From open house to perfect family home

Discover how Katie Kirkpatrick transformed one of David Burr's listings into her forever family home

Posted: July 23, 2018

open house

Twelve months ago, Katie Kirkpatrick visited an open house marketed by David Burr. The interior of the house was so unappealing, we didn’t even showcase any images on our website. Katie fell in love with the potential of the property though, seeing it as a forever family home. Convincing her husband that this was the property for them – despite him only seeing external photos – she put in an offer.

Now, after a year of hard work, the property has been transformed inside and out.

Here’s her story…


The property buying process

“A year ago today I decided to go to an open house for a house I knew was out of budget! My husband told me not to go so me being me I went!!”

So starts the first post on Katie Kirkpatrick’s Instagram page – @bowlinggreenhousetohome, a page dedicated to the renovation of the Kirkpatrick family’s countryside house.

It was last summer that Katie and her husband began their search for a new family home. While browsing through online listings, Katie came across a three-bedroom detached property situated in a beautiful area of Suffolk. Upon seeing the external photo, she fell in love with the house and decided it was perfect for herself and her young family.

Of course, property purchases can’t be made based on an outside shot alone.

Normally, external shots are complemented by beautifully staged internal photography to showcase a property to its maximum.

Unfortunately, this property was extremely dated inside. So much so that we decided not to include any internal shots with the listing.

Instead, the property was marketed through the modern method of an open house. Popular in America, an open house allows a number of buyers to view a property on just one or two given days, allowing them more freedom to explore than a traditional house viewing.

With the opportunity to gauge the interest levels of other buyers, an open house is a method of selling that has many benefits for the buyer and the seller.

Katie signed up to view the open house, where she saw ‘massive potential [for the property] to be our forever family home.’

With a great location and that considerable potential, Katie put in an offer straight after the open house.

Her husband hadn’t even seen inside the property!

So how bad was the interior?

“It was just very unloved,” Katie told us. “There were patterned carpets and woodchip wallpaper everywhere, including the ceilings!”

Like a seasoned property developer, Katie saw past the ageing décor, and after a few days of negotiations had an offer accepted.

Then began the hard work…

Main 2

The renovation process

“We weren’t looking for a renovation.

“In fact, we were debating buying a new build, but couldn’t find one that offered the space we needed for the right price.”

Despite not being property developers – Katie’s husband is a mortgage advisor – the couple were not strangers to property development, having carried out a bit of a renovation on their previous house.

This property was a bigger undertaking, however.

Living in the house while the work was going on around them – an endeavour Katie admits was particularly hard in the cold winter months, while windows were being replaced and plaster applied – the family decided to start work on the homes most communal area – the living room.

And for good reason…

“We started in the living room, so that however bad it got at the end of the day we could go in there, shut the door from the mess and relax!” said Katie.

Transformed from a mismatch of patterns, woodchip and mahogany, the living room is now the focal point of the property.

Gone is the dated décor, replaced with beautifully plastered walls painted in a soft grey, a feature fireplace, lush carpets and contemporary looking radiators.

Since then, the work has continued apace.

The bedrooms have been plastered and decorated. New carpets and a modern bannister added to the stairs. Windows and a new front door installed. A mini makeover undertaken in the kitchen. And some satisfying green-fingered work started in the gardens.

Interestingly for anyone interested in property development, or those who just enjoy looking at beautiful interiors, Katie has chronicled all of the work in an Instagram feed. Starting from the very beginning, @bowlinggreenhousetohome is a wonderful souvenir of the work undertaken and a reminder of how far the project has come.

Like the home it reflects, the account started from scratch. It now has over 12,000 followers.

“I started my page on Instagram to gain inspiration from others and share our experiences,” says Katie. “I am overwhelmed with the response we have had. I never imagined that so many people would want to follow our renovation with us.”

A homage to brands such as Laura Ashley (@lauraashleyuk) and Neptune (@neptunecolchester), the social channel provides inspiration to budding interior designers everywhere.

A favourite post of ours features the Laura Ashley mirror Katie has positioned in the hallway. Proof that a well-placed mirror can add a feeling of space to any room, this is just one of the many features that make this house a unique home.

What does the future hold for the Suffolk property?

As for the future, there’s still lots to be done.

Katie told us: “We still have a lot of work to do in the property. We are currently doing a mini makeover in the dining room, but our long-term plan is to knock the wall down between the kitchen and dining room to create an open plan kitchen/family room.

“Later this year we are looking to replace the bathroom and en-suite. In the middle of all this, we are trying to sort the gardens out.”

But, is Katie still convinced that she made the right decision to buy this property? And is it still the forever family home she imagined at the open house?

“Absolutely, this is our forever family home and we are looking forward to making many memories here…”

David Burr market unique and interesting properties in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex

We market a whole host of fascinating, unusual and distinctive properties. From multi-million-pound Listed country houses to two-bed terraced homes. We help you to sell your property. Whether an open house to gain interest in an attractive but run-down property or marketing in our quarterly lifestyle magazine, we’ll promote your property to the appropriate audience through the relevant medium.

And we don’t forget the buyer either. As Katie told us about her experience with our Long Melford office: “They were fantastic. They did everything they could to support us throughout the purchase”.

If you too are looking to buy or sell in East Anglia, get in contact with your local David Burr office.

We’re always happy to help.