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Check out this before and after renovation story

Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Grand Designs will know that renovating or extending a property is one of the most fulfilling things a homeowner can do.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking to transform a doer-upper or a seasoned developer hoping to restore a period property back to its glory years, the process is often fraught with unexpected hiccups.

These bumps in the road can burn a hole in your pocket as well as delay your project by months, so we’ve spoken to an experienced renovator for his top tips to a successful house renovation.


Andrei Kostuch, 50, who retired from the police force almost 20 years ago after a serious head injury, told us about his most recent project – restoring a 19th century property in Gloucestershire to its former glory.

The father-of-three said: “This place was a complete wreck when we bought it. But we fell in love with the spot and the character of the building.


“It was built in the 19th century and whoever built it was really fortunate with how the natural light strikes it. It’s beautiful.


“We purchased it back in 2016 for around the £330,000 mark. It’s Grade II-listed, so we wanted to restore the outer structure but also give the rest of the property a really contemporary feel.

“It was a massive challenge; the local authority was quite difficult as well. It’s built into a hillside and there were some ferns actually inside the property, so we had a lot of water-related issues to contend with.

“We had to use five tonnes of lime plaster from Castillon. The total renovation cost us about £350,000.”

The five-bedroom property is now on the market for £649,950. Set in approximately an acre of land and boasting its own viewing tower, Andre has stylishly refurbished this quirky building from a ruinous state.


Talking about why he enjoys renovating properties and advice he would give to homeowners considering similar projects, Andre revealed that taking time do to the proper research is key.

“It all started when we moved to France in 2002 for a quieter life. We renovated one property for a bit of fun and then 20 properties later I realised we were taking it quite seriously,” he said.

“We met some great people along the way and learnt so much. My advice to other people thinking of taking on their own renovation projects would be to research, research, research – I can’t stress that enough.


“Make sure you buy the right materials at the right price. For example, we paid £9,000 for the windows to be repaired in Spain rather than £35,000 in the UK market. That’s where the savings are.

“I carried out most of the work myself with two friends, as we wouldn’t have been able to afford it if we’d paid for a contractor. It took us 18 months in total, but I’ve got years of experience.

“But also make sure you work with a really good architect and just be patient with the local authority. I’d also allow about an extra 50% over your original budget, because with an older property like this one, loads of problems can just jump out of nowhere.”



This month’s most unusual properties

We round up our favourite quirky and unusual properties on Rightmove that are listed for sale right now.

Among our highlights are a sunken Venetian style palace, a property with its very own grass-roofed hobbit home in the garden and an old church filled with character. Which is your favourite find?

A 19th century windmill near Cambridge

This three bedroom property is actually a renovated and extended windmill in the village of Swaffham Prior.

The building has been kept in fantastic condition having had its beautiful sails replaced as recently as 2017.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A gorgeous castle property up in Durham

This fantastic building is Castle Eden, a Grade II listed castle that boasts everything from a grand reception hall and drawing room to a games room, breakfast kitchen and nine bedrooms in total.

The property also enjoys 14 acres of wonderfully landscaped gardens and woodland.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A contemporary ‘superhome’ in Hampshire

This modern property offers four bedrooms along with a host of modern amenities like electronic security gates and a passenger lift.

It also enjoys direct access to the River Avon and provides a wonderful contrast of a modern aesthetic set within beautiful natural gardens.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A beautiful converted school building near Milton Keynes

The Old School Works is a four bedroom Grade II listed family home converted from a former schoolhouse.

What’s fantastic about this place is that it comes with the bonus of a wonderful self-contained annex on its grounds.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A beautiful barn conversion in Worcestershire

This five-bedroom home is bursting with character and includes three bedrooms plus an en-suite master room along with a host of extras like a garden room, gymnasium and a hobby room.

Outside, the property impresses with a greenhouse, chicken coop and a hidden vegetable garden along with a field boasting three paddocks.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A Welsh castle with views you won’t believe

Castell Gyrn sits just outside of the popular Welsh town of Ruthin and enjoys a commanding position that boasts amazing panoramic views of the Clwyd Valley.

The building provides a striking piece of architecture, extensive accommodation and more than ten acres of countryside.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A mansion and a private island rolled into one…

Situated in Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada is Kaulbach Island – boasting almost 60 acres of land covered in woods, meadows and coastline.

