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Stunning modern extension to 1950s house in Little Shelford, Cambridge

The Carrothers family and their beautiful home in Little Shelford
The Carrothers family and their beautiful home in Little Shelford

Originally from Chester, Mrs Liz Carrothers moved with her husband, Andrew, and two young children to the property on the High Street in Little Shelford in 2013, having previously rented in Harston.

The office/spare room
The office/spare room

Built in the 1950s and lived in by the previous owners since that time, the house has since almost doubled in size, mainly thanks to Liz’s foresight, drive and imagination.

Where a pretty drab, old-fashioned house once stood, there now stands a comfortable, light, contemporary family home that still retains its traditional warmth of character, as well as pleasing original features such as the teak parquet flooring and wood burning stove.

“It was a 1950s property and nothing in it had changed since then,” recalled Liz, “so it was almost a blank canvas. We started with the old part of the house, rewired it and redid the plumbing. We put in new bathrooms and then started on the extensions.”

From the front, the house is fairly unremarkable – the more pleasing views can be found at the back, both standing in the garden looking back at the house and standing in the house looking out over the attractive landscaped garden and the trees and fields beyond.

The open-plan living area
The open-plan living area

“There’s a very modern feeling towards the back of the house,” observed Liz. “We lived in Canada for a year, in Toronto, so that influenced the open-plan kitchen area.”

Pointing to some stairs visible from the open-plan living area, Liz stated: “That was the old garage and some old outhouses, so we demolished all those, rebuilt the garage, added a little reading room and then built the office/spare bedroom above it, which also has a cloakroom.”

Work on the extension started almost immediately after the family had moved in and took two years to complete. “I am sad,” admitted Liz, when asked how she feels about moving after having put in all that time and effort (she also spoke highly of the “friendliness” of the village and the local area), “and we did complete it to a high standard so that if we were going to stay then it would be a house we’d be very happy in. But I’m ready for another project!”

Her passion for design and renovation clearly evident, Liz continued: “I used to be a town planner and I’ve always wanted to get involved in house projects, or even build a new house as well. I like working with architects and builders and I just find the whole thing interesting and exciting.”

The open-plan kitchen area
The open-plan kitchen area

The lady of the house describes her taste in interior design as “modern, but classic as well” and this now-striking property in Little Shelford is the first major project she’s orchestrated, though it definitely won’t be the last.

“I’ve enjoyed this one so much,” she said, “and I’m looking for something similar.

“The day I came to view this house, I came on my own and sketched out what I wanted to do. I found those sketches recently and it’s exactly what I did!”

“I love it,” said Liz’s husband, Andrew, understandably proud of what his wife has achieved. “I think it always takes that little bit of vision to see through the mess. Her background in town planning has been really useful.”

Property photographs, 14 High Street, Little Shelford, Cambridge the Carruthers family. Picture: Keith Heppell
Property photographs, 14 High Street, Little Shelford, Cambridge the Carruthers family. Picture: Keith Heppell

The family lived in the old part of the house while the work was being carried out. “It was hard work but our builders were absolutely fantastic,” said Liz, “and really understanding. The children very much enjoyed the project and really got to know them.”

Liz intends to use the same talented team on her next challenge. “We will do, definitely. We got on so well with them and it was such a success.”

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