At Kilkenny Avenue, a renovation project of 92 former MoD homes in Ely, we wanted our showhome to offer a realistic look with an achievable budget for our prospective buyers. As a result, we put a £12,000 budget toward the show home, relative to the £300,000 sale price of the property, and we were delighted to see Cate Burren, our Interior Designer, reveal such a wonderful end result for this project.
Cate Burren is an Interior Designer at Angel + Blume, an interior design practice in central Cambridge. Palace Green Homes has worked with Cate on a variety of projects across Ely and Cambridgeshire.
In this interview, you can find out more about how Cate worked to deliver a wonderful show home within this budget.
What was your brief for this project and how did you approach the task?
After working with Palace Green Homes on other developments in Ely, I was pleased to be brought on board to develop a new concept for the show home at Kilkenny Avenue.
With its close proximity to the city centre, it was anticipated the homes would attract a variety of people, including families, first-time buyers and those wanting to downsize. The refurbished homes were well thought out properties in terms of layout, storage and garden space, with a lovely positioning set back from the road with trees lining the street and open public spaces set amongst the homes.
The budget for decorating the show home was set with regard to the purchase price of the property. This was purposefully done as we wanted to make sure the interior had a realistic and achievable look for our prospective buyers. With this in mind, we tied the design into an up to date feel with vibrant splashes of colour.
We chose to create an urban style home, with a slight nod to the 1950s and an American feel reflecting the history of the development. We didn’t want to put people off with too much colour or a really heavy focus on one style so decided to opt for light floors and walls and various splashes of colour in furniture and artwork. It’s important to give a show home some style so that prospective buyers can imagine how the house could come to life.
What was the outcome of this project?
Working within budget we furnished the home with a mix of items from the high street, specialist suppliers and antique shops. There is a great selection of lovely furnishings and décor items available on the high street that are inexpensive, and we found the best way to bring our vision together was to buy items from a variety of stores. We thought the mix made it feel more personal and reflective of people’s actual homes, as most people often have items from a range of shops that they’ve collected over the years.
We wanted to mix old with new on this project, giving the house more personality. By mixing up the styles and ages of the furnishings and art, people could walk in and even if they didn’t like everything, they would think “I could definitely see myself living here”. We sourced a lot of items online as the pandemic had hit so we couldn’t physically go and purchase things, but it showed just how much you can find on websites, including eBay.
I believe that Kilkenny Avenue really demonstrates that interiors don’t have to cost the earth to make a really nice home. That’s one of the key messages we wanted to get across with this show home.
As an interior designer, what was the best thing about this project?
The best part about this was the working relationship with Palace Green Homes. They provided me with a clear brief and allowed me to take the lead, letting my creativity take the steer. I devised a style for the project and they trusted me to see it through and create the final look. They put a lot of trust in me and the team were always really receptive to my ideas.
It was also really nice to create different concepts in each room, playing into new ideas of who might be living there. It’s always hard to know who might be coming to view the show home and what they might like, so we added personal touches, including books and photos, that make it look more like a lived-in home.
Do you feel the show home offered a more real-life view on what it’s like to make a house a home?
One thing we were trying to show with this project was how to make the space available work. The home had an open plan living and dining room, and we fit a corner sofa in as well as a full dining table and an area to work from, including a desk.
Space is absolutely key, particularly with many people having to work at home since the pandemic, so we wanted to showcase a layout that allowed a prospective buyer to think how they could use all the areas of the house and that in future, they could entertain friends and family.
Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, we couldn’t hold a show home launch, however, we were able to show everyone that had been involved in the process, such as the architect and the builders, and they all really enjoyed seeing how it had turned out.