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Turning a house into a beautiful home

By Lizzy Drewett - 07 January 2021

We speak to the Hill family about their fabulous renovation in Chelmsford. The Hill family purchased the home through Beresfords when it was looking worse for wear and used their vision to completely modernise and renovate it from the inside out! 

What attracted you to the house to begin with?

The area. We were new to Chelmsford and wanted to move specifically to the old part of the city. We also wanted something we could renovate. It’s so rare to find a house that is done to a standard and taste that you like so we knew we wanted to start from scratch. There was very little on the market at the time so when this came up we made an offer immediately. 

What was your vision prior to starting? 

Open space! We wanted to open up the house to achieve as much natural light as possible and make it a functional and beautiful space.

Where did you get your inspiration from for the layout and interiors?

We had a really good idea of what we wanted to do and Instagram was a huge help in terms of sourcing specific brands and ideas. We’d also taken pictures from hotels we’d stayed at and other places we’d visited.   

Did you have a budget in mind and how did you plan this out? 

We didn’t have a specific budget in mind, but we were very aware we wouldn’t be staying in the house long term, so we were mindful of overspending on what the house would be worth at the end. We did most of the renovation when we were living in America, so we didn’t have much chance to shop around. Instead we chose to purchase from established brands where we already knew the quality was good and they had a reputation. 

How did you go about finding an architect and a contractor? 

Finding both of these was the most difficult and lengthy part of the whole process. Being new to the area we didn’t really know anyone and found it a real struggle. I would say start looking for an architect and talking to builders well in advance, it may seem crazy when you know a project is a year or two off, to start having plans and builder discussions, but this was the biggest learning curve we had. 

What, if any, difficulties did you run into along the way?

The biggest delay we had on the project were the steel doors which took around five months to make. Until they were in and the house was weatherproof nothing else could be finished or fitted, like the flooring or kitchen. You always hear start from the top first, with a loft conversion, but in hindsight we would have started with the rear extension, so the door openings could be surveyed and made, whilst other renovations were taking place.

Would you take on a project like this again?

We already are and bought an old Victorian villa through Beresfords earlier this year, which is much bigger and in a worse condition than the last house. It’s due to be completed in spring 2021 so we’re very much forward to moving in. 

What tips would you give to others wanting to undergo something similar? 

Go with your gut instinct, we went around the houses on many things, but 9/10 went with the first thought/choice we originally liked. I think you need to be focused and decisive with a project like this, as every element needs consideration from where you want plug sockets to what roof tile to pick, and that’s before you even get to the fun stuff like interiors.