Real home: a striking 1970s bungalow that mixes vintage and modern

Interior designer Jojo Humes Brown used all her skills to bring a dramatic edge to her renovated home

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow
(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

'Dramatic, diverse and daring’ is how Jojo Humes Brown describes her home style.
Peeking through the reclaimed Crittall doors in the hallway of her house and into the open-plan kitchen, glimpsing a mix of statement artwork and eye-catching interior details, you can already feel the space will be all that – and more.

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Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)
Profile

The owner Interior designer Jojo Humes Brown, who runs design consultancy Sojojo (opens in new tab), lives here with her sons, Cameron, 23, and Teddy, 10, and their Welsh terrier, Hector. The property An architect-designed 1970s single storey, split-level house in Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Project Cost £70,000.

With a backdrop of deep dark blue kitchen cabinetry, contrasted with black, lighter grey and white walls beyond, this house feels immediately bright and welcoming, yet it maintains a warm, cocooning and soothing feel. ‘I wanted to create lots of areas of interest to catch the eye as you first come in,’ Jojo says. ‘A hallway sets the whole tone of a house, and I really wanted to make this one special. Once I had picked the floor tiles, I colour-matched the grey in the tile to the grey walls throughout the space, so that there would be a sense of flow from the outset.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

On any project Jojo works on as an interior designer, she sticks to a palette of four colours. For the lounge, she decided on black, navy blue, grey and brass. Sofa, John Lewis & Partners (opens in new tab). For a beaded chandelier, try Homelia (opens in new tab). For a similar wooden ladder rack, try Tikamoon (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Flashback to four years ago, when Jojo found the house, it was completely different to how it looks now. ‘It was a very plain red-brick bungalow with a lean-to conservatory out the back,’ Jojo recalls. ‘The interior was clad with orange pine and the exterior was surrounded by tall conifers, which made it feel dark and poky.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

The Mid-century wooden sideboard, African drum (used as a coffee table) and leather chair add texture, while walls and shelves are packed with interesting objects and prints. Walls painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). St Ives parquet-effect flooring, Fired Earth (opens in new tab). White chair, sideboard and lighting, Ebay (opens in new tab) and the-barn.co (opens in new tab). Striped rug, Ikea (opens in new tab). Art, Bodie & Fou. Cushions, La Redoute (opens in new tab) and Vanil (opens in new tab). Black side table, La Redoute (opens in new tab). For a similar armchair, try the Cambridge, Maisons du Monde (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Jojo systematically went through the rooms, changing them one by one. At the outset, she decided the family wouldn’t have the budget to live off-site while it was renovated, so going slowly meant they could remain in situ throughout. 

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

Continuing with dark and dramatic inky hues, the kitchen cabinetry is painted in deep navy blue punctuated by metallic brassware, including gold taps, a hanging gold light and gold handles on the doors. ‘I wanted a dark kitchen but not a grey one,’ Jojo says. ‘We kept wall cupboards to the bespoke walled unit above the sink, setting them against black tiles, and contrasted them with the industrial-style island unit.’ Walls painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). Sink and taps, Ebay (opens in new tab). Appliances, AEG. (opens in new tab) Kitchen units, Howdens (opens in new tab). Brass handles, More Handles (opens in new tab). Wall shelves and island, the-barn.co (opens in new tab). Pendant lighting, Urban Cottage Industries (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

‘Because it’s an open-plan house, I wanted to stick with a strong neutral colour palette that would feel impactful and make my artwork stand out,’ Jojo says. ‘I decided on three colours: navy blue, black and grey. There are also pops of green and brass that comes from accessories but not from the furniture or decoration.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

‘The three things I always think about when I’m dressing a room are good lighting, plants and art,’ says Jojo. ‘I love to pick up old and new artwork. To me it really makes our home. Oil paintings in a modern setting are a great aesthetic.’ The original flooring was sanded and finished to match the living area. The grey walls were colour-matched by Dulux to the hallway floor tiles. Table, salvaged; for similar, try the Plank dining table, H&F (opens in new tab). Rug, La Redoute (opens in new tab). For similar chairs, try the Mandy plywood dining chair, HomeDone (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

