Real Home: This DIY-savvy family is the case for an open-plan living

Given the choice of keeping four rooms cramped or having a huge open-plan space, Emma and Graeme didn’t have to think twice when they refurbished their quaint four-bedroom cottage in the village of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. With ample space to play with, they were able to transform a maze of dark and dated rooms into a bright and bright Scandinavian-inspired kitchen-dining and living room.

Below, they shared their home remodeling story, as well as some tips on how to save money with a little DIY experience.

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

It was the potential for space that attracted the couple to the property. “Having lived in our Grade II listed 300-year-old cottage for eight years, Graeme and I wanted to start a family and climb the property ladder,” says Emma. ‘In a few days we noticed a detached house for sale on the doorstep with almost half a hectare of land.’

Before shot of dining room with dark wood table and chairs, beige patterned carpet and dark wood staircase

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

The house had been well looked after by an elderly couple, but it was dated, with dark pink carpets, patterned curtains, and a dark pine kitchen. “Although there were many cramped rooms, the footprint was large and the location was perfect.”

First photo of the bathroom with striped peach and white wallpaper, white bathroom fixtures and white floor

(Image credit: Katie Lee)


The owners Emma Roberts, interior designer and blogger at Homebirds Styling (opens in a new tab)her husband Graeme, a sales manager, and children Arla, two, and Elvi, one
The property A four bedroom detached cottage built in 1780 in Hucknall, Nottingham
Cost of the project £ 72,000

With Emma now pregnant, the couple’s goal was to put four rooms together to create an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room before they moved in, as well as renovating the bathroom and master bedroom. “It would have been too stressful to do everything with a new baby, so my due date was our due date,” adds Emma.

Kitchen-dining room with blue Shaker style island, black and wooden dining table and chairs, rattan pendant lamps and wooden floor

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

With interior designer Emma as creative center and foreman, and Graeme doing DIY, the couple managed to save a fortune. Graeme spent the first eight weeks working around the house while Emma lived with her mother. ‘She used the Room Sketcher app (opens in a new tab) to design the layout and a builder friend, Dennis, knocked down the walls and installed a steel beam, ‘says Emma. “I only returned two days before Arla was born!”

Kitchen with white Shaker-style elements, blue island, black metal bar stools and glass pendant lamps

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Having seen an image of a Humphrey Munson kitchen with a denim blue island and neutral units around the edge, Emma tried to recreate the look on a budget.

“I visited a few showrooms for layout ideas before I found a local company called Inspirational Interiors, which was brilliant,” he says. “We had thought about setting up the boiler in the corner, but our kitchen fitter said he could build us a double pantry there. I’m so glad he did it because we use it every day. Graeme is obsessed with the idea of ​​freeing up space on the countertop, so we opted for a wall hood with shelves to hide the extractor instead of a full frame and a built-in microwave hidden in the island. ‘

Kitchen-dining-living room with black and wood industrial style dining set, rattan pendant lights, blue sofa and white walls

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

“The centerpiece here is our bespoke reclaimed wood dining table,” says Emma. “I asked a Sheffield furniture maker to replicate a design I loved on Pinterest. The rope on the glass pendants above the island echoes the lights from the rattan cage above the dining table. Sam from Inspirational Interiors suggested the Camaro LVT flooring as a wood finish and gray / blue tones complete the island. ‘

Living area of ​​an open space with blue sofa, wooden floor, black and white carpet and blue metal cabinet

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

“The staircase in the middle was a bit of a do-it-yourself job,” says Emma. ‘After we knocked down the wall, we couldn’t have a normal railing and spindles. We considered glass but with children it would have meant dirty handprints. Eventually, Graeme spent £ 50 on lumber and made and painted the simple spindles. ‘

Blue painted living room with brick fireplace, bench and monochromatic carpet

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

“In the living room I really wanted to darken to create a more formal and luxurious evening room, as everything else was so bright,” says Emma. Graeme updated the dated gas fire with a 1970s brick frame, creating a new fireplace with reclaimed brick, a wooden mantle made by an Ebay vendor, and a York stone from a reclamation yard. “It looks a lot more expensive than it is,” adds Emma.

Dark gray living room with gray velvet sofa, black and white boho rug, white studded pouf and white mirror

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

“The plan was to clothe this room, but we didn’t succeed,” says Emma. ‘The glossy varnish instead gives the illusion of wood. Painting the dark wood window frames white also made a huge difference. Graeme looks at sport in here ».

Bedroom with blue paneled walls, beige upholstered bed, blue and white striped linens, and brass sconces

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

In the bedroom, Graeme lined the back wall by attaching the wood to the sticks. “We didn’t paint the back wall and you could see the plaster, so the decorator filled the spaces with a small artist’s brush.”

Cream bathroom with paneled walls, monochromatic patterned floor tiles, blue roll-top tub and gray Shaker style vanity unit

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

The bathroom, with its dated corner tub, also needed updating. Emma’s starting point was a striking image of a navy blue bathroom. “Having seen a lot of expensive courtesy furniture, we saved money by having one made by the same furniture manufacturer who created our dining table,” she adds. “Graeme sent him the sink in the mail and did it for 400 pounds.” Patterned floor tiles make a statement, so Emma kept the rest of the space simple.

Nursery with blue painted walls, monochromatic carpet, white and oak cot and white canopy

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Most of the rooms received the do-it-yourself treatment, including Arla’s. “I was obsessed with having a painted wooden floor in there, which was the bane of Graeme’s life!” adds Emma. ‘She spent about four days smoothing it out and adding some rope between the gaps as the floorboards weren’t good enough. It has since been scratched in hell, so in hindsight, I’d recommend getting a rug as it’s more practical when babies start crawling. ‘

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