flat roof and black aluminium coping. The exterior was painted in three different colours before the couple settled on a soft-green shade.
Inside the new L-shaped extension, structural steel beams were dropped below the ceiling height to complement the doors, five roof lights were added and oak parquet flooring was laid.
Upstairs, the couple decided to convert a bedroom into an ensuite and dressing room, reducing the number of bedrooms to five. On the second floor, one bedroom was decided to create a new bathroom.
The couple paid £1.5 million for the house and building work cost around £200,000. Now, the property is worth in excess of £1.8 million. Sarah designed the interior herself, and thoroughly enjoyed it. ‘Everything is hard-wearing enough to withstand children and dogs’ she says, ‘Building the extension has given us a large flexible space, which is perfect for entertaining and parties. Now the house feels like a real family home.’