Monday, 6 September 2010

There's no place like home

Saturday was the kind of day that I've dreamt about for a long time.  The morning was spent taking our eldest to her dance classes and the afternoon spent lazing in the garden, enjoying the sunshine.  Just a normal afternoon I hear you say.......

3 and a half years ago we bought this house, we were ready for a renovation project and this house was perfect.  Large, in need of some redoration, close to town, big garden.  We muttered those fateful words as we viewed "we'll be able to live in it and put up with the decor whilst we decorate and it only needs a lick of paint and new carpets".  Trouble is once you start these things the sky's the limit!

Drafty floorboards!
The weekend we moved in we ripped out all the carpets downstairs.  The lady who lived here before, we have since discovered, chain smoked and kept all the windows and doors closed.  You can imagine the smell and the wallpaper we thought was peachy coloured, was actually nictotine stained!  We lived with those dusty old floor boards for what seemed like a lifetime!  In the winter we had to sit in thermals and fleeces and wrap blankets around ourselves as the drafts from the cellar below were icy cold.

Bearing in mind our eldest daughter was 2 at the time we started with her room.  It's in the eaves of the house and was coloured dark red.  It reminded me of Jane Eyre and is how I picture Mrs. Rochester's room to have been.  Dark, dusty, cold, cobwebby!  It used to be the bathroom and as such had patches of carpet missing where the fittings and airing cupboard had been removed.  Sadly we had a computer crash after the upstairs rooms were done and we lost all our before pics so you can't see how awful it was up there!

The bathroom came shortly after: it was turquoise and orange and had way too many dolphins leaping around on the walls.  It was the kind of room you run in and out of quickly before you can actually take in how hideous it is!  It now looks a little more calm!  This room however was done at a time when we needed to get it finished out of necessity.  Sylvie was potty training etc etc....  If I had my time over I'd really go to town as it's a big room: big bath, double shower, the works!

The ground floor was possibly the worst in the house as it's where we live for the majority of the time. 
It's was 3 rooms: a living room, dining room and small kitchen extension at the rear.  The kitchen extension was so cold in the winter when you stood at the sink washing up your hair would blow in the breeze if it was windy!  We knocked the wall down in between the living and dining rooms and made the dining room side a large open kitchen and the living room became our dining room / family room.  :


After the ground floor we had a bit of a break to let the dust settle, literally.  Then we found out I was pregnant and the momentum started again.  I couldn't face the thought of the mess and dust again with a newborn baby.  So we tackled the cellar.  It was used for storage origianlly but was such a great space, 2 good sized rooms with a small extension on the back.  When you walk in at the front of our house its the ground floor, then you go down through the cellar to reach the garden, so it made sense to make the cellar part of the actual living space. 



We intended, at first, to put the kitchen and family room downstairs but I'm so glad we didn't.  It's lovely to retire down here in the evenings almost like we're shut off from the world and truly cocooned by our own 4 walls.  Its so warm and cosy in the winter as the 'woodburner' is a cheat and is electric so it heats up instantly and gets toasty and warm really quickly.

The Garden was finished this year in time for our annual BBQ for hubby's birthday.  The 'before' pics don't really show the horror of its original state!  There were 2 greenhouses that dominated the garden.  One of conventional construction and the other made from double glazed windows!  Ingenious, I know, but not aesthetically pleasing.  There were patios and beds and walls and frames which told of a once beautiful garden, sadly not the state we inherited it in!  Needless to say with 2 young ones it was not practical.  We spent the best part of a year ripping everything out and laid turf at the beginning of July.  We used a lot of what was in the garden, just in a different way and I love our reclaimed stepping stones!


So you see, from the front our house looks like a normal common garden townhouse, nothing special and no different from next door, but inside there are 4 floors of loveliness with our heart and soul running through them x


  1.'s a massive energy zapping and cash eating project isn't it? Worth it in the end though...

    Many years ago we bought a house with half a roof missing. We did it up and sold it on...and did this another 2 times with young kids, but i've put my foot down with the house we live in now. We've been in it now 5 years...still doing it up...working on the bathroom on and off this week... It's a lovely unusual house but we need to get it cosy! (-:

  2. Complete energy and cash zapping experience! I'm so glad we did it though. In other houses we've made do with other peoples decor because it wasn't offensive, but this house is truly our home. It is most definitely worth it.

    Good luck with your project! :D