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A couple works to renovate a dilapidated Victorian mansion in Northern Ireland.

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As they awaited the arrival of their third child in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Kelly and Neil Beggs encountered a problem common to families everywhere. They needed more space, but didn’t have the budget to build the type of home they wanted.

“What we discovered was that we were in a certain price range, and for the size of the house we wanted, the price had jumped up quite dramatically,” says the medical professional. said Beggs, 44, who is at home. Beggs, 47, who runs her plumbing supply company, rents a cramped four-story townhouse that sometimes feels more like a grand staircase than a house, and wishes there was more indoor and outdoor space. I wanted.

Fortunately, through a mutual friend, they met Craig Hutchinson, founder of London architectural firm Hutch Design, who offered to help them evaluate various properties.

When they visit a dilapidated Victorian mansion built in 1907, it’s divided into three dimly lit apartments and a villa in the backyard, which seems too far away to be considered. Ta. “I’ve always had a passion for old houses and I was completely overwhelmed,” Beggs said.

Hutchinson agreed. “It was in really bad shape,” he said. “There were holes in the roof and moisture was rising on the first floor.”

But that’s the ideal, he insisted.

“Craig said, ‘Well, there’s a lot of potential. We’re just going to kill it and redesign it,'” Beggs recalls.

The couple decided to take a chance and bought a house in 2019 for around 475,000 British pounds (about $600,000). Then Mr. Hutchinson got to work.

Because the house is in a conservation area, he faithfully restored the brick and lime façade and planned new double-glazed windows to resemble the drafty old single-pane windows. Inside, he took liberties in creating an interior that blends modern and traditional elements.

“In the Victorian era, there were a lot of separate rooms that were closed off,” Hutchinson says. But he knew the Beggs wanted something more open.

“The kids are young, so we wanted to be able to see them from everywhere,” he said. Especially when parents are working in the kitchen and kids are playing outside.

As a result, the three-story, 4,100-square-foot home’s main living space is one large room that includes the living room, kitchen, and dining area. In addition to tearing down the walls, Hutchinson carved out the floor above and created a 20-foot-high ceiling above a low-slung limestone fireplace. Along with his two French doors that open onto the spacious front garden, this cutout helps channel light from his second-story windows into the living room.

Although most of the original details were lost long before the couple arrived, Mr. Hutchinson added traditional elements: arched panel doors, crown molding and chair rails, and jib doors that almost blend into the walls. By installing elements such as these, we aimed to express the age of this house.

“We had lost a lot of the Victorian decorative details, so we wanted to introduce some things to replace them,” he said.

To combat Belfast’s often cloudy weather, three skylights let in natural light and reflect it onto the walls and ceiling, which are finished in chalky lime paint. A single skylight, created by Mr. Hutchinson by cutting out part of the floor, brings sunlight into the mezzanine that connects his second floor with his third floor. The other illuminates the new curved staircase. The third is a round window directly above the walk-in shower, designed with a spiral of green tiles.

To complete the home, Hutchinson redesigned the front and backyard, removing the outhouse and adding plantings that provided lush greenery and a sense of privacy, selected in collaboration with landscape design firm FFLO . He also helped the couple furnish their home with sculptures. The living room features a Pierre Jeanneret Chandigarh chair and a Vogel Studio steel coffee table. Art and decorative accessories by Irish artists and craftsmen. Shaggy wool rugs, knobby linen curtains and bedding.

The project took about a year and a half to design, including securing the necessary permits, and another year and a half to construct. The family moved into the completed house in February last year. Construction costs were approximately 178 pounds (about $227) per square foot.

“It was a long process and very stressful at the time, but it was worth it in the end,” Beggs said. We love that this home has the characteristics of an old home, but with the conveniences of a new home. “It may sound cheesy, but it just makes me laugh. It’s a relaxing home.”

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