What I Own: Reka, who has transformed her £412,000 Hertfordshire house

What I Own: Reka, who has transformed her £412,000 Hertfordshire house

Welcome back to What I Own – Metro.co.uk’s weekly series where we talk to homeowners about getting on the property ladder.

We are chatting to Reka this week, who lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Reka moved in almost eight years ago and has transformed the property’s beige walls to make a vibrant and welcoming home. What’s more, every colour scheme throughout her house has been hand-picked for a sentimental reason.

More of her interior antics can be seen over on her Instagram account @reka_thornton_home.

This is what she had to say about her buying experience…

Tell us about yourself, Reka.

I’m 39, I own an online wedding shop. I always wanted to learn interior design so during Covid I finished a diploma course and I’m now looking to start an interior business.

Where is your property?

Our home is in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. We fell in love with it as soon as we visited, eight years ago. We moved here from Ireland, as my husband is Irish and we met there. 

We love the area, we live near a country park with a duck pond and a zip-line playground where we go for a walk almost every day. Because of the good train links to London, the area is becoming more and more popular and it’s a little bit sad to see more and more green areas disappear. 

When did you move in?

We moved into our home seven and a half years ago. 

How much does your property cost?

It cost us £412,000.

How much was your deposit?

We put in £100,000 and mortgaged the rest. 

What is the monthly cost of living here now: both mortgage and bills?

We managed to reduce our mortgage to £1,200 a month. The bills are approximately £500. 

How did you save up for your deposit?

We were lucky to get most of our deposit from both of our families, but we also had some savings from our work. 

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

Thankfully we didn’t have any trouble getting a mortgage because my husband has always had a great job. At the time of applying for a mortgage I was home with the kids, so it was just a matter of how much we could get, but we really loved the house we bought and thankfully we got enough from the bank to cover it.  

Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?

We rented in Dublin, Ireland, for a while – it was our first home together. Then we moved to Poole (Dorset) for six months, where we also rented on our own.

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

I always wanted to own our home rather than renting. I think it’s the feeling of owning something that we can transform the way we like – something that is only ours and we don’t rely on landlords in terms of how long we could stay and if we could have pets. This made us feel stronger about buying. The kids don’t remember any other house now (where we have lived before), and they consider this as the only family home we’ve ever had. 

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

This was actually the second property we viewed. My husband loved the first one we viewed but I knew that it was very small for our needs and future plans. Then we had a viewing for our current house next and as soon as I walked into the house I knew that I had arrived home.

I loved the longer than usual lounge, the spacious kitchen (the house was already extended) and that all the rooms upstairs are reasonably sized. There was also an en-suite to the main bedroom that I really loved, although both bathrooms needed a full renovation. 

How have you made the property feel like home?

First, we left the walls all-beige – the same as they originally were when we bought the house – but we slowly realised that we loved colour, and by adding colour to the house we made it feel like home. 

All the colours in the house mean something to us, just like the green kitchen reminds my husband of Ireland, but his favourite colour is blue – so we have a blue living room. My favourite colour is pink and we have pink furniture and accessories in all the rooms. 

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?

I love eclectic interiors, mixing old with new, adding something interesting and unexpected to the decor. 

What’s your favourite room and why?

It’s a tough question because I love all the rooms. My favourite is probably the living room at the moment, I had been dreaming of a pink sofa for so long, and I’m so happy that my husband loved it when we visited the showroom and let me choose a pink sofa. I’ve had lots of compliments on it and I’m happy when I inspire others to go bold. We also designed and had a TV wall built and it’s the place for family movies and snuggles. 

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I guess you can always dream of bigger space, but I think for a family of four, we have enough space. 

Do you have plans to change the property?

The house had already been extended so we can’t do much. We did think about adding an attic conversion – but in the end we felt that the price would not be worth what we were going to gain.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

No, it’s a very good property. Before we moved in, it had been cavity wall insulated as well, so it’s very warm in winter. 

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

For me, it’s important to have as much light in the house as possible. Our games room and kitchen have skylights, which make the north-facing kitchen light. 

There is always something to compromise on, people need to decide what is more important to them and what they are happy to give up. For example, as our house had an extension, we gained a big kitchen, and an extra room that we use as a games room now, but we lost a good bit of the garden.

For us, it was worth it, it’s just enough for our needs, but I can imagine that some people wouldn’t be happy with a smaller garden. 

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?

We sometimes toy with the idea of moving to a bigger house, but we aren’t sure we would get such a fab house as what we own now. We transformed our garden last year, we love the astro turf in it and the decking area. The transformation cost quite a lot but it was so worth it. We will most probably stay here long term.

Shall we take a look around?

















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