Having rented for two years while saving money towards their own property, Sadiyya and Ryan Quader were very careful when it came to choosing a house.
‘We were renting in Dulwich after we got married, and we had an offer accepted on a tiny two-bedroom place there, which unfortunately fell through when the sellers pulled out. Our rental place was about to be sold so we decided to widen the search.’
Both the couple’s families are based in north London, where they went to school, and they met when Sadiyya was sixteen.
So, when they started to look further afield in south London and Surrey eight years ago to get better value for their money, there was general shock from their relatives.
‘It was like we were suggesting moving to the other end of the country rather than across London! Neither of our families could believe it.’
Welcome to our home…
We are Sadiyya Quader, 37, a tax director, husband, Ryan, 36, an international audit director, son, Ishaan, nearly two, and Mushu the cat.
Our home is a three-bedroom Victorian semi, which we moved into in May 2013 on the outskirts of Kingston, Surrey.
Sadiyya came to look at their present house on the outskirts of Kingston on her own in March 2013, and it was an instant hit. ‘I saw two that day, one in Wimbledon and this one.
Although the house was covered in pebbledash and had a bright orange kitchen and 1970s fittings, I knew straightaway it was the one.
It was much bigger than the house in Wimbledon, with three bedrooms, a large garden and plenty of room that we could extend into. Plus, it was in its own community which had shops, cafés and transport links nearby.’
Having missed out on previous properties, and desperate to get away from rentals and create their own family home, Sadiyya rang Ryan and told him they had to go for it. ‘He said he trusted me and we offered the full whack on the spot, without him seeing it!’
A bit more about our home…
My top tip is to do research, research, research! Whether with home magazines, Pinterest or Instagram. The Instagram interiors community is so resourceful, people are really friendly and offer such good advice.
In our spare time We like to watch a box set in the living room once Ishaan is asleep. On weekends we like to cook curries and bake. In our first son Nivan’s memory, we also raise money for First Touch at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, a charity that supports sick and premature babies and their families.
My favourite room Is the open-plan kitchen, with its natural light and the view into the garden. We have made so many memories during lockdown and look forward to entertaining once the pandemic is over.
The couple moved in two months later and spent money on some basics, planning to do bigger projects further down the line. ‘We put in a new kitchen and bathroom and painted everywhere, but we put thoughts of extensions to the side for a while.’
Although the couple now happily has son, Ishaan, nearly two, they very sadly lost their first son, Nivan, when he was just five and a half months old and then suffered a miscarriage.
After this double tragedy, the couple decided they wanted to move.
‘We felt it was time for a fresh start in another property, but the market was against us. We put the house on the market in February 2018 and we found somewhere to move to – it was actually smaller than this – but the chain unfortunately collapsed and the worries about Brexit were also stopping people from committing.’
At around the same time, the couple consulted a miscarriage expert, who told them the upheaval of moving house wasn’t a good idea. ‘So, we decided to stay and go ahead with our extension and renovation plans instead, and to turn this into a happy home.’
After making the decision to stay, Sadiyya found out she was pregnant with Ishaan, who was born the following April. While the pregnancy progressed, the couple began drawing up their plans, consulting an architect and sorting planning permission for the large extension at the back of the house to provide them with a kitchen-diner and a substantial wet room downstairs.
‘We wanted a traditional kitchen in painted wood, with oak flooring and lots of light, and we found a local company, Brayer Designs, which gave us what we wanted.’
The couple spotted Scarlet Building Solutions from nearby New Malden on Checkatrade. ‘We like to stay local if we can to support the businesses around us. SBS Solutions gave us a detailed breakdown of everything, so there were no surprises.’
With Ishaan a babe in arms, the project began in earnest. ‘We moved into an Airbnb for a while when he was four months old because I have a dust allergy and we didn’t want to take any chances, although the builders were very clean and tidy.’
The couple admit to being very methodical when it comes to the renovations. ‘We like to cost everything up first and plan the finite detail before we start anything. We’re both used to fine detail with work.’
Following the completion of the extension in August 2019, Sadiyya and Ryan have worked their way through the house, decorating in pastels and updating each room with new pieces of furniture and accessories.
With the interior finished, they knew they had to turn their attention to the exterior.
‘The front and side were pebbledashed, which wasn’t attractive and looked a bit grubby, so we found UK Performance Restoration locally, which returned it all to the original sparkling brickwork. It’s so much better and we smartened up the front door with new paint.’
Sadiyya documents the changes on Instagram, @surreyonthemove. ‘We’ve still got the family bathroom to renovate, but we’re going to just relax and enjoy it for a while.’
Feature Stephanie Smith. Photos David Giles.