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Bigger & Bigg

Looking for a place to call home away from the city’s hustle, Judith and Struan Mackenzie came across a renovation opportunity that they couldn’t pass up

Struan and Judith Mackenzie moved to Brighton with their son in the summer of 2015. Having previously lived in London and briefly sampled country life in a Hampshire village, the couple wanted to find a city that could off er the best of both worlds. They looked for a house that was centrally located to give them the urban lifestyle they had missed.

“We love Brighton,” says Judith. “It works well for us as a place to live, the schools are good and it’s brilliant being so near the sea. We focused our search on central areas as we needed to be walking distance to the station because of Struan’s commute into London.”

The couple found three properties for sale on the same road. They put an off er on one that needed minimal work doing to it, but had a change of heart: the one that required the most alterations also had the most potential, so they purchased the “project house.”

The task at hand

Judith and Struan had done some renovation work to their previous properties, but nothing of this scale. They hadn’t been looking for a big scheme to take on, but this house ticked a lot of boxes despite its condition. They soon knew that this was the opportunity to end up with a home fully designed to their specifications and tastes.

Before they made an off er, they consulted an architect in order to get a good sense of what could be done to the building and whether it was feasible to extend into the loft. “There was a ladder going up into the space, but it didn’t have any floorboards or insulation, it was just full of dust from the ancient roof tiles,” says Judith. However, the possibility to expand into the eaves was a big attraction. “We asked an estate agent we had been in touch with whether they knew any good architects. Then the person they had suggested came and had a look at the house,” she adds. “We really liked him. He was thoroughly interested in the project and understood what we wanted to achieve.”

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About Build It

In the May edition of Build It magazine, you'll find a wealth of inspiration and advice for your self-build, renovation or extension project, including: - Cover house: A traditional-style new home on a garden plot (p20) - Kitchen design ideas (p72) - Does solar battery storage make sense? (p74) - Driveway design ideas (p80) - Complete guide to loft conversions (p 84) - Modern glazed extensions (p98) - How to keep your project on budget (p110)