Selling their perfect, chocolate box cottage was a wrench for Lindsey and Damian Green but a need for space took priority over style. After looking at over 50 characterful older houses, they decided to compromise and bought a 1960s dormer bungalow that offered plenty of square footage.
“I didn’t fall in love with it but it ticked all the boxes apart from the look and the layout. We bought with our heads not our hearts but I cried for a week when I first moved in,” says Lindsey, who has two children, Will, nine, and seven-year-old Mimi.
The dated property, in a pretty village near York, was certainly no looker thanks to a mishmash of additions including a flat-roofed rear extension, a uPVC conservatory and a car port and garage. Inside, there was a sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms on the ground floor and another two bedrooms upstairs.
It took patience, ingenuity and vision to turn the bungalow into a stunning family home that has guests gasping in admiration.
“People said ‘why don’t you knock it down and start again?’ and in ideal world we would’ve done but financially it wasn’t an option for us, so we worked with what we had and even then we had to do it in phases,” says Lindsey.
They began by rewiring, replumbing and reconfiguring the space, knocking down walls and losing corridors to create large, airy rooms. The carport and garage were demolished to make way for a side extension and the couple built above the flat roof to create another two bedrooms. They also extended up at the front of the house to squeeze another room into the roof, giving them four bedrooms and two en-suites upstairs. They also sacrificed space on the first floor to create a double-height space and galleried landing above the dining room.
The kitchen was created out of two bedrooms and features glazed, bi-folding doors that flood the room with light. The chimney breast acts a divider and boasts a new, double-sided fire. Openings either side lead into the dining room, which connects to the new sitting room.
At the front of the property, there is a ground-floor bathroom, office and the stockroom for Lindsey’s online shop, www.greenandcohome.co.uk. Lindsey, a former florist who has a degree in fashion and textiles, launched the company three years ago. “It began when I couldn’t find a noticeboard for the kitchen,” she says. “I was looking for something high quality, in a heritage colour to match the Farrow and Ball paint in my kitchen, but there was nothing available. I realised there was a gap in the market, so I decided to design and produce a range myself.”
It won Best New Home Product at the prestigious Top Drawer trade fair but her idea was copied so she has moved on to a new range of locally-manufactured mugs, tea towels, coasters and greetings cards, all imprinted with funny and heart-warming phrases and sentiments. They’ve become best-sellers.
Lindsey’s creativity and hands-on approach have helped give the house a cohesive, contemporary look, influenced by her love of Scandinavian interiors and coastal homes.
The front exterior has been clad in oak and the plastic guttering replaced with metal versions from Lindab. “I got that idea from timber-clad houses on the North Norfolk coast,” she says.
“We knocked the render off, battened the wall out and then put the cladding on. It gives the house a softer feel and it will weather to a silver colour.” The rear elevation of the house is rendered and painted white.
Inside, Lindsey has used Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath and Strong White, along with chalky Annie Sloan paint from local stockists Mr Toad, in Killinghall. Clutter is kept to a minimum.
“I’m a believer in buying key quality items and mixing them with less expensive and vintage pieces,” she says.
Favourite brands include Habitat, Designers Guild and Jan Constantine and she enjoys hunting for treasures at the Newark Antique Fairs and in Home Sense. The kitchen features shelving and free-standing units from Habitat, which are sandwiched together to create a centre island. Beech units have been painted in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey and a dresser acts as extra storage.
The lights are from Pedlars and an old vintage bottle dryer from Pash in Easingwold is perfect for holding mugs. The refectory table was made by a local joiner and the butlers’ trays that act as side tables in the sitting room are from the Garden Trading Company.
The garden was another challenge. At the far end, the couple decided to create a sunken garden room and play area, while to the side they have a little summer house for Mimi to play in. The decked patio is the perfect place for dining after Lindsey revamped her old Habitat table by whitewashing it. A great DIYer, she also made the planters and the Amish star herself.
“I whitewashed everything including the decking because I wanted a Scandi feel. I spent days on my knees doing that,” she says.
It was a finishing touch to the eight-year project to turn the bungalow into their ideal home.
“It’s taken a long time but now, for the first time, I have no desire to move,” Lindsey says. “I don’t miss our old cottage at all.”