All of my home renovation posts in one place.
Part 1 The Big Projects.
Part 2 Decorating.
Part 3 Finishing Touches.
Today I’m back with the third and final installment of our home renovation posts. Its been just over a month now since we moved in and while we’ve mostly been busy just settling in, we have still been completing odd jobs here and there on the sidelines. The inside is more or less done and with the arrival of summer here in the UK it means we have been able to focus on starting a few small projects outside – but maybe more on that another day. So this post is going to be focused on the finer details that have well and truly made this house become our home.
The lounge is by far our favourite room in the house, it has a wonderfully cozy feel to it and we love relaxing in this space in the evenings. I’m really pleased with how all the colours and accessories we picked go so seamlessly together. Everything from the sofa to curtain rails to the lighting all complements each other and helps finish the look of the room off.
We opted for a sofa that was visually appealing yet comfortable. Don’t be fooled by all the sea of cushions – its so comfy! Aside from how comfortable it was to sit on in the show room the scroll arms and overall elegance of the sofa were big selling points for us and we’re very pleased with it. Its a four seater sofa which means its spacious for when guests are round and also long enough for when its just the two of us to both mong out on it!
For the lounge I knew it was important to get quality lighting as it makes a room seem so much better, and I couldn’t be happier with what we ended up with. On one of our many trips to Bluewater Oliver spotted this gorgeous standing lamp in John Lewis. The shade has like a woodland/tree pattern on it and when its lit it reflects on the shadows on the wall – it looks so pretty! Of course I then had to get us the matching ceiling lights to complete the theme!
Little things like adding chrome curtain poles throughout the house instantly improve the look and feel of rooms. In our lounge we chose vintage brass coloured curtain poles, these were from B&Q. Whereas in the bedroom we mixed it up slightly with silver. Below is a picture of the original bedroom with plastic curtain rails compared to now, with the new silver curtain poles. As you can see, it gives much more of a polished appearance.
Simple things like new door handles have also modernized the house and made it feel a bit more like our own. Upstairs all the doors are the original ones just with a fresh white coat of paint and neat little gold handles.
Same with the wardrobe doors too.
Much less clunky now. And speaking of clunky and old fashioned so were the original light switches and plug sockets. This was definitely one of the things I was hell-bent on replacing: all the electrics in the house!
The lighting and sockets were all very dated and discoloured and I just thought they were ghastly. Obviously anything to do with electrics requires a professional, luckily we have one in the family however doing this wasn’t cheap. Replacing every single light switch and electric point in the house comes at a bit of a price however the finished result is by far worth it as it looks a million times better now. I’m so glad we were able to change this as the new electrics just look so much nicer and again are an extra finishing touch that make the house feel like its ours.
The second installment of my home renovation posts is talking decorating, all the horrid tasks that lead up to it and follow it, the colours, the disagreements, but most importantly the outcome! If you missed Part 1 I will link it here for you.
Decorating the house. Oh decorating… In my mind I always envision a nice picture of it being such a leisurely task of rolling some paint up a wall. If only it were that simple. I forget about everything that comes with decorating. All the little holes you have to fill where the previous inhabitant has hung a piece of art in a ghastly place, and then the rubbing down. So much tedious rubbing down. Undercoating. Top coating. The precise and time consuming art of cutting in. Not to mention the arm activating task of rolling the ceilings with a fresh coat of paint. We had an entire house full of this!
So, starting downstairs for the lounge it was Oliver’s vision to transform the fireplace to white and between us we picked the feature wall colour which is Crown’s ‘Mocha.’ We hoped the colour scheme would fit in with our sofa, however we had only looked at an image of our sofa and had seen the swatches of the fabrics in the shop months previously. Luckily I think it goes like an absolute dream. I love our lounge beyond words. (More in depth living room talk in the next post.)
Originally we had picked another Crown paint for the remaining walls in the lounge which was a very similar shade to what we went with in the end, however at B&Q massive 10L tubs of Crown ‘Magnolia’ are sold for such a more reasonable price that I decided it was a no brainer to go for that instead. The big tubs of paint go so much futher and you get more money’s worth. However, we had our slight difference of opinion over the magnolia as Oliver thinks I’ve gone magnolia mad round the house… but it just seemed like such a such a can’t-go-wrong, warm colour. Plus it was sensible in saving us loads of money.
Updating the fireplace included more rubbing down. We used wire wool to do this. Basically we had to get the shine off the original bit of wood. Then it was a case of under coating quite a few times and finished with several coats of satin wood too. I think it looks fantastic now. It looks so much more contemporary and again has really transformed the room to something of our own.
In the kitchen, because all the units were remaining I had the idea of a feature wall,this would put our own mark on the kitchen and bring it to life a bit. So the wall as you walk in to the room is painted grey, it is a crown colour called ‘Aspen Silver.’ The new grey wall adds a touch of subtle modern charm while also complementing the existing tiles that have little flecks of silver in. Not to mention the fact we had selected lovely grey dining room chairs for the kitchen diner earlier on this year, so I thought it would all go really nicely.
Unfortunately it isn’t the best light to photograph the grey with it being a window wall, it looks more prominent in person. However I did manage to capture shots that represent just some of the work we had to do to cracked and damaged walls that needed to be filled. Then consequently rubbed down until smooth again! But it was worth it because it looks much nicer all done properly.
Hallway / Upstairs.
So the stairway and upstairs landing looked a lot different before we got to work in the house. I talk more about this and what happened with these ugly glass panels in the first post. Basically now the walls are all painted magnolia, much to Oliver’s disapproval. He would have preferred us to go with white but I really wanted the hallway to be warm as its the first thing you come into the house to see.
