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A shining example

Anne and Peter Hughes’ mirror-clad home is a light and spacious escape from city life
From the front of the house, passers-by have no idea of the mirrored extension at the back

When Anne and Peter Hughes stumbled upon their new home it looked absolutely nothing like it had done in their dreams. But with hard work, tenacity and endless amounts of patience, they’ve managed to transform it into something spectacular. “We were living in a small, two-bedroom flat in south east London with our young son and had neighbours from hell upstairs; we desperately needed more space,” says Anne. “We’d been house-hunting for months but couldn’t find anything bigger in our price range, so it was a long old haul of feeling very frustrated and stuck where we were.”

The couple had almost given up hope when Anne was flicking through a property magazine while at the local leisure centre and stumbled across a listing advertising exactly what they were looking for. She was pleasantly surprised to see an aff ordable property for sale in a beautiful private estate in Blackheath, so she immediately called the estate agent. “It turned out the building was in the process of being sold, but the sale had fallen through,” explains Anne. “It was a 1950s bungalow that had plenty of potential, but was in a conservation area next to a listed building, so gaining planning permission to change it was going to be tricky. When we purchased it in 2005 it was by far the worst house on the best street, but we didn’t mind as we knew we could really make it our own.”

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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!