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Couple renovate run down property in 'back-to-brick' project - and it's now an unrecognisable family home

Couple renovate run down property in 'back-to-brick' project - and it's now an unrecognisable family home

A couple completely renovated a run down house, in a 'back-to-brick' project.

Sayu Sinha, 43, and his wife Sharon turned the property in Ealing, London into the perfect family home in just 10 months.

Their renovations took longer than planned due to the sets back presented by Covid.

Sayu and Sharon made the move from Notting Hill to Ealing to accommodate their "growing needs as a family," My London reports.

Sayu, a commercial property investor, was keen to capitalise on the cost benefits of buying property in Ealing.

He explained they wanted to find a detached house with a large garden and just a 20 commute.

"That was the equivalent of buying a £6 million house in Chelsea, in St. John's Wood, in Little Venice," he said.

"But in Ealing, it cost me probably about a third of that but it gives me the same commuting time."

They bought the 3,500 square foot property in September 2019 and started work in January 2020 once planning permission had been obtained.

The first lockdown presented challenges for the couple to tackle but after seven months, they moved in.

Stripping the house back to its bricks gave them an opportunity to craft their perfect family home.

Sayu said: "It gave us a real blank canvas to make our own mark - we loved it."

They reinstated period features to the front of the house and made exact mouldings of the coving in the hallway, lounge and library area.

Combined with their modern classic design, they created a fusion of two styles.

Sayu said: "The idea was that when you walk in, you get all the beautiful kind of classic period features that the Edwardian houses kind of afford you around here and as you progress through the house towards the rear (which was the new box extension) we kept that relatively modern and contemporary by introducing the cripple doors."

Designed by Tom Harley, the classic kitchen is what Sayu calls the "marriage point" of the two styles and is his favourite part of the whole renovation.

He said "preservation of the character of the house" was key.

Couple renovate run down property in 'back-to-brick' project - and it's now an unrecognisable family home

Covid forced the project into turmoil when the supply chain came to a grinding halt.

Sayu and Sharon both tried to do some work on the site without the help of workers which he called: "an absolute disaster."

The pair decided that the situation would fix itself within months and so remained positive.

"We kind of took an optimistic lens out of a box and said that this problem will sort itself out in three, six, or nine months, whatever that timeframe might be," he said.

"But it gives us a great opportunity to kind of just plan for the tail end of the project: the floors, the lighting, the kind of electrical, the furniture."

And so they turned to Pinterest, scrawling through design inspiration while they waited for deliveries which they were told could take three times longer than usual and battled with the fact that material costs had increased by 30 per cent.

Once the workforce were allowed back on site, the challenge became adapting working environments to suit the restrictions which meant only two workers were allowed in the same room.

Now, Sayu looks upon that period with a fresh perspective.

He said: "The good thing was, once you kind of go through that process, you're kind of unfazed by some of the smallest things which may not go to your liking."

Sayu would encourage anyone that is able to attempt a renovation of this scale in the future and he has given his top tips which have now carried him through two back-to-brick renovations.

He credits thorough planning, prioritising and having experienced people around you are some of the key things that helped the build.

"Definitely plan well ahead. It's never an enjoyable process when you're put under pressure," he said. "Experience always helps. And having a good project manager or build team is equally important.

"Things that don't need to be done in the near future (i.e.. in the next three months) while we've got the supply side issues, maybe wait until you have some kind of return of normality."

And what better way of cutting costs that a good old fashioned trip to IKEA?

"Rather than go for bespoke joinery, it might be worth kind of using some clever IKEA hacks where you can buy ready made kind of cabinetry from IKEA and then have a carpenter kind of chop it up and make it fit," he added.

Though the majority of the renovation is complete, Sayu says there are still finishing touches to make, like the Victorian footpath installation.

Sayu and Sharon have set up an Instagram account to document their renovation journey called @that_ealing_feeling.

The page has brought more benefits than just simply as a way to monitor their progress though.

Sayu said they have found a community of like-minded people who he can turn to.

He explained: "What really helped us through, especially through the COVID time when nobody really knew what was going on, was this community and everybody encouraging each other, that we would get through this and be half sane at the end of this process. That kept us going.

"It was an incredible way to kind of capture ideas, create new friends, and then kind of leverage that community for anything, you know, be it mental health ideas, or kind of optimism."

He added: "You really see that power of community coming together."