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

Published: December 6, 2021 at 9:07 am
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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.

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Spray paint kitchen handles in gold, like Jade, for a sleek new look on a budget
Spray paint kitchen handles in gold, like Jade, for a sleek new look on a budget

‘We sold our house in Chiswick quickly, but we struggled to find somewhere to buy,’ Jade recalls.

Despite being the same units, the kitchen is unrecognisable from its previous incarnation of black, gloss cabinets and white, glitter- effect floor tiles. Jade and Andrew painstakingly peeled back the gloss from the cabinets before painting them
Despite being the same units, the kitchen is unrecognisable from its previous incarnation of black, gloss cabinets and white, glitter- effect floor tiles. Jade and Andrew painstakingly peeled back the gloss from the cabinets before painting them

‘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.

The snug living room is a world away from its previously stark monochrome look. Jade has layered up plush textiles, natural materials and gold details so her neutral scheme is warm, chic and inviting
The snug living room is a world away from its previously stark monochrome look. Jade has layered up plush textiles, natural materials and gold details so her neutral scheme is warm, chic and inviting

‘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.

To transform her home’s previous ultra- modern look, Jade has injected character by adding period details, such as wall panelling and built-in cupboards, and painting it in classic colours that have a heritage feel
To transform her home’s previous ultra-modern look, Jade has injected character by adding period details, such as wall panelling and built-in cupboards, and painting it in classic colours that have a heritage feel

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.’

More like this
Wallpapering inside of the DIY panelling with a tonal leaf design adds a bit of pattern and lifts this corner of the living room
Wallpapering inside of the DIY panelling with a tonal leaf design adds a bit of pattern and lifts this corner of the living room

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.

To create a distinct dining area, Jade has zoned the space with a large rug. Light-boosting beige and taupe make the most of the natural daylight streaming in through the patio doors
To create a distinct dining area, Jade has zoned the space with a large rug. Light-boosting beige and taupe make the most of the natural daylight streaming in through the patio doors

‘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.’

The Karndean flooring remains Jade’s best buy so far. ‘Not only is it gorgeous it’s also hard-wearing, which is important for such a high-traffic area,’ says Jade. ‘Three years on and still not even a scratch!’
The Karndean flooring remains Jade’s best buy so far. ‘Not only is it gorgeous it’s also hard-wearing, which is important for such a high-traffic area,’ says Jade. ‘Three years on and still not even a scratch!’

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.

‘I wanted our bedroom to feel relaxing but also make the most of the gorgeous west-facing light,’ says Jade. ‘I chose a beautiful green colour for the walls, which I softened by teaming it with a neutral hue’
‘I wanted our bedroom to feel relaxing but also make the most of the gorgeous west-facing light,’ says Jade. ‘I chose a beautiful green colour for the walls, which I softened by teaming it with a neutral hue’

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.

Jade wanted a restful feel in the guest room, so she went for a muted grey-green on the walls. She’s pepped it up with prints and burnt orange lampshades, which really add a playful and colourful pop to the cool green
Jade wanted a restful feel in the guest room, so she went for a muted grey-green on the walls. She’s pepped it up with prints and burnt orange lampshades, which really add a playful and colourful pop to the cool green

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.

‘I searched so long for a vanity that looked vintage and that would fit the space, but couldn’t find anything,’ Jade recalls. ‘Eventually, I found a genuine Victorian washstand on Etsy for £100. We tiled the top, cut holes in it for the plumbing, and then added the tap and basin’
‘I searched so long for a vanity that looked vintage and that would fit the space, but couldn’t find anything,’ Jade recalls. ‘Eventually, I found a genuine Victorian washstand on Etsy for £100. We tiled the top, cut holes in it for the plumbing, and then added the tap and basin’

‘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.

‘Before, it was black and chrome,’ says Jade. ‘I wanted to add colour, so I chose soft aqua, which makes the room feel really calming. I also created a step up to the free-standing bath to make it feel more grand’
‘Before, it was black and chrome,’ says Jade. ‘I wanted to add colour, so I chose soft aqua, which makes the room feel really calming. I also created a step up to the free-standing bath to make it feel more grand’

‘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.’

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Feature Abbi Henderson. Photos Georgia Burns.

Authors

Abbi is a freelance journalist specialising in health, fitness and interiors, and is co-founder of UK Interior Awards

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