Me and my home: Dreams take flight

Air stewardess Vivienne Hallack tells Chris Arnot how hotels inspired the renovation of her home


Vivienne Hallack lives in Salford, Manchester. She also has a homeopathy clinic

Vivienne Hallack lives in Salford, Manchester. She also has a homeopathy clinic

It was a taxi driver who first told me that I was living on the site of 10 Rillington Place, one of the most notorious addresses in London. I thought he was winding me up, but it was definitely our part of Ladbroke Grove, and it had changed utterly since John Christie's day. To me, some properties have positive energies and this was one. All the same, I sold it four years ago for £185,000. I'd split from my boyfriend and it was time to make a life-changing decision.

I wanted to open a homeopathy clinic but rents in London were too high. I'd been born and brought up in Manchester, but I'd left when I was 18 to move south and train as a nurse. That was more than 20 years ago and I was bored with the place. But when I got my dad to drive me around, I could see for myself all the regeneration that had been going on in my absence. Manchester wasn't so good four years ago as it is now, but it still felt like boom-time Chicago.

I bought a townhouse on Salford Quays, found a place to set up my clinic and looked around for an older residential property to renovate. I've always had very clear notions about decor; must be all the travelling I do. We stay in the best hotels when we're away on long-haul flights, so I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't.

Back in north-west England, we came across a place called The Cliff, a leafy conservation area of Salford with big Victorian and Edwardian houses, cobbled streets and period lamp-posts. It appealed because it felt quiet and peaceful, yet Manchester city centre's only a mile and a half away. Dad said The Cliff was considered very posh in the Sixties. He once saw Jimmy Savile cleaning his Rolls-Royce outside one of the bigger houses. The area obviously went down in the intervening years, but it seems to be on its way back up again.

Manchester United's former training ground is based here. When I enquired about the twee black-and-white terraces alongside it, I was told that David Beckham lived in one when he was an apprentice. Still, it was a bit too small for my purposes. But I found what I wanted just up the road - a large corner house with four bedrooms and a big, five-sided bay window.

It was very run-down. God knows how the former owner had been allowed to let it out to tenants. He was obviously a bit of a DIY-er with an endless capacity to botch jobs. All the plug sockets had been fitted upside down. A plumber informed me that the cold tap had been directly connected to the central heating tank. Luckily, I only drink bottled water.

The kitchen was small and disgusting, tagged on to the end of the ground floor. The builder turned that into a reception area and cloakroom, then he converted one of the reception rooms into a large kitchen. In the process, we unearthed a window that had simply been boarded over.

Every week I catch the shuttle down to Heathrow and join a long-haul flight. During the renovation, I would carry with me internal photos of the house so that I could pick up ideas while I was away. The bathroom, for instance, is tiled with the sort of marble that I first saw in a hotel in Dubai. For the windows downstairs I wanted curtains made of long swathes of silk. I bought some at a market stall in Hong Kong, stuffed it into an empty suitcase and had it made up into curtains by a tailor who comes to our crew room at the Sheraton in Mumbai.

I asked him if he could do it within 24 hours and he was as good as his word. In the meantime, I made a short but chaotic train journey to a shop in the northern suburbs to buy some unusual door handles. The return journey was even more nerve-shredding. I made the flight back to the UK with 15 minutes to spare, but I had my curtains. After we'd served the meals, I hung them from the galley door to show the rest of the crew. Much more fun than going to Homebase.

Vivienne's home in The Cliff is for sale at £165,000 ( www.netmovers.net, 0845 6500550)

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Morgana Robinson
arts + entsIt is not easy interviewing Morgana Robinson. Here's why...
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin