We’ve been speaking with Samantha & Craig of @fiftyfourlane; an incredible, turreted property in the heart of Leicester City Centre.
Samantha, originally from Norfolk, moved to Leicestershire 10 years ago to follow her career in fashion.
“I work as a fashion designer and have worked for many of the UK’s high street retailers.”
“In my spare time I love being creative and keeping myself busy with crafts or the latest upcycling project.”
Craig on the other hand was born and raised in Leicestershire and works within the print industry.
“If I’m not doing some sort of project on the property, my time is spent playing sports, socialising with friends or taking the dogs out exploring.”
Interior design is something that has always been an interest and passion for both Samantha & Craig, with this home not being their first renovation.
“We purchased the property in 2018 after falling in love with it as soon as we saw it.”
The property is truly unique and offers fantastic curb appeal through the large striking turret. The opportunity to restore all of the traditional Victorian characteristics was something that Samantha & Craig could not pass up.
“We have always had an interest in traditional properties and their beauty.”
The property was built in the late 1800’s originally for the headmaster at the local school, later being separated into two halves in the 1900’s. Samantha & Craig amazingly hold the original deeds of the property which are framed and on display.
In order to satisfy their love for workmanship and space, purchasing an old character building was always going to be the route for Samantha & Craig. Samantha also wanted to enjoy the process of putting their own stamp onto a property, whilst learning a wealth of new skills along the way.
“We definitely came into the project as DIY novices, but luckily Samantha’s Dad is great with DIY and has helped us throughout the process.”
Whilst carrying out the renovation, the couple are always thinking of new ideas and so the renovation is constantly changing direction. Most of the main projects are complete and so the main task now is keeping the house looking and feeling fresh. The only major project left is a possible extension to the kitchen/diner, but they are yet to decide on what to do.
“Every room has been decorated throughout, trying to make sure the style is sympathetic with the period of the property.”
Samantha & Craig have tried their utmost best to keep the renovation in line with the property’s history. They have restored original wood flooring, reinstated the stained glass/wooden front door, replaced radiators with more traditional column style ones, added decorative wooden panelling and completely refitted the bathroom. They have also changed certain rooms to better suit their needs such as installing a mud/dog shower room downstairs and converting part of the garage into a home gym.
Currently, the pair’s favourite room of their house is the bathroom, which was inspired by a stay at the Ludlow hotel in NYC. Samantha loved the art deco styling in the hotel and took pictures to guide their own project at home. They then shopped around and sourced the contents from many different places in order to keep costs down.
“We had our hearts set on a traditional bath in a striking colour which can be quite expensive to purchase new, but we managed to buy a bath on Gumtree for £50 and had it specially sprayed for a professional finish.”
Alongside the challenge of sourcing the perfect bath, it was a struggle to replicate the correct finish on the taps and other pieces. Samantha & Craig ended up having to get everything specially dipped in brass and brushed to get the perfect finish. If this wasn’t enough, before being able to install their new bathroom there were layers and layers of tiles to be removed, pipework to be repositioned and a bath to be lifted up two flights of Victorian stairs.
“We had DR Edwards plumbing completing the work and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”
In terms of inspiration, Samantha & Craig collect ideas from a number of different sources such as blogs, social media and travel. Some of their favourite brands include textile print artist Emma Shipley and homeware brand Redefined Objects, with the latter ethically sourcing products from skilled Indian craftsmen.
“We are very lucky that we live within walking distance to local amenities and just a short trip into the city.”
“Living so close to the city, some of our favourite local business include The Bloom Project for fresh flowers and home plants, Pomponette for home accessories and furnishings, and the famous Wigston Deli which is great for purchasing fresh produce.”