Minimalist 60s semi: ‘We extended our house to reflect our evolving style’

Rather than move out of their three-bed semi, Heena and Hinesh Mistry gave it an upgrade with a space-boosting extension and chic monochrome interiors

The family also has a separate living room to retreat to. In keeping with the rest of her home, Heena has decorated it in a soft grey palette, introducing small pops of yellow for a splash of colour
Published: June 13, 2022 at 11:07 am
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An avocado bathroom suite, no central heating and woodchip were just three of the challenges Heena and Hinesh Mistry faced when they bought their new home in 2014. But the property’s potential far outweighed any outdated décor. Although the three-bedroom house was in excellent condition, the interior was dated and didn’t suit the couple’s taste.

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‘When we bought it, we loved the area and thought it would make a perfect first home for us as newlyweds,’ says Heena. ‘We had no idea that a few years later we would have two kids and be renovating and extending the house to suit our family.’

‘We had no idea that a few years down the line we would have two kids and be renovating and extending the house to suit our family’ says Heena
‘We had no idea that a few years down the line we would have two kids and be renovating and extending the house to suit our family’ says Heena

The couple made various changes to make the house liveable, but it wasn’t until 2020 that they decided to go ahead with a much bigger renovation. In order to transform the house into the family home they needed, the Mistrys hired an architect and a local builder to design and build an extension that would give them another two bedrooms and more living space.

The family also has a separate living room to retreat to. In keeping with the rest of her home, Heena has decorated it in a soft grey palette, introducing small pops of yellow for a splash of colour
The family also has a separate living room to retreat to. In keeping with the rest of her home, Heena has decorated it in a soft grey palette, introducing small pops of yellow for a splash of colour

‘It took about a year to finish,’ says Heena, ‘and we did some of the work ourselves, such as the painting and decorating. It was a big job, with the new area extending four metres from the house, all new double-glazed windows, a new kitchen, flooring, underfloor heating and internal doors!’

Welcome to our home...

We are Heena and Hinesh Mistry, and we live here with our two boys. I’m a brand digital designer and Hinesh is a healthcare operations manager.

Our home is a five-bedroom, semi-detached house in Coventry, West Midlands. It was built in the 1960s.

We love living here as we’re really close to so many beautiful places, like Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa and Solihull.

Heena Mistry
Heena has made the living area in her open-plan space a cosy chill-out zone by layering up textured textiles, including a machine-washable boucle sofa cover and Berber-style rug, plus plenty of tactile cushions
Heena has made the living area in her open-plan space a cosy chill-out zone by layering up textured textiles, including a machine-washable boucle sofa cover and Berber-style rug, plus plenty of tactile cushions

Able to live in the house throughout the build, the couple could see the progress each day. ‘Watching it all come together is an incredible feeling,’ says Heena, ‘and we’re really pleased with the outcome.’ It wasn’t without its challenges, however, and a huge oak tree in one of the neighbouring gardens proved a costly one.

Heena’s abstract art ties in with the contemporary grey and ochre scheme, also seen in the cushions. Most of her prints are in black frames, giving a streamlined look throughout the house
Heena’s abstract art ties in with the contemporary grey and ochre scheme, also seen in the cushions. Most of her prints are in black frames, giving a streamlined look throughout the house

‘The tree roots came all the way up to our house,’ says Heena. ‘When the council inspector looked, he advised us to change the foundations, which ended up costing an extra £10,000! We weren’t happy, but it was the safest way to ensure the foundations would be solid and strong enough to hold up the house.’

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The extended space has given the family a sociable dining area for meals and entertaining. Heena added plush dining chairs and a bench for a glam-meets-industrial scheme
The extended space has given the family a sociable dining area for meals and entertaining. Heena added plush dining chairs and a bench for a glam-meets- industrial scheme

Add to that a period of torrential rain while the roof was being replaced, resulting in the nursery becoming water-logged and the ceiling having to be repaired (as well as the issues getting materials due to the pandemic), and it’s safe to say the couple had their fair share of problems.

A bit more about our home...

Our best idea To extend into the garden and garage to create more space, including two new bedrooms upstairs.

