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Home renovation – 5-bed Victorian terrace in Hampshire

When Claire and Nick Harvey began their search for a new property to renovate in early 2019, they had initially put their now-stunning Victorian terrace at the bottom of the list of potentials.

‘It was directly across the road from our old house, so it seemed crazy moving such a short distance just to start all over again,’ recalls Claire.

Harvey house - five-bedroom Victorian terrace built in 1890 in Southsea, Hampshire
Image credit – James French

Having lovingly restored their existing home, the couple were keen to re-invest in a fresh project, and began to explore other parts of Southsea in Hampshire, but quickly found themselves back to where they’d started.

‘We realised that this house had so much more going for it than other properties on the area, and there was also potential to add a side extension to create a larger kitchen and dining space,’ explains Claire.

‘It also meant we could stay close to the children’s school, and most importantly, all our lovely neighbours that had become good friends. After one more viewing, we were won over!’

They moved across the road in June the same year, and started work straight away.

‘The surveyor had pretty much condemned the electrics, so with two young children, it was imperative we made the house safe,’ says Claire.

Harvey house - living room rear
With large back doors now leading into the newly extended kitchen, this long space has reinstated marble fireplaces sourced from Original Fires to make it feel more connected, while matching Astrid light shades are from Smart Deco Style. The Tulip table is from Habitat and circular jute rug from La Redoute. Image credit – James French

The five-bedroom Victorian terrace, built in 1890, needed new central heating, the boiler had to be moved to the loft ahead of the extension, and the windows were also a big issue.

‘There was only one original sash window out of 20 that would open, and it was a very hot summer,’ recalls Claire.

‘As they all needed repairing or replacing, we opted for dark uPVC sliding sash windows, which were more energy efficient and half the price.’

Harvey house - living room
The couple opted for black uPVC sliding sash windows from ECOslide in keeping with the property and to add a sense of drama to the room. The faux cowhide is from Rug Love. Image credit – James French

Claire and Nick were also keen to make things as comfortable as possible for their two children – Clover, 12 and Gray, 8 – so focused on getting their bedrooms finished first.

Harvey house - boys bedroom
The two-tone painted walls have injected colour into Gray’s bedroom without it feeling overwhelming. The Kura reversible bed is from Ikea and the spotty bedlinen from H&M Home. Image credit – James French

‘We wanted to create a relaxing space for them both to escape to when the noise and mess got too much in the rest of the house,’ says Claire.

‘So we replaced the ceilings and roses, skirting and flooring in both rooms, with Clover choosing the dark walls and pink woodwork in her bedroom herself.’

Harvey house - girls bedroom
The couple’s daughter chose her own colour scheme for her bedroom, a pretty combination of Crown’s Aftershow for the walls and Pashmina for the wardrobe, mantelpiece and skirting. Image credit – James French

The biggest part of the project was the kitchen-diner, and initially the couple couldn’t decide whether to make do with the space or extend out into the side return.

‘In the end we just went for it, and I’m so pleased we did,’ says Claire.

‘We had three specifics: to create a big family-friendly space, to open-up the back to maximise the views of the garden, and to install a glass roof to allow as much light into the east-facing room as possible.’

Harvey house-crittal doors
Image credit – James French

The family’s previous home had a south-facing kitchen and had sunshine for most of the day, so creating a light-filled room was important.

‘We decided not to extend the entire length of the side return, with the aim of creating a layout that had defined areas, rather than one large box,’ explains Claire.

The couple also opened up the back of the house and replaced the old French doors with floor-to-ceiling bifolds.

‘A local architectural engineer, Chris Curnow, helped us draw up some plans and manage the approval process,’ says Claire.

‘We then enlisted the help of Jamie Hartt, a building contractor who came highly recommended. The works started in the October, and although it felt like longer, it took just over 10 weeks to complete.’

Claire and Nick admit they found it tough living in the house with the builders there every day, as it impacted almost every part of their home.

‘At one point, even the upstairs bathroom had a gaping hole in the floor down to the builders working in the kitchen below!’ says Claire.

‘But Jamie and his team were so considerate, and with Christmas looming they worked late every day to ensure there was hot running water and a skeleton kitchen in place.’

The new kitchen is a combination of Ikea cabinets, quartz worktops and a salvaged warehouse floor as a worksurface on the kitchen island.

Harvey house - Kitchen-diner
A side extension has provided enough space for a large table and Eames-style chairs from Pash Classics, with the glass panelled ceiling above letting plenty of light flood in. The bespoke kitchen island creates a natural divide between the cooking and eating areas, while the Missing Chopper ‘Homies’ sign injects fun and colour. Image credit – James French

‘I love hunting for bargains and creating things that don’t blow the budget,’ explains Claire.

‘So Jamie skilfully pulled all the elements together and fitted Douglas Fir flooring throughout the space.’

Everything then stopped when the country went into lockdown, the restrictions of which the couple found difficult to navigate at first. But as the DIY stores remained open, and they spent more time at home, Claire and Nick realised it presented them with an opportunity to get a feel for the house and work through the finishing touches.

The couple have since given their bedroom a fresh new look, with white-washed floors and pink-painted panelling that provides a beautiful backdrop to Claire’s antiques, Ebay finds and modern pops of art – an eclectic mix that runs through the house.

Harvey house- main bedroom
Painting the room in Victory Colours’ Foxglove, Claire has used Ebay finds to add character, from the cabinet and dressing table to the fireplace marble surround, with the cornicing skilfully reinstated by Alan Bailey from Alba Plastercraft. Fun finishing touches include the Bat Cat artwork by Roo Abrook. Image credit – James French

‘I love mixing up new pieces with classic styles that won’t date,’ says Claire.

‘I’m an avid collector of art and interesting charity-shop finds – all the things that give your home the heart and soul that make it unique to you.’

Claire says that the unpredicted lockdown proved to be a really creative period for the couple in finishing their home, and the short leap of faith across the road has really paid off.

‘Our home reflects all our hard work, and we couldn’t be happier with it.’