Opting for more space can mean leaving behind a neighborhood you love, and setting down roots in an area that may or may not feel like home at first sight. When Wendy and James Aldridge were expecting their second child and needed more room to roam, they too realized that Hackney, the booming neighborhood in East London where they lived, would be well out of their price range. The couple began looking in other neighborhoods and quickly lucked out in Walthamstow, an area in North East London that proved much more reasonably priced at the time. The extended double fronted house, situated on a quiet street close to Walthamstow tube station, offered Wendy and James everything they wished for, including the scope to put their own mark on it.
With much-appreciated help from Wendy’s father, a plumber and engineer, Wendy and James renovated and redesigned the house to meet their growing family’s needs. “We basically reconfigured the entire ground floor, moving the kitchen from one side of the house to the other and opening up the den,” Wendy explains. From steel support beams to stainless steel countertops, Wendy and James trusted much of the work to be carried out by skilled and qualified family members. “We really kept certain elements of the renovation in the family, which feels really nice,” Wendy adds.
A more open-plan layout with enough space for two young kids to run around isn’t the only perk of the family’s spacious new home. Wendy, the owner and founder of Homeplace, a website selling an eclectic yet carefully edited selection of vintage and contemporary furniture, lighting, and home accessories, runs her business from home and appreciates the added square footage.
With a business focused on decor, it comes as no surprise that the family’s home is full of character, unique vintage finds and eclectic items from Wendy’s shop. “I’m hugely passionate about creating very personal interiors that tell a story about you as a person – it was one of the reasons for starting the site. I honestly believe that if you love things enough, they will all work together in some way in your home,” she says. As Wendy is always on the hunt for the next treasure, vintage pieces hold a special place in her heart. “Not only do they add lots of character and help you create a truly unique interior, but for the eco-conscious of us out there, it’s hands down the most fun way to recycle!” she exclaims.
While Wendy and James initially chose their home and area to get bang for their buck, their new neighborhood has turned out to be priceless. “Walthamstow has a fantastic community spirit and is full of the most incredibly creative people, many of whom like us, run their own independent businesses,” Wendy shares. Although the couple fondly looks back on their days back in Hackney, they couldn’t be happier in the community that has welcomed their family with such open arms. – Sofia
Image above: The den is where the whole family curls up on Friday nights to watch movies. The process of renovating and decorating her family’s home has taught Wendy to be a lot braver with color. “Previously, we had dabbled in a light grey bedroom but we embraced Down Pipe [by Farrow and Ball], a dark grey, extensively throughout this home,” she shares.
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Wall paint – Down Pipe by Farrow and Ball
Mid-century Teak and Wire Tomado Shelving Unit – eBay
Bla Print – One Must Dash
Reclaimed Teak Floor Tiles used to clad wall – Rockett St George
Mirror – eBay
Sink – Reclamation Yard