Let there be light

Finding a beautiful seaside home was a dream for Rebecca and Mark Partridge. But once they'd done so, their work really began...

Property details

Property: A 1930s semi-detached house in BrightonOwners: Rebecca and Mark Partridge with their two children Tom and Charlie.Bought for: £420,000 in 2003Spent: £30,000 Rebecca's father did the building work, which kept the costs down.Worth today: £600,000THE Partridge family lived in the chaos of dust and dirt for six months, to create a beautiful light and airy home in Brighton. Rebecca owns her own mail order company and her husband Mark is an accountant, yet somehow they found the time to renovate their beautiful home - with just a little help from Rebecca's father.Just over three years ago both Rebecca and Mark decided it was time to move from London and try to find a place in Brighton. They had both fallen in love with the seaside and when they discovered this house they knew it was the one for them. It ticked all the right boxes with a large garden, a park over the road and it was only a stones throw away from the beach. "After looking at a lot of places we knew it was very rare to get a house in Brighton that has a garden and is close to the sea," explains Rebecca.Once the place was theirs, work began on the ground floor. The interior needed a major facelift to update the fake polystyrene beams, mock brick detail and dated blue carpet. It was the structural problems they discovered that were more serious with many of the joists riddled with woodworm. Added to this, the whole house needed rewiring, replumbing and replastering. One of the largest additions they made to the house was to build a glass-roofed extension across the back with glass doors that open onto a patio area. The light floods into this area creating a lovely warm suntrap."It has turned our dark house into a light one, it's a similar price to a normal pitched roof and I think everybody should have one. I love to relax and look at the stars.Rebecca doesn't like brightly coloured brash items in the house; she wanted to create a more natural feel to her home using neutral colours. "I am obsessed with white," she says "I paint everything white and then introduce colours into each room with paintings, cushions or throws. My husband said he was going snow blind. This was before we had any of our furniture or paintings in the place because it was all in storage for nine months."The house is now filled with natural lines with a hint of colour; on the ground floor the oak flooring ties each room together.

Dining room The wine cabinet came from John Nicholsons at Fernhurst, West Sussex. "We placed a sealed bid for £60 and ours was the highest" says Rebecca. The carver chairs were bought from the same auction, Rebecca wasn't aware all the chairs had arms so she had to raise the beautiful slate table that she had made, slightly higher to fit the chairs underneath. The wooden sideboard was inherited from Mark's Grandfather. The solid oak flooring that runs from the conservatory through the dining room to the lounge is from Davies Timber, in Birmingham.

LoungeThe Morso wood burner model called Badger, was bought online. It is great with young kids compared to an open fireplace as it is so much safer.

ConservatoryThis is Rebecca and Mark's favourite part of the house. The wooden doorframes were made by Davies Joinery and all glass plus the PVC roof was supplied by R&S Whitcomb both companies from Birmingham. KitchenThe couple wanted to create a traditional look for their kitchen and so opted for pine-fronted units, wooden worktops and slate flooring. The children's blackboard gives the room a real homely feel.

BedroomSince the room is relatively small, Rebecca and Mark were keen to keep it simple. They carried the wood theme of the doors throughout and opted for a traditional bedstead. There is also a wonderful mirror which was actually made by Mark's nan - a real family treasure.

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