This renovated Victorian flat is full of space-enhancing tricks

Pippa Jones turned this run-down flat into a grand yet cozy home that looks way bigger than it is

Pippa Jones house: shot from kitchen into living room with big bay window, white shutters, and dark blue feature wall with oversized mirror over white fireplace
(Image credit: Paul Craig)

Period properties capture our imaginations for good reason: beautiful sash windows and intricate coving are features that a new build just can't live up to. But when it comes to getting your hands on one, many are either expensive or need a lot of work.

Pippa Jones' renovated flat is so well-renovated that it feels like a country house, despite being located in London. She’s played with the proportions of her Victorian property, transforming it into a stunning home that’s retained its period character while taking on Pippa’s stylish, thoughtful touch, too.

Inspired to tackle your own project? We have masses of ideas and helpful advice on what to do and where to start in our feature on house renovation. For more real home transformations, head to our hub page.

Pippa Jones house: living room with big bay window, white shutters, white walls and dark blue feature wall, beige buttoned ottoman coffee table and pink and white rug

Walls painted in Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). Rug, Also Home (opens in new tab). Footstool, Arlo & Jacob (opens in new tab). Armchair, bought at auction. Shutters, Open Shut (opens in new tab) 

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

The owners Pippa Jones (@thelittlepipcompany (opens in new tab)), who works for a global consultancy firm, and her Cavapoo, Peggy
The property A three-bed flat within a Victorian terrace in Clapham, south-west London
Project cost £108,000

'My upbringing centered around the Devonshire countryside, doing up an old rectory my parents bought at auction,' says Pippa. 'We spent our days peeling off old wallpaper, scraping windows and attending antique markets – it’s fair to say I was enchanted by its magic! I think my love for vintage was probably embedded from that experience, but it’s also come from need, too. 

'I love anything to do with property and I’m fascinated by everything – I had a real creative itch before that I’d never really expressed. But because my budget has always been limited, I’ve embraced second-hand in order to achieve the otherwise impossible!

Pippa Jones house: shot towards kitchen with blue painted peninsula and built-in stool, woven basket with logs, and white pendant lights overhead

Kitchen units, Howdens (opens in new tab). Metro tiles, Fired Earth (opens in new tab). Pendant lights, Ebay (opens in new tab). Stone floor, Ceramic Tile Warehouse (opens in new tab). Sink and taps, Ardingly Market

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

'I’d renovated a couple of properties before moving to London, and was renting while I saved up a deposit and figured out where I wanted to live. I’m not shy about taking on a project, and when I saw this place, while it wasn’t what I was looking for – I’d wanted a ground floor flat and outdoor space, though I quickly realized my money wouldn’t go far there – I could see the potential. 

'I spotted a loft hatch when I went to view it and saw that a few other people on the road had done a loft conversion. That was the key, really – through doing that I’ve ended up with three bedrooms and a roof terrace, all over five levels.

Pippa Jones house: master bedroom with white painted floorboards, grey panelled wall, bed with blue and yellow throws and distressed bedside tables with oversized lamps

Bed, Lombok (opens in new tab). Bath, Ebay (opens in new tab). Throws, Nkuku (opens in new tab) and Tweedmill (opens in new tab). Cushions, TheLittlePIPCompany (opens in new tab). Panelling painted in Worsted, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). Bedside lamps, Ardingly Market

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

'When I had the keys, I concentrated on getting the downstairs liveable first, gutting the whole place, and moved in after a few months. I accepted that it would essentially be a very cramped one-bed flat for a while. My builder put a temporary door halfway up the first flight of stairs so that I could feel shut off from the work once they started the second phase, which included the loft conversion. I still had the dust to deal with, but at least I was in!

Pippa Jones house: home office corner with dark blue wall under sloping rooflight, dark blue painted bureau, wood chair and 'When I saw you' monochrome print

Bureau desk, Ebay (opens in new tab). Dark wall painted in Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

'I used a few tricks to make the flat feel spacious, including raising the ceiling height to 3.3m in the living room to create more volume. It’s really unusual for a flat this age, and it’s definitely the biggest "wow" moment for anyone who comes in. 

'Bizarrely, I’m not a fan of open-plan living, but it made sense to have the kitchen and living room as one. I slightly reinstated the partition wall to delineate the different rooms, and I used different flooring to zone the space too. I also replaced the standard-size doors into that room and the middle bedroom with huge double doors, which helps scale things up and makes quite the entrance.

Pippa Jones house: corner of spare bedroom with dark blue-black painted dresser, beige ottoman and large gold-framed mirror, beige carpet and white sloped ceiling with wooden beams

Chest of drawers, Ardingly Market. Carpet, Crucial Trading (opens in new tab). Pouffe, Graham & Green (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

'There’s a place for "old meets new" and modern inclusions, and you do have to be practical, but buying something from a shop doesn’t compare to the charm of pieces you pick up from a fair and transform – like the bedside tables in my master suite, which I got for £30, painted and distressed. The search itself is fun, too. You go looking for something in particular, then spot something else and think, "Oh my God – I know exactly where that’s going to go!"

Pippa Jones house: bathroom with grey sink unit, bronze mirror, monochrome pattern floor and 'It's never too late to live happily ever after' print

Floor tiles, Topps Tiles (opens in new tab). Sink, Ebay (opens in new tab). Metro tiles, Fired Earth (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Paul Craig)

Loft subcontractor Build London (opens in new tab)
Joinery Element Joinery (opens in new tab)

'I love the sitting room and kitchen because it’s so unexpected with the ceiling height, but I’d have to say that my favorite part of the flat is the loft room – it’s my cozy shutaway space. I put a roll top bath in there and even though it’s small, it works. I don’t think an evening goes by where I don’t have a bath before bed and watch TV, read a book or listen to a podcast. It’s one of the best decisions I made.'

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Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.