Out of the ordinary

David and Mina Allport
David and Mina Allport
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David and Mina Allport transformed a dated redbrick house in the suburbs of Leeds into a beautiful contemporary home. Sharon Dale reports.

Some houses have had their day and their design and layout simply don’t stand the test of time.

There are thousands of examples littering our suburbs and while bulldozing relics from the 60s and 70s isn’t usually an option, you can turn them into something beautiful.

David and Mina Allport proved it possible after transforming a dated redbrick detached into a stunning contemporary home.

The couple bought the property last September after deciding to downsize and release equity from their previous home.

Their search was limited to the sought-after area of Alwoodley in Leeds, where they have lived for the last 17 years.

“We also wanted a project because we have learnt that even if a house was done, we always wanted to put our own kitchens and bathrooms in and redecorate, so it made sense to buy something that needed modernising,” says David.

“When we first viewed this house, Mina had a list of things she didn’t like including the red brick, the staircase and the garage but we knew there was potential, the location was perfect and it was south facing.”

He sketched out some ideas and with more creative input from an architect their plans to extend and remodel were accepted by Leeds City Council

Part of the old garage next to the house was moved to the back garden and turned into a summer house. In its place they added an extension and created a new £10,000 underground garage that was topped with a patio.

The extension is linked to the original house with a glazed porch and triple glazed door and has created a kitchen complete with vaulted ceiling and roof lights, while upstairs there is a new bedroom and en-suite wet room.

The old sitting room and dining room have been opened up into a large open plan space and the old kitchen is now a utility room.

The whole house was rendered to hide the brick and new windows and doors have been installed. The three bedroom bog standard house built in 1968 is now a handsome, four bedroom, two bathroom home.

At first, friends and family thought it was an ambitious plan but Mina was excited at creating her own “grand design”. She is a big fan of Kevin McCloud’s cult self-build show.

Having recently retired, they also decided they had lots of time to devote to the property.

“Time is a big factor. We are retired and had time to think about things and that made a big difference to the design and budget. It would’ve been difficult working full-time and doing something like this,” says David, who worked in international sales for a computer aided design system company.

Findng a builder wasn’t difficult, thanks to the recession. As soon as they submitted plans, they had 30 letters through the door from contactors offering to do the job.

They chose Emsley builders, who started on site in December, while David and Mina busied themselves sourced materials.

Mina is a great bargain hunter and tracked down much of what she wanted at a cut price after spending hours researching products on the internet.

The modern Dru fire in the sitting room cost her £1,300 and was one of her best buys. It is new but she managed to find it on eBay for half price. The bespoke surround was by created by a joiner.

She managed to negotiate down the price of the black sink that now adds wow factor to the cloakroom, though it still caused some debate with David.

“David didn’t think it was necessary but I managed to persuade him. He kept a very close eye on my spending,” says Mina.

The kitchen units are from Ikea and were built by David, while the sink is Franke and was bought new from an internet shop for half the showroom price. The carcasses of the old units were re-used in the utility room with some fresh doors.

The old staircase was modified and revamped and the clear glass window on the stairwell replaced with new stained glass that adds both colour and interest while hiding the view of the neighbour’s roof. Furniture is mainly from their previous home, though Mina has added to her collection of chandeliers and everything is set against a backdrop that they painted themselves. The building work took just four months and the budget did run over slightly. They realised a new roof was needed and that cost £3,000.

They also realised that a small redbrick wall at the front of the house wouldn’t match the new façade, so spent an extra £4,500 on a new wall and electronic wooden gates.

The extra spend was worth it and the gates provide the perfect finishing touch.

So would they do it again? “No,” says David, who says he found the snagging at the end of the process very stressful.

“Yes, I’d love to,” says an ebullient Mina.

She may get her way, as the couple are contemplating moving.

“The idea when we bought this was that we were going to downsize but the problem, is that emotionally you don’t really want to do it and that’s why we now have a house that is a similar size to the one we left,” says David.

“But we love it. It is exactly how we envisaged it and we definitely won’t mind staying.”

Useful Contacts

Emsley Builders. Tel: 0113 268 3284, email: emsleybuilders@yahoo.com

Architect: JMA Consulting. Tel: 0113 217 7051, 07931 380774

Glass balconies: Glass & Mirror Technology. Tel: 01924 380038, www.tltd.net

Motorised gates. Premier Fabrications. Tel: 0113 244 2356

Carpets. W. Brown & Co. Tel: 0113 258 4981

Garden by GM Landscapes. Tel: 07989 321207

Garage door. Birkdale Tel: 0113 267 0074.