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New and IMPROVED

Two sizeable extensions and a reworked floorplan have transformed the Gardners’ dated 1970s house into a light-filled family home
PHOTOS ALISTAIR NICHOLLS

What was an uninspiring 1970s house has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis. It all started when Rachael and Dan Gardner connected with an innovative architect who was keen to push the boundaries of design. “Our home needed reorganising, updating and extending but we didn’t want a standard structure plonked onto the back of the property”, says Rachael. “We were keen for the whole dwelling to flow and feel redesigned like new.”

Room for improvement

The couple set about their search for the perfect house, their first together, back in 2009. Keen to purchase something equidistant from their respective places of work, Rachael went to view this property in Winchester in spring that year. “Dan was in the army and stationed in Afghanistan at the time, so I came on my own”, she says. “I loved the location because it’s so quiet. The house overlooks the countryside. We put an offer in straight away, as I could really see us bringing up a family here, which is what we went on to do.”

The pair were immediately drawn to the dwelling’s living spaces and large garden. While they hadn’t planned to take on a renovation scheme, it was obvious from the start that the property came with various problems that would need to be addressed. Featuring a series of poky and dated rooms, the downstairs floorplan lacked the flowing feel the couple craved. The dark dining room was enclosed by an unwelcoming conservatory, and there was little connection to the outside. Upstairs fared better, with a wide landing with views across the fields and four good-sized bedrooms in each corner of the house. From the outset, then, the couple knew they had a big job on their hands but they weren’t ready to begin straightaway.

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About Build It

Plan, design and build your dream home with practical advice and inspiration from Build It magazine. Highlights in this month's issue include: - Design Secrets to Win Over the Planners - Home Extension Costs - How to Find a Project with Renovation Potential - Building Contracts: Why You Need One - Buyer's Guide to Sliding Doors - Outdoor Living Ideas - Build It magazine's own Real Life Self Build ... and more!