How one London first-time buyer turned a ‘nightmare of beige’ into her dream home — with more than a little help from dad

Many first-time buyers find it overwhelming to take on a project property. Hannah Smith, a visual artist for TV and film projects, has a long-term passion for design. She also had her parents’ support, not only in helping her run the project but also financially.Pre-pandemic Smith, 25, was living at home in south-east London and dreaming of a place of her own. She said that her dad was very strict about not letting money go by renting out properties and she began to look for properties. He found the flat on the top floor in Honor Oak. It featured a single bedroom at its back, a living area at the front, and a separate kitchen at the middle. Smith was not excited when she first saw the flat. Smith didn’t want the solitude of living alone. It didn’t provide the open-plan living space she desired. Its decor, although in good condition, was also boring. Smith said, “Beige, Beige, Beige,” and that the flat renovation and extension project by Fraher & Findlay was listed for a “Don’t Move, Improve!” award. Chris Wharton Photography Chris Wharton Photography. Smith accepted the award on the advice of her father. The flat’s loft, which was unconverted, offered huge potential for Smith. Smith paid a deposit of GBP320,000 to purchase the flat. Smith then enlisted the help Fraher & Findlay design & build firm, which she found online and loved for its style, to help her rethink and remodel the flat. The one-bedroom flat was enlarged to a spacious two-bedroom home that is large enough for Smith and her friend to live in. It was also shortlisted for the Don’t Move, Improve! This award recognizes London’s most innovative home extensions and renovations. Smith describes an upside-down flat: “I had so many ideas,” Smith says. “I sketched a plan with the bedrooms at the top, but they flipped the plan upside down.” Smith says. They stated that if the bedrooms were at the top, we wouldn’t have much living space. However, using the loft as our living area is huge, bright, and you can see Canary Wharf from the window. Two large mansard loft extensions were designed by the architects to maximize usable space. To create a striking exterior appearance, the architects clad them in reddish zinc at the attic level. They were clad with reddish zinc at the roof level to make a striking visual appearance from the outside. The new staircase that links the loft to the original apartment is made from elegant, perforated steel. The stairwell’s slim, white balustrade makes it feel open. Smith’s bedroom features a combination of soft and strong colours. Her kitchen cabinets are rich green and her breakfast bar and worktop are terrazzo marble. I’m obsessed with everything here. I return home and realize that I have never lived anywhere like this before. The double-height living room has traditional sash windows that overlook the street. It is painted a peaceful, deep shade of sage green all the way to the pitched ceiling. This was made by knocking through the eaves. Smith continued the theme by adding plants and dark-colored sofas (from Adventures in Furniture and Swyft Homes, respectively). The majority of accessories, from cushions to artwork, are monochrome to keep it simple and harmonious. However, a high ceiling requires a statement light. Smith selected a Pooky brass and glass chandelier, which she found on Pinterest. What it cost: Honor Oak flat with one bedroom: GBP320,000 Loft extension for two-bedroom apartment: GBP260,000The lower level has two bedrooms. Smith rents the spare room (also painted green) to a friend to keep them company and pay the mortgage. Smith’s bedroom is painted a soft petal pink to match her blue velvet bed. Smith’s bedroom is furnished with wardrobes made from Ikea carcasses and floor-to ceiling doors built by her builders. It provides ample storage space and conceals a built in dressing table that she has painted a deeper pink tone. The chair is tucked into the space. The project was started in March 2021, while the third lockdown was still in effect. Although it was difficult to source building materials, Smith was able, with no major setbacks to, move back in September. A perforated metal staircase connects the loft to the original flat / Chris Wharton PhotographyA project this large is not cheap. This one cost approximately GBP260,000 The property has seen an increase in value, with the square footage increasing by about a third. Smith and her family aren’t sure how much, as they haven’t had it valued. Smith says, “I think we might have broken even, but I am unlikely to leave it for long so it doesn’t really matter.” “At the moment, everything here is my obsession. I return home and think, “I can’t believe that I live here.”