Introducing the #FFHouseReno

Well where did January go?! Over here it was in a constant state of anticipation for our extension project to get underway, under leaden skies, flat light and constant rain. I for one will not be sad to see the back of January!


How the house will hopefully look when it’s finished!

On a more positive note I thought I would share with you our plans for the building project we have just embarked on (yes, it’s underway as I write – you can follow along on Instagram and I usually update my stories daily with progress if you’re really keen on keeping up!) and get a little bit excited about the planned results! It’s been a long time in the making and what we are doing has evolved through the planning process too, so I’ll talk you all through it here.


The current layout of the house.

Initially the brief was ‘a glass box extension to create a living/dining family space adjacent to the kitchen.’ As you will see from the existing plans below, we currently have a living room, a dining room and a kitchen downstairs, plus the W.C. but the rooms are all off the hallway and just not ideal for family life. We very quickly realised after having Bea that we needed space where we could watch her while we cooked etc and this is even more necessary with Cora as she is a little terror! Also, our Kitchen is just that, a kitchen. We have a peninsula with seating at the worktop which is where we often feed Bea or eat together, but it’s a bit like the three monkeys sitting in a row, isn’t ideal for incorporating a high chair, and I long for a kitchen table to eat around. Although we are lucky to have a dining room it’s a total pain hauling everything in there and then it means there are two rooms to tidy after dinner instead of one!


The ground floor plans: The blue area is the new living space where the deck used to be, the utility area is green and the new WC is pink.

As the plans progressed I started to think about other things that would make family life easier and the biggest thing I wanted was a utility room. Currently our washing machine and tumble dryer are in the cellar, which although dry is damp and dusty and cold, not to mention filthy. It’s a bit like having it in a cross between a garden shed and a garage, and tricky to go down there when there are children crawling or toddling about the house too, that I can’t trust not to come after me. The stone steps to get down are the stuff of nightmares where parenting is concerned. To have those upstairs, with a sink for dirty jobs and a second fridge/freezer plus some storage is pretty much the holy grail for me and I set about trying to convince Pete we needed one. As it happened the back of our house is a bit like a tetris block when viewed from above and extending just the kitchen didn’t square off the house without going around the corner too – this meant a bigger living/dining space and making use of the space which is currently a bin store, into a utility room.


The first floor plans – the purple area shows the new extended bathroom.

As time went on this project became the final stage in creating our medium to long term home, (I’ll never say never to moving again but we plan to be here a while!) and once the idea of the utility room worked out we then had the option to build upwards and extend our family bathroom which is currently a bit awkward and certainly not ideal for the whole family to be in at bath time. Extending the bathroom also meant we could do something I had seen a neighbour down the road do which was take the awkwardly placed separate toilet off the landing and put it into the bathroom. The landing currently doglegs around the toilet, so removing it meant the landing would be much more spacious and we could put in a window to bring light onto that level as it currently only gets borrowed light from other rooms.


How the exterior looks to the rear currently.

Initially we (well, Pete,) discussed the plans as phase one and two. Living/dining area first then the rest later, but as the scale of the project became apparent I became more certain that I was not going to do it twice, especially with the kids living through it too. We can’t afford to move out while the work goes on so I certainly don’t want to put ourselves through it again and it’s all so interlinked that it wouldn’t have made sense to stop and come back to it later either. There was no easy way of splitting the project.


What the exterior will look like.

As this also represents the final stage of our renovation, we can finally sort out the hall, stairs and landing which I have hated looking at since we moved in but it didn’t make sense to tackle (and later have builders traipsing through,) before we did the rest. As there will be walls knocked through into the hall and landing we will be replacing the floor, carpets, plastering, decorating and finally making it just the way I have imagined it.

So you can look forward to a lot more posts from me on bathrooms, living spaces, utility rooms, hallways, and all the details in-between, plus the smallest room in the house, our W.C. ;) Now the work has started although I’m anxious to see it progress I really cannot wait to have it finished and am so excited to crack on with the fun decorating part. So many decisions though!

