• Steve


Updated: May 11, 2020

As some of you may already know, I’ve had a little time away from blogging this year. Partly to do with website issues, but mainly due to my time being taken up by renovating my new home, alongside juggling a full time career.

Early on in the year, after months of long drawn out red tape, I finally completed on my new home, a beautiful apartment in a converted Victorian house.

I’d been searching for a Victorian property for quite sometime. Fortunately for me the locations in South Manchester that I was searching in, had many Victorian homes thanks to Manchester’s Middle Class influx during the industrial revolution in the 19th Century.

However, although there were quite a good number of Victorian properties on the market, I was finding it hard to unearth a conversion that was just right for me (most I viewed had communal areas much like a squat, which was rather off-putting)

I’d just had an offer accepted on a property (a mill conversion) when I got a phone call the same afternoon about a recent development that had just come onto the market…this was the one and fate had stepped in!

Converted into six apartments, Melrose House, a former vicarage was exactly what I was searching for. The house was built in 1890 as the home for Congregational Minister Thomas H Williams, his wife Bertha and his two children Gladys and Bernard. They shared their home with two servants, Alice Gill, a domestic cook and Elsie Kitt, a domestic nurse originally from New Zealand.

Melrose House was one of the first homes built in the neighbourhood and was the vicarage for neighbouring St Joseph’s Chapel. The following decades saw it passed to several reverends, Thomas Webster around 1911 and George Benton in 1939.

In 2017, a slightly worse for wear Melrose House was bought by a local developer who not only brought it back to life, but added an extension to the rear of the property to house six, two bedroom apartments.

Although it was renovated to a fairly high spec, the generic grey and white interior did little for me, it was time to get my imagination flowing and overhaul this blank canvas!


When those keys were finally handed to me on a dreary February afternoon, I walked into an empty cold apartment, painted in an undercoat bright white emulsion and sporting a typical ‘new-build’ light grey carpet. It was far from exciting, but I could see it’s potential just waiting to be unearthed.

I wanted the entrance to be dramatic, a real welcome to my home and a contrast from the neutral grey and white communal areas. I wanted to achieve a nod to the Victorian era to honour the buildings past but mix that with modern artwork and lighting to bring it up to date.

The entrance hall also housed a very strange and what I can only describe as an empty space leading into the bathroom. I couldn’t (and still can’t) find any real logic or reason for it, so I decided to extended the bathroom by pulling down the wall, removing the dead space and relocating the door to the bathroom in line with the master bedroom next-door. Not only did that create a bigger bathroom but it then aligned the hall and the doors to create a more visually appealing line…bingo!

Another lovely ‘design’ feature from the developers at the very entrance to the apartment; a down-right ugly fuse box sitting proud as punch on the wall for all to see. I hated this being on show and especially in the hallway as a first impression. I set too and asked my joiner if he could construct a small thin storage cupboard which lined up and mirrored the front door to conceal it. This not only created a more symmetrical look to the hall, but also added much needed storage space for those annoying but essential items like the ironing board.