Our shared girls room: The Inspiration

Hello readers! Long time no see! I’m cautiously optimistic that having two children at school soon will mean that I can hopefully start to bring you some more regular blog posts. In return I’d love it if you could share them with friends or direct them to my Instagram account to follow there. 🙂 This week, before I show the new shared girls room I thought I’d talk about my thoughts for the space and what inspired the result…

I really wanted to draw a line in the sand when Cora moved in and re-do the room so it felt like ‘theirs’ not ‘Bea’s’. That said, I didn’t want to start entirely afresh where the decor was concerned because it felt wasteful. Changing the colour scheme would have meant changing a lot of the co-ordinating details like art and bedding or cushions for example. I’ve been asked a lot in the past about re-doing rooms whilst working with what you have so hopefully some of you will enjoy this! We wanted to keep the Laura Ashley curtains because I find curtains really hard to choose and I still liked the colour way, in a mixed width stripe of raspberry and pale pink with yellow called Awning Stripe. Initially I wanted to replace the Hibou Home wallpaper but in the absence of a better option we decided to keep it and Bea also already had her Made.com Alana copper single bed.

Cora’s Nursery – half wall painted one Farrow and Ball Cinder Rose.

So let’s talk about some of the ideas we had for the space. If you follow me on Instagram I saved a highlight of me talking about moving the girls in together, before we re-decorate the nursery for the arrival of baby number 3! Until we did this, Cora was in what will be the ‘nursery’, so the plan was to move her in with Bea. Our house has 3 bedrooms on the middle floor and more above in the attic but we didn’t feel the girls were ready to move up there together or alone just yet.

Image from Lay Baby Lay

Much of the chat on Instagram was around whether we should sacrifice the (new) bed and move to bunk beds to maximise on floor and play space, or whether to go for 2 singles. The room is pretty big and after hearing a lot of thoughts from you guys kindly replying to my shoutout for experiences, we trialled moving the little Ikea toddler bed Cora had in the nursery, into Bea’s room and were surprised by how much floor space we still had for them to play, so it’s still there now. In time I’ll probably look for another Alana bed via eBay (I found out just before I started planning that the bed had been discontinued!) but for now this works fine. Im also particularly keen on the symmetry of two singles, and the way it zones a room. The beds themselves become a little bit of a their own space within the shared room a few of you pointed out and are much easier for snuggles at bedtime than a bunk, which I wasn’t ready to let go of just yet. We also kept the existing wardrobe and storage units.

Image via @CassCheung

Although I wanted to move Cora in to share with Bea, and I wanted it to be ‘their’ room, I also wanted to demarcate their space a little bit. I had saved a few inspiration photos on Pinterest for sometime with shared rooms wallpapered in complimentary but different wallpaper on two sides which I loved the idea of, but I really couldn’t find the right thing to do it with. There are lots of wallpapers that come in different colour ways but I couldn’t find anything suitable in both yellow and pink to put in each alcove behind the beds.

Image via Eeasyknitting.com

In terms of decor, I had relatively recently painted Cora’s nursery in a scandi style half wall with Farrow & Ball Cinder Rose and I was so sad to be redecorating as I was really pleased with how it turned out. Initially I thought I’d do another half wall in the new room but then I decided to start looking for some paint effects or ideas that would make the space more playful. I loved the idea of a painted ceiling but when we moved in the room was painted with a red coving and walls and we ended up paying someone to decorate it as we couldn’t face the multiple coats of paint it would take to cover it, so I couldn’t bear to do that again! I would have gone for this circus style stripped ceiling (below) in a heartbeat but we also unfortunately decided against stripping the ceiling when the room was gutted initially as we feared taking the wood chip off would mean the ceiling coming down. (As an aside, we have left the ceiling in several rooms and whilst it is never something I notice, having stripped the wood chip in the hall, if you’re getting a room skimmed anyway to renovate an old house, in future I’d just do the ceiling to give more options for the future as it also limits you repositioning light fittings for example.)

Circus style painted ceiling
Image via @Linestampedahl on Instagram

Eventually I decided to paint a scalloped half wall and we hovered between Little Greene’s Yellow pink (a mustard shade of yellow – seen in this gorgeous kids room) or Hellebore which isn’t dissimilar to Cinder Rose – a mid pink but the undertone was less blue so it worked with the raspberry in the curtains and the different light in this east facing room compared with the Cinder Rose in the west facing nursery.

Cora’s half wall painted nursery in Farrow and Ball Cinder Rose.

Storage wise, I thought we would need more. One of the issues we faced was amalgamating two rooms worth of toys -including some of the bigger toys small children seem to accumulate, like a doll pram, or play shop. One of the reasons I asked about the single beds v. bunks on Instagram is that we don’t have a playroom, so a lot of toys are in their bedrooms and if we had gone for bunks we would have had space to create a playroom type corner in the alcove where we have ended up putting Cora’s bed. The girls already had a kids table and chairs and dressing up rail of clothes which both got heavy use whereas the other items were more occasional play so we prioritised them and opted to make a play space in a room on our top floor. This is a bit of a trial situation as we have more work planned to the top floor which will involve re-jigging the rooms, but for now we will see how much it gets used.

IKEA Lixhult hack by Pretty in Print Art – click for the
DIY tutorial she shared!

We thought more clothes storage or toy storage would be required than we have ended up needing but haven’t needed to add another Eket storage unit yet (watch this space!) and chose a Mustard Made shorty locker for Cora’s bedside to provide more toy storage. We already have a Mustard Made midi locker in the living room which is a tardis of toy storage and I love how they add colour to a space which helped with my idea of demarcating the girls individual bed areas.

I’ll leave it there for now and hopefully I’ll see you next Sunday with the reveal of the completed room! I’m just waiting on a mirror to finish the mantlepiece and it will be done.

Have a lovely Sunday readers!

Rebecca x

More pretty to browse…

My Pinterest board of saved Nursery and Kids room ideas 🙂

A throw back to the first nursery we created for Bea

More posts sharing our House reno

The Florence Finds House Tour: Family Bathroom Part 1 – The Build

Well, hello! It’s finally time I shared our bathroom, in fact the whole house. I’m setting myself a goal to bring one room a month to the blog and I hope I can keep up! The majority of the house has been made-over in one way or another over the last 12 months via our big renovation and extension project. Some intentionally and others as collateral, either because they were damaged in the process or just seemed tired and dated. I think I’m going to split these posts into two where its appropriate, to divide the pretty from the nitty gritty of what and how we did things so I hope they’re both useful and inspiring. I’m going to start here with the Bathroom as it was the first room we actