Real home: a contemporary update for a dated bungalow

Nick Mattick and Steven Phillips opened up and updated the interior of their architect-designed bungalow, removing dated fixtures and finishes to create an open-plan kitchen/diner with bi-fold doors that lead out to a garden designed for outdoor entertaining

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When Nick Mattick and Steven Phillips bought their 1970s bungalow with a view to giving it a complete overhaul, they already had a head start in the renovation game. ‘Although it was a complete change of property style – we were swapping an Edwardian terrace for a modern, single-storey house – we had completed a large-scale renovation on our last home, so we weren’t afraid to take on a labour-intensive project,’ explains Nick.

The couple had loved the central Cardiff location of their previous home, but it didn’t have the outside space that they craved. ‘We wanted a detached house that wasn’t too far from the city centre, with a sizeable outside area for socialising, as well as plenty of space for our two dogs,’ adds Nick. ‘We eventually identified Dinas Powys as a potential location, as it’s situated only five miles from Cardiff city centre and has plenty of open countryside nearby.’

Fact file

  • The owners: Nick Mattick, who works in medical recruitment, lives here with his partner Steven Phillips, who is employed in financial services
  • The property: A four-bedroom bungalow, built in the 1970s
  • The location: Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales
  • What they spent: The couple bought the property in 2010 for £312,000 and have spent around £191,000 on renovation work. It has recently been valued at around £550,000

Kitchen with white units

Bathroom in updated bungalow

Bedroom in contemporary redesigned bungalow

The build

As the project involved replacing all the basic internal functions, such as the electrics, Nick and Steven moved into a rental property they own when the tenancy came to an end. ‘This allowed us to maintain some sanity while the work was being carried out,’ says Nick, who explains that living off-site gave them space to think more clearly about the project decisions they needed to make. ‘It also meant that the builders were able to have a free run of the whole site.’

Although Nick and Steven had been through a renovation project before, they knew this property would bring its own challenges due to its age, style and location. ‘No two projects are the same,’ explains Nick. Luckily, the project overran by only two months, which was mainly caused by the extra time taken to install the underfloor heating into the existing concrete raft on which the bungalow sits. Digging down into the slab to provide enough depth to house the heating was both costly and time-consuming. ‘Industrial concrete sanders were brought in to remove the 6cm of top layer that needed to come off,’ says Nick. ‘We also had to create pipe channel troughs in the slab throughout the house, as previously the plumbing had either run through cavity walls, or was exposed and boxed in at some very odd places.’

Modern shower in redesigned bungalow

Interior design

The interior of the entire bungalow was completely re-plastered, while a coat of external rendering has freshened up the exterior. ‘The house is very light and airy and we wanted to retain that ambience, so all the walls are painted white and the living areas have the same ceramic tiled flooring, which is clean and simple in terms of appearance,’ says Nick.

As it’s a single-storey property, Nick and Steven wanted to ensure that there was a clear division between living and sleeping areas, so the bedrooms and walkways were carpeted to create a softer feel. ‘We also wanted to make the most of the views over the garden, so we organised the open-plan living room to focus attention on the outside space,’ adds Steven. ‘It’s the most amazing room to relax in when the weather is good and the bi-fold doors are pulled back – you could be anywhere; it has such a luxurious feeling.’

Bathroom in redesigned bungalow

The finished project

So, is there anything this renovation-wise couple would have done differently? ‘We were disappointed by the national kitchen supplier we used, as the service and installation were challenging to say the least,’ admits Nick. ‘We wished we had gone with our gut feeling and hired a local kitchen company. If we were to take on another project in the future, this is one thing we would do differently.’

That minor disappointment aside, Nick and Steven can now enjoy the supremely stylish home that they have worked so hard to create. ‘Landscaping the garden and installing outdoor lighting were the finishing touches to our project,’ says Nick who, with Steven, transformed what was the previous cottage-style rockery garden into a contemporary oasis of calm. ‘We just hope there will be lots of sunny days for us to enjoy spending time in it.’

The costs

Building work£120,000