Victorian villa extended up and out

Jeny and Chris Beardsley have transformed their beautiful Victorian home by extending up and out

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With its high ceilings, original fireplaces, elegant period details and traditional façade, it’s easy to see what first attracted Jeny and Chris Beardsley to their handsome semi-detached property on the south side of the Union Canal in Edinburgh’s Polwarth area.

The previous owner had lived there for 35 years and the décor throughout was incredibly dated. In addition to updating the interior décor, the Beardsleys needed to modernise the layout of the property. Creating a bigger family bathroom was the couple’s first priority, so they decided to convert one of the existing bedrooms, while the original bathroom would become an en suite for the master bedroom. To regain the lost bedroom, they decided to convert their huge attic.

Having worked with architectural technician Malcolm Ross of MCR Design on a previous project, they turned to the same company once again. Plans were drawn up for the loft conversion, with the couple finding the planning permission process relatively straightforward.

After living with the downstairs layout, Jeny and Chris enlisted Malcolm Ross and structural engineer Adam Sedgwick of Edge Structural Design, and plans were drawn up to extend and transform the rear of the ground floor. Once again, the planning process was straightforward and work soon got underway.

Fact file

The owners: Jeny Beardsley, a financial advisor, and husband Chris, an account director, live here with children Zachary, 10, and Stella, seven

The property: A four-bedroom Victorian villa

The location: Polwarth, Edinburgh

What they spent: The couple bought the house for £707,000 in 2012 and have spent £140,000 on renovations. It has recently been valued at £890,000

‘We love it now that there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy our home,’ – Jeny, homeowner


Jeny and Chris were instantly won over by the traditional exterior of their semi-detached Victorian villa. The roof was in need of repair, so the couple replaced its old tiles with new slate ones during the loft conversion project.


The living room was dark and uninviting when the couple first moved in


The entrance hall reflects the period character of the house, with walls painted in Lamp Room Gray by Farrow & Ball. For similar festive bunting, try Not on the High Street


The large dining table was made from original floorboards salvaged from the house, with a bespoke metal base by Bell Donaldson Steele. Floor tiles from Collinson Ceramics run throughout the open-plan space. For similar bi-fold doors, try Origin. The Hektar pendant light and matching floor lamps are from Ikea and the orange armchairs are from Iconic Interiors. For similar dining chairs, try Ikea’s Tobias design.


The original living area felt dark, but painting the woodwork and panelling white has increased the feeling of light. The Malabar wallpaper by Cole & Son has a reflective finish, adding to the overall effect. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Lamp Room Gray and the wooden flooring is from Direct Flooring. The furniture by Fama is from Omni Furnishing and the mirror is from Emily Black Interiors.


The couple turned a bedroom into the new family bathroom, with walls painted in Blackened by Farrow & Ball. The freestanding Clearwater bath and wall-hung basin unit from Bathrooms Direct Yorkshire have been teamed with wall and floor tiles from Ceramic Tile Distributors.


Cream carpet from Peter Hosie Carpets and walls painted in Blackened by Farrow & Ball create a neutral backdrop


The brick walls in the converted loft area were cleaned and sealed so they could be left exposed to add character to the space. The walls are painted in Brilliant White from Dulux with oak flooring from Direct Flooring. The furniture and rug are from Ikea, and Jeny has accessorised with cushions from Next, TK Maxx and John Lewis.

While the couple had the space for two additional bedrooms in the converted loft, they wanted to create a generously sized guest suite instead, and there’s ample floor area for an inflatable bed when friends who have young children come to stay with them.


The island doubles as a handy breakfast bar, with bespoke steel legs made by Bell Donaldson Steele. The sleek Häcker kitchen features a Silestone worktop and a mirrored splashback. Neff appliances and a modern Juno island hood by Elica add to the contemporary look. For a similar bar stool, try the Pam design by Ligne Roset, and Great Little Trading Company for a Christmas tree advent calendar.


Boa wallpaper from Osborne & Little has been used as a feature wall behind the bed from Mulberry Home. The throw and cushions are from The White Company and the curtains are made from Tremont fabric by Romo. The antique chairs were reupholstered by Emily Black Interiors.

• The full feature – including stockists and more images – appears in the December 2015 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.