We revamped the landing and gave it a fresh new look with crisp white stair banisters, which looks much improved.
The main bedroom was a right pain to redecorate because the original walls were peachy that we then wanted to make white. No joke, this took four coats to fully cover! I kept seeing tiny bits of peach peaking through on the third coat and I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I knew it would bother me if I didn’t give it the fourth coat it required.
Luckily we both settled easily for our white bedroom: Oliver likes a modern edge and I like the fact it allows me to change the bedding over as often as I please. Win win. I love the finished result. There’s something effortlessly chic about a white bedroom I think.
The lovely blue spare room. Said nobody ever. We redecorated this room magnolia purely for quickness, I think white would have been nice for all the bedrooms but we began running out of time. The blue walls would definitely have been time consuming to cover with white, so again magnolia walls it was. Thankfully this only needed two coats.
Last but not least, our bathroom. Originally I imagined we would tile the entire bathroom, however the guy that fitted it for us pointed out that by keeping a wall without tiles you can redecorate and update the look of the room whenever you want at a later date. I think that makes a lot of sense because although I love the idea of a white bathroom, keeping a normal wall will allow us to play around so we wont get sick of it all being the same colour.
Oliver loved the bathroom at the hotel we stayed at in Edinburgh which was grey so we decided to go with a grey wall in the bathroom, which would also complement the grey wood effect lino floor. The paint is the same colour that we used in the kitchen. However when I was painting it I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it and it wasn’t until we got all of our belongings in the room to finish it off that I changed my mind. I absolutely love the look of the white and grey – it goes really well once everything was in together.
The day we got our hands on the keys to our house shortly before Easter, I set a goal: ‘move in by 1st May.’ It was not an unrealistic goal, but it was one that meant we would be working our butts off solidly for a fortnight. There were several big projects with a sideline of decorating an entire house, so the sensible option was to still live with our parents until the house was ready. When I say projects luckily I don’t mean pull down and rebuild kind of projects, however that’s not to say that there wasn’t a few seriously messy jobs that needed doing before the house would be ready for us to move in.
I am going to split these posts up into three sections rather than make this a really long drawn out blog, Part One: The Big Projects. Part Two: Decorating. Part Three: Finishing Touches.
The Big Projects.
So with these bigger projects and before I go any further, it is worth keeping in mind that we received a great deal of help throughout the process. My mum has a lot of connections from her previous line of work that enabled us to make these changes so quickly and to such a high standard. Everything I speak about in this post was left to the hands of professionals as such tasks would simply have been impossible to an amateur.
Project #1: Downstairs glass panels.
When Oliver saw the house for the first time, he was not a fan of the 70’s misted glass panels that go all the way up the stairway through to the kitchen. And rightly so! They were ugly and dated the house extremely. But with the help of a family friend who is a carpenter we were able to block all of the nasty glass panels up. This was done using MDF boards.
I was completely blown away by the finished result, it has totally restored the kitchen giving it a new lease of life. The kitchen itself was put in about a decade ago so although its not new, I think the work we have done to it definitely gives a fresher appearance to it.
Project #2: New downstairs doors.
This ties in with the first project because the two doors downstairs were of the same era as the frosted glass panels. We decided to change the downstairs doors to create a more modern feel and oh my goodness I am so pleased with them – they are absolutely beautiful!
They have a Georgian appearance which fits in well with the windows in the house too as they are also Georgian . The glass doors make the downstairs light and open so the rooms seem airy and creates the illusion of more space. Changing the doors has completely transformed the downstairs in my opinion as I just feel like it gives so much more character to the house. We are both very pleased with the finished result.
Project #3: Fit a new bathroom.
The final thing that has helped transform the house to our own, was to have someone fit a new bathroom for us. There was so much wrong with the original bathroom that I won’t even begin delving into, all I am going to say is, yellow?!
Part of this project involved knocking through a cupboard to square the room off. This was a fantastic idea getting rid of the ‘L’ shaped cupboard as it cut the room up making the bathroom less spacious. So we decided to knock this through, and what we lost in storage space we more than gained in creating a better shaped, open bathroom.
As you can see in the new updated bathroom shots there is a lot more space and just generally squares the room off to a more practical shape.
In regard to the units and general theme it was a case of all white as it is fresh and modern. We did change the flooring to this gorgeous grey wood effect lino though which I think is gorgeous. Three walls are tiled with these big white rectangular tiles, while the back wall remains the same. I really like the shape of these tiles as it seems to elongate the room.
The vanity unit was a must for me, as I prefer minimal products out in a bathroom so obviously I needed a cupboard to shove all our bathing products/my skincare hoard. I think it looks tidier with a vanity plus I love the shape of the sink basin. I’m over the moon with the updated bathroom its so much more contemporary, clean and fresh now.
This Easter was not spent joyfully sat consuming hot cross buns and chocolate eggs while catching up on some well earned rest over the long weekend. Oh no, I sit typing this year’s Easter recap feeling utterly exhausted but filled with excitement and ideas after four full on days of decorating.
The day before Good Friday the boyfriend and I finally had our hands on the keys to our first home. A day we had been eagerly awaiting on for a long while!
It still feels like I need pinching… I can’t believe its finally happening to me! If you had told me a year ago I would be moving out with someone I would have quite honestly laughed in your face. Its only really now a few days later that I’m coming to terms with the reality of it all.
This is like a dream come true for me: starting a home and sharing a life with someone… its all I’ve ever really wanted.
So although the last four days have been crazily chaotic, a tad stressful and realizing that the reality of my dream come true is paint in my hair and bickering over silly things, I honestly couldn’t be happier.