This 139-Year-Old “Ugly Duckling” House’s Reno Includes a Must-See Kitchen

published Mar 15, 2024

This 139-Year-Old “Ugly Duckling” House’s Reno Includes a Must-See Kitchen

published Mar 15, 2024
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“We had been looking for a house that had the potential to be a little more interesting than most of the houses in our price range,” begins interior designer turned plant stylist Ella Moore. “We wanted an older house, and even though it needed a lot of work it had good bones. It was built in 1885 and is a semidetached but with a quirk that it’s a corner plot so our attached neighbors are angled onto the next street.”

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Ella, who runs a business called Ella’s Garden, says this house she and her husband, David Moore, purchased is one of the oldest in the area, “built when there was no bridge over the nearby river, meaning it was a secluded hamlet without a direct route into the city of Manchester. There was a mill and water wheel across the road, and it would have been a lovely place to live back then. The house was built on the site of the local orchard. It’s now a lot busier and not so picturesque, but we love the area!”

There are a ton of things that Ella loves about the house, but one of the main things is the layout. “I love that the living room has two doors, which means you can go right round the downstairs in a circle without dead ends; the flow of the house is great, and it works in different ways for day, evening, and for entertaining,” she writes. “I love that it’s an older house and has a nice history linked to our neighborhood. It was such an ugly duckling when we bought it as it had a very unattractive square porch, garish green paint, and unflattering windows, so it’s been lovely to realize it’s potential and bring it back to life.”

After doing some work and adding their personality to the home, Ella says she also really loves their remodeled kitchen. “I designed it with texture and warmth in mind — the iroko timber worktops are quite unusual, and I don’t see many people going for that look and it gives it a unique and warm look. I love the zellige tiles I choose for the backsplash in the kitchen and the hanging racks that I use to display plants and dried botanicals.”



  • Kitchen, Living Room, Entrance, Ensuite — Valspar “Puppy Love”
  • Kitchen Cabinets — Farrow and Ball “Green Smoke”
  • Living Room Ceiling — Valspar “Deep Blush”
  • Primary Bedroom — Farrow and Ball “Inchyra Blue”
  • Primary Bedroom Wallpaper — Borastapeter “Rabarber”
  • Ensuite — Farrow and Ball “Card Room Green” and Dulux “Egyptian Cotton”
  • Spare Room — Dulux “Egyptian Cotton”
  • Landing — Valspar “Chestnuts in the Park”


  • Shoe Storage — John Lewis
  • Drawers and Wall Unit — Vintage


  • Cricket Sofas — Sofology
  • Cushions — H&M
  • Rug — IKEA
  • Woman Sculpture — Abigail Ahern
  • TV Unit — IKEA
  • Mirror — Cox and Cox



  • Appliances — Neff
  • Lighting — Swoon
  • Hanging Racks — Ferm Living
  • Little Wall Shelves — Cox and Cox
  • Display Cupboard — La Redoute


Thanks Eleanore!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.