Our First Home Renovation: Ferndene

Our First Home Renovation: Ferndene

The first chapter of Metcalfe Makeovers began back in 2008, when aged just 21, I bought my first home with my husband, Darren.  Our 1950’s semi detached corner plot home ticked a lot of boxes.  There were three bedrooms, a nice garden, garage and parking, and Midanbury seemed like a nice area.  But, having been owned by an elderly lady for over 50 years, Ferndene was in need of a more up to date interior.

The only problem was, we had stretched ourselves to the full with the £159950 purchase price, and we didn’t have much of a budget for renovations.  Still, we threw ourselves into renovating our first home, making use of what we already had, and picking up a whole host of skills along the way.


When we moved into our first home, the kitchen was the original 1950s version – with an additional 1980’s cupboard front thrown in for good measure.  I actually really liked it, especially the larder, so we decided that rather than spend out on a brand new kitchen, we would renovate what we already had.

We sanded back the cupboard doors and painted them with a high gloss paint, and added new handles.  The old 80’s style cupboard on the left came out and made way for a fridge, and on the right we made our own cupboard front to compliment the existing ones, (although I don’t think we ever got round to putting the handle on!)

The creamy coloured worktops were swapped for black ones, and we added a small tiled splash back around the entire kitchen.  Walls were painted with antique white kitchen and bathroom paint.

Originally, we swapped the old brown lino floor for a chequered black and white lino, partly for cost and partly because I thought it might be easier to clean.  However,  we found that it soon discoloured, so after a year of black and yellow lino, we tiled the floor with black and white Umbria floor tiles from B&Q (£10 per square meter) and the bigger squares in a diagonal form actually looked much better.

With Darren being a glazer by trade, we fitted a set of patio doors in place of the window, which we finished with blinds from the range which were less than £20 for the pair!

the kitchen before the renovation

1950's yellow and white kitchen | metcalfemakeovers.com

the kitchen after the renovation

Black & White 50's style Kitchen - After photo metcalfemakeovers.com


To make the lounge more homely, we removed the old gas fire and replaced it with a log burner, which was framed with a mantle piece that Darren’s stepdad had made before he passed away.  We kept with the black and white theme, but found some bright red sofas through eBay, to add a splash of colour.  We did soon learn that despite looking good, ‘pleather’ sofas are cold and uncomfortable… They were all we could afford at the time, though.

the lounge before the renovation

lounge before renovation

the lounge after the renovation

black and red lounge | metcalfemakeovers.com


Upstairs, our black and white theme continued. To update our master bedroom, we knocked away the built in cupboards which instantly seemed to make the room much bigger. The walls were painted in antique white, with a black and white print feature wall, black curtains and black lights shades which we used throughout the house (ikea).  We bought an Ikea Hemnes king size bed, and the Ikea Hermes 8 chest of drawer, which just happened to be on sale as an ex-display model the day we bought the bed fitted perfectly into one of the recesses.   Sadly, the matching wardrobe was slightly too big, but we painted and lined a wardrobe which the previous owner had left behind with the black and white wallpaper, and added a trim to the top to make it match the drawers.  We also bought a couple of spare handles to make it look even more authentic.

master bedroom before the renovation

master bedroom before renovation | metcalfemakeovers.com

the master bedroom after the renovation

our master bedroom with Ikea Hemnes furniture range after renovation | metcalfemakeovers.com


To make the hallway brighter, we kept the original banister, but removed the wooden panels which we swapped for toughened glass.  The banister rails were painted with the leftover high gloss black paint from the kitchen.

the stairs after the renovation

panels replaced for glass on our banister rail | metcalfemakeovers.com


The one thing I wasn’t so keen on in this house was the bathroom.  Originally designed to be upstairs, the layout was changed at the last minute to make Ferndale a three bedroom house by moving the bathroom downstairs, and as such the bathroom was a bit of a squeeze.  We decided to loose the bath (we didn’t have enough time to fill one up, anyway) and fitted a shower instead.  The green tiles, which I’m sure most of the population of Southampton once had (can you see the chicken?) were replaced by painted (yup, antique white) walls with the shower and sink areas being tiled.

the bathroom after the renovation


Before the renovation, the house had a small porch and second front door,  which we extended, getting rid of the second front door, and installing a composite front door (again trade price as Darren owns buildmydoor.co.uk).  It made such a difference both visually and practically!  We also dug up the pretty gardens to make a driveway at the front of the property.

new porch at our first renovation


The garden at Ferndene was beautiful, obviously well nurtured and cared for.  Something Darren and I had no idea how to continue, and quite frankly no time or interest to do so.  As the house was at the top of a hill, the garden was on so many levels, and sectioned off in a number of places, so we hired a digger and set about to work… (But we did save the front garden, and hoped for the best!)

the front garden

ferndene front garden

the back garden before renovation

home renovation project - garden before

the back garden after the renovation

garden remodel | metcalfemakeovers.com

Five years after moving into Ferndene, a year after completing the renovations which left us with a beautifully finished home, we were itching for a new project.  We put Ferndene on the market in 2013, and within just a few days she was sold.  And we were actually a little sad.

Not that we had time to be sad.  We had a new project to start.  And what a project it was…..

Home Etc


  1. March 9, 2016 / 11:49 am

    To be honest I loved those original sunny doors in your kitchen but I know that yellow isn’t for everyone! You’ve done an amazing job, well done!



    • victoria
      March 9, 2016 / 12:55 pm

      I know, 8 years ago I didn’t really appreciate the original colour. I think now I would have styled it a bit better. Still you live and learn (but one way I will again have a sunny yellow kitchen!)

  2. March 9, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    Wow-what a transformation. You created a truly stunning house so no wonder you are a bit sad to leave but you inow what they say – “onwards and upwards” So I look forward to seeing your next project! #HomeEtc

    • victoria
      March 9, 2016 / 12:53 pm

      Thank you! I always look back and wish we could have bought another house without selling this one – especially on warm days when all I want to do is lie in the garden….

  3. March 9, 2016 / 8:06 pm

    Wow, you made some impressive changes. I actually like the before kitchen, it’s retro chic but your after is great as well. Look forward to seeing what you did with your next house! #homeetc

    • victoria
      March 10, 2016 / 7:55 am

      I think if the rest of the kitchen was retro chic it may have stayed, but as it was, the clash of 50’s/70’s/80’s just wouldn’t work! Who invented wood veneer??

  4. March 9, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    My goddness you put a lot of work into that house. Well done. It looks so much better afterwards. I think I might have kept the kitchen as it was. It reminds me of my nana’s.

    • victoria
      March 10, 2016 / 7:59 am

      Thanks – we had an almost identical kitchen when we lived in New Zealand, too. I hope one day we manage to find another house with a similar kitchen (although my husband would disagree) these days I would love a yellow kitchen!

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