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Lucky find

Cassie and Calvin Hill have successfully transformed their traditional Victorian cottage into a stylish family home

The moment Cassie Hill discovered the charming Victorian cottage next to her parents’ former home was up for sale, her interest was piqued. After viewing the house with her husband Calvin, she was certain it could be transformed into the perfect family abode, so set her sights on buying it.

Despite experiencing some complications when it came to selling their existing home, with prospective purchasers falling through on two occasions, the Hills didn’t let this derail their plans. “I bought a postcard with a black cat on it, as I knew the previous owner had had one,” says Cassie. “I wrote to her to tell her about my history on the road. It worked, because she came straight back to us when her replacement buyers fell through – it was meant to be!”

The couple moved into the quaint terraced house when their son, Louis, was 18 months old. At this point, it had a small galley kitchen with a dark lobby area. “There was also a very compact downstairs bathroom, which was mouldy, damp and didn’t even have a radiator,” says Cassie. “Upstairs, Louis had a tiny box room at the back of the building. It had a flat roof so we knew we could pull it down to replace and extend it at some point in the future.”

All change

Five years passed before Cassie and Calvin made any alterations to the internal layout of the property, during which time the couple’s daughter Violet was born. Keen to begin their project, in 2013 the couple started asking friends for recommendations of designers and contractors in the local area. “We visited two houses nearby where the owners had used the same designer and builder,” says Cassie. The Hills were pleased with what they saw and decided to hire architectural surveyor, Vince McAndrew, to put together plans for a double-storey extension at the rear of the cottage.

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About Build It

The May edition of Build It magazine brings you all the inspiration & practical advice you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget, including: • A stunning light-filled contemporary bungalow transformation (page 20) • Discover the right build system for your project (page 60) • Choose a modern front door (page 71) • A complete guide to loft conversions (page 80) • Top tips for your lighting design (page 90) • Common plot issues and how to overcome them (page 97) • Dealing with damp (page 103) … and more!