Woman transforms ‘notorious drug den’ into dream home – and it’s unrecognisable

News

A woman who said she had dreamed of transforming a derelict home after driving past the property for eight years finally took the plunge – and the results are incredible.

The eyesore on a sought-after street had stood empty since 2001, and the run-down home had become known as a notorious drugs den, featuring graffitied walls reading: “Wanna buy some meth?”

But Emma Meese said she had always “half jokingly” dreamed of renovating the property in Cyncoed, Cardiff, and eventually took on the mammoth task of brining it back to life after her offer of £400,000 was accepted in 2017.

She got to work and with the help of her husband, Gareth, the incredible home has now been completed and is back on the market for more than double the price she paid at £875,000.

Emma, who works as a writer, said: “I’d driven past the house for seven or eight years and always said, half jokingly, if we ever did a big renovation that would be my dream house to renovate. I always felt drawn to it.

“I could visualise how it could look from the very first viewing. The house had such a great structure and was solid, so we kept all the original rooms at the front, we opened up the back and added a contemporary new look that really complemented the original house.”

The property had been set for demolition in 2001 to make may for a major development that would have seen the nearby Llanishen Reservoir drained to build 300 houses.

But a campaign against the plans from neighbours saw the development scrapped and the home was left to rot.

Emma, 45, began to think more seriously about her dream of renovating it and explained when she first viewed the home: “We could only see the house via torchlight as there was no electricity in the house and the windows were all boarded up.

“But I could still imagine the original parquet all done up and a Christmas tree in the front bay window.

“The house was cold, dark, and covered in graffiti. There was broken glass all over the floor and the squatters had nailed some wood across the bathroom door to make sure no one fell through the huge hole in the floor.

“When we stood in the kitchen and looked up we could see straight through to the attic and could see some daylight peeking through.”

Work saw the property stripped back to its basic structure, before a modern extension was added to the back.

The interior includes a dressing room hidden behind a sliding bookcase, and Emma added: “There are also some really quirky design additions too like a laundry chute, magnetic walls, a kingsize mezzanine floor in one bedroom and an outdoor dog shower.”

It features three reception rooms, a garage, utility room, cloakroom, and the extension at the rear has been turned into a luxurious kitchen with doors opening out into the garden.

Emma managed to restore original features, including parquet woodblock floors and the staircase to maintain some of the home’s original character.

The house is on the market for £875,000 with estate agent Martin & Co.