‘When a house is not about colour, it’s about texture – what makes the living room work are the layers of rugs, throws, sheepskins, plants and art,’ she adds. ‘The beaded chandelier was bought before I planned the space and I wanted it to be the scene-stealer.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

Pendant lights, Ikea (opens in new tab). For an assortment of candlesticks, try Not on the High Street (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

In the snug, the family put down wide Scandi-like floor boards and installed a wood burner on the split face wall. The sofa was made bespoke for Jojo’s design company, while the two leather safari chairs are original 1970s and came from a vintage sale. Black side table, Ikea. Lamp and shade, the-barn.co (opens in new tab). Cushions, Etsy. Rug, Ebay. Flooring, Forewood Floors

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

The first room renovated was the back lounge. ‘We laid new floors, had the builders create a stone fireplace and put in a wood-burner,’ Jojo says. ‘I’ve been through teenage years with my older children (Jojo also has two daughters in their 20s), and I know how important it is to have a separate sitting space. You really do need somewhere to shut the door and have some grown-up time.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

For similar doors, try Crittall (opens in new tab). For a similar basket, try the Chickidee Homeware's black natural seagrass basket, Trouva (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

To achieve the ‘retro with a twist’ style Jojo was going for, she incorporated as many textures and contrasts as she could throughout the house. ‘In the lounge, I had the shelf pre-cast on site by my painter and decorator, and then had a walnut inset box that slots in and protrudes. The concrete contrasts with the wood.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

‘I’m not a fan of a big central light in a bedroom,’ Jojo admits. ‘I’d rather go with a collection of lights, or wall lights and bedside lamps.’ The flooring is walnut-coloured cork tiles. Walls painted in Basalt, Little Greene (opens in new tab). The Girl with the Pink Earring artwork by Nick Smith, Nelly Duff Gallery (opens in new tab). Bedside lamp, Next (opens in new tab). Bedlinen, Soak & Sleep (opens in new tab). Leopard print cushion, Society of Wanderers (opens in new tab). Blanket, Sojojo (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

What was once a dilapidated conservatory at the back of the house, is now an airy lounge you step down to from the kitchen. ‘Because I’m surrounded by pattern and colour every day as an interior designer, I don’t want visual stimulation when I come home,’ Jojo explains.

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

Beaded plant holder, rug and gold floor lamp, Ebay (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

 ‘I wanted a space to just sit and read or gaze at the view, and snuggle up as a family over movies and hot chocolates. Sociable yet cosy.’ A black box steel extension, with three-metre-high floor-to-ceiling windows leading out to the patio, replaced the old lean-to. Beyond is half an acre of fields. 

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

Dark blues and blacks create a grown-up space for 10-year-old Teddy. Bed, Ebay (opens in new tab). Walls painted in Hague Blue and bed painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Now that the house is finished, Jojo is delighted with the result: ‘It’s a really social space that can soak up people easily, yet also feels cosy and homely. I just love the light and the openness. I’m so happy with what we have achieved.’

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

‘I wanted to keep as many 1970s decorating ideas in this house as I could,’ reveals Jojo, on why she opted for a deep purple bathroom. Walls painted in Maraschino Mocha 1, Dulux (opens in new tab). Stool, Ebay (opens in new tab). Basket, Sojojo (opens in new tab). Towels, Next (opens in new tab). Plants, Columbia Road Flower Market (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

Interior designer Jojo Humes renovated and modernised 1970s bungalow

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

This project was taken from Real Homes magazine. For more ideas, inspiration and style advice, get Real Homes delivered to your door every month with a subscription (opens in new tab)

Front cover of the July issue of Real Homes magazine

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

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