Couple transform Wigan house into astonishing living museum from the fab Forties

While many people look for new-build houses with all the mod-cons, one couple have decided to take their Wigan house back in time.

Peter Baker and Lisa Lane moved to Swinley from Reading in April, after meeting a lot of Wiganers while DJing in the northern soul scene.

Peter Baker and Lisa Lane in their vintage Swinley home

Peter Baker and Lisa Lane in their vintage Swinley home

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They decided to relocate to the town, partially due to the cheaper cost of living, and found the perfect house in Marylebone.

And while they have refreshed their new home, they are keen to keep it firmly in the past.

Peter said: “The house itself was bought in 1925 and the old lady that we bought the house from had lived there since the 1960s. She did the house very well, she spent a lot of money on it and we were told when she bought something, she only bought the best.

Lisa Lane in the kitchen

Lisa Lane in the kitchen

“When we moved in most of the original carpets were down, the fireplace in the front room is still there, all the picture rails are still there.

“We just kept the house as it was but there were things that needed doing to it, like the garage doors needed replacing and the front porch.

“What we have done is to sympathetically take it back to the 1940s. All the furniture in the house is either from the 40s or 50s. It’s either stuff we have bought or stuff we had already.”

Lisa said: “I don’t really like modern in any shape or form. The only thing we have to put up with is mobile phones. We want to get the house back to what it was.”

The house is full of 1940s furniture and decor

The house is full of 1940s furniture and decor

One thing the couple has done is install a new kitchen, designed to look how it would have at the time.

Peter, 61, said: “We found the design for an original 50s kitchen and we managed to find a cabinet maker in Harrogate who designs all the kitchen units. He made them and fitted them and we had them painted.

“Friends have come over and said we are lucky to find this original kitchen. We have completely fooled them.”

The next project will see them remove PVC windows at the front of the house and replace them with wooden frames and stained glass, which would have been in place decades ago.

Lisa and Peter also drive classic cars

Lisa and Peter also drive classic cars

The couple, who became engaged last week, are fans of everything retro and want their new home to fit in with their lifestyle.

Peter, who has two adult daughters, said: “We just love our vintage. We found a house that hasn’t been messed around with for 40 or 50 years. It’s our style and we want to do something different.

“Instead of coming in, ripping the place out, taking the soul out of the house and making it modern, we want to take the house back to where it came from 40 or 50 years ago.”

Despite being many years old now, Peter says the items were made to last.

He said: “Everything was made properly and the companies that made the furnishings weren’t run by accountants, they were companies that put their heart and soul into projects. They were made by proper craftsmen.”

The project is a labour of love, but they believe it has not been costly in comparison to other home renovations.

Peter said: “In the overall scheme of things we have not had to spend that much. Some people, when they rip a house out, they spend tens of thousands of pounds putting in modern kitchens and everything. We have probably spent the best part of £20,000 but in our eyes it’s money well spent.”

Their home is not the only place where the couple have rejected all things modern.

They both drive classic cars - a 1966 Volvo Amazon for Lisa and a 1973 Jaguar XJS for Peter, which he has owned since 1998.

Lisa, 54, has dressed in vintage clothing since she was a teenager and still has the first dress she bought.

She said: “In the 40s women looked like women, they always looked amazing. I love the colours and styles and cuts of everything.”

Their businesses also hark to time gone by, with the couple’s vintage shop The Source Pot, on Dicconson Terrace, open since Saturday.

On offer are all sorts of items, such as clothing, homewares, furniture and second-hand vinyl. There are also new polo shirts for fans of northern soul.

The couple hope people in Wigan will flock to their new shop to discover special items.

Lisa said: “Vintage clothing took off at least 10 years ago and it’s getting bigger and bigger. With the emphasis on upcycling everything, it’s become a very modern thing.

“I think it’s because things are one-offs as well. If you want a dress for a special occasion, you know someone won’t turn up in the same one.

“The clothing was beautiful, it was made well and you will get a one-off.”

Lisa is also a stylist and helps people wishing to get a retro look, particularly for a special occasion.

Peter runs The Home Front Wigan, which provides painting and decorating, stages homes ready to go on the market and does vintage/retro styling of properties.

He said: “Lots of people these days own classic cars and they remember their first car, but not many, for various reasons, are brave enough to go the whole hog and have either the whole house or one particular room decorated in a particular style.

“There are clients out there that do that and that’s what I want to tap into. If someone wants a front room or kitchen decorated in a particular era, I would love to do a commission like that.”