In With The Old, In With The New

Berkhamsted and Tring Living Magazines Vikki and Simon's home

Vikki and Simon kindly showed us round their beautiful home

When Vikki and Simon were looking for a house to buy in March 2017, they knew what they wanted; somewhere with four bedrooms and plenty of downstairs space. So they nearly didn’t look at this house in Ivinghoe.

‘Downstairs was tiny and much too cramped for us,’ says Vikki. But, desperate to move, they decided to go and have a look anyway – and were glad they did.

‘We fell in love with it straight away,’ she says. ‘It was small, but we could see how to make the house work for us.’

And it was that vision which meant that they found themselves, a few months later and with a baby on the way, moving into a house that needed lots of work.

‘I’m not sure what we were thinking,’ Vikki says. ‘But it seemed like the right thing to do at the time!’

Work started on the house almost immediately.

First, the conservatory was knocked down to make way for the brand new extension, which would eventually become the living area. What had been the back wall of the house was knocked almost completely through, opening up the house into one huge room.

About halfway through the work, in June last year, their baby girl was born. They didn’t let it faze them.

‘We’d planned for it,’ says Vikki. ‘Or, at least, as much as we could! We used to sit behind a huge tarpaulin in the dark, windowless kitchen while the building work was going on the other side, feeding a small baby. It felt like it went on for ages, but in the end it only took three to four months from start to finish.’

They decided to get the garden done at the same time, in order to make it almost an extension of the living room.

House before and after

‘I was keen to make it flow, which is why we chose tiles for the living room floor that we could carry on out into the garden,’ explains Vikki. ‘And now, when we open the bi-fold doors it really does feel like the garden is part of the house. It’s lovely.’

The work was finished in October last year, including installation of the kitchen, which Simon did himself, and since then the couple have really made the place their home.

‘I love interior design, and often buy things as I see them rather than planning everything,’ says Vikki.

And they like shopping locally where they can too. The 1960s dining table was bought at Home and Colonial in Berkhamsted, as were the tub chairs. The gold-painted chairs were from Luxe 22, on Castle Street in Berkhamsted a few years ago, while the green vases, the picture of the Queen, and the mirror over the table came from Nineteen49 in Tring.

‘I love a mixture of old and new things; it makes the place come alive,’ she says.

And the pair have a real eye for colour as well. ‘When we knocked through the back wall of the house we wanted to keep some of the original brickwork,’ she says. ‘We decided the exposed brick in the kitchen would look great painted a dark green-blue colour – and I love it.’

It’s a real statement, and the table and mirror really stand out against the bold colour. The parquet floor is a lovely dark yet warm colour, while the wooden wall in the living room brings real warmth to the room.

For the kitchen they chose lighter colours, as the room is darker than the extension. ‘The rest of the room is quite dark and masculine, so I’ve tried to add a touch of pink,’ Vikki says. ‘There’s the pink of these handmade flowers, which my mum made for my daughter’s birthday and I think I’m going to keep. The tiles in the kitchen have a hint of pink and the cables coming down to the lights above the induction hob do too. It’s subtle but makes it feel softer.’

You can see why the house appealed. Not only was there room for expansion, but there are amazing views across to the Ivinghoe windmill from the living room, and right across the hills from upstairs.

House after work completed

BedroomAnd although they haven’t finished work upstairs yet, the master bedroom on the top floor is lovely. The grey painted wall behind the bed makes a real statement and gives the room character – which is why I was surprised to find out that it was a false wall hiding a walk-in wardrobe/dressing room, built by Simon.

‘The room goes down into the eaves on both sides, so we wanted to give it a bit more shape,’ says Vikki. ‘It means we can hide all our mess behind it!!’

The views from the dormer window are stunning – sun streams through, and you can see right out across the fields to the windmill. What a sight to wake up to every morning!

This house has everything a family needs – space, light, style and plenty of room for growth. Plus, of course, it now contains some stunning vintage finds. Gorgeous!

Home is where the heart is

Where do you consider to be your real home? Is it where you live now, the house you grew up in, or somewhere else entirely?

According to a recent survey by door and window company Origin, more than 60% of us still consider our childhood home to be our ‘real’ home.

According to the poll of more than 2,000 adults, 30% said the place where they grew up was special because it meant they could spend the most time together with their family, more than half admitted they felt safer there, while for a whopping two thirds, it’s all about the happy memories of childhood.

When asked about the most fondly remembered aspects of their childhood homes, people mentioned gardens, the view from windows, mum’s cooking and laughing together as a family.

What are your happiest memories of the house you grew up in? We asked a few local residents…

I loved my sodastream, it brings back real memories!
Victoria Melbourne, Berkhamsted

The ice cream van coming down the street and all running out to buy one. These days I usually hear it but can never find it!
Helen Jewell, Berkhamsted

Climbing the trees with my two brothers at the top of the sloped garden and building a den in the disused coal scuttle – although removing the snails first was pretty revolting!
Helen Rolfe, Berkhamsted

My dad making log fires so hot we’d start off at one side of the room and end up at the other to cool down.
Lucy King, Berkhamsted

Sunday evenings; my dad taping the top 40, while my mum, me and my sisters had a disco. We’d then have cheese on toast in front of the fire.
Geraldine Diamant, Berkhamsted

One Easter we had snow. I remember the picture my mum took of me holding my Easter egg with the snow falling over the big fir tree and the amazed look on my face!
Carol Hayes, Berkhamsted

Sunday afternoons when me, mum and my three sisters did dance routines to Grease, Rocky and Adam Ant while waiting for The Muppet Show to come on!
Kerry Ball, Berkhamsted