Victoria Jenkins Interiors - A Regency house in disguise

12:00 24 May 2010

Kirstie with Paddy, one of their chocolate Labradors, in the garden.

Kirstie with Paddy, one of their chocolate Labradors, in the garden.

When the McCullochs bought this pretty little house it had concrete floors and plastic windows but they could see it had great potential as Victoria Jenkins discovers.

As Kirstie and Fraser McCulloch were driving along to a viewing in Warwickshire they spotted Croft House, an old and very pretty four-bedroom dwelling. We loved it on sight and wished it was the one we were going to see. And it was! It just had a different estate agents board outside as ours hadnt put his board up, says Kirstie, a designer who works with her engineering manager husband in the same company.
When we walked in for the first time I found it a curious blend of bright colours combined with a worn and dated feeling. I think the sellers had done a quick paint job to spruce it up, she continues. However, it lacked character for instance, the hall, dining room and kitchen all had concrete floors while the cornicing and many of the fireplaces were missing. Unfortunately the original sash windows had been removed not long before we moved in and replaced with plastic double-glazed replicas.
However, the couple still loved it despite the single tiny bathroom and were delighted to hear that while the date mark stated 1892 their surveyor thought the house was probably Regency. So they went ahead and bought it as they had sold their own house and had been looking for some time.
That was six years ago and since then they have done a great deal of work to the house, breaking it down into two phases. They have also produced two little boys Jack (3) and Sam (1) as well.

Phase one was to ask architect Robert Callaghan to draw up plans to convert the loft and add an extension. Planning permission came through without problem and the couple set to work turning the empty loft into a bedroom with en-suite bathroom and study. They also refurbished the rest of the house by having a damp proof course put in, then rewired and treated the woodwork for infestation. They knocked a wall down between lounge and study which had once been the pork-salting room to create a drawing room and turned the smallest bedroom into another bathroom while the original single bathroom became their en-suite.
As it used to take two shifts to fill up this bath we also had a new boiler and an Ozo hot water tank installed, says Kirstie. There was also a rather useless old porch at the back of the house which had no space for anything other than dumping wellies and so on. So we demolished that and then built a much bigger conservatory further along so the kitchen led into it. We put a table and chairs in so we could eat here as the kitchen was too small.
They also replaced the missing fireplaces, buying reclaimed ones for the bedrooms and a reproduction for the main room downstairs from Coventry Demolition.
That was phase one, says Kirstie. Then we stopped for a while."This was in order to start their family. After Jack was born they started on the two-storey extension phase two. The original kitchen was tiny, dark and old fashioned so it had to go but it adjoined the asbestos-lined garage and an old outhouse which they could see they could utilise. First, they demolished the garage (in fact they have dispensed with a garage altogether) so the new extension of kitchen and en-suite bedroom above could take up its footprint. However, they kept the outhouse an old laundry and it is now their snug leading off the new kitchen.
We put in new wiring and replastered it and its a perfect place for the boys to play because I can watch them whilst cooking in the kitchen, says Kirstie. The snug has a woodburner so by relying on that and the Aga in the kitchen we don't need to switch on the central heating until it gets really cold.
The old kitchen has become a boot room which contains a large cupboard housing the washing machine and dryer. Work on the new extension took three months of building and another nine months to finish, what with fitting the kitchen, bathroom, decorating and laying the carpets and so on.
Somehow we managed to live among the upheaval and we did go slightly over budget, says Kirstie. Our kitchen units came from Unpainted Kitchens of Northampton and we painted them ourselves in Farrow & Balls Lime White. The oak worktops are from IKEA, specially cut to fit. The hideous concrete flooring has been covered with a suspended oak floor which continues throughout most of the ground floor and is new even though we bought it from Coventry Demolition again. The whole process was a long hard slog but well worth it.
As for the garden, it was just grass with some neglected vegetable patches, a hedge and a small row of shrubs. They replanted the lawn, got rid of the vegetables, planted lots of flowers and shrubs and laid little paths for the children to run along.
Now that weve finished I should say my favourite room is the kitchen, says Kirstie. Its a lovely welcoming room especially as we treated ourselves to an Aga, never having had one before. But Fraser in particular loves to cook and anyway we just love the warmth it gives. In the spring when its still chilly we can switch off the heating after the long winter months as the Aga can still keep us warm.

The McCullochs house is for sale (645,000) through Knight Frank.


Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Homes & Gardens

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Domestic residential home

Promotional feature: For many people, designing and building their own home is a thing of dreams. But the risks, stress and time commitment associated with being a self builder can be a real deterrent. Craig Strachan at Sylva Group explains how it’s possible to create a dream home without having to build it yourself.

Read more
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Chesterfield 3-seater settee

Promotional feature: DesignerSofas4U, the UK’s largest manufacturer of Chesterfield sofas & Leather sofas, offer expert tips to maintain your sofa so its looks beautiful for years.

Read more
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The Kensington Large Knole Sofa

Promotional feature: Louise and Richard Harvey talk about the exceptional quality of their bespoke hand made Knole sofas.

Read more
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Large Kilim Rugs

Promotional feature: Richard and Louise Harvey from The Richard Harvey Collection whisk us off on a journey to the Far East with their collection of Kilims, Swat Valley chests, Spice Boxes, Altar Tables and Honey Pot lamps, among other jewels to create a peaceful haven in your home.

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015
It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way

Get switched on, improve security and bring your garden to life in a few easy steps

Read more
Monday, March 2, 2015
Stocked with discount furniture, available to take away the same day as purchased

Promotional feature: Everyone loves a bargain, which is why Charles Wheeler, owner of Trade Secret, built his business on that basis.

Read more
Friday, February 27, 2015
Tata technologies

Tata Technologies, the global engineering services firm which is part of Tata Group which owns Jaguar Land Rover, has announced its plans to develop a new European headquarters building in Warwick.

Read more
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
A garden suite looking tired and rusted

Promotional feature: MRK Services explains why refurbishing your garden furniture makes more sense than replacing it

Read more
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Old Rectory, Redmarley, Gloucestershire

A beautiful Grade II listed Queen Anne fronted rectory, situated privately within 42 acres of its own beautiful pasture land

Read more
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
A kitchen makeover to replace tired door and drawer fronts or worn worktops can be the ideal way to modernise your kitchen.

Promotional feature: Kitchen Design Workshop offer their expert advice on how to update your kitchen with a contemporary and practical design

Read more
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Secret Santa gifts

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality of gifts this Christmas.

Read more
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Pawpost delivery

Our favourite Christmas gifts for both animal loving friends and their furry four legged pets.

Read more
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Christmas blooms

Whether you want to buy something for the home, a hostess gift or just want to treat yourself this Christmas, we’ve rounded up our favourite presents.

Read more
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Rugby ball print

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift for your husband, brother or dad, look no further! We’ve wrapped up this season’s best gifts, so you don’t have to.

Read more


Warwickshire's trusted business finder

subscription ad

subscription ad