Our biggest mistake Not replacing the skirting boards in the existing rooms, and removing the fireplace to have the TV on the wall.

Heena Mistry
The large island in navy contrasts with the pale grey units, while gold-coloured hardware unites the look and adds a luxe feel. Sticking to neutral tones throughout allows Heena to add pops of colour with flowers and accessories
The large island in navy contrasts with the pale grey units, while gold-coloured hardware unites the look and adds a luxe feel. Sticking to neutral tones throughout allows Heena to add pops of colour with flowers and accessories

‘We also had a magpie stuck in our fireplace while they were replacing the windows,’ Heena remembers. ‘One day it flew out into the living room and we had to get one of the builders to set it free. They say magpies mean bad luck and the day it flew out of the fireplace was the day we were getting the screeding done in the kitchen, which didn’t go according to plan. We ended up with an uneven floor that had to be levelled out – so maybe they do bring bad luck!’

With just a few IKEA shelves, prints and sculptural accessories, Heena has created a chic mini bedroom gallery
With just a few IKEA shelves, prints and sculptural accessories, Heena has created a chic mini bedroom gallery

Luckily, the couple persevered and today the new layout works exactly as Heena and Hinesh had hoped, with a large kitchen and living space that the whole family can share. ‘I knew I wanted an open-plan kitchen-living area, with a large island and a pantry for all my spices and tinned foods,’ says Heena.

Heena has used monochrome to striking effect in the main bedroom, combining sleek, modern furniture with curved lines and motifs for a chic space that still has a cosy, calming feel
Heena has used monochrome to striking effect in the main bedroom, combining sleek, modern furniture with curved lines and motifs for a chic space that still has a cosy, calming feel

‘It’s my favourite room and because it’s all open-plan, I can see the kids playing while I’m cooking, which is great. Often, they’ll sit on the island and help me chop the veggies or do some baking. I also like the minimal style in here, with everything hidden away and few items out on the kitchen worktops.’

Decorated in Heena’s favoured white, black and grey, the spare bedroom is a contemporary haven for guests. A selection of cushions adds pattern to the classic, crisp white bedlinen
Decorated in Heena’s favoured white, black and grey, the spare bedroom is a contemporary haven for guests. A selection of cushions adds pattern to the classic, crisp white bedlinen

Having kept most of the walls in neutral earth tones throughout, Heena has added colour with the accessories. ‘I have a lot of accessories, but I’ve tried to spread them out around the house so that the rooms don’t feel crowded.’ She also has a passion for prints, including her own designs she sells on Etsy, and these are showcased in many of the rooms, along with various bowls and decorative pieces she’s made from clay.

Striking floor tiles are a standout feature in the otherwise minimalist family bathroom. Any clutter can be hidden away in the spacious sink storage unit
Striking floor tiles are a standout feature in the otherwise minimalist family bathroom. Any clutter can be hidden away in the spacious sink storage unit

‘I think it’s important to have a clear vision of the space and how you want it to work for you and your family,’ says Heena. ‘Do your research – especially on the bigger buys, such as kitchen and bathroom fittings. Looking locally for these can help and it supports local businesses, too. We found a large double sink reduced to just £40 in our local Jewson store – originally it was £260!’

The pale green scalloped-edge wall in the nursery was inspired by a photo Heena saw on Instagram. For a fun extra detail, add cute whale decals and animal accessories
The pale green scalloped-edge wall in the nursery was inspired by a photo Heena saw on Instagram. For a fun extra detail, add cute whale decals and animal accessories

Heena was pregnant throughout the build and her youngest was born before everything was complete. ‘It was a struggle having a newborn in a house that lacked facilities, such as a washing machine and cooker,’ she says. ‘So, I’m especially proud of what we’ve achieved. The house has changed quite a lot since we bought it, but so has our style. We’ve still got jobs to do, but it’s a lovely, airy home with plenty of natural light. We learnt a lot and one day, further down the line, we look forward to taking on another project.’

Looking for more decor inspiration? Don't forget to check out the rest of our real home makeovers here!

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Photos Georgia Burns.

Authors

Laurie Davidson is a Surrey-based freelance interior stylist and writer, who also dabbles in travel, craft and lifestyle content

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