Welcome to A Story of Home, our blog series uncovering the stories behind some of our favourite inspiring homes from Instagram. This week we take a tour of a fabulous bungalow renovation, I've always fancied one level living ( especially as I have three flights of stairs in my home), they usually come on generous plots and there is lots of opportunities to knock through walls and create a knockout footprint.
This weeks home story come from Rachel aka @bungalow_fifty8 who has transformed a 2 bed bungalow which needed a lot of work, into a gorgeous 4 bed family home filled with monochrome, splashes of colour and lots of beautiful vintage pieces and plants - just wait until you meet Mr Cheese!
House Bio: My name is Rachel and I am obsessed with home interiors and have a love for all things vintage and mid century. I live in Leigh on Sea in Essex with my husband and my two children, who do a great job of putting up with my decorating, redecorating and faffing. I am also a plant mum to an 8ft Monstera known as Mr Cheese.
How long have you lived here and what type of property is it?
We bought our semi-detached two bed bungalow in 2011, since then we have converted it into a four bed chalet bungalow.
Did you fall in love with your home instantly? What was the one feature that sealed the deal for you?
The bungalow needed a lot of work when we bought it, but we fell in love with the potential it had to be updated and extended, as well as the location, being on a quiet street near woodlands and close to family, really sold it for us.
Had you mentally redecorated before moving in or did your scheme come together over a period of time?
Although I mentally redecorate everything I would say our home style has gradually come together over time but it’s constantly evolving! I have always been drawn to vintage and unique pieces, my childhood home was filled with vintage and quirky stuff so it’s a look I have always enjoyed and it’s most definitely accountable for my love of drifting around car boot sales, secondhand and charity shops, not forgetting a good scroll through eBay to find items less readily available. I think I like the challenge of finding that one off, unique piece!
Where do you seek your inspiration?
Instagram is a great place to find inspiration, there are some amazing accounts on there that have inspired me to be braver in adding more colours to my home as well as more houseplants! I have always loved vintage and quirky but more so lately the mid century style is having a big influence on my home, my favourite finds include g plan highboard, Ladderax shelving bays and a beautiful bamboo and wicker folding screen which I have used as a backdrop for our bed.
What was the first job in your home you tackled?
The first thing we did was to install new kitchen units, giving the room a quick spruce up just to make the place liveable until we were ready to completely renovate from top to bottom, which we eventually did six years later. In 2017, working with an architect and builder we redesigned the layout of the bungalow, taking down all the internal walls to reconfigure the space, adding a large rear extension and a loft conversion. The renovation gave us two additional double bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Downstairs, we have a master bedroom and a small double, a large hallway, another family bathroom, utility room with WC and then an open plan kitchen diner leading through to our lounge area and garden.
Where there any surprises during the revamp/renovation?
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the renovation process! I was preparing myself for a stressful six months and although at times it was difficult, I would say over all it was a really positive experience and something I would love to do again.
What do you think has been the most successful area of your interior?
Our open plan kitchen diner and lounge area is one of the most successful areas because it has become the hub of our home. The kitchen has an 11ft high vaulted ceiling with large glass windows which brings in so much light, especially with a South facing garden, it makes it a great place to hangout and relax.
Are there any failures in your design/DIY that you care to admit to?
I wouldn’t say we had any major failures but I think we would do a few things differently now having lived here for a couple of years. I underestimated the value of the utility room, we don’t have a garage so the utility room is used as my workstation often filled up with paint pots, brushes and rollers, scaffold boards and power tools! It is also the laundry room so the two requirements are competing for space along with the double buggy!! In hindsight, I would have increased the size of the utility room and had a smaller kitchen diner.
Which is your favourite room?
My favourite room is probably the kitchen diner as it’s such a transformation from the original small galley kitchen. I also love the hallway which we doubled in size from the previous narrow corridor of the original bungalow layout. We laid a traditional style black and white tiled floor which really gives the space a wow factor when you walk in. The hallway also houses my late, great auntie’s Schreiber piano, which we were thrilled we were able to accommodate after the renovation.
Do you have a favourite object in your home?
One of my favourite objects in our home is the huge Monstera plant which was a Mother’s Day gift from my children to me, two years ago. When I first received it, it was barely a metre tall and now it stands proud at 8ft high and growing! It has become the family pet and the children love to point out the new baby leaves when they spot them.
Any golden nuggets of advice to share to anyone undertaking their own revamp/renovation, did you learn any lessons?
My advice would be to stick to your guns on what you want to achieve, be realistic in terms of space and budget but don’t be swayed on your ideas if you believe they are possible. Good, clear communication is key to a successful partnership with your builder, don’t assume they know what you are thinking or what you want. Be precise, detail is everything.
Do you have anywhere in your home that doesn’t make it onto Instagram?
My utility room doesn’t make it on to the grid as it always far too messy and cluttered to be feature. My staircase is another area that doesn’t make it as the natural light is never right for a decent photo, which is a shame as it has lovely diamond shaped windows and a huge tropical style wall hanging on one side, but I am yet to get a decent shot of it!
What’s the next project you have planned?
Our next project is to convert our summer house into a home office for my husband and a garden room for me! It’s got to be functional to suit my husband’s requirements, but also be a comfortable and stylish space to relax. With the open plan layout of our living room kitchen diner, I wanted to create another room that could be a more tranquil space when required.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your gorgeous home with us. I love how Rachel has created such a unique home with all her vintage finds, I am in awe of Mr Cheese too! Oh how I wish I could grow a plant of that size.
Rachel is an avid collector and always seeking new treasure but admits to being impulsive and indecisive, so when she find pieces that are not quite right for her home she sells them via her Instagram account @crazy_clutter You can keep up with Rachel's home stories over on Instagram at @bungalow_fifty8
Thanks for stopping by, until next weeks home story
Bye for now