Room Tour: An Unused, Chilly Garden Room Gets a Homely Makeover
The budget to do up this room tacked onto the exterior of a farmhouse was small, but the result is anything but...
“This project was done on a total budget,” Karen says. “It’s got no foundations and was – and still is – a bit falling-down, but we made good as much as we could.”
The room is a key space for the family, since it doubles as the reception for the business they run offering holiday accommodation and courses, so it needed to feel welcoming and to work well.
Who lives here? A family with two teenage children, two dogs and lots of chickens, all called Barbara and collectively known as ‘The Barbaras’
Location North Yorkshire
Property A Victorian cottage attached to what was once an old forge
Room dimensions Approx 6.3m x 3.4m
Designer Karen Knox of Making Spaces
Budget £1,000 to £2,500
Photos by Karen Knox
This part of the house wasn’t put to much good use before Karen worked her magic. “It was a bit of a storage area for surplus chairs and other furniture,” she says. It also functioned as a big hallway leading to and from the downstairs loo, which is off what is now the boot room.
“It’s single-glazed and cold in there, so it’s not quite solid or warm enough to be used as a full-time living space,” she says. However, as it’s directly off the carpark, it’s perfect as a reception area for visitors and guests.
The space is split loosely into two parts and the non-reception room is now a very generous boot room where the family’s shoes and coats can live.
There was plenty to hide: in the before photo, next, you can see lots of messy cables and pipework, including a waste pipe that couldn’t be moved.
Walls and woodwork painted in New Black, Paint & Paper Library.
“We got rid of anything not used and most of the boxing-in,” Karen says. The boxed-in section above the door had to remain, so Karen ran a big shelf underneath it and filled it with attractive terracotta pots. “We painted all the cables black, too,” she adds. “This disguises a million bits of wire.”
The vertical cable that runs to the light switch by the door was previously exposed, but Karen covered it with a proper conduit to make it look deliberate and fit with the loose industrial theme. “We painted all of the window frames and ceiling beams black, too, to give it an industrial look.”
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As the bare brick on this wall was original, Karen kept it unpainted. “Brick is too pretty to paint over,” she says.
The vintage-look sofa is, in fact, from Ikea. “It was cheap as chips!” Karen says. “It’s really chintzy, but also a bit acid punk-y.”
Ektorp sofa, Ikea. Ofelia artwork by Sofia Bonati.
The terracotta tiles were already there and Karen warmed the floor up with a large, hardwearing rug. “I wanted something that could get hammered,” she says. “So we went for a massive jute rug; mud and dog hair can just be vacuumed up and the rug just ‘takes it’.”
Rug, La Redoute.
Karen decided to turn the boxed-in section into a little gallery. “We put up the artwork so it wasn’t just like looking at a big, boxed-in wall,” she says. “The pictures are charity shop finds the owners and I found. We collected lots and had a bit of a gallery hanging session.”
1970s mirror on castors, eBay.
“The owner also hosts outdoor cooking events, foraging classes and gin tasting in her garden. That’s why there are loads of blankets to store, so the guests can just come and take them,” Karen says.
“We found the bench they’re in, plus the shoe rack, in one of the outbuildings. We cut the bench legs down to make it seat height – 45cm.”
What’s inspired you about this budget project? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.