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Emma - Our Surrey Project Interview

Emma - Our Surrey Project Interview

Emma - Our Surrey Project Interview

Emma, Matt and Daisy the dog, have had us totally enthralled on their renovation journey as they completely transformed a modest, 1950’s Surrey home into something quite spectacular.

The vision that Emma and Matt had for this home is nothing short of incredible; you’ll see what we mean when you take a look at the jaw-dropping before and after images

Purchasing just before the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Emma cites the lockdowns as a welcome opportunity to spend time on the design and decisions for all aspects of the renovation. Of course, with Matt running Babel Developments, a design and build company, they were well equipped for the trials and tribulations that this scale of renovation was going to throw at them.

Let's hear their story…

Introduce yourself and what you do.

Hi, I’m Emma, one third of Our Surrey Project (alongside Matt & Daisy our dog).

Tell us about how you tackled your last renovation (Surrey Project 1!) and was it always your plan to completely remodel it?

We bought our house at the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic. We knew the property needed a lot of work, it was very overgrown outside and dated inside but we had big plans to turn the 1950s/60s property into a modern New England style home.

As Matt runs a Design & Build company, Babel Developments, we were able to get started with the designs the day after we moved in and submitted planning a few months later. Having the lockdown meant we had more time to spend on nailing down decisions for all aspects of the build and spending time in the property helped us understand where the sun moved throughout the day and where windows should be added etc.

After getting our plans approved, we were able to start the build in September 2020 and completed fully in July/August 2021. The layout had a huge change internally as we created a large open plan kitchen/ diner /living room on the back, complete with utility/boot room with side access, so no muddy boots needed to come through the house. We added a study to the front, downstairs WC, along with a reconfiguration of the existing lounge to create a snug room with a gas fireplace. Upstairs we reconfigured the layout to keep 4 bedrooms, adding ensuites to all of them.

To the rear and front of the property we had landscaped the garden to clear all the overgrown bushes and make a more modern garden design and the driveway was landscaped to a gravel drive with planted borders around the sides. The exterior overhaul included lap cladding and ashlar cut render to give a beautiful stone like detailing to the render. We resized all the windows on the house and made them sash windows. Resizing them gave the house more symmetry and helped finish the design. We also added 20mm slim frame sliding doors and floor to ceiling windows either side, to provide lots of natural light.

How long did it take from start to finish and did you live through it?

It took around 10 months in total – we were lucky enough to be able to live with family for 8 of those months, as the house was just not livable given the extent of the works.

What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking of embarking on a similar project?

Plan, Plan, Plan! Think about each room and how you would like it. Making mood boards for each room will really help with this. I made lots of them to work out colours, fabrics, textures and I ordered lots of samples too, as we were planning this during the lockdown we were unable to visit any shops or showrooms, adding a slight challenge! I would also say try and make decisions as early as possible, such as what tiles you want, what grout colour, what kitchen & layout you want, what skirting, where you want light switches and sockets to go etc. all these elements make a difference to the build and the timings too.

Are you happy with the finished result, would you change anything?

We absolutely loved the finished result and I don’t think there would be anything we would change.

You’re a keen interiors lover, how would you describe your design style?

I absolutely love interiors and it is a huge passion of mine. I would say modern English country – I love rustic textures and natural colour palettes.

What are your biggest interior style principles?

Having a mixture of textures and colour palettes that complement each other – everything doesn’t have to match. Plus light and bright rooms, I love a room with lots of natural light and large windows or doors.

Photography by: Chris Snook -

Where do you find your inspiration?

I would say mainly from Instagram as there are so many beautiful homes and accounts. Some hotels also give me inspiration too, especially South African hotels as they use so many beautiful fabrics & wooden textured products.

What is your go-to podcast?

Deliciously Ella – Delicious ways to feel better - It’s a bit of a go to for me a it covers so many different topics on health, wellness & food

What are you reading at the moment?

Living Ayurveda

What current Hudson Home product do you love?

I absolutely love the Potted Boxwood faux plants, they are perfect for styling open shelves in the kitchen and in the bathrooms. Plus any of the styling books, for consoles or coffee tables like This is home, Sunday Suppers or Live Beautiful.

Name 3 Hudson Home products you would feature in your new home?

I love checking all the ‘new in’ items on Hudson home as it is such a go to home shop for me. My items I will certainly have on my purchasing list for the new home will be, the Brass Salt & Pepper Mills, the Large Dough Bowl and a collection of the beautiful cushions for bedrooms/ sofas, such as the Minnie Cushion & Modina Flax Stripe.

What can’t you live without (completely non interiors related!) 

Gin… a must during a renovation! Lol

What's next for you?

Having just recently moved from Our Surrey Project, we are about to undertake another, so lots of exciting plans for us to share moving forward. However, first things first, will be our London wedding in June, which has been postponed since May 2020, so we are really excited for it to finally go ahead.

Having now left this incredible first Surrey Project home, we are waiting with excitement to see the next project that this trio will be sharing with us all and we are of course sending our very best for their London wedding in June!

Visit Emma's instagram

Photograpy by Chris Snook @snookphotograph

1 comment


Lovely. But some before and after pictures would be helpful and make the article much more interesting.

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