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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Mid-century MODERN

Catherine and William Allen remodelled the layout of their 1960s house, adding a new brick and timber extension that’s helped to transform the property into a 21st century family home

When Catherine and William Allen bought a 1960s detached property in Summertown, Oxford, they had the foresight to look beyond the dingy warren of rooms and crumbling two-storey extension falling off the back of the property. “The entire house was covered in nicotine and mildew stains – it was depressing,” says Catherine. “The whole place was full of books; an Oxford academic had lived and died there and he was clearly a hoarder. You couldn’t even see inside some of the rooms. My husband asked if I was joking when I said I wanted to buy it, but I could see it had potential.”

The couple and their four children – Grace, Honor, Magnus and Francis – relocated from Herne Hill in South London to Oxford in 2007. Catherine’s parents and William’s mum live in the area and their eldest was reaching secondary school age. “We wanted the kids to have Oxford schooling,” says Catherine.

However, the family were shocked at property prices in the region, so decided to rent in the area while they searched for the ideal home. “We were looking for something practical for term-time living as we have a house in the country that we relocate to during school holidays,” says Catherine. “It needed to be easy to live in and modern. I knew I’d have to be creative with my budget and look for something that wasn’t fashionable – something no one else wanted.”

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About Build It

The October edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A 1960s property transformed into a characterful home (page 22) • 10 tips to make the most of your self-build plot (page 62) • The best glazed doors for your project (page 75) • Complete guide to building an eco home (page 81) • How to get the planners on side (page 105) … and more!