Right in the heart of the island is an 11-bedroom property in the style of Cape Cod homes while across the island you’ll find a beach house and a small farm as well.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A country home with an amazing treehouse

In Chichester sits this impressive Tudor-style six-bedroom home set within beautiful garden grounds that include a delightful pond and a treehouse that will definitely please the big kids out there.

The home itself features a drawing room, dining room and all en-suite bathrooms for the bedrooms.

Take a closer look at the property below:

An old church filled with character

Over in Bishop Auckland is this unusual property – the Grade II listed building of St. Peter’s Church.

With the potential to be developed into a six-bedroom dwelling – or countless other potential uses – the nearly two hundred year-old church is a fantastic piece of architecture.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A beautiful manor… with an even more inviting home bar

This seven-bedroom property in Seaham was built back in 1857 and boasts all en-suite bedrooms and luxurious accommodation across three floors.

But perhaps its most exciting feature is that stunning looking home bar, perfect for entertaining or unwinding after a stressful day.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A wonderful renovated church with a modernised feel

This three-bedroom property is a beautifully converted church building that thankfully still has many of its original features.

The renovations have enabled it to become a practical space for the family that retains all the character of its 19th century architecture.

Take a closer look at the property below:

The fantastically unique Bollin Tower

Just a little different to your average four-bedroom family home, this Grade II listed property is certainly an eye-catcher.

With its castellated walls and amazing castle style turret, could you see yourself living here?

Take a closer look at the property below:

A stunning converted church building

This home in West Yorkshire is a converted and modernised church that still retains lots of its original character features – including those incredible stained glass windows.

Enjoying five well-sized bedrooms and three large reception rooms, it could make the quirkiest home of all for a growing family looking to move.

Take a closer look at the property below:

Stepping inside a magnificent barn conversion

This six-bedroom property in Amberley is called ‘The Great Barn’ and enjoys four reception rooms, extensive gardens and even two separate one bedroom cottages on its grounds.

Lovingly converted by its current owners, it’s said to be one of the largest scale barn conversions ever completed.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A converted water tower transformed into a lovely family home

Over in Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, you will find a fantastic six-bedroom property that looks unlike anything else you are likely to have seen.

Converted two years ago from a redundant water tower, the home now has both contemporary fixtures and fittings along with a wealth of original features, our favourite among them being the roof terrace that gives you breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A coastal castle dating back almost 500 years

With 32 bedrooms under its roofs, this property is certainly grandiose in nature and definitely magnificent to behold. It actually dates back to the 15th Century after which it was extended in the 19th Century before a more recent renovation completed its development.

Enjoying 30 acres of its own land, as well as fishing rights to the waterfront nearby, Ackergill Tower is a truly beautiful find.

Take a closer look at the property below:

A 'sunken palace' with its own throne room... in Wraysbury!

This bungalow has been transformed into a magnificent Venetian palace – boasting everything from a throne room and castle moat to a magical looking sunken garden.


Lovingly crafted over a period of 30 years by the current owner, there are a lot of secrets and surprises hidden inside this unique property. What can you spot?

Take a closer look at the property below:

A veritable real-life hobbit home... that brings along its own income

Ever wondered what it would really be like to live life like Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit? Then this Cornish home – that comes with a hobbit-style roundhouse in the garden, could well be the one for you.

The Toddalong Roundhouse is a straw bale-built and grass-roofed external property in the back garden of the main four-bedroom house, and is let through AirBnb at weekends to provide a nice tidy income for the owners.

Take a closer look at the property below:

Celebrate the end of Dry January with this beautifully inviting pub for sale

This gorgeous pub sits on the border between South Yorkshire and Nottingham and is called ‘The Mayflower’.

With a spacious open-plan lounge/diner along with beautiful exposed wooden beams, several feature fireplaces and four generously sized en-suite rooms – it’s definitely a property that over-delivers. Plus it’s perfect for a winter tipple…



PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.

Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing colour that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.

Pantone Color of the Year 2019, Leatrice Eiseman Quote.

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar and energising aspects of colour found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent colour mesmerises the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of colour.

About Pantone Color of the Year

For 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product, packaging and graphic design.

The Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s colour experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact colour, relevant social media platforms and even up-coming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

About The Pantone Color Institute

The Pantone Color Institute is the business unit within Pantone that highlights top seasonal runway colours, forecasts global colour trends, advises companies on colour for product and brand visual identity. Through seasonal trend forecasts, colour psychology, and consultative colour consulting, the Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to leverage the power, psychology, and emotion of colour in their design strategy.

Shop PANTONE Living Coral

Formula Guide, Limited Edition Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral
Formula Guide, Limited Edition Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral
£156.00 (VAT inc.)
Pantone FHI Color Guide, Limited Edition Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral
FHI Color Guide, Limited Edition Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral
£202.80 (VAT inc.)
Fashion, Home + Interiors SMART Color Swatch Card
Fashion, Home + Interiors SMART Color Swatch Card
TPG Sheets
TPG Sheets
£14.40 (VAT inc.)

Colors of the Year


Ultra Violet






Rose Quartz









Radiant Orchid






Tangerine Tango












Blue Iris



Chili Pepper



Sand Dollar



Blue Turquoise






Aqua Sky



True Red



Fuchsia Rose



Cerulean Blue


Create a blissful scheme with these punchy purple bedroom ideas


In order to create the bedroom of your dreams with this regal shade – whether it’s a main bedroom or a guest bedroom – think about the mood you want to set up. Stronger shades such as aubergine and damson evoke drama and stimulate the senses. The colour purple is associated with wealth so when teamed with extravagant fabrics such as sumptuous velvet you can build up a luxurious scheme that makes an opulent, even exotic statement.

At the other end of the spectrum, the lighter shades of purple are more soothing and gentle. Not so sugary sweet, lilac or soft lavender are pretty and feminine. The tone is light enough to give walls interest while remaining fairly neutral and can look appealing in pretty florals and gingham fabrics.


1. Brave a bold floral


Purple bedroom ideas – purple wallpaper

Image credit: Simon Whitmore

Working with traditional florals like chintzy roses or ditsy sprigged prints can be a minefield. But if you dare, the results can be utterly fabulous. The secret to success? Busy pattern prints work best with ultra-sidle, ultra modern furniture for contrast. Metallic pieces are especially effective, as they take the granny look to the right side of glamorous.

Get the look
Buy now: Oasis Renaissance wallpaper in Midnight, £35, Clarke & Clarke

Buy now: Ashbee mirrored side table, £198, Graham & Green




2. Build a Boho vibe with mixed purple tones



Image credit: Simon Whitmore

Build up layers of luxury for a bed that’s always inviting. Dusky purples – plum, aubergine fig – combine with blush pink, marine blue and grey for a harmonious palette that creates just the right mellow mood for a bedroom.


3. Set a mellow mood with plum



Image Credit: Dominic Blackmore

Brown-tinted plum and soave tones set a warm and mellow mood in a space where you want to kick back and relax.And while they can also work in a glam bedroom scheme, with velvets and polished metals, they can turn a country look like this from simple to sophisticated, too.

Get the look
Buy now: Sanderson Wortle Light Active emulsion, £30 for 2.5ltrs, F&P Interiors
Buy now: Yves king-size duvet set, £120, Christy


4. Work in a vintage twist


Purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Simon Whitmore

Vintage style doesn’t mean twee country florals anymore – it’s altogether darker and more dramatic, for a sexier spin on a traditional look. Add gold accents and Art Deco-inspired lamps for extra glamour. The silky cushions, velvet upholstery and gold details put the decadence into this look. Swap them out of you want a modern-country look instead.


5. Embrace warmer tones


Image credit: Rachel Whiting

Retreat from the cold into a cosy haven of snug-as-a-bug quilted throws and flannel linens featuring elegant floral patterns. Begin with a neutral backdrop and white painted furniture then bring in purple printed fabrics, a painted focal wall or wall-to-floor curtains. Choose a purple tweed headboard for texture and cosy charm. Framed vintage bird prints hung on a rose-coloured wall are so romantic and co-ordinating accessories add to the feminine feel. A soft neutral carpet will balance the colour, keeping the scheme subtle.


6. Choose complementary colours


Purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Jonathan Gooch

Add instant luxury with an oversized headboard. A timeless padded design will bring a little hotel-style chic to your scheme. An original gloomy space has been transformed into a restful, minimally furnished haven. Dark wood flooring and an ornate chandelier further enhance the sophisticated feel in this traditional space. Introduce animal prints in small measures. Be brave, as there are several ways even the boldest of prints can be incorporated into any home.


7. Give your bedroom a homely feel


Purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Mark Scott

Decorate with hedgerow hues. Choose blackberry and sloe-shaded paint colours for a luxurious look in a panelled bedroom that oozes classic style. An upholstered button-back headboard adds an extra touch of indulgence to the scheme. Take inspiration from nature with a wooden branch that acts as a holder for a lantern – perfect for a spot of bedtime reading.


8. Combine pink and purple


Purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Simon Bevan

Using variations of one colour is a sophisticated approach. In this bedroom violets, from lilac pink to deep aubergine have both masculine and feminine appeal with a bold panel at the head of bed like a swathe of the night sky. On the blush layered bed a harlequin throw exhibits a modern take on patchwork quilting.

The geometric shapes pick out the rectangular lines of the abstract design rug below. A panel of ballerina pink curtains at the window softens the strong contrast in tone.


9. Focus on two complementary colours


Purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Alexander James

Here is a perfect example of how purple can be a dainty accompaniment to a delicate scheme. The pretty look is brought to life with a flock of purple and orange birds flying over a beautiful eau-de-nil sky. An understated lavender headboard and cushion picks out the light amethyst feathers while simple bed linen and furniture adds to the country charm.


10. Get creative with a hint of colour and pattern


purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Tim Young

As purple is also often associated with Romani traditions it naturally looks the part in eclectic schemes. Classic country pieces are brought up-to-date with the rich chocolate box combination and sumptuous fabrics. Brown, blue, yellow and green are elegantly pulled together and balanced by the blackcurrant silk curtains and super-sized paisley print bed linen.


11. Try out purple in a teen bedroom


purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Simon Whitmore

Purple is a great colour for teens who have grown out of baby pink, but still fancy a girlish look. Intricate patterns and quirky accessories in this vibrant scheme creates a fun folk-style look, which bursts out from the room’s fresh white wall and metal bed frame. Pops of acid green on the shelves add to the fun adolescent style.

12. Factor in florals


purple bedroom ideas

Image credit: Simon Brown

Go for all-out colour with dramatic painted purple walls as the backdrop for your scheme. With such a bold colour choice, try to keep co-ordinating colours lowkey, with pale flooring, washed wood furniture and a mix of floral, stripes and spot fabrics in a calmer, muted colour palette.


Awkward no more: that space under the stairs

28 February 2016

We could all use a little more functional space in our homes. And sometimes you don’t see it when it’s right under your nose. Or stairs. Here are a few ways you can make use of some very valuable, forgotten real estate.

A close-up image of a kids’ playroom made under a staircase, with a textile hanging as an entrance and a box filled with toys.
Hooks are hung on the wall under a staircase to hold outerwear. A doorfront is also hung on the wall, with hooks on it to hold shoes.

The sort-of closet 

Short on closet space? Make those stairs work double duty by mounting hooks to hang your outerwear. And the lower the hook, the easier it is for little ones to grab their own stuff. If you really want to maximise your wall storage, consider mounting a door front on hinges and add some hooks for shoes. Place a mirror behind it for quick outfit checks.
A doorfront is hung on the wall, with hooks on it to hold shoes.
Hooks are hung on the wall under a staircase to hold outerwear, and a mirror hangs behind a mounted doorfront.
Home office supplies are stored under a staircase in a basket, a trolley, and a bookshelf.

The office space

Perfectly sized storage items like baskets, trolleys and shelves can give you extra space for supplies and paperwork if you don’t have an office in your home. For a more seamless look, try keeping them all within the same colour scheme (we went with grey).
A close-up image of home office supplies stored under a staircase in a basket, a trolley, and a bookshelf.
A close-up image of home magazines stored in a textile basket.
A kids playroom made under a staircase, with a textile hanging as an entrance, some cushions, a book shelf, and a box filled with toys.

The hideaway

Everyone needs some privacy from time to time. Yup, even kiddos. An under-the-stairs escape is just the right size and a totally cosy spot to curl up with a favourite toy, book, or even to just take a nap.

Woven baskets holding stuffed animals hang from the staircase.
Woven baskets holding stuffed animals hang from the staircase.
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