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A rundown Victorian dwelling presented the perfect renovation opportunity for these DIY experts to get the home of their dreams

icola O’Mara and her partner John Merriman had long thought about leaving city life behind them and took the plunge by buying a three bedroom Victorian cottage in 2015. Their new home is situated in the Cornish village of Port Isaac – a 14th century fishing port where several TV productions have been filmed, including Doc Martin and Poldark. The building had been empty for six years before the couple found it, and it presented a range of challenges. Despite this, they were eager to take on a renovation project. “We weren’t daunted. We were excited about moving and changing our lifestyle,” says Nicola.

The pair were the perfect team to tackle a scheme of this scale. John, a carpenter by trade, can turn his hand to anything, while Nicola, who has her own interior design practice, brought her unique flair to the planning and styling of the home. “I fell in love with it all – both the house and the area,” says Nicola, who saw the property first. “The reality was that there was a great deal of work to be done. Everything from the layout through to damp proofing needed reconsidering.” John agreed that the cottage, with its sea views, was perfect for them – so they went ahead and bought it.

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February 2018
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About Build It

Make 2018 your year to self-build with Build It's latest advice and inspiration-packed edition! This month's issue includes: - 32 must-read tips for your project - Expert guide to planning success - The secret to a characterful renovation - How to buy the right bricks - Design ideas: windows & glazing - Reinstating an old fireplace ...and more!