I often get asked about my own home and up until recently it’s been very much a work in progress! It still isn’t finished (will it ever be??) but 3 years on the majority of rooms are now finally done. Starting a new series of posts here, I will be re-living and sharing progress from the beginning and would love to know what you think! I probably should put in some sort of disclaimer here in case I cause offence to any colour-lovers amongst you – it’s not that I have anything at all against colour, I just like my home to be white, black and um … wood. Oh and please do excuse the iphone pics!
The house is a very typical Georgian property and as such we are blessed with a lot of natural light and floor-to-ceiling sash windows (although we weren’t loving them at the stage where they all needed replacing and painting, but hey they look great!) When we bought it, it had been a much loved family home for over 25 years so needed a full update. The interior was dark, the floors were maroon and the walls were mostly yellow. There wasn’t a single room that didn’t need ‘doing’ and there was a definite aroma of damp! But .. there was no disguising how beautiful the house itself is and the location was exactly where we wanted to be so we took a deep breath and jumped! A strange scenario for me as we were leaving our city home in Brighton in search of more space and ended up back in the West Sussex village I grew up in – never part of the plan but fate intervened, as it does.
So the story so far – we have knocked through from Kitchen to Lounge, ripped down ceilings, stripped the floors throughout, replaced one bathroom and built another in place of a bedroom (I can hear Estate Agent’s gasping at that!), removed a strangely positioned shower room from the middle of the upstairs landing and done all the usual boring but essential bits like rewire and replace all the ancient plumbing! My decision to expose all the electrics in galvanised tube caused more than a little eye brow raising but I’m so glad I wasn’t swayed. We’ve also built a staircase up to the loft room but that is still a work in progress. Outside we had to strip the entire building of it’s modern render and replace with lime, as the mould on the bedroom walls just wasn’t a good look! All the sash windows have been replaced like for like and the garden has also had a makeover.
It’s been a fairly slow process as we are undertaking the majority of the work ourselves. Fortunately the husband was a carpenter in a former life and I used to develop property so between us we do have pretty much everything covered. Things always take a lot longer than we would like of course, as we’ve been juggling our day to day businesses, family life etc but we no longer live on a building site so all is well! The rest of it will be done when we’re good and ready (and have had time to save up again!).
The first completely finished room was the controversial second bathroom. I realise that sacrificing a bedroom doesn’t suit everyone but the house needed another bathroom – essential for 2 girls sharing with up to 3 fully grown boys (depending on how many have returned to the nest at any one time)! This is the end result which is definitely my favourite room.
The bath was an ebay bargain at £100 which I just painted (Little Greene – Lamp Black) and added new taps to. The tiles are from Encaustic Tiles and the bench, stool and mirror are all vintage finds. This room had to be done on a very tight budget so the shower and screen were cheap online sale purchases but they are still holding up. I would happily re-do them now in black now but the eye-rolling when I mentioned it was off the scale so maybe not a priority! The floorboards in here were the subject of much debate but having gone for a natural finish throughout the rest of the house I fancied white painted boards in at least one room.
Moving on to the Upstairs Landing ..
The black windows were always going to be a bit of a marmite situation but I LOVE them despite the hours of painting – and there are no longer hurricanes blowing through the gaps so it’s win win. The windows throughout were copied and re-made by a local joinery company and we then had them fitted with very slim double glazed units (but more of that drama to come when we get to the outside – oh the fun!).
Even though the majority of rooms are now done, the to-do list continues to grow and goes something like this
- Take down the leaking 90’s UPVC conservatory and extend the kitchen (that could be a while so for now I’m just lusting over the plans!)
- Remove all the (already rusting for some reason) new radiators and re-spray them black in the garden. I’ve googled it so we’ll be fine – how hard can it be??
- Finish the loft room so we have a decent size bedroom, having given the little lady the main room of the house on account of her having way more friends/playdates/sleepovers/toys than we do.
- Resand and white oil all the floors on account of us using the wrong product originally which has now mostly worn off revealing far too much orange for my liking. Having recently completed the loft floor, tried literally every product/method on the market and finally achieved the sort-after scandi pale boards of dreams … I’m hoping this will be a lot less painful this time around and should last years! Every time I look at the amount of furniture to be moved though this job slides further down the list. (Having been asked the question so many times, I will definitely write a post sharing my nuggets of info on this subject though).
So that’s an introduction to the labour of love which fills most of our non-working life (which for me isn’t nearly enough time), and regularly drives me to gin. More posts on the subject to come and hopefully some of the successes and failures we’ve had along the way, along with the hours spent sourcing, may be helpful to anyone starting on their own adventure! Do let me know what you think and ask any questions along the way – I’m very happy to share anything that may be useful!
Next up .. the Living Rooms