Bungalow makeover: ‘We saved thousands by taking our time’
Jade and Andrew Butcher turned their converted bungalow’s top-to-bottom monochrome look on its head by layering warm neutrals for timeless appeal
Jade Butcher and her husband, Andrew, decided to relocate from London back to Jade’s hometown of Thorpe Bay, in Essex, when they found out they were having their second child, Eva. Freddie, the couple’s first born, was due to start school the following September, so they were in a hurry to find a home and get the family settled, though it wasn’t as smooth a process as they had hoped.
‘We sold our house in Chiswick quickly, but we struggled to find somewhere to buy,’ Jade recalls.
‘Time was running out and we had come to terms with the fact that it was looking like we might need to rent for a while, when we received a call from our estate agent notifying us of a property that had come back on the market after a sale fell through on the day of exchange. The seller needed a quick sale, we viewed it on the Saturday, our offer was accepted on the Monday and we moved in two months later.’
Welcome to our home...
We are Jade Butcher, 35, an interior colour consultant. You can find me on Instagram @aninteriorstory. My husband is Andrew, 37, and our children are Freddie who is six and Eva who’s two.
Our home is A five-bedroom, detached 1930s bungalow conversion in Thorpe Bay, Essex. We have lived here since late 2018.
Jade and Andrew felt like they’d won the jackpot with the location. At one end of their street is the train station with direct links
to London, making the couple’s commute super straightforward. At the other end is the beach, which enhances family time no end. Another big win was upsizing from their Chiswick pad to a roomy five-bed bungalow conversion with oodles more space.
‘It felt so strange when we first moved in as we had been used to living in our modest London home. The new place was around four times the size, so we felt as though we were rattling about in it,’ recalls Jade.
However, while the property had many plus points – the location and extra space included – the interior decor left a lot to be desired, and Jade and Andrew certainly had their work cut out for them.
A bit more about our home...
My top tip is To take your time and think about whether you are making a choice because it’s something you genuinely love, or because it’s something you’ve seen trending on Instagram.
For style inspiration I feel very fortunate that as an interior colour consultant my job involves visiting lots of people’s homes to help them build schemes. I often leave with lots of inspiration from them.
Next to do is The utility room. It’s currently a dumping ground where half-empty paint tins go to die.
‘It was very ‘bling’ when we moved in,’ Jade says. ‘There was a lot of black and white and there were tiles everywhere – even the lounge walls were tiled! It felt quite cold and stark and not very homely – we wanted to change everything.’
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The pair decided to paint in neutrals and replace the flooring to create a blank canvas that would allow them to facilitate a fresh decor identity without needing to rush the renovation process. They chipped away at updating their interiors a room at a time. The kitchen was first on the list to overhaul.
‘It had glossy black units that weren’t to our taste at all,’ Jade says. ‘We explored so many options, from having the doors replaced to having them sprayed to replacing the entire kitchen. Andrew noticed a small hole on one of the doors where some of the gloss had come away from the wood so we decided to try and take all the gloss off ourselves. Every evening, Andrew would melt the gloss with a heat gun and scraper, while I watched holding our newborn daughter.’
Although somewhat taxing, particularly as parents to two little ones, the DIY job saved the couple thousands. ‘Once we finally removed all the gloss we painted the doors and sprayed the handles and got a brand-new kitchen at a fraction of the price,’ explains Jade.
Elsewhere in the house, the couple had more nifty money-saving solutions up their sleeves to keep renovation costs down. In the family bathroom, they made use of excess floor tiles from the hallway makeover to save on the expense of investing in a new design.
The couple cleverly created a built-in desk and storage area in the lounge using IKEA bookcases and cupboards as carcasses, which Jade’s dad expertly boxed in.
‘He somehow made them look like they’ve always been there, which I absolutely love. It’s such a nice place to work,’ she smiles. Jade and Andrew’s home makeover has been a labour of love, and it’s ongoing – the utility is next on their list of rooms to tackle – but by taking the slow and mindful approach to renovating that they have, they’ve been able to avoid costly errors and losing time due to impulse decision-making. The result is a family house they’re incredibly proud of and happy to call home.
‘We’ve really taken our time with this place and tackled it room by room,’ says Jade. ‘By doing it this way, we’ve been able to consider things like the way we use each space and how the light changes in each room throughout the day in our designs. No decision has been rushed, so there’s absolutely nothing I would change.’
Feature Abbi Henderson. Photos Georgia Burns.
Abbi is a freelance journalist specialising in health, fitness and interiors, and is co-founder of UK Interior Awards