Design for Life: Dawn Scargill, as featured on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations

We chatted to Dawn about her stunning home transformation – including a very impressive kitchen…

An image of a large kitchen with a penisula island. Marble worktops and splashbacks, with contemporary shaker cabinetry in a custom paint colour

In the picturesque Yorkshire village of Thorner, just along from the pub and the deli, is an amazing family home: light, spacious, beautifully finished and with a stunning kitchen that flows into a secret courtyard oasis. It’s a highly enviable property – but just a few years ago it was a vacant, run-down village shop.

The transformation was the work of Dawn Scargill, who not only completed the project in a little over a year, but did so while balancing being a full time solicitor and a busy mother of two boys. When we saw her on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations we were blown away by her vision and determination – and also of course by her gorgeous Naked Kitchens kitchen!

We were delighted to chat with Dawn, and to find out more about the project and what it’s like to live in the finished home…

An image of Dawn Scargill

First up, what on earth made you decide to take on such a challenging project?

Ha ha… We were living in a very modern, much smaller property, but I’d always wanted to build my own home or do a renovation. After the pandemic I just thought: this is now or never, my one big chance in life to do it!

As a family we know Thorner really well. We’d lived there before, so lots of my friends and the boys’ primary school friends are in the village.

I’d actually looked at the village shop a few times and discounted it. But I began visualising how I might turn it into a big family home and once you start thinking about these things it’s hard to put them out of your head. I spoke to people in the village about it and realised it ticked all the boxes. Prices for properties and materials kept going upwards so it seemed now was the time to seize the chance. In the end I ran out of reasons not to do it!

A lot of people said I’d never get the finance for the project, but I got brilliant support from Beverley BS, a small, traditional building society, and that meant I could make it happen.

So you had a clear vision of what the final renovated property would look like from the start?

Yes, I could picture what I wanted it to look like from very early on – especially the courtyard garden and kitchen. The finished property is pretty much exactly as I visualised it.

A photograph of the outside of Dawn's house. There is brickwork, with 5 upstairs windows, a door to the left, the old shopfront still visible in the middle and a gateway to the right. The door, shop front and gateway are painted in a blue colour, and the window frames and door trims are painted white.
The finished property. Photo: Amazing Productions

How did George Clarke come to be involved – and what was it like being filmed for Channel 4?

I bought the shop in April 2021, but it took me six months to find a builder. Only a short time before work started I saw the bit at the end of Remarkable Renovations advertising for people to be on the next series. I just applied on a whim, not really thinking anything would come of it. Three weeks later they were on my doorstep with a film crew!

The first shoot they did was in September 2021, a month before the building work started, and by the time they did the last shoot in November 2022 they did perhaps thirteen visits or so, with George coming along on four of them. It was such a fantastic opportunity to be involved with; George is exactly the same in real life as he is on TV – a really lovely, enthusiastic and supportive guy.

All through the building period the production company were brilliant. They have an amazing designer who can help you with ideas and suppliers – in fact, they put me on to Naked Kitchens…

We’re glad you mentioned that – the kitchen is absolutely stunning, especially as it used to be a shop freezer section with no natural light! You went for an L-shaped layout with a big island in the centre of the space. What was the thinking behind the design, in terms of how it would fit in with your family’s lifestyle?

The kitchen faces out onto the courtyard garden, which is really the key feature of the house, so the L-shape opposite the large doors was natural for the shape of the space. Instead of wall cabinets I wanted something contemporary with clean lines, so I went for the full-size ceiling-to-floor cabinets and a floating shelf.

I also wanted a big island which could be like the family heart of the home… It’s the place where we can all have breakfast together rather than in the more formal dining space. It’s where I can cook but also where the boys can come in and do their homework, and we can all spend time together as a family.

Dawn's kitchen features Naked Kitchen's Shaker and Slab doors in Sandringham Pine green. Photographs: Amazing Productions

We’re so pleased to see our Shaker and grain-visible Slab doors in there – and you chose the deep green Sandringham Pine… What made you go for that colour?

Right from the start I had a vision of an industrial luxe vibe and dark colours. I had seen some stunning green colours on Instagram and the Naked Kitchens Sandringham Pine was exactly what I wanted. I’ve also used similar greens for the walls so that it all blends together, and in fact there are greens throughout the whole house.

The kitchen connects with the garden space with the big windows and glazed aluminium doors – there’s a real indoor-outdoor vibe with a good flow between the two. The courtyard almost feels like an extension of the kitchen and the green really helps with that.

The dark green also has a fantastic contrast with the light stone of the shelf, worktops and the Neolith island, so I love that.

What was the hardest thing about the renovation?

Mostly the time element: squeezing in the project work around being a mum to my two boys and also my full-time work as a property solicitor.

Another hard thing was the responsibility of having to make so many decisions quickly – though I did have family and friends to bounce ideas off, as well as the production team, but ultimately it was down to me to make all the choices.

What did you learn from the experience that you’d wish you’d known at the start?

That I should have confidence in my ideas and choices! And that things that people might tell you are impossible really can be done. Even things like the floating shelf in the kitchen, people cast doubt on it. But I felt it could work and it does.

Another thing I’ve learned is you should work with people who share a similar vision to you.

George was obviously seriously impressed by the final result of your hard work. How do you feel watching the whole thing back on television?

Very strange! It did all seem a very long time ago by the time it was broadcast, and you forget so much that happened, all the challenges, decisions and problems but also all the highs and milestones along the build journey. The show brought it all flooding back – it was actually quite emotional watching it.

Photo: Amazing Productions

It must be amazing to walk around your home and think not just, ‘wow I live here’ but, ‘wow, I made this!’ What’s it like living in the finished property?

Yes, it really is great, I’m very happy with it. There’s so much space: the boys each have their own spaces but we also have family areas.

The location is also brilliant, right by the local deli and pub – though I do get a lot of people knocking on my door to ask questions or with very kind messages, which is lovely!

And can you ever finish a home or is there always something else you want to do?

That’s a good question. Perhaps there will always be little things like new colours here and there. But as a house it’s definitely finished … or at least I’d like to think so!

Photo: Amazing Prodcutions
You can watch Dawn’s episode of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations online on Channel 4 here. Dawn’s kitchen features Shaker and grain-visible Slab style cabinet doors in Sandringham Pine. See more Shaker kitchens here and more Slab kitchens here, and see our full range of Naked Colours here. You can also browse our Kitchens portfolio for more inspiration and get in touch to discover how we can help turn your dream kitchen into a reality.

See also:

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