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small space big ideas

D’Arcy and Sarah Heath have added a two-storey extension and re-worked the interior layout of their London Victorian terrace to provide oodles of functional space

Looking to set down roots in London, Australian couple D’Arcy and Sarah Heath bought their Victorian end-of-terrace abode in 2009. “We had been living locally for some time and really loved the area and its proximity to central London”, says D’Arcy. “We initially dismissed this particular property because of its awkward layout. However, after three months of house hunting and with a reduction in the price, we eventually decided to buy it with the intention of renovating it.”

The two-up, two-down Victorian house had started life as a shop. Over the years it underwent various transformations, resulting in a dark, boxy ground floor with an awkwardly-placed entrance straight into a living room. The staircase took up an unnecessary amount of space across the middle of the floor plan. There was no upstairs bathroom and, with little natural flow or circulation to the property, it was in dire need of an architectural overhaul.

The couple worked with a local architecture firm to come up with plans to radically transform the dwelling and, after numerous rejections from the local planners due to the property being in a conservation area, consent for a sympathetic design was finally approved in 2010. However, when the couple put the project out to tender, the proposed costs came in way above what Sarah and D’Arcy had anticipated. “We put the renovation plans on hold and did a quick makeover instead, replacing the kitchen and bathroom and redecorating throughout”, says D’Arcy.

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About Build It

Build It is the UK's most practical magazine for self builders and renovators looking to create their dream home. Here's a sneak peak at what's inside this issue: - Vote for Britain's best home of 2018 - Energy saving windows - How to build your own home for under £200k - Getting the most from your builder - Smart kitchen tech - Front door cost guide ... and more!