Wales’ Home of the Year crowned a super stylish period home as winner of the third episode on Friday, August 26 – but now we can reveal what it looked like before the jaw-dropping transformation. Holmedale in Llandudno is totally unrecognisable since it had a major facelift from its current owners.
And judges on the BBC Wales property show – architect Glen Thomas, designer Mandy Watkins, and presenter and TV weatherman Owain Wyn Evans – were very impressed.
This six-week long tour of the terrific homes across the nation results in a crowned winner from each of the five regions to then compete against each other to ultimately find Wales’ Home from the Year, revealed in episode six.
The three contenders for this week’s regional winning crown – in the north west – were a traditional Welsh cottage full of character, a coastal chalet bungalow with immense sea views and an attractive time period property on a street packed full of unique abodes – a tricky choice for the judges in this episode.
Holmedale, the final property to be featured, is the home of Sandra Czachur, her husband and a collection of much-loved cats and dogs. It has been turned from a well-loved but rather plain home into a property bursting full of pattern, colour and visually engaging curios and treasures.
It was love at first viewing for Sandra. From the moment she walked through the front door she could see the potential the property presented to let her creative juices run wild inside whilst respecting and focusing on the property’s period features too.
Sandra says: “The day we came to view the house, the minute I walked in the door and saw the tiled floor I was smitten. It isn’t a huge hallway, but all the original features are still here, and it feels so welcoming. ”
Offer made, house secured, keys picked up, furniture in and then it was time for Sandra to unleash her creative ideas and her interior personality into each tired space.
She says: “I get my inspiration from visiting fabulous places of interest and. of course. Property TV programmes always inspire me as well. I know what I like plus absolutely know what I don’t. I would say I like a mix of trends but ultimately it is my own taste, which is what a home should reflect, I think.
“I love Abigail Ahern’s interior design and a host of other Instagram influencers that favour dark interiors. I love Victorian houses and indeed the Victorian era – I like to mix the old with the new and hopefully I have achieved that. I’ll add Frida Kahlo into the mix too as I love her and have made a little shrine to her in our hallway.
“I have always had a passion for things that look and feel good, through clothes to interiors. Years ago, it used to be glossy magazines that inspired me but these days I would say Instagram plays a big part plus why I set up my own Instagram account @homesweetholmedale . ”
One of Sandra’s over-riding wishes was to inject some dark and dramatic shades into the house. She says: “I have always loved dark interiors. Many years ago, I remember wanting to paint a living room dark green, but I was afraid to try it for fear of it being too dark. But in this house I decided to just go with it after seeing someone on Instagram paint their room in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue.
“So, I just went for it in the lounge, and I was amazed at the result – you imagine dark colours are going to make a room dark and small, but I would say it’s the opposite. I also love painting the woodwork and walls all the same color too. I wish I had done it years ago, so my advice to others would be ‘just do it’! ”
Sandra says the house is still a work in progress with more spaces to feel the force of her decorations imagination, even if her ‘other half’ is not totally sold on all of the ideas left on her ‘to do’ list.
The girl says: “I want to rip out the carpets on the stairs and paint the particular steps black, although my husband thinks we will need a torchlight to navigate our way around the house soon if I do, ha-ha! But actually it is quite the opposite, it’s going to look amazing. ”
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It can be a challenge completing an interior design project across a house when it is brimming with curious pets, but Sandra has almost reached the finishing line.
As well as the stairs there is still a top floor bedroom to complete, a dressing space and maybe extra tweaking within the dining room too, as Sandra feels that space could do with some more thought to make it stand out to the next visual level.
Now most of the rooms are completed it’s hard for Sandra to choose her favourite spot – like choosing your favourite pet — but when pushed it comes down to a top three, but the order is still undecided.
The office easily secures one of the top three winning podium places, as Sandra worked hard to create a space that is peaceful and yet invigorating enough to inspire good work.
Sandra says: “I absolutely love my office, from your Rebel Walls mural towards the Orla Kiely armchair, it’s a great quiet room in order to sit in. Painting the original fireplace black and adding the old school cupboard from a local auction house has really added character.
“I love my plants in here too and this room just makes me feel good, which is a win for an office I would say and eventually the goal of any room. ”
The bathroom and one of the guest bedrooms join the office in the coveted top three spaces winning list. Sandra says: “I absolutely love the teal colour in the bedroom plus painting the fireplace, walls and woodwork in the same colour really worked.
“We have zip and link beds so it can be a double or twin room and the headboards I covered in a fabric to match the original tiles on the fireplace. The sun shines through here in the morning and there is a great view as we are elevated, becoming on the Great Orme. inch
Just when the top three are apparently decided there’s a late contender and it illustrates just how much of Sandra’s heart and interior soul has been invested into this beautiful home – she has created areas she loves that she feels difficult to choose between, and isn’t that what a home is all about?
Sandra says: “I perform love my kitchen though… we knocked the wall through from the original kitchen area to the dining room and rejigged the kitchen units, our fabulous builder made the island for us – there was no sink in the kitchen, can you believe it?
“Someone on Instagram made the cooker surround for us which was my idea and it turned out so much better than I had imagined. Mixing old and brand new in here has worked well – I also love my big original kitchen cupboards. It’s so hard to pick a favourite area – I just love them all! ”
It can be a scary move to allow television cameras into your much-loved and much toiled over home, especially if they are bringing with them three judges whose task it is to judge what you have created, but Sandra took a deep breath and took the plunge.
She says: “To be honest I was really honoured when they approached me when i only see the things that need doing on the house and not all the good bits, so I was shocked to even be considered for the programme. Being on TV was great fun and good to see behind the scenes – I’m not a natural in front of the camera so it was a bit daunting at first.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the programme, the series is exactly the kind of show I might watch anyway. I love all the interiors programmes; I have actually considered doing an interior design course. ” But looking at what Sandra has done to create her beautiful home so far, she can definitely skip a large chunk of the course, especially the section on using dark colours to create optimum drama.
Wales Home of the Year continues on BBC Cymru Wales upon Friday at 7. 30pm, with episode three available to view on iPlayer shortly after its broadcast on Friday, August 26. And check out last week’s winner – the incredible reworking of a boring bungalow to a remarkable riverside above here .
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