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Take a butcher's hook

PUBLISHED: 14:49 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 20 February 2013

The kitchen floods with light from the large window at the rear of the room

The kitchen floods with light from the large window at the rear of the room

When Tiffany and Dave Fraser-Steele planned their move to Essex from London, renovating a butcher's shop in Coggeshall was not what they were expecting

WHILE away on a business trip, Tiffany Fraser-Steele left her husband, Dave, house-hunting for their new dream home.

After deciding to move out of London to somewhere in the Essex countryside, Dave found himself viewing various rural locations in search of the perfect pad. 'We were both keen on an older property with lots of charm and character,' explains Dave, 'but what I actually fell in love with was a quirky butcher's shop in the centre of Coggeshall.'

Not long after Tiffany's return, the couple were packing ready to leave London for good knowing that there was quite a lot of work to be done in their new home. 'When we moved in, the place had a terrible smell,' recalls Tiffany. 'It had been trading as a butchers up until about six months prior to us buying it.' The couple completely cleared the place so that they could start from scratch.

The old shop that had been built in the early 1900s had a traditional shop front with a central door and double windows either side. 'We knew that once transformed into a house, the place would be flooded with light making it a really lovely home with a fascinating history,' explains Dave.

'Tiffany and I realised pretty quickly that it was difficult to not have the essential rooms such as a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom,' adds Dave, 'so these were the rooms that we tackled first.' The kitchen is a really good-sized room, so the couple decided to have an impressive range-style cooker centrally along one wall. Dave and Tiffany also utilised some great features left over from the butchers shop like the metal hanging rails and monochrome tiles on the walls.

'We were really keen to mix our ideas with what was already part of the house,' says Tiffany, 'and in the living room this was particularly enjoyable.' The living room and kitchen are joined by a huge opening. This gives both rooms a bright sunny feel and is again an original feature that Dave and Tiffany were keen to keep. The room has been painted in a neutral shade which Dave and Tiffany have complemented with their own eclectic choice of furniture and art.

The sumptuous sofa is a particular favourite and a lot of the other items in the living room have been gathered by the couple from various antique fairs. 'While decorating the living room we felt that it would be great to have some sort of stove,' explains Tiffany. 'After checking the chimney situation we had this one installed giving the room a much-needed focal point.' Again Dave added a fun element to the room by using the original meat hooks in the front window to hang some of his collection of chairs.'

The upstairs of the old shop had long since been used as a residential dwelling so Tiffany and Dave had a less daunting task than the one they had faced downstairs. Here they could use what they could of the existing features and simply update where necessary.

'In the bathroom we kept the former look of the room by simply re-grouting the existing tiles and giving the beautiful freestanding bath a face-lift with some new taps,' recalls Tiffany. 'However, the couple added a different slant to the design by fitting a new basin with a chrome stand.'

This completely overhauled the room and allowed Tiffany and Dave to feel that it was more their own style while keeping loyal to the age of their new home, they even kept the original worn parquet flooring.'

Tiffany accessorised the bedroom with a cowhide rug that she'd been given as a gift and a chunky table that her and Dave had bought from their home in London.

'Although the thought of transforming the house from a butcher's shop was gruelling I could see the potential all along and was confident that we could make a home here,' explains Dave. After only a short space of time the couple have done just that and can now enjoy it and its interesting past.

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