Real home: a former Co-op corner shop becomes a sunny, open home

It took a lot of creativity for this architect to transform a commercial property into his bright family home

Former two-storey shop converted to a family home, with grey and black cladding
(Image credit: David Barbour)

Had first impressions counted for much, Tim and Lizzie Bayman might not be enjoying their current home. Former owners had converted the property from a shop into a dark two-storey family dwelling in the 1980s. ‘It was a terrible conversion,’ recalls Tim. ‘When I showed Lizzie the property details, she said “No way!”.’

Read how Tim got on, and check out our dedicated page for more real home transformations. Read more about house renovation in our expert guide. 

Front door and window of former shop with landing for bike storage and yellow staircase leading downstairs

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(Image credit: David Barbour)
Project notes

The owners Tim Bayman, an architect, and his wife Lizzie, a doctor, live here with their son Theo, four, and spaniel George.
The property A two-bedroom former shop unit in Edinburgh.
Project cost £73,550.

Tim was setting up his own architectural practice and looking for a property renovation as an inaugural project. ‘They’d tried to make the shop more house-like by taking out elements such as the large front window, but that just cut out all the light,’ he recalls. ‘When I first viewed the place I took some general dimensions, put together some ideas, and spoke to the local planners. They said, “anything would be better than what’s there now”.’ 

Family sit around dining table playing with toys

Staircase, Gordon Bow Engineering. Ceiling light, Nordlux. David Rowland 40/4 chairs, Howe

(Image credit: David Barbour)

At the time, Tim and Lizzie were living nearby in a small one-bedroom flat. They reviewed the potential of the property, particularly its size, which was almost double what they had, and purchased it for £161,000 – which left a little under £70,000 of their pooled resources to bring the property back to life. ‘The budget wasn’t a huge amount for a complete refit of a house, with the additional cost of a mezzanine as a new office space and a new roof,’ Tim says. ‘For that reason, it made sense to try to build as much as possible myself.’

White kitchen leading out to dining area and front door

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(Image credit: David Barbour)

With planners onside, Tim collaborated with joiner Guy Scott and Edinburgh-based contractors Inscape Joinery on a five-month refit. He started by reinstating the ‘shop front’ window of the two-storey block. ‘You need a large bit of glass in the front to bring light into the building,’ he explains. He also opted to add a new pitch roof with rooflights, bringing in even more direct sunlight.

Understair bookshelves and stairs with yellow bannister leading up to front entrance

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(Image credit: David Barbour)
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(Image credit: Katie Lee)

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Inside, Tim remodelled the interior to create an open-plan space with a raw, industrial aesthetic. An exposed steel staircase in vibrant yellow leads up to a mezzanine-level office area, while in the other direction, the bespoke plywood staircase reveals a basement living room with woodburning stove. A bedroom and bathroom sit tucked away at the back of the property.

The tight budget meant that more has been conjured from less. ‘The key to this project is that nothing is expensive,’ Tim explains. ‘I knew the scale of the job from the start. The idea that Guy and I would do as much of the work as possible in order to meet the tight budget did inform the design and planning.’ 

Partitions are simple plywood and the stainless-steel staircase is ‘fairly crude – and deliberately so,’ Tim says. ‘It’s an economic “just enough” approach. I don’t need to take it beyond where it needs to be. The roof material is usually used in supermarkets and big industrial sheds. Aesthetically, I like the alternating stripes. In the same way people like cottages with beams, I like its visible structure.’

Black dog sitting on yellow industrial style staircase

(Image credit: David Barbour)

The result is Tim’s ideal family home. ‘As an architect, it was great to be involved in the actual hands-on joinery work, from rough framing to finished birch ply bookshelves,’ he says. ‘I learned I have a love of joinery and a hatred of decorating! If in the future we decide to move, we’d like to build somewhere from scratch.’

Stove in a living room with yellow metal ceiling beam, wooden chair and black coffee table

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(Image credit: David Barbour)

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