Empty period house gets a bold modern makeover
Dated rooms, faded Edwardian grandeur, and a concrete bomb shelter in the garden had put most people off from buying this tired old house in the Grimsby Conservation Area. By the time James and Matt heard about it and decided to take a look, it had been empty and abandoned for over a year. But the moment they saw him, they fell in love with his faded charm.
“We had spent four years renovating a townhouse and were looking to move on,” says James. “This still had all of its original features and beautiful proportions. Best of all, there was a wonderful private walled garden. A lot of people don’t want big gardens these days, but we loved it – and everything was within walking distance of the city center.
Within six weeks of viewing the property, James and Matt had sold their last home and bought their new home. They moved in full of ideas and enthusiasm and spent the first six months renovating the front of the house, updating the hall, living room, office and dining room in their own style. No structural work was involved, but they paneled the walls, replaced a 1980s white plaster fireplace in the living room with a mahogany fireplace bought online for £ 50, and built a bar in the dining room. They also created an en-suite shower room in the guest bedroom.
The owners Architect James Lockwood and his partner, Matt Tucker, a general practitioner, live here with their dogs, Puggles Buddy and Lily
The property A four bed Edwardian house in Grimsby
Project cost £ 226,000
Then, in September 2018, after nine months of savings, they had sufficient funds to begin work on the back of the house, where they were creating a modern kitchen with a master bedroom above. “After living there for a while, we knew what we wanted to achieve at the rear and what it would look like when finished,” says James. “We only built a small extension, but we made much better use of the space by removing a lot of small rooms and opening everything on the ground floor. We added a lot of glass including sliding doors to the patio and large windows to the garden. ‘
A cluttered series of small rooms, wardrobes, doors and hallways on the upper level have also been reconfigured to create a free-flowing master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, with a flat-roofed balcony overlooking the garden. The work required a building permit from the North East Lincolnshire Council as the house is in a conservation area, but there were no objections and their plans were passed without a hitch.
“We wanted to change the whole accent of the house so that it blends in perfectly with the garden,” says James. “When we bought the property, one of the kitchen windows was facing the neighbors wall and there was no clear connection between the inside and the outside. It made sense to reconfigure the back of the house so that the garden view was a major feature of the living space. ‘
While the changes were being made, James and Matt also asked the builders to make the house permanent by adding additional pipes from the master bathroom to the attic, so that if they decide to expand to the second floor, they can include two more bedrooms and another bathroom. Another staircase could be neatly inserted into one of the existing bedrooms to create access to the attic conversion.
With the construction done, James and Matt turned their attention inward. As with the front part of the house, they were keen to combine original elements with decorating ideas and modern works of art, and to mix period furniture with new pieces. But one of the most important aspects of the interior for James was to create enough space for his extraordinary Lego collection. Besides having a room dedicated to Lego models, James’s designs are scattered around the house and he wanted plenty of shelves to display them on.
Open shelving is also present in the kitchen, where dishes, books and plants are easily accessible and create a warm and lived-in look. “We chose black furniture and it might have looked quite cold and austere, but the open shelving, along with the warm paint colors and wood-style tiled floor, completely transform the space,” says James. “We love it here. There are still things to do – especially in the garden, where we plan to turn a rather unsightly air raid shelter into an element – but the house has lived up to our expectations. It took a lot of work and time to modernize it without losing its beautiful character, but it was worth it. It was a gem of a find.