Until next time…!

Rebecca

*All architectural plans and drawings by our Architects SpaceAP.

June on Instagram…

June has absolutely flown by in the Norris household, probably because so many projects were completed or nearing completion and we started a couple of new ones too. Now that it’s almost June I’m pretty terrified to see my due date looming on the next months calendar and excited to meet baby Norris at the same time. An equally large amount of things need to happen before baby arrives for me to feel even remotely ready, so I hope time doesn’t fly quite as fast!

The kitchen has gone from almost finished to very almost finished and usable, which has felt fantastic and meant we moved from takeaways, to easy cook no-mess dinners like Pizza (and the re-initiation of Friday-night-is-pizza-night in the Norris house,) through to the Sunday-brunch-this-kitchen-was-made-for Pancakes. We also finally had the stained glass put back into our bedroom windows and I’m loving our new kitchen floor.

At the beginning of the month I spent a few days in Windermere for a work course and as usual, remembered that I should spend more time there as it’s so close.

In full on nesting mode we also started 2 more rooms in the house. As Francesca is still with us, we needed a nice room for mum to stay in when the baby comes, so we ploughed through one of the attic rooms, having it replastered, a new window fitted and new carpet, then decorated it all in 2 weeks. More on that soon.

Lastly, this weekend we started the nursery – It’s now ready to wallpaper, having took longer than we expected to paint and I have a much clearer picture of where we’re going decor wise. More on that to come soon too!

So what did you do this June? (I’m sure lots of you have had babies or are due next month like me?) Have you been decorating like us or being sensible and just enjoying the weather?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Renovation Ruminations: The Living Room

The longer we are in the house and the more I immerse myself in interiors inspiration, the more I’m finding the creative juices are flowing for our decoration plans. I’m really starting to gain a huge amount of respect for people who take on full house renovations as there is so much to think about beyond the paint colours. At the moment we’re just at the ‘getting quotes’ stage, to get a better idea of the funds we need in place for each room. As much as I would love to get on with the living room/lounge, we’re limited as it’s going to be another whopper of a room to do properly, as it needs amongst other things, new windows, the chimney breast knocking through so we can replace a salvaged fireplace, new flooring and potentially new furniture as the current sofa isn’t ideal for the space.


The perfect living space for me… but is ‘warm’ enough for winter?

Decoratively, my biggest concern and challenge is to make this room work both in summer and winter. I’ve been through two big phases of decor in the last house, initially going with an industrial ‘period’, (when I had red damask wallpaper in the cosy dining room and the vintage salvaged photos on the wall.) Then more recently I moved to wards lighter, brighter interiors. This time, I want some colour and some warmth that will lend itself towards long winter nights but I want that colour to work equally well with brighter colours for the summer.


Office space // Selina Lake // Formal living space

At the moment I’m hugely drawn towards moody blue interiors. Not anything as dark as navy but no coastal or country-ish lighter shades either. I’m looking for the perfect smokey blue, inspired by many of the Bluebellgray images I have seen online. (Fi the creator of Bluebellgray uses Pointer Blue from Farrow & Ball in her home.)


Bluebellgray via Bright Bazaar

I’ve also fallen in love with Bluebellgray‘s fabrics. Previously I thought they were a bit too floral for me, with such a summery vibe, but having seen the latest fabrics and some abstract patterns (Via Bright Bazaar,) I think they could work season-round with toning blue shades and splashes of my favourite yellows and pinks.


Fireplace // Light Fitting // Paint swatches, all Farrow & Ball // Sofa // Floral fabric Swatch and room set, BluebellGray via Bright Bazaar // Gold Table Nest, Zara Home // Gallery wall

We’re planning to source a salvaged Victorian white marble fireplace to restore into the room, which I’m hoping will really pop against the blue. Despite my infatuation with the blues, I’m going to try and balance it by only having it on one wall, and keeping the rest grey. Other ideas include a mix of furniture, something in the bay window like a window seat or pair of danish chairs, splashes of warm gold or brass and some way of including the TV amongst lots of art on a gallery wall so it doesn’t take over the room.

