See how this Norfolk man turned a boring bungalow into a mini palace using items bought on eBay
PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:59 12 September 2018
Archant © 2018
Not only has Polish carpenter Boguslaw Starzec almost doubled in size a modest bungalow, but he has also created the most incredible interiors mostly furnished with bargain buys from auction and eBay. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit to find out more.
Looking at the bungalow on Heron Gardens, Stalham from the front, it looks larger than most of the neighbouring homes but you’d have no idea of the stunning interiors a designer would be proud of which greet you once inside . Yet, incredibly, Mr Starzec has created his own mini palace mostly from bargain buys.
He bought the bungalow in 2016 from agents William H Brown for £188,000, a modest but adequate two bedroom home situated on an end plot of a third of an acre.
Mr Starzec, 62, who came to the UK 44 years ago with just £4.19 in his pocket, is a carpenter by trade but his creativity and eye for detail enabled him to become a property developer in London, working on some very large projects many years ago for wealthy families before getting married and settling in Norfolk.
When he bought the bungalow, he saw the potential to create a much larger residence that brought the outside in. So, he gained planning permission for some structual alterations. First he opened up the kitchen by removing part of a wall and installed bifold doors across the entire length of the sitting room wall at the rear, where there had been just a small window. He also, extended the bungalow out both to the rear and side creating an extra bedroom, currently used as a snug/study area and a much bigger, stunning master bedroom which also has bifold doors opening up to the garden.
By doing this he almost doubled the size of the original residence, increasing it from 85 sq metres inside to 145 sq metres.
Being a perfectionist, he used tiles from the rear roof and put them on the front so you can’t tell the home has been extended from this side as everything ties in with the original. His favourite colour being green, he painted the side timber gable of the extension to tie in with his pergola and summerhouse, called The Golden Years, both the same colour.
Then began his quest for colourful, contemporary interiors which look like they’ve been styled by a designer - yet in fact are the result of Mr Starzec painstakingly hunting through auction rooms sales and on the internet to find affordable items, many of which he improves in his workshop, a real treasure trove of chandelier bits, tassles, glass accessories and other people’s throw aways which he cleverly uses to restore items and sometimes creating whole new furnishings.
“I come from a family of artists, so I grew up around colour. I think the world can be a dull place and people wear the same dark colours. I love colour so in every room I’ve tried to introduce a different one, I don’t want a dull house. Look in my wardrobe and you’ll see all my colourful jackets and trousers.”
In the sitting room, for example, he’s painted it in Farrow & Ball cooking apple green and dressed it with a centrepiece leather, buttoned back sofa in many different colours - discounted on the internet and then created a tall plant and chime holder from an old bed post and copper pipe which he wound around, costing just a few pounds.
The stunning Venetian chandelier he bought at auction; it was so big, he had to cut a piece out of the ceiling to accommodate it.
Not only does he love colour but he loves glass so he changed all the light switches to ones on different colours of glass squares and switched all the door handles to round, different coloured glass ones.
He built many of his ornate lamps; for example, one opulent one was created by using an £8 brass stand which he sprayed aubergine with car paint and then bought two light shades for £12, selling one for £30 and using the other, adding some glass tassles - resulting in an Art Deco style uplighter.
The master bedroom is another triumph of ingenuity and flair - he bought the bed at auction for £80 and painted it in green, added recess lights and had fabric panels made from designer material he bought online for just £26. On the opposite wall, he has created a large stained glass panel of different colours...this would have cost thousands but not for Mr Starzec who watched a YouTube video and learned how to stain glass himself, so the finished product only cost him £245.
Enter the bathroom and it boasts a stunning solid brass bath, very much in vogue and normally worth several thousand pounds. He bought it at TW Gaze’s auction for just £475 and added copper taps which he found for sale on eBay. The vanity unit in the bathroom was originally a Victorian server for a dining room which Mr Starzec bought at auction, painted and added glass handles, putting beautiful brightly colourful mosaic tiles as a splashback and building a towel rail underneath...not surprisingly, he bought different coloured towels.
Most of the walls are covered with colourful abstract art and none is really valuable, however most has been bought at auction for literally a few pounds.
Outside, Mr Starzec has put in about 2000 flowers and is currently working on building a patio area. He’s used an original Victorian day bed as a garden seat.
He said: “I was speaking to the postman the other day, he’s delivered to this bungalow for 12 years but never been past the front door. When he saw inside for the first time, he said, “Wow, Alice in Wonderland.”
Have you renovated your house or are starting a project? We’d like to hear from you. Please email property editor Caroline Culot at firstname.lastname@example.org