Extend your property search area to get “more bang for your buck” is the advice often given by Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer when helping house hunters in the TV series Location, Location, Location.
There have been many happy endings for those following this guidance and Chloe Preece is proof that it works. After saving to move up the property ladder, she was keen to swap her small apartment in Pontefract for a house with outside space.
Struggling to get what she wanted within her budget, she found “the one” in nearby Knottingley and has no regrets about moving “over the border”: “You definitely get more house for your money in Knottingley and it’s a great place to live. People here are really friendly and the high street is lovely, as is the walk along the canal. Plus there’s a train station with services to Leeds and the AI and M62 are a few minutes drive away,” says Chloe.
The house is set over three floors with a kitchen, utility room, dining room and sitting room. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a bathroom and outside there is a large south-facing space.
The move has resulted in great happiness as Chloe has since married her soul mate Dan and the couple now have a 19 month-old son, Roman. It’s been a busy four years since she got the keys to the door and so the major revamp of the house has been done in stages when time and money allowed.
“When I moved, I wanted a fresh start with interiors so I didn’t bring anything with me apart from clothes and shoes,” she says.
The house, which had been newly renovated by the former owner, didn’t need any work but lacked character and colour. “I’ve really enjoyed redecorating because my previous home was very small so I didn’t have much chance to spread my wings with the interiors,” says Chloe, a self-confessed maximalist who set up a Pinterest board to gather ideas for each room.
She also sought inspiration from Instagram, where she and Dan star as teampreece. Among her first big ticket purchases were wooden shutter blinds from Shutter Craft and a cosy log burner for the sitting room.
The walls in this room are in Royal Concerto by Valspar on the walls with a ceiling in Charcoal Sketch. The Raffles sofas are from DFS and the mirror over the fire was from La Redoute. Pictures fill the walls and include a portrait of Chloe and Dan in their fabulous, less than conventional wedding outfits.
There are also plenty of prints, including some from Ikea, while the “Love Me” picture is from Marcie K designs Another favourite artist is a fellow “Trekkie” who trades as www.makeitsocreations.co.uk.
Chloe and Dan commissioned them to make the "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot", hand painted sign for the kitchen. “It’s a nod to Captain Picard from Star Trek as it’s his favourite drink,” says Chloe.
The kitchen had already been newly installed by the previous owner and, although Chloe and Dan wouldn’t have chosen it, they didn’t want to rip it out and be wasteful. Instead they spent money on the dining room.
“The chimney breast had been plasterboarded but we decided to expose the brick, which was not straightforward,” says Chloe. "There were obscenities spray painted on the beautiful brick and we had to use brick acid to get them off, which took ages, though it was worth it in the end.”
Upstairs, the Preeces invested in a timeless bedroom suite in solid oak, spending high with a view that it would last for decades. The walls are white with a supersize rattan pendant shade from Ikea.
The previously all white bathroom is a triumph and shows what you can do on a budget if you are creative. Chloe painted the walls in Valspar’s charcoal sketch and the bath panel was painted wasabi chocolate, a muted green. Stick on patterned vinyl from Jes Rose Vinyl was cut into squares and added to the bath panel to great effect.
On the second floor, a vast room they have christened “the Nook”, is multi-functional with a guest bed, a play area for Roman, a desk for home working and a cross trainer. An ikea kitchen rail and hooks on the wall next to the bath is perfect for hanging plants on and there are plants everywhere in this house, mostly real with a few faux.
Among the tallest are the seven foot fig, a five-and-a-half foot Bird of Paradise, a large Monstera, a huge Euphorbia and a fern named Sideshow Bob, after The Simpsons character. “I chat to them and I’ve started propagating them to give to friends. We have well over 100 plants and it takes me two hours to water them all but the difference they make to a home is incredible,” says Chloe. “The greenery is really calming and the air indoors is always fresh.”
Outside, Chloe and Dan saved to have the concreted yard replaced with a resin surface from The Yorkshire Resin Company in Morley and have invested in seating and tables from Ikea, while the three metre parasol was £60 from Dunelm. The next project is the second floor guest room/playroom/office.
Whether this is the Preece’s forever home is up for discussion but Chloe says: “We may move at some point in the future but not for a few years. We love the house and now it’s almost finished, we want to enjoy it.”
Useful Contacts: Find Chloe and Dan on Instagram at teampreece. Window shutter blinds, www.shuttercraft.co.uk. Resin yard by The Yorkshire Resin Company, www.yorkshire-resin-company.co.uk/ .Marcie K designs, www.marciekdesigns.com. Make It So Creations, makeitsocreations.co.uk. Jes Rose stick-on vinyl, www.jesrose.co.uk