Finding those ‘diamonds in the rough’ design ideas

Nothing sets me alight like a unique home.

After several decades being a home designer I feel like I have ‘seen it all’ regarding home layouts and styles. Last week I was showing rural properties to a client and we stumbled upon a farmhouse that was incredibly unique.

The style was a combination of farm house and Spanish abode and it was one of the few homes that I have walked into and haven’t been able to predict the layout from the outside.

Most homes follow a predictable layout pattern and while the kitchen had a typical farmhouse feel with large mullioned windows, turning into the living room sort of shocked me.

I don’t want to paint the picture that this house was beautiful, in fact it was quite the opposite but it was interesting and I really dig interesting!

The living room had stone archways leading into a space which had large beams running across the ceiling. Both of these items looked like add-ons and could not have been part of the original architecture. This is what made it interesting for me as the house sort of wound around itself with the main floor making a complete circle.

Even though the house was in very rough shape, it interested me and I could see how a clever renovation on this home could make for a truly divine living space.

One of the more curious parts of the home was a staircase that led to nowhere. Reminiscent of the Winchester Mystery Mansion, this 1.5 storey home had a staircase that had been closed off with only a few steps at the bottom still showing. Can you imagine how that roused my curiosity?

I wanted to grab a crowbar and start ripping that wall down to see what was up the curious staircase! How fun would that be to unearth a loft space that could be turned into a breathtaking master suite!

From the size of the windows outside it looked like there was sufficient space for a full second story and I keep thinking about that strange house and why the upstairs has been abandoned.

Many people (including my clients) walked into that house and immediately saw all of the strange finished and unfinished spaces and wrote it off as too much work but I saw a diamond in the rough.

I saw a brick chimney running up the corner of the kitchen just waiting to be exposed.

I saw a large living room with a curious window boarded over that begged for garden doors and a lovely patio in the shaded trees. I saw a weird bathroom tucked underneath that mysterious staircase with a tub that had barely enough room to sit in and knew that it could be expanded directly into the dining room behind it which had a strange dead space which curiously held the washing machine!?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for all the plain houses I see, a curious and unique interior always gets my creative juices flowing.

The possibilities when you have a unique property with a curious layout are wonderful and really fun to consider even if it may be a bit strange to look at from the start.

Kim Wyse is a local freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer’.

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