Turning a city terrace into a country cottage

In our new blog series, “Double your house for half the money”, we give you some tips garnered from our popular series. Today we give you a few tips on turning a dull city house into a country-inspired masterpiece.

Get some inspiration

Sometimes it just takes a little inspiration to turn your current home into your dream home. If you don’t know how to move forward, look at some show houses and decide on the must-have aspects you would like in your dream home, then decide how to incorporate them.

Tip: Take some notes as you walk through the show house of key features you think make a difference (for example a certain style of range cooker).

Use roof or sky lights effectively

In London particularly, light and space are two rare commodities so you need to get crafty. Sky lights can help you achieve the illusion of space by bringing light and a view of the outside world inside (a sky light view of London’s skyline is particularly pleasing).

Tip: There are many electric window options so at the click of a button you can keep them open on temperate days or closed when the weather takes a turn.

Turn a small dining room and kitchen into an open plan area

Sometimes breaking down a wall can give your home the facelift it needs, particularly when your kitchen and dining room are separate. If you have three rooms that can flow into each other such as your kitchen, dining room and lounge or TV room, you can play with dividing walls of different levels, using a higher level for your dining room to give it a more separate feel and a lower level between your kitchen and lounge to help them flow into one another. Opting for open plan living will also allow your kitchen to become the heart of the house which really, when coupled with a great cottage garden, is the essence of country living.

Tip: Use laminate flooring for a brighter warm look and feel that’s easy to clean and relatively inexpensive to install or replace.

Adding a side return extension or loft conversion to double existing space

Sometimes the illusion of space isn’t enough and you need to extend. Often the best way to do this in London is to add a side return extension or a loft conversion (or both). This can easily double your space (yes and literally double your house for half the money it would cost to move to a large place). The side return can be turned into an eating area that flows seamlessly into the garden, allowing you to reclaim your outdoor space.

Similarly a loft conversion with some skylights and Juliet balcony doors can transform a pokey 2-bedroom area into a spacious 3 or 4-bedroom area with plenty of room for guests and an en-suite.

Tip: Install a floodlight and some synthetic grass and your garden can be used for night-time entertaining in summer as well.

In Wandsworth, Charlie and Claire transformed a pokey Victorian terrace into the ideal open plan living feature with a country cottage feel. They did so using the above tips with a budget of only £150,000, instead of the nearly £300,00- that they needed to move into their “dream” home. In the end, they saved more than £150,000 and improved their property’s value by an estimated £100,000, giving them more equity if they decide to move to the country at a later stage. Watch the feature below to see how they achieved their dream of a lovely light filled home with country touches.


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