When Katy Friedman and her husband Alan were planning on moving from their home in Kent, Katy came across an article on the Channel Islands property market, which was focussing on the island of Alderney.
‘I’d never heard of it, but I fell in love with the places featured on the island,’ says Katy.
The couple decided to book a short trip to Alderney. Impressed by what they saw on the island, they put their house up for sale and, within a few months, had moved into a rental property on the island.
As they were not in a hurry to put down roots, they continued renting for the next two years, until one day when Katy saw a bungalow for sale in an estate agent’s window.
The owners: Katy and Alan Friedman, who run Aceparts, a vehicle parts and accessories company, live here with their two children, William, six, and Jett, four
‘It was the only property without a floor plan. The estate agent tried sketching one out for me, but it was difficult to envisage because the layout was rather complicated,’ she explains. ‘That intrigued me, so I decided to arrange a viewing.’
Katy was amazed to discover 16 rooms inside the 167m² bungalow.
‘I couldn’t believe there were so many, especially as it didn’t look big enough to house that number of rooms, though some of them looked like they were crammed in,’ she says. ‘There was also a 6x2m conservatory tacked on the back which didn’t really add anything to the property, apart from extra space.’
The bungalow had been on the market for four years. Although the original asking price was around £450,000, Katy and Alan managed to snap it up for £300,000 as the owners were eager to sell.
They were in no doubt, however, that it would need a lot of investment – and hard work – to turn it into a comfortable home.
‘It wasn’t just a maze of awkward sized rooms, the décor and fixtures were also very dated,’ Katy explains.
The couple decided to gut the property completely, ripping out all the fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms. It left them with a perfect blank canvas, so they could start redesigning the layout.
‘We originally planned to knock through one wall between the living room and dining room to open up the space,’ says Katy. ‘We changed our minds, though, and opted instead for an open-plan kitchen/dining/living room, especially as we had plenty of rooms to play with,’ says Katy.
They hired an architect to draw up plans for the new open-plan layout but were disappointed with his ideas.
‘He didn’t capture our vision, which was all about space and light,’ says Katy.
The couple commissioned Paul Lawford (cintradevelopments.com), an architect friend who is now based in Australia, in the hope that he could deliver their dream new home.
‘I’m so glad we contacted Paul,’ says Katy. ‘His proposed plans ticked all the right boxes for us – the layout was more open-plan, maximising the property’s brighter west-facing position and utilising all the space.’
The original layout’s living space was located in the darker, front-facing part of the bungalow, while four bedrooms occupied the sunnier spots.
‘The layout didn’t make sense that way round, so Paul reconfigured it completely,’ says Katy. ‘Now, from the kitchen and dining area, we look out to the west-facing garden, which means the evening sun streams through our windows.’
By remodelling the layout, the number of rooms has been reduced from 16 to 10. Fortunately, the couple were able to gut the bungalow and start from scratch thanks to its self-supporting struts, which meant that if every internal wall were removed the house would still be structurally safe.
An open-plan kitchen/dining/living area was high on Katy and Alan’s priorities.
‘When we moved to Alderney, our first house had an open-plan kitchen/dining/ living space – although it was small, it cosy for us as a family,’ says Katy. ‘The next house we rented had a separate kitchen and dining room – I spent my time running between the rooms during mealtimes.’
Katy wasn’t happy with the size of the bungalow’s kitchen as it was only 4×2.5m. They needed to borrow some space, so they knocked through the kitchen wall to a small utility room and demolished one of the original living room walls.
‘That created a dining area of 4x4m with a 5x4m kitchen alongside, which was perfect for us and the children,’ says Katy.
As most of the family’s living space would be within the open-plan kitchen/ dining/living room, it was essential that the couple decided on the design of the kitchen at an early stage.
‘We consulted several kitchen designers but thought their ideas were uninspiring, so we decided to see what we could come up with ourselves,’ says Katy.
While the couple were visiting the house to check on the progress of the renovation work, Alan mapped out a kitchen layout, using masking tape on the floor.
‘We had already settled on the style of units – we wanted a simple design with a mix of high-gloss units,’ says Katy.
As one of their key objectives was to create more light in the property, the couple added six metres of bi-folding sliding doors across the length of the kitchen.
‘They’re an investment buy and have made a massive difference,’ says Katy.
An underfloor heating system has been installed throughout the bungalow, mainly because Katy and Alan didn’t want traditional radiators.
‘It’s a 12-zone system, which means each of the room’s temperature can be controlled individually. It’s very effective,’ she explains.
Meanwhile, in the living area, they have installed an eco-friendly wood-burning Stovax stove, which serves as a focal point and adds to the cosy feel.
‘The stove cost £1,500 – but when you include the flue, installation and other extras, it came to around £6,000, but we think it was worth it,’ says Katy.
The other major construction work included turning the flat-roofed workshop attached to the bungalow into an en suite and utility room and converting the garage into another bedroom.
They shopped around for ideas to remodel their own en suite, as Katy explains: ‘We considered many designs before choosing an Art Deco theme, which we think works beautifully.’
It was essential to rewire the bungalow’s dated electrics throughout. However, that created some challenges too, not least where to locate the plugs.
‘That’s because we were not sure at that early stage how we would use each room, so it was difficult knowing where we’d want the sockets later,’ Katy explains. ‘Paul, our architect, gave us a great tip – he told us to think through our daily routines which, in turn, would help us identify where the plugs and light switches should be placed – and it worked.’
The lighting is cleverly divided into eight zones and controlled by three independent switches: one in the kitchen, one beside the door leading into the hallway and the other close to the master bedroom.
‘It’s brilliant. Whichever area you’re in, you can control every light in the house,’ says Katy. ‘When we go to bed, we simply push one button and all the lights in the living space are switched off.’
When they came to choose the decorating schemes, Alan wanted white painted walls throughout – but Katy was wary of it showing too many marks, especially with two young children, so they compromised, choosing Dulux Clouded Pearl 1 Vinyl Silk for its darker shade.
‘It was a good choice as it complements the American walnut wood flooring in most of our rooms,’ says Katy. ‘We had bought various samples of flooring, but because they were no bigger than coaster size it was difficult to decide. Luckily, it works – we adored the rich walnut tone so much that we bought matching walnut doors.’
As the renovation work took nine months, the couple had to make plenty of decisions about design and structural changes. It‘s all been a complete success and they’re delighted with their light-filled contemporary bungalow. Its large garden was also given a facelift with a decking area for outdoor dining and plenty of lawn for the children to run around.
‘There weren’t any problems, I’m glad to say, and we’re thrilled with how it’s worked out,’ says Katy. ‘It’s the perfect family home – we’re so glad we came to Alderney.’
|Garden work, inc. decking||£9,000|