Dated 1970s house redesigned for the 21st century

Architect Paul Testa and builder Terry Huggett transformed a 70s house into a fabulous modern home. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Jeremy Phillips

A 1970s house was redesigned by Paul Testa Architects to create this modern home

It’s hard to believe that Jodie and Andy Thake’s fabulous modern home began life as a 1970s house with all the hallmarks of that era. Its remarkable metamorphosis is thanks to patience and to a dream team, which consisted of award-winning architect Paul Testa and renowned builder Terry Huggett.

The Thakes bought the property eight years ago and sacrificed style for extra space in one of Sheffield’s most sought-after locations. “I was expecting our third child and we had a two-bedroom Edwardian house so we needed to move somewhere bigger and quickly,” says Jodie. “We were looking for something pretty with a garden but we couldn’t find anything. This was classic 1970s and wasn’t really what we wanted but we could see it had potential.”

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It was also at the top end of their budget and saving up for the radical makeover they wanted took almost six years. While many of us would have found the wait unbearable and might have taken a piecemeal approach to updating the house, the Thakes held their nerve.

The house before its transformation

“We’d seen some friends renovate in dribs and drabs and they didn’t get the aesthetic they really wanted, so we decided to live with the house as it was until we had saved for what we really wanted,” says Jodie.

When the time for action came, they asked Paul Testa to pitch for the redesign. “We had friends who had used Paul to design their extension and we really liked that. He came round to discuss what we wanted and the first set of drawings he produced were perfect and that’s exactly what the house looks like now,” says Jodie. “He gave us what we asked for and a lot more. He also came up with some great ideas.”

Paul’s mission was to redesign the exterior and to devise a new layout inside to turn the dark and disconnected spaces into a light, modern home that flowed. Stylish wood cladding, new render and grey aluminium windows and doors have transformed the front and rear facades.

Increased insulation and air-tightness combined with thermally-efficient windows and doors have made the property much warmer and draught-free. At the front of the house, a new, double-height atrium has flooded the entrance hall and first floor landing with light. It also has added functionality with built-in storage on the ground floor and a study area on the first floor.

The rear of the redesigned property

An old dormer over the part of the garage was removed and the bedroom was extended across the whole of the garage and given an attractive pitched roof.

Top of Jodie and Andy’s wish list was a large, light-filled living kitchen to replace the existing one, which was small and dark. So, a new two-storey extension at the rear of the property houses a much larger kitchen, dining area on the ground floor with extra bedroom space above.

The enormous living kitchen is connected to the garden by a large picture window and glazed, bi-fold doors, which enable the family to enjoy the view and keep an eye on the children when they are playing outside.

“We had a cramped kitchen before and the house had three bedrooms and a box room. Now we’ve got an amazing kitchen and five double bedrooms,” says Jodie.

The new living kitchen is spacious and full of natural light

Terry Huggett Developments did the construction and fit-out. Terry, a design aficionado who specialises in contemporary builds, renovations and restorations, took the 1970s structure back to its “bones” in order to create something completely different. “He was amazing and a true professional. He had so many good ideas and he helped me cut the budget where possible,” says Jodie.

The project took the best part of a year during which time she, Andy and their children moved into rented accommodation.

“Paul Testa Architects part project managed and I went up every other day on my way to work,” says Jodie, who used Pinterest to gather ideas on interior design.

“It’s not really my thing but I like Scandi design and I’m a fan of Habitat so with that and Pinterest I managed. I didn’t have time to traipse around so everything was decided on and bought quickly.”

The kitchen is from Karl Benz in Sheffield

She kept the main colour palette simple with Farrow and Ball greys and whites and invested in a new kitchen from Karl Benz in Sheffield. The lights above the island are from Habitat.

In the separate sitting room, there is a smart herringbone wood floor and a wood-burning stove, which sits against a panel of tiles from Sheffield-based Nick Firth Tiles. The long run of wardrobes in the main bedroom are from Ikea and were installed by a joiner.

The total cost of the redesign, including the new kitchen and the interiors spend, was £240,000 but it has proved to be a sound investment.The house cost £465,000 in 2012 and is now worth £800,000.

“We spent a lot more than we had budgeted for but that includes everything and it was a good investment for us as a family. We love the house and I can’t see us moving. The amount of light, the lovely big kitchen, the extra space and the way it all flows has made a big difference to our lives,” says Jodie. "It just makes you feel happier.”

Paul Testa Architecture, www.paultestaarchitecture.co.uk; Terry Huggett Developments, www.terryhuggettdevelopments.com;

Karl Benz Kitchens, www.karlbenz.co.uk; Nick Firth Tiles, www.nickfirthtiles.com

The new look sitting room

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One of the bedrooms with Ikea wardrobes fitted by a joiner
Left to Right: Architect Paul Testa, Andy and Jodie Thake and builder Terry Huggett
The house after its redesign