How a grim Victorian terrace in Peckham became a much-loved family home

Priced out of Hackney, one couple found themselves in Peckham and in a grim Victorian terrace. The neglected two-storey home needed extensive work and a dose of TLC. But it's now worth £400,000 more than the original investment...
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Beibhinn Gillan, 34, and Matt Arnold, 40, were priced out of buying in Hackney, where they were renting, and so found themselves in Peckham. Even though they weren’t in love with the little Victorian terrace they had found there, they knew it could be changed into the sort of place they could fall in love with, so they bought it. 

Beibhinn (pronounced Bevan), an Irish girl who trained as an accountant, had met New Zealander Matt, who works in banking, while they were on holiday in Portugal in 2006. 

Two years later she came over from Dublin and moved in, and everything was fine, until they were expecting Ellie Rose (now two). Then it was time to find a proper home with a garden.


They had previously met John and Joanna, from Mustard Architects, at a little stall in Victoria Park, E3. 

“They were doing a bit of guerrilla marketing, so I went and talked to them,” Beibhinn says. “What they were saying made sense, so we invited them over to Peckham to see if their design philosophy matched ours.”

The Peckham house needed a lot doing to it, and had just been taken off the market, having languished there for ages. But they put in a firm offer, which the owners accepted just before Christmas. 
The Peckham house needed work but Beibhinn and Matt knew it could be changed into a perfect family home

The floors throughout were repaired and stained, and the walls painted in really delicious, thoughtful colours hand-mixed by a local paint wizard — a perfect French Grey in the sitting room and a beautiful soft, warm blue in Ellie Rose’s room.

Upstairs, the old bathroom was made bigger by poaching space off the back bedroom, then decked out with a double shower, a bath, and metro tiles.

Through careful thinking, a small house has become a medium-sized house that thinks it’s an even bigger home.

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