New House Tour: Part 1

The truth is, I don’t know where to start with this post. There’s so much to show and so much to tell that it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ve decided to divide the house into 2 halves and then I’m going to do a few room specific posts with mood boards and tell you about our plans. I can’t count the number of people who have said ‘You’ve got mood boards right?’ and in all honesty, I haven’t! Ok, I have vague overall ideas and themes in mind but the detail is only just becoming clearer in my mind. It’s amazing how living in a house changes your ideas and plans and in the mere week that we’ve been in so much has changed in my mind already.

*Please bear with the photo’s – I can’t find my camera cable yet and these were all taken on my iPhone the weekend we moved in.

So, lets get the basics out there. The house is old, a true Victorian house, built in 1898. Super old. And it’s big. Remember my dream house post a few weeks back? Well one of the things we wanted in the new house was space for people to stay – namely our families. Neither of our families are local and we’d like a chance at hosting Christmas without people driving one year, and the ability to have both sets of grandparents at once for example when we have a family. The new house has 3 floors, 4 if you count the cellars, and hence a few bedrooms. It has Pete’s stipulations of a drive and a garage (a monstrosity of a double one actually, soon to meet the sledge hammer.)

It doesn’t have everything though, and I’ll talk you through that as we go around, but we’re very happy already – it almost feels like we have always been here. We’re planning on being here for 10ish years – right now the only thing we can see making us move is schooling decisions, as the secondary schools locally are currently not great, but I’m not a fan of the idea of private schooling, so we’ll see.

Let’s start with the ground floor…

There’s a lovely wide hall and the original stained glass door, after the open porch. The hall is an L-shape, turning 90 degrees to the left when you walk further in. That left turn takes you up the stairs or alongside them towards the kitchen, but we’ll get there in a second.

At the front of the house, there are 2 equal sized rooms off the hall. We’ve chosen one as the living room, with a big bay window and what they call an ‘oriel window’ with more stained glass to the side. It looks pretty murky from outside, but inside it reveals it’s true colours, all sorts of gorgeous pastel shades. So pretty.


The other front room is going to be the dining room. The window is different here, with 2 large flat windows in a kind of slight rectangular bay. it juts out a bit but is flat with no side windows if that makes sense.

Sadly neither room has any original fireplaces, but the cornice, picture rails, skirtings and doors are all original, as is the stained glass. Both the rooms are fairly recently carpeted and neutrally decorated, so whilst the cream is driving me mad, it’s also a lot less offensive than it potentially could be. Over-all the house is all very well kept and we’re fortunate in that everything that has been done, has been done properly. As you can see we were also lucky in that the previous owners left the curtains and light fittings, so we’re not dealing with bare bulbs or scrambling for ‘in the mean time’ curtains.

Also off the hall is the downstairs toilet (I know, how exciting is that?) which is lovely. There’s room for coats (behind the door) in built-in frosted glass floor to ceiling cupboards, a new toilet and sink and the walls are half clad in tongue and groove wood, with cream damask wallpaper above. On a practical level, it’s great to have somewhere to hide away the cats litter tray too!

Lastly, we have the kitchen – source of much angst in the exchange process and hampered by our monster pipe. Because of the awkward layout, the previous owners described the tiny back room as the kitchen and it’s where the oven, hob, half size dishwasher and sink are all squeezed into.

The larger space is billed as ‘the breakfast room’ and has a run of units, some original built in cupboards and the fridge/freezer is concealed under the worktops here. All the appliances and the lack of cupboards makes for a serious lack of storage and we were quite lucky in the old house having a galley kitchen lined with cupboards both sides top and bottom. There’s also a lack of worktop space, or maybe we just have too many gadgets?

We bought a little dresser from the previous owners, (amongst other things) which we’re using for extra storage and I intend to paint and pretty up. The windows look out the the garden and there’s a back door (which is a stable door) and I actually quite love, plus it’s handy for keeping the cats in whilst getting some air in.

So that’s one quarter of the house, and another whole quarter is below ground in the cellars. I’ve never been a fan of cellars or coveted them, although a lot of people seem quite in love with the idea (men particularly.)

Ours match the entire footprint of the house so there are two empty chambers at the front, space where the hall would be, a workshop beneath the downstairs loo and another empty chamber under the kitchen. To the far rear in the area beneath our strange tiny kitchen, there’s plumbing for the washer (and a dryer which we don’t currently have,) as a pseudo utility room. And under the hall, shelving makes for an extension of the kitchen in a dry store come pantry area.

I don’t have any cellar pictures as yet. What I will say is that it’s fab to have space to store things that isn’t a dusty loft and there will be plenty of space to do diy projects in winter without messing up the house.

I’ll leave it there for now and come back next week with the first and second floors, it’s a warren up there! I hope you like it 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Real Room Revamp: Before

I’m sure many of you think that I live in a pristine house, tastefully decorated throughout. Although I’m very proud of my living/dinging area and bedroom, other rooms either lack that finishing touch to make them look pulled together and stylish, or are too messy to ever look good. Our spare room fits both categories.

When we moved into this house we did a few minor cosmetic jobs that cost little and then got distracted by our engagement and wedding. After that the house came second to travelling and now we’re at that stage where we’ll be moving in the not too distant future so any updates need to be budget friendly. The spare room gained from one of the early updates and we decorated with one of my favourite patterns at the time, Laura Ashley’s Oriental Garden wallpaper in Duck egg blue. The bed was donated to us by my Mum and we picked out a country style chest of drawers and wardrobe from good old IKEA. With the addition of toning bedding, a small duck egg lampshade and a wool throw, it seemed pretty good at the time.

My tastes have evolved dramatically since then, now the blue on cream on blue seems far too matchy match for my taste, there isn’t enough colour and It looks a bit neglected and unfinished to my eye. Add to that the fact that it is most often used by either our cats as an all-day snooze spot or us as a laundry room and general dumping ground and it is seriously lacking in some love.

Here comes the challenge. I’ll admit it, I am terrible when it comes to making the best of what I have, preferring to ditch it all and start again. However that is what I’m going to have to do here, to stay in budget and just avoid waste in general. It’s not going to be a true budget make-over, but I’m hoping to keep costs down, if only by waiting for the sales for some items. We are hosting my sister come August as she relocates to Manchester while she looks for a place of her own so it’s a great prompt for a massive clear out and kick up the behind to truly finish off the room. I thought it would make a great couple of posts, not only to show you what I have done but show you what I think could be improved in the existing decor.

So what am I planning to do?

  1. The room has never had curtains that I’m happy with. These ones were discounted Laura Ashley fabric and a vain attempt to bring a different colour palette into the room that totally failed. In an effort to save money I skimped on length when the room would have looked way more luxurious and ‘done’ had they been full length.
  2. We have already bought over head lamps for behind the bed, something we had planned to do for years. Because of the wardrobe position a side table is unfortunately unable to fit so at least this will provide directional light that can be controlled from the bed rather than having to get up and switch off the main light.
  3. I’m toying with the idea of covering the wicker bedhead and footer panels. I’ve never loved the wicker and think it would look softer, plus a longer panel at the foot of the bed would hide the multitude of things stuffed under the bed.
  4. We have never bought cushions for the bed as it seemed a waste when money was tighter but I think it contributes to the room appearing unfinished and un-lived in, so they are on the list.
  5. This is one of the few rooms that we haven’t re-carpeted as it gets little use, and that wont be something we’ll change but I may add to it with a patterned rug to brighten the space.
  6. The wall running alongside the bed really needs something. I just don’t know what. I’m leaning towards a gallery wall-esque arrangement of pictures, but I need to avoid anything that can be knocked off the wall by a sudden sit-up-in-bed manoeuvre by any visitors.
  7. The chair currently in situ was rescued from a skip and painted by me but never upholstered. Turns out it should have stayed in the skip as no amount of fixing can make it sturdy and anyone who sits on it takes their life in their hands. I’m debating the need for a small dressing table/desk and chair in here but they would have to be seriously thrifty finds.
So, have you got any ideas?
Come back this afternoon and I’ll share both of the moodboards I have put together for my propsed make-over and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Love,
Rebecca
xo
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