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The Remake

With no room to extend, Ronnie Southerton knocked through into her garage instead. This was just one part of a comprehensive remodelling of her late-60s townhouse to maximise use of the space, and satisfy her love of clean-lined, simple design

A busy, nomadic work life meant Ronnie Southerton could never quite realise the huge potential in the Brighton house that she bought in 2003. But when her job moved back to the UK in 2016 from an overseas posting in Denmark, she decided it was time to tackle a major renovation project head-on, and create a home that suited her needs.

The terraced townhouse, built in 1968, wasn’t well laid-out for someone who loves cooking, entertaining and gardening, as Ronnie does. A garage and guest bedroom took up the ground floor, so the outside space couldn’t be enjoyed or accessed directly from any of the living areas.

The first-floor kitchen was too small for all the equipment and storage that a serious cook needs, and the adjacent dining room was a squeeze when friends came over. Now that Ronnie was based mostly at home, a defined but unobtrusive space for working was another essential.

A clear idea

“I always knew that I wanted to have the kitchen on the ground floor, where it could open out into the garden, which is south-facing and very sheltered,” says Ronnie. “And if the kitchen came down to this level, it made perfect sense that the space on the first floor where it used to be could make a bedroom and ensuite.” The garage was too small for a modern car, and only used for storage, so her plan was to integrate it to create an open-plan kitchen-diner.

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Renovating floors in a period home - Rainwater goods cost guide - Choosing the right smart home security systems - Could an architect save you money?