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When the current owners first looked at this two-bed family flat in Brighton, they knew they had their work cut out for them. Located in a converted Victorian bank, it was an unloved student rental that hadn’t been touched since the 1990s. Problems included a leaky bathroom and an outdated kitchen that was in desperate need of updating.
“Most people would have been put off, but I saw the potential right away,” says the owner. “The two double bedrooms were on the small side, but the open plan kitchen and living room were huge and there was a glimpse of the sea from the front windows. I felt an instant connection and knew this was the property for us.
It takes a lot of patience and hard work, but the couple managed to turn the run-down apartment into a family home for them and their two daughters. The kitchen and bathroom were quickly ripped out and replaced, stonework exposed and a disused elevator shaft cleverly transformed into a walk-in closet. By dint of sanding the floors, repainting and redecorating, the place has become unrecognizable in its now cool eclecticism.
The contracts had been exchanged in March 2020, just at the start of the lockdown “ It was becoming increasingly difficult to stock up on even the basics like plaster, let alone go and see a new kitchen and bathroom bath, so we hunkered down for a few months until the lockdown started to ease,” the owner recalled.
“On the plus side, I had a lot of time to focus on the look of the apartment, spending hours on the internet finding inspiration and creating mood boards. So when the restrictions started lifting, I ran on the floor! Apart from some plumbing and carpentry work, I did all the work myself.
“There was nothing wrong with the original kitchen layout,” the owner explains. The one meter kitchen extension with a half-timbered wall has created space for a cool pink freestanding SMEG fridge and ample room for floor to ceiling fitted cupboards.
The open plan kitchen was then fitted with new black cabinets from Magnet and a long compact laminate worktop which had an overhang to create a full length breakfast bar idea of the island.
The kitchen has been adorned with stunning black and white diagonal tiles to create continuity between the floor and the walls. To add a touch of industrial chic, inexpensive stainless steel ductwork was used for the exhaust fan.
“I’m a big proponent of upcycling,” adds the owner. “So I saved some money buying second-hand appliances, including a fabulous pink SMEG fridge, which looks right at home in the space we’ve created for it.”
The dining area
Exposing the original masonry adds warmth and texture to a room. “In the living room and dining room, we have exposed masonry along the entire length of the right wall,” explains the owner. “It really adds character to a room and it was a look that I had saved on Pinterest several times.”
“What I didn’t plan for though was how messy and time consuming it would be, I felt like I was swimming in dust for days, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. , that’s wonderful.”
Painting the floorboards with Dulux Heavy Duty Floor Paint was the cheapest way to update the floor, but had the biggest impact, the whole apartment is fresh and bright. Using paint with a slight sheen like this reflects and bounces light around a room.
A great way to use small dining room ideas was also to replace some chairs with a bench.
The living space
Two large Berber rugs were purchased for the dining room and living room to define each space, and brightly colored artwork was installed on the walls.
The piece de resistance, a large disco ball, which really added to the New York loft vibe that had taken hold of the room. This addition adds fun to the room and on a sunny day reflects and bounces light around the room.
The details of the living space
One of the main selling points of the apartment was the sea view from the double front windows.
The large Warhol Debbie Harry print gives a playful and colorful focal point. White living room ideas allow colorful artwork like this to stand out.
Invest in quality second-hand furniture – the design will remain relevant for years to come.
“I had already started collecting mid-century furniture,” recalls the owner. “The Ercol daytime sofas, a Scandinavian chest of drawers and a drinks cellar, which I salvaged from a garage and then restored.”
The master bedroom
The pink seashell accent chair, quirky artwork, and a statement woven pendant bring personality to this serene white bedroom idea.
Functional white blinds block the light while white voile curtains add a nice touch.
The completely renovated bathroom, with a shower cubicle replacing the old bathtub and a jeweled vanity unit created from a mid-century table.
To create your own upcycled bathroom vanity, find a vintage piece of furniture that you love that fits the space allotted. A cupboard or table is best as it should be waist high – a cupboard will come with built-in storage. Make a hole in the top of the cabinet for the plumbing and secure the sink in place. Install your new vanity and sink in position and have the sink plumbed by a professional.
“I wanted something unique in the bathroom, because sometimes these functional spaces can feel quite clinical,” explains the owner. “So I injected some fun with terrazzo tiles on one side and pink tiles in the shower stall.”
These large blush tiles create a feeling of space without making the pink bathroom idea too girly.
Additional words: Marisha Taylor