Homes: how a rodent infestation turned out to be a blessing in disguise

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Rats under the floorboards are every home owners’ worst nightmare, but not for Juliet Kinsman

Juliet Kinsman had a rodent problem: rats run wild in her north-west London neighbourhood; she once came across one tucking into the cheese and crackers she’d left out for lunch. The only solution, she was told, was to rip up the floorboards and fill the recess below with concrete. “We were quoted £10,000, so we thought we may as well spend a bit more and reconfigure the entire downstairs, which was dark and damp,” says Kinsman, founding editor of boutique hotel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith.

She approached an enthusiastic local studio, Rise Design, which did the lot: created a bright kitchen/dining room overlooking the garden; a book-lined, black-painted TV snug; a downstairs loo and shower room; and a revamped hall and front room. “Once we’d factored in fixtures and fittings, we ended up paying well over £100,000,” Kinsman says. “We’ve remortgaged up to our eyeballs, but it’s been worth it. We essentially have a new house.”

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