Home makeover: ‘We could see huge potential in this space’

Desperate for more space for their growing family, Jade and Jon Severs took a dated Edwardian home, and made it a cosy, modern marvel

With a creeping suspicion that they were starting to outgrow the property the were living in, Jade and Jon Severs decided it was time to find a new home with a little more space.

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They wanted a bigger garden for their two boys, Finley and Eliot, to play in, plus a bit of breathing room for everyone.

‘The staircase and large hallway are what sold the house to me, so I wanted to keep them light and bright to emphasise the space,’ says Jade. ‘The pink sideboard is one of my favourite pieces of furniture. It cost £30 on Gumtree and then I upcycled it.’
‘The staircase and large hallway are what sold the house to me, so I wanted to keep them light and bright to emphasise the space,’ says Jade. ‘The pink sideboard is one of my favourite pieces of furniture. It cost £30 on Gumtree and then I upcycled it.’

During a routine perusal of the latest properties on Rightmove, Jon came across a house that more than met their needs when it came to space – both inside and outside – and suggested they take a look.

Second-hand stores and sites are high Jade’s hit list for affordable homewares. The cast-iron fireplace was an eBay buy, while the floor lamp was found on Gumtree, and the nest of tables cost just for £3 from a charity shop
Second-hand stores and sites are high Jade’s hit list for affordable homewares. The cast-iron fireplace was an eBay buy, while the floor lamp was found on Gumtree, and the nest of tables cost just for £3 from a charity shop

‘Having never owned a period property before, I was hesitant,’ says Jade. ‘I was convinced it would be cold and damp. But the moment I walked through the front door, I was won over by the amount of space and huge potential the property had.’

Welcome to our home

We are Jade Severs, 36, Home Design Stylist at John Lewis & Partners, husband Jon, 37, and children Finley, seven, Eliot, five, and twins Eva and Mae, four

Our home is A four-bedroom semi-detached Edwardian property in Hampshire. We’ve lived here for four and a half years.

Jade Severs

The couple put in an offer that was accepted shortly after.

Despite being able to see past the property’s flaws to the potential that lay beneath, its interior left a lot to be desired when the couple and their children moved in.

‘The living room was previously yellow, with a gas fireplace inside the marble surround,’ says Jade. ‘We removed the gas fireplace, replacing it with a traditional cast-iron one, bought for £100 from a seller on eBay, that was in-keeping with the period of the property.’
‘The living room was previously yellow, with a gas fireplace inside the marble surround,’ says Jade. ‘We removed the gas fireplace, replacing it with a traditional cast-iron one, bought for £100 from a seller on eBay, that was in-keeping with the period of the property.’

The décor was dated and almost everything was in need of a refresh. ‘The living room had yellow walls, the hallway and staircase had a salmon pink carpet, and even the bathroom was carpeted,’ Jade recalls.

‘The downstairs consisted of a rabbit warren of rooms – you had to go through lots of doors to reach the kitchen at the back of the house and there wasn’t much natural light in the dining room.’

A bit more about our home…

My top tip is To prioritise storage – it’s so important in a family home. Think carefully where you’ll keep every item if you don’t like the idea of clutter and plan accordingly.

For style inspiration I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful interior design inspiration at work, but I also like to scroll Instagram for ideas. I share snaps of my own home on @jade.lisa.home.

Jade Severs

In order to transform it into something more suitable for the whole family, the house needed a complete overhaul, including new wiring and plumbing, new gas pipes, new windows and new floor joists.

‘We were keen to get started straight away,’ says Jade. ‘We’ve never really been ones to live in a house first to get a feel for how we use it.

‘Previously, the kitchen was very small and closed off from the rest of the house – not very practical for family living,’ Jade recalls. ‘Moving it to the middle of the house made more sense, as we could have a large, open-plan space with an island and lots of storage.’
‘Previously, the kitchen was very small and closed off from the rest of the house – not very practical for family living,’ Jade recalls. ‘Moving it to the middle of the house made more sense, as we could have a large, open-plan space with an island and lots of storage.’

‘Plus, within a week of moving into the property I found out I was pregnant with our third baby. Then, fast forward eight weeks and we discovered we were, in fact, having twins, so there was an added rush to get the property renovated before their arrival.’

Keen to make a feature of the fireplace, Jade sourced a beautiful surround from a salvage yard for £50. The hearth tiles are, in fact, tile stickers, bought from eBay
Keen to make a feature of the fireplace, Jade sourced a beautiful surround from a salvage yard for £50. The hearth tiles are, in fact, tile stickers, bought from eBay

Within weeks of moving in, the couple had the house assessed by a builder and had made plans to makeover their home in record time.