So what do you think readers? Have you got any ideas? I’m really enjoying sharing my plans here – it’s proving really useful to think through all the design elements before actually doing anything!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

New House Tour: Part 2

Hello readers!
It’s time to continue my house tour. There are three floors and we’ve done the ground so lets go upstairs…

The stairs are lovely and wide and have a half turn in them on the way up, with a half landing. The first bedroom you come to is the back bedroom, or as I call it, the blue room. This is above the kitchen and has room enough for a decent double as a guest room, or will hopefully one day be the nursery! It’s already decorated in a dusty blue so we fortunately have bedding and curtains (the ones from Francesca’s old room,) all ready for it in the meantime. It the time these pictures were taken it was just a junk room, and had all the study stuff in there which we have now relocated upstairs. My Scandinavian armoire is also in there currently – something else I’m not sure where we’ll put!

Once we had cleared the boxes we used it as a guest room last weekend when Pete’s family came to stay and it looked half decent!

Next is the bathroom, and a separate toilet, that we’ll probably knock together in time. Having a separate loo is great if there’s not another one, as it relieves pressure on the bathroom, but as we do have another, the space would be better utilised for a separate bath and shower. The tiles really aren’t my choice, but it has a claw foot bath and rain shower which are nice. As a result it’s going to be a long way down the priority list and I can’t see us changing it within 3 years.

Carrying on around, our bedroom is next, above the lounge. This is probably the most tired room decor wise and fairly high on our priority list. I can’t wait to decorate it but as with most other rooms there are large jobs within the renovation which make it costly, like restoring the windows.

We also plan to knock through into the space above the hall, which (accessed from the landing,) was used as an office. We don’t need it for that and I happen to think it’ll make a great walk in wardrobe. ;)

The other room at the front is Francesca’s room. Painted a rather strong red that wouldn’t be so bad if not for the addition of the highlighted red cornice (the thought of the hours it will take to paint over that makes me feel ill!) we’re not going to redecorate while Francesca’s in it, so as not to disrupt her again, and I haven’t really got any fixed ideas for this space either. It’s a lot lighter than this picture looks now without the boxes blocking the window!

On the top floor there are another three rooms. When the previous owners bought the property many years ago, it had been in three flats and the back room, (above the blue room,) was the kitchen and bathroom for that flat.

As a result there is a newly updated and practically brand new ensuite in a rather awkward position, leaving a room that is only good for an office really. We talked about making the whole room a bathroom, but it would mean losing a bedroom and would make for a rather large bathroom, basically for guests.

Instead, I think we’ll end up relocating the ensuite to one of the other rooms, where even if we stole some extra space they would still be double bedrooms. I’d also like to make it accessible from the hall rather than as an ensuite, then it’s available for all the people on that floor to use.

2 more rooms are at the front of the house – one I call the ‘L-shaped room’ which will become a guest suite with a sleeping area, small sofa and table, tv and storage. It currently has old fitted wardrobes in that need ripping out and it’s likely we’ll have to retrofit insulation by taking down the ceiling. Currently as there are rooms in the attic space, there is no insulation and you can hear the rain on the roof so loudly it makes me worry about how thin the ceiling is!

The last room is above ours and probably the one destined to have some space stolen from it for that relocated bathroom. With the built in cupboards taken out again, there will still be space for another guest bed, or we will probably make this our office with a pull out sofa bed.

So that’s it! As you can see, we were very lucky in that everything has been maintained very soundly, but we’ve got three floors of renovation ahead of us, before we even get started on the garden! Right now, we’re trying to decide where to start – we’d love to get on with the bedroom, but we’re currently waiting on ballpark figures for the kitchen renovation which will dictate what we can and can’t do financially before then.

It’s also good to live in the house. I really feel we shouldn’t do anything until after Christmas, but we have a week of leave in November that Pete’s itching to get going on the house in. I’m going to use the weeks before Christmas to get quotes on everything and see what we’re in for, and more importantly, pull together some mood boards to share our plans with you guys!

