You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

From drug den to dream home: Couple reveal how they took three years to transform a ‘hideous’ Victorian network of bedsits into a stunning house – and added £1.65million to its value

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 19/09/2018 Rory Tingle For Mailonline
a man and a woman standing in front of a window: Chelsea Dixon and her husband Robert Bühler, 33 and 31, bought the crumbling Victorian terrace house in Shepherd's Bush, West London, at an October 2015 auction just three days after the birth of their son. They are pictured with their two children, Vada (left) and Forest (right) in the kitchen of the newly renovated property  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Chelsea Dixon and her husband Robert Bühler, 33 and 31, bought the crumbling Victorian terrace house in Shepherd's Bush, West London, at an October 2015 auction just three days after the birth of their son. They are pictured with their two children, Vada (left) and Forest (right) in the kitchen of the newly renovated property 

A couple added £1.65million to the value of a house by converting it from a squalid network of seven bedsitsinto a stunning five-bedroom family home with a huge, sunlit living room and a wine cellar on the ground floor. 

Chelsea Dixon and her husband Robert Bühler, 33 and 31, bought the crumbling Victorian terrace house in Shepherd's Bush, West London, for £1.6million at an October 2015 auction just three days after the birth of their son, Forest. 

a stone building: The rubbish-strewn property had not been renovated in up to 30 years, had damp, and housed a drug den on the top floor but is now worth an estimated 3.5million  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The rubbish-strewn property had not been renovated in up to 30 years, had damp, and housed a drug den on the top floor but is now worth an estimated 3.5million  The rubbish-strewn property had not been renovated in up to 30 years, had damp, and housed a drug den on the top floor.

a small room: 'There were lots of people living there before,' Dixon said. Pictured: One of the the squalid bedsits, where much of the furniture was in disrepair  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 'There were lots of people living there before,' Dixon said. Pictured: One of the the squalid bedsits, where much of the furniture was in disrepair  But Dixon saw the potential of the property's high 8.2-feet ceilings and its enviable location on a leafty street.

a piece of luggage sitting on the grass: A disgraced mattress, fridge and other appliances in the back garden gives an idea of the size of the clean-up job facing the couple  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A disgraced mattress, fridge and other appliances in the back garden gives an idea of the size of the clean-up job facing the couple  The end result is estimated to be worth £3.5million after £600,000 worth of building work, and feels very far away from the house Dixon first came across in an auction catalogue she was reading in hospital.

The rubbish-strewn property had not been renovated in up to 30 years, had damp, and a drug den littered with needles on the top floor. Pictured is one of the rooms just after the previous tenants had gone (left) and the dilapidated front © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The rubbish-strewn property had not been renovated in up to 30 years, had damp, and a drug den littered with needles on the top floor. Pictured is one of the rooms just after the previous tenants had gone (left) and the dilapidated front 'I was looking at properties while waiting to give birth in hospital when I saw it. I knew that street very well and knew properties never come up on it,' she told MailOnline. 

'The baby was about three days old on the day of the auction. I wasn't planning on buying it but put an offer down and we weren't outbid.'

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place: The large sofa in the living area on the ground floor, which is decorated with modern art and an impressive crystal chandelier © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The large sofa in the living area on the ground floor, which is decorated with modern art and an impressive crystal chandelier The couple, who own the home and design company Vada Collective, quickly got to work clearing out years worth of rubbish before knocking down every interior wall and stripping the plaster down to the bare brickwork. 

a room filled with furniture and a large window: A quiet area in the upstairs of the house, where there used to be a drug den which the couple found strewn with used needles  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A quiet area in the upstairs of the house, where there used to be a drug den which the couple found strewn with used needles  'There were lots of people living there before,' Dixon said. 'It was hideous - one of the upstairs rooms was a crack den and there were drugs all over the floor. Two ladies on the ground floor were fairly tidy in comparison.

a living room filled with furniture and a book shelf: The house includes a long, open-plan ground floor which, like the rest of the property, has stylish walnut floors. Pictured: A grand piano inside the living area  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The house includes a long, open-plan ground floor which, like the rest of the property, has stylish walnut floors. Pictured: A grand piano inside the living area  'We had to clear all the junk that had been left so we could see the wood from the trees. Then we stripped it back to the bare walls and plasterboard, and removed some old lime plaster that was falling from the ceiling.' 

a person sitting in front of a window: The 22ft-wide kitchen-diner area illuminated by two huge skylights and four ceiling-height sliding windows that look out onto a Mediterranean-style garden. The couple are pictured with Forest and Vada  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The 22ft-wide kitchen-diner area illuminated by two huge skylights and four ceiling-height sliding windows that look out onto a Mediterranean-style garden. The couple are pictured with Forest and Vada  Luckily, the couple were both suited for the job. Dixon said her parents were so keen on renovations to her childhood home on the Isle of Man that she 'grew up on a building site'. Bühler, meanwhile, used his architectural expertise to draw up the designs. 

a white tub sitting next to a window: The couple were both suited for the job. Dixon said her parents were so keen on renovations to her childhood home on the Isle of Man that she 'grew up on a building site'. Pictured: The new children's room

The couple were both suited for the job. Dixon said her parents were so keen on renovations to her childhood home on the Isle of Man that she 'grew up on a building site'. Pictured: The new children's room
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited
By the end of their work they had a long, open-plan ground floor with a 22ft-wide kitchen-diner area illuminated by two huge skylights and four ceiling-height sliding windows. 

a dining room table in front of a window: Dixon and Bühlerand made use of the high 8.2-feet ceilings to lend an airy aspect to the property. Pictured: The kitchen and dining area, which is lit by large skylights © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Dixon and Bühlerand made use of the high 8.2-feet ceilings to lend an airy aspect to the property. Pictured: The kitchen and dining area, which is lit by large skylights The kitchen, which like the rest of the property has walnut floors,features marble worktops and a French range and mirror. Upstairs there are four bathrooms in addition to a downstairs loo.

A drafty, non-secured side alley was replaced with a larder and a wine room to take advantage of the cool temperatures in that part of the house. 

Pictured: The kitchen and dining area, which is lit by large skylights © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pictured: The kitchen and dining area, which is lit by large skylights

Meanwhile, the previously overgrown backyard with a pond full of frogs has been replaced with a Mediterranean-style garden.

a room filled with furniture and vase of flowers: The previously overgrown backyard with a pond full of frogs has been replaced with a Mediterranean-style garden © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The previously overgrown backyard with a pond full of frogs has been replaced with a Mediterranean-style garden The couple met at architecture school and have already renovated several properties in the local area, some of which they rent out.

a room with a large window: The marble kitchen island, which was designed by people at the couple's own home and design company, Vada Collective © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The marble kitchen island, which was designed by people at the couple's own home and design company, Vada Collective 'We are really happy with it, it's a great space to live in,' Dixon said. Even though it's very big each area is zoned to make it more liveable. 

'So even though the downstairs is vast it is broken up into a reading area, sitting room and kitchen all in their separate little zones.'  

a person sitting in a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: The couple are pictured with their children, Forest and Vada, further towards the front of the house, which contains the living room in an open-plan format  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple are pictured with their children, Forest and Vada, further towards the front of the house, which contains the living room in an open-plan format 


AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon