When Deborah Yates, 49, and her partner, James, moved into their two-bedroom terrace in south-west London, they knew the 1970s sunroom, tacked on to the back of the house, had the potential to be a real asset.
‘Although tired and neglected, it offered direct access to the garden and we thought it would make a great family space in summer, while also doubling as an occasional guest room and sleepover space for our teenage son, Callum,’ explains Deborah. A year later and with the room now buried beneath clutter, the couple were finally able to start work on it.
Although dated, the brick extension was structurally sound and damp-free, so the couple’s first task was to tackle the clutter. ‘Most of it ended up at our local tip and charity shops but, to save money, we did keep a sofa bed and chest of drawers,’ says Deborah. They then removed the old carpet and repaired a small but useful skylight.
‘Simply cleaning up the grime-covered glass instantly flooded the back of the room with light,’ smiles Deborah. Disappointed to discover concrete rather than floorboards under the carpet, and with few funds available for new flooring, the couple decided to focus on decorating the space first.
Keen to keep things fresh and bright, Deborah painted the room a crisp white. But a job she thought would take just a couple of days ended up turning into a bit of a marathon! ‘The previous owner was a smoker and every surface was badly stained with nicotine, so I had to apply a preparatory stain block prior to painting,’ recalls Deborah.
Painting the beams also proved to be back-breaking work, but Deborah believes it was worth the effort. She was so pleased with the result, she persuaded James to paint the concrete to match. ‘We used a specialist floor paint and added a rug to soften the look, all for around £100,’ she smiles.
Externally, things proved a little easier. They tidied up the garden and jet-washed the existing paved area. ‘We were lucky enough to inherit some lovely plants, including a beautiful climbing rose, which I’ve been training along the wall since we moved in,’ says Deborah.
The previous owner also left a cast-iron bench, which Deborah has refreshed with gloss paint, while her parents donated an old bistro dining set. ‘I love the colour,’ says Deborah.
The recycling continued inside, where the couple’s tatty and rather stained futon was refreshed with a new charcoal cover. ‘It was just too good to throw away as it turns into a really comfy guest bed,’ says Deborah. She spotted a handy dual-purpose blanket box at a local summer fair for £95 and found the smart shelving unit for £100 on Gumtree.
‘Anything we did decide to buy new, such as the armchair, lighting and rugs, was purposely chosen for use both inside and out, to ensure added flexibility,’ continues Deborah. And now that the sunroom is complete the family couldn’t be happier. ‘We love spending time in here now, especially on summer days when we can throw the doors wide open and enjoy the roses in bloom.’
Loft White absolute matt emulsion £47 per 2.5l; Loft White intelligent eggshell, £66 per 2.5l; Loft White intelligent floor paint, £72 per 2.5l; Sky Blue traditional oil gloss, £69 per 2.5l, all Little Greene. Högsten outdoor chair, £65; Krokholmen outdoor metal coffee table, £35; Frode metal folding chair, £22; Sommar 2020 striped rug, £30; Hodde indoor/outdoor rug, £90; Oplev doormat, £6.50; Vippärt chair cushions, £6 each; Gurli dark green cushion cover, £1.75; Ullkaktus green cushion, £3, all IKEA. Pin’Up stool with pine and rubberwood legs, £49.50, Maisons Du Monde. Replacement futon sofa bed cover, £120; futon sofa bed, from £399, Futon Company. Warm White LED Festoon Lights Pro Series, from £30; bamboo battery lanterns, £27.99 each; Lucena tassel solar lanterns, £39.99 set of three, all Lights4Fun. Bohemia leather Moroccan pouffe, £98, Not On The High Street. ‘3 is the magic number’ print, £25; ‘Rockstar’ print, £5, both New Icons of Print. For similar folding table and chairs, try metal Round bistro set in Petrol Blue, £59.99, Sue Ryder.