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Woman’s Own, 25th April 1959, ‘The Street Where You Live’ series
A House Transformed
9 Grove Road
A small, Victorian house
in Rushden, Northants, was brought right up-to-date
by a few straightforward conversions and easy,
do-it-yourself ideas.
WOMAN'S OWN reader Mrs. Ethel Young, from Rushden, Northants, set out to prove just how well modernisation of an ordinary terraced house can be carried out, for a small outlay, on the do-it-yourself principle.

The startling 'before' and 'after' pictures here show you how a cramped 79-year-old house, still with its original gas lighting, suddenly became young again. Today, No. 9 Grove Road is a charming modern home, and Charles and Ann Eidel, the young couple who live there, love it.

The red-brick house was built around 1880, and has three rooms up, and two down, and a long back extension including the old scullery with copper, the 'shop' where housewives did outside work for local factories, the coal 'barn' and outside lavatory.

PROBLEM: Houses like these will last many years yet and the problem is how to bring them up to date. Most are occupied by tenants, some by owner-occupiers and sometimes one comes up for sale and can be bought for quite a small sum.

COST: Mrs. Young bought No. 9 for about £380 and spent about £100 on materials for conversion—timber, hardboard, laminated plastic surfacing, glass, paint, etc. Skilled labour is required for knocking down walls, but the rest can be done by a home handyman to save labour costs.

DOING-IT-YOURSELF: Much of the renovation consists simply in resurfacing and putting in cupboards and shelves—and these ideas can be adapted to any house or flat.

CONVERSION: The first step was to make use of every available inch of space. Instead of two small rooms opening off the hall, Mrs. Young made one big room by knocking out most of the wall between them. Upstairs, the tiny third room, over the scullery, was converted into a bathroom. To make room for a modern kitchen and dining alcove, out came the copper and half the wall between scullery and 'shop'. The coal 'barn' became a back entry, with a door into the yard, and an inner door into the new kitchen.

THIS is the view from the kitchen end of the large living-room which has been made by removing the wall between front room and old kitchen-dining-room. Length has been added to the room by making the shelves, cupboard tops and mantelpieces of corresponding height. The alcove shelf, now a useful writing corner, was lowered to the height of the cupboard in the right-hand alcove—this is the original cupboard with a coat of paint and smart new handles.
The old front room and dining-kitchen .....
In the front room, the fireplace and alcove cupboards were retained and given a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint. At the kitchen end, the old range was taken out and the fireplace covered in plaster and pegboard. Inexpensive matching wallpapers link the rooms and a fitted carpet completes the feeling of space.
..... became this long, elegant lounge

Before and After
The front bedroom, now pretty and well-lit, was dingy and depressing. Mirror glass on either side of the window creates a feeling of space and light. Pegboard covers the fireplace and a dressing-table built into the alcove.
Before and After
Back bedroom has a low window so mirror glass was set in above it - a mirror placed from ceiling to sill across the corner. A pelmet runs across both to give an appearance of a second window. Neat display shelves in the alcove.

'Letting in light makes space' - Two More Transformations Achieved in the Rushden House
Before and After
The kitchen section....

PEG BOARD covering to wall between dining alcove and kitchen gives hanging space and shelving. Reeded hardboard stained like wood panels lines old scullery walls. New sink, fridge and cooker go under the window in the kitchen section.
Before and After

LONG dark passages are always a problem. Half one side of this passage wall was taken down and shelves put in, backed with reeded and mottled glass. The wall underneath is covered in reeded hardboard, painted white. The old door to front room was taken out and a curved alcove made for coats. On the living room side this cupboard looks like a curved wall from floor o ceiling, and is effectively covered in grey painted reeded hardboard.

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