They decided to open up the kitchen, dining room and breakfast room to create a large, open-plan space, and relocate the kitchen to the middle of the house. There it would be next to a family-cum-play room, so that Jade could keep an eye on the children while cooking dinner.

‘Being north-facing, the dining room was very dark and we always had to have the light on in here,’ says Jade. ‘We knocked down the walls to open up the space out and uncovered a fireplace that was hidden behind panelling.’
‘Being north-facing, the dining room was very dark and we always had to have the light on in here,’ says Jade. ‘We knocked down the walls to open up the space out and uncovered a fireplace that was hidden behind panelling.’

‘Upstairs, we moved the bathroom from the back of the house into the middle, so that it would be easily accessible from the three main bedrooms located at the front of the house. The old bathroom was then converted into a spare room,’ Jade says.

Fortunately, as the couple wasn’t extending the house, they didn’t need planning permission for the works, which gave them a bit of headway time-wise.

‘The main bedroom was full of fitted furniture when we moved in, which we ripped out before reinstalling the picture rail,’ says Jade. ‘We already had the wardrobes, chests of drawers and the bed frame, so this influenced the style of the room.’
‘The main bedroom was full of fitted furniture when we moved in, which we ripped out before reinstalling the picture rail,’ says Jade. ‘We already had the wardrobes, chests of drawers and the bed frame, so this influenced the style of the room.’

The renovation would take a total of three months so the family moved in with relatives while the work took place and the dust, quite literally, settled, as there was a few hiccups along the way.

‘When the builders were laying the new pipework, they discovered that all the ground floor joists were completely rotten and would need to be replaced, which was a bit of a setback,’ Jade says.

‘This part of the house was originally a cold and damp outhouse,’ Jade says. ‘We chose a hidden cistern so I could display items on the shelf and added a wall-hung sink. The patterned floor tiles are part of the Mr Jones range from Laura Ashley.’
‘This part of the house was originally a cold and damp outhouse,’ Jade says. ‘We chose a hidden cistern so I could display items on the shelf and added a wall-hung sink. The patterned floor tiles are part of the Mr Jones range from Laura Ashley.’

‘Otherwise, the renovation went fairly smoothly. But despite our builders’ best efforts, the house wasn’t ready for the twins’ arrival. I was still juggling tile orders and sorting last-minute fixtures in the days after they were born. It was a very testing time and not one I’d like to repeat!’

The hanging canopy in Mae and Eve’s reading corner was a £20 eBay bargain
The hanging canopy in Mae and Eve’s reading corner was a £20 eBay bargain

Jade describes her style as ‘a little bit Scandi, mixed with coastal,’ which is evident in her décor choices.

Throughout the house, pared-back palettes are teamed with pastels and rustic trim, such as the vintage stools in the kitchen, and the old printer’s tray hanging in the boys’ bedroom.

The chest of drawers, which Jade lime waxed, painted, and replaced the handles of, were free from a local page on Facebook. The IKEA beds were both sourced second-hand on Facebook Marketplace
The chest of drawers, which Jade lime waxed, painted, and replaced the handles of, were free from a local page on Facebook. The IKEA beds were both sourced second-hand on Facebook Marketplace

Her styling celebrates both classic and contemporary interiors, while remaining sympathetic to the character of the period property. It has completely transformed the house.

‘I definitely embraced a pink colour scheme in the girls’ bedroom,’ says Jade. ‘The Scion Kelda wallpaper in Pewter was a recent addition and I think it really finishes off the room.’
‘I definitely embraced a pink colour scheme in the girls’ bedroom,’ says Jade. ‘The Scion Kelda wallpaper in Pewter was a recent addition and I think it really finishes off the room.’
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‘It’s unrecognisable from what it once was,’ Jade says. ‘It’s light and airy now, and accommodates all of us so well. But although we love living here, Jon and I are looking to move sometime in the near future. Our friends and family love our home, and think we’re crazy to want to move and do it all again! Watch this space, I suppose…’

‘The boys’ bedroom is an awkward shape, so we had to think carefully about furniture and layout,’ Jade says. ‘In the end, we decided on bunk beds to maximise floor space.’
‘The boys’ bedroom is an awkward shape, so we had to think carefully about furniture and layout,’ Jade says. ‘In the end, we decided on bunk beds to maximise floor space.’
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?