Renovating our Victorian Terrace - A First Look

I’ve been sharing some images of my home over on Instagram. So many of you have asked to see more, so here goes…

We bought our victorian terraced house 2 years ago now and it’s been a labour of love so far. When we moved in, it was more house than home and it hadn’t really been lived in by the previous owner. She was a doctor, and worked away for the majority of her time. I think she had seen the house as a bricks and mortar investment, rather than a place to dwell.

Despite the crumbling plasterwork, pebble-dash exterior, huge whistling windows and early 2000’s LLB style wallpaper, we instantly fell in love with the house. I remember standing across the road from it on one of our many reconnaissance missions and smiling as I looked up at the grandeur. “Can we really afford a WHOLE house Will?” To which my soon-to-be-husband replied, “Look at all the cats though mate, it must be a nice street…”

So the cats were a good omen and we managed to snag the terrace of dreams for a bargain price - and then the work began. We saved first for the front of the house – plastering, new windows and a new front door (and all of the dust that comes with it). We chose ‘Plymouth Grey’ to paint the exterior with - we thought it must have been fate to have a colour named after the seaside town we live in. 


Our front door is composite and we designed it from scratch. Strangely, one of my favourite things about our house front is the frosted vinyl. I hand cut the numbers out using the iconic House Industries font.

I love the original features in our house. These were all shrouded by dark colours and mismatched design choices when we moved in. We painted our living room and dining room white (over pistachio green!) within the first 2 days of having the keys, and polished the fireplace back to its former glory! 

We are huge fans of midcentury design and I suppose we were kinda’ concerned about how our furniture might fit in the lofty victorian spaces. We live minimally, and I often joke about my husbands obsession with ‘air flow’. We needn’t have worried, it’s almost as if our restored Ercol and vintage G-plan pieces were meant to sit on stripped, original Victorian floor boards. Our record cabinet fits perfectly into the alcove in the living room.

We recently renovated the bathroom - a scary, expensive and soul crushing experience. It was an old lean-to, bodged together and shoved onto the end of our house unsympathetically in the early 80’s. When we FINALLY came to decorating, we just wanted simple design, calming colours and natural finishes. We clad the windowsill and bath side in plywood and stained it to match the teak furniture throughout the house. Finishing the room off was the lovely bit, with a huge vintage mirror that used to perch precariously in my Grandmas living room, and a pastel pink cabinet that I picked up in the sale at La Redoute – who knew!

Last weekend we started to plant up the yard. Every year we try to refresh our little garden space with new additions to the bed. We’ve been channeling a fusion of summer sand dunes and Japanese gardens, so mixed grasses and succulents in with bamboos and acers, and potted some in galvanised containers.

Our house certainly isn’t finished. We have a kitchen floor that dips in the centre, and a patio door that has seen better days. But it’s all part of the story, and our house is home, and I love it.



Roake Studio