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Keeping the love in our house

Words: Kate Thompson. Photos: Millard Installations Ltd.

Like many couples, Paula and her husband Andy truly love their Southsea home, but there was one little niggle that stopped it being perfect.

“From the moment we saw it, we really loved it but there were issues with the layout.

“And the longer we lived here, the more we realised we weren’t making the most of the space,” explained Paula.

The dining room was, to all intents and purposes, a glorified corridor to the garden. It was only ever used for formal meals at Christmas or parties and the rest of the time it languished.


“When we contacted the architect Carl Leroy-Smith he got the brief immediately and understood what we wanted to do. He gave us a scheme that would mean the dining room was re-deployed in a way that worked for us as a family,” said Paula.


“He managed to keep the love in house by retaining features like the Victorian windows but at the same time, he made the space more usable and created our beautiful kitchen diner with a separate utility room.”


Engaging a builder to take on the project proved tricky — it seemed many weren’t keen to entertain taking on the project to sympathetically transform the Victorian terraced home.


“And then we found Darren Millard of Millard Installations Ltd and he was more than happy to help. I can’t speak more highly about Darren and his team — they were awesome,” said Paula.


When asked if she has any advice for others planning to take on a major building project at home, Paula conceded that she wished she had moved into an Airbnb while some of the work was done.


“There’s no getting away from the fact that work like this creates a huge amount of dust — Darren and his team were brilliant at clearing up after themselves, but it still got everywhere.


“If I were to do it again, I would definitely move out for a few days while the worst of the work was completed,” she said.


While others resort to mood boards or calling upon the services of an interior designer, Paula explained she has a more instinctive approach when it comes to the look and feel of the reconfigured space.


“We have got a bit of a chaotic colour scheme. My husband chose the colour of the cabinets, while I chose the Little Greene wallpaper and when I spotted the orange sofa in M&S I knew that would go perfectly.

“And then everything else fell into place,” she said.


While the object of the exercise wasn’t to gain more room, rather to make the space work better for them, she was delighted with the outcome.


Paula added: “It’s not a huge kitchen but it is perfect. I love the sky window – (I am a great lover of clouds and love to gaze at them through it).


“We have pull-out cabinets and drawers instead of cupboards — it works so well for us,”


“Now we can have everybody in the same room, listening to music and having a chat and they can see all the cock-ups I am making in the kitchen. 


“We have ended up with a beautiful kitchen/diner.”

Posted in: Articles, Home & Garden