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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: An Essex, England Renovation Focused on Restoration

by Quelcy Kogel

If we took away all the images from Design*Sponge, you poor readers would not only be left with a lot of reading, but you’d probably be filled with dread. Without the inspiring finished homes, our minds would be left to dwell on all the daunting stories — a massive leak leaving irreparable damage on a brand new floor, living in a construction zone for five years, washing dishes in a bathtub, or, in the case of Charmaine Beaumont-Hammond, going into labor early and leaving a gutted bathroom to lay in wait.

Fortunately, the images turn the stories of misfortune into encouraging messages. We can do it! We can move forward, make mistakes, learn our lessons and then eventually, with a little hope and faith, we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of all the labor and laugh at the mild disasters. Today’s encouraging “we can do it” moment comes courtesy of Charmaine’s make-under of her Essex, England home.

Charmaine, owner of Weald Store, and her husband Chris, an art gallery technical manager, moved from a small, one-bedroom flat in the center of London to their Essex house in 2013. The home was outdated, but the couple could see the potential, and they did some investigating. “When we first viewed the house, we knocked on the next door neighbor’s door and were invited in by a couple who had lived there for 25 years. They had renovated their home and uncovered their original features, so we knew it would be possible to do the same with this house.”

They started renovating as soon as they moved in, stripping everything out of the house — old double glazing, carpet and layers upon layers of wallpaper and paint, until the house was a shell. From there, they worked to bring the features back to their original condition, giving the house the calming and classic country home feel they had envisioned from the start. —Quelcy

Photography by Charmaine Beaumont-Hammond

Image Above: Charmaine and Chris were fortunate to discover so many of the old home’s original features still intact, albeit under many layers of paint. They took the doors to a reclamation yard to be sandblasted, and they soaked the original hardware in detergent to reveal their refined beauty.

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Charmaine and Chris devised a clever solution to their kitchen obstacle. “Our kitchen layout was dictated by the under-stairs cupboard along one wall. To allow access to this, we built a custom island unit on wheels. We built the frame to support a standard double kitchen unit, added shelving on each side and then cut the worktop to fit. The island can just be wheeled out of the way when we need to access the cupboard behind.”

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The old wood paneling takes on a cleaner, classic feel with its fresh coat of white paint. Since the kitchen is in the back of the house where it’s darker, the couple opted for whites and neutrals to brighten the room.

 

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The larder was a handbuilt addition, which Charmaine and Chris painted a deep blue to contrast the whites and neutrals in the kitchen.

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Since the home dates to 1910, Charmaine often wonders about the many past lives of their home. “I would love to hear the stories that this house could tell — the family gatherings and lifetime events that took place in each room.” At the center of her family’s dinner gatherings is a vintage Ercol dining set.

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The bathroom was a major lesson in life’s unpredictability. Charmaine recounts, “The bathroom was one of the major projects, and we started on this room a couple of days before our daughter was born. We didn’t know she was on the way as I was only 29 weeks pregnant at the time. So when I went into labor, we were in the midst of repairing the window, the old wall tiles were on the floor and we had taken the sink out.

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Charmaine and Chris painted the bathroom floor white to reflect light and chose fixtures that best represented the time period of the home.

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The “after” is a clean, white, modern bathroom that feels timeless.

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Charmaine and Chris’ restoration proved to be an interesting dive through history as well. Charmaine recalls, “One of the most interesting aspects of the renovation was uncovering the layers of paint used over time. I had always thought that Edwardians and Victorians favored darker colors, but as we stripped the fireplaces back to their original black cast iron, we found layers of dusky pink, cobalt blue and emerald green beneath. The walls also told a story, as we uncovered original green pigments.”

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White paint, a built-in bookcase and dark black paint allow the historical fireplace to shine in Charmaine and Chris’ iteration of the living room.

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The vintage Ercol chair adds to the minimal, Scandinavian vibe of the living room.

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The cabinet was original to the house and makes for a subtle TV nook.

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Charmaine and Chris chose a large, comfortable sofa in a dark grey to contrast the white walls in the living room. The coffee table is a vintage Ercol find and adds continuity to the home’s furniture style.

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The master bedroom, before.

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The light grey walls in the master bedroom add an extra level of calm to the space. The side tables are also vintage Ercol pieces that Charmaine had coveted for many years. She treated herself to the set when they completed this room.

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Stripping decades’ worth of paint from the master bedroom fireplace was a chore, but now Chris and Charmaine can sit back and truly enjoy all the floral details.

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The nursery “before” featured lilac colored walls and a bold, orange colored floor.

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Chris and Charmaine simplified the nursery colors significantly and invested their time in restoring the original sash windows. Now the room is light and happy.

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Amidst all the other projects, Charmaine started this hand-pieced quilt while she was pregnant and finished it just before their daughter’s first birthday.

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Though the restoration was a lot of work, Charmaine is grateful for the many memories they created along the way.

SOURCE LIST

Master Bedroom
Paint – Farrow & Ball “Blackened”
Carpet – Wool Berber from Carpetright
Chest of Drawers – Vintage
Radiator – Colonna from Homebase
Side Tables – Vintage Ercol
Bed – John Lewis
Bedding – Orla Kiely
Bedside Lamp – Anglepoise
Plants – IKEA
Plant Pots – IKEA and Garden Trading
Prints – Penguin from John Lewis and Roanna Wells

Nursery
Paint – Dulux Trade White
Radiator – Colonna from Homebase
Chest of Drawers – Vintage
Cot – IKEA
Quilt – Handmade (by Charmaine)
Pillows – H&M, Zara
Doll’s Bed – IKEA

Living Room
Wall Paint – Farrow and Ball “Wevet”
Woodwork – Brilliant White Satin
Radiator – Colonna from Homebase
Sofa – Bluebell from Sofa.com
Cushion – Melin Tregwynt
Coffee Table and Chair – Vintage Ercol

Kitchen
Kitchen Units – Harewood Hardwood in Mussell from DIY Kitchens
Worktops – Oak from Worktop Express
Radiator – Colonna from Homebase
Table and Chairs – Vintage Ercol
Mixer – KitchenAid

Bathroom
Paint – Laura Ashley “Pale Dove Grey”
Suite and Radiator – Victoria Plumb
Mirror – Argos
Plant and Pot – IKEA

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