I hope you enjoyed the tour. If anyone knows anything about retrofitting insulation, I’d love to hear! I’ve heard you can possibly get government grants for this as it’s energy saving?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Once again please excuse the photo’s – they are a mix of hurried iPhone shots the day after we moved in and some Instagram updates since of slightly more organised rooms. I hope you get the gist! Still no camera cable :(

Real Rooms: A Toddler’s room makeover

Today I’m sharing a post that I would love to see more of on Florence Finds, a real room make over. I know you guys love reading them and stealing some inspiration so please please please do send in your room makeover’s to hello@florencefinds.com and I’ll post them here.  In the meantime, here is a brilliantly bright bedroom makeover that Alice (from Simply The Nest,) created for her toddler daughter. Thanks for sending it in Alice!

I saw your post on pastel interiors and I thought you might like to see some pictures of the (super-bright!) hot pink and pale blue nursery my husband and I recently created for our eldest girl, Eva Bella. Like all toddlers she loves animals, and she’s also an adventurous, fearless girl who’s at her happiest when climbing bookcases and ladders and then hurling herself onto the floor from great heights, so we decided on a jungle animal and travel/explorer theme.

While I love the chic, understated look of nurseries often featured on American blogs (like The Brick House), I personally prefer lots of colour and pattern for older children. I’ve been drawn to the fuchsia/pale teal combination since Matthew Williamson’s Electric Angels show in 1997, and have always wanted the opportunity to translate it into an interior. We used hot pink on one wall only, and toned it down with pale blue on the other walls, amber-coloured original floorboards and white bedding, so although the room is undeniably bright it doesn’t feel overwhelming – well, maybe too much for an adult but perfect for a child :-)

We undertook the entire room transformation ourselves – we’re in the process of gradually renovating a big old run-down Victorian in a leafy South Manchester suburb. The house hasn’t been touched in about 30 years so the décor is eighties-tastic, but we have twelve-foot ceilings! and original fireplaces! and gorgeous original plank flooring! and cellars! and a turquoise bathroom! and a kitchen shoehorned into a bay window containing a dodgy old cooker, a sink, and not much else! We’re fierce DIYers who love a challenge though, so couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Andre (my husband) re-plastered, painted the walls and sanded the floor, while I painted the woodwork and oiled the floorboards. I really wanted to have a go with the floor sander as I love getting involved with exciting power tools, but being heavily pregnant with our second child at the time I reluctantly watched from a safe distance!

Instead, I sewed giant curtains for the bay window (using this amazing pink and white travel/animal fabric), teetered at the top of a step ladder to hand paint a huge mural depicting a fantasy landscape of jungle animals frolicking among famous world landmarks, and made pink paper pompoms to suspend from the ceiling. We bought a vintage 1950s Queen Anne wardrobe on eBay, and reclaimed a big 4×4 Ikea Expedit unit that had previously held my beloved jazz record collection to store all her favourite toys.

After watching several hours of upholstery tutorials on YouTube, I also upholstered a chair in fabulous pink floral fabric, personalised an Ikea toddler table and chair set, and sewed cushions, a pillow case and beanbags (the latter are particularly popular with our two Jack Russells). All these projects can be found on my blog, Simply The Nest (along with tons more pictures and projects from our first and current house).

Right now we’re hard at work finalising our second daughter Natalia’s nursery – she’s getting a turquoise, blue and yellow colour scheme and an English country garden inspired mural. After that, we’re going to tackle the master bedroom, which currently has brick-red walls and ceiling, a brick-red carpet, and mustard-yellow woodwork *shudder*. Renovating with two small children and two dogs is an extremely slow process! but there’s nothing like the satisfaction of seeing your daughter happily whacking her toy hammer on your lovingly renovated original Victorian floorboards to make it all worth your while :-)

I love this room and the way Alice has created such a fun decor scheme that’s girly yet still really fresh and vibrant. Thanks so much for sharing :)

Don’t forget to leave Alice some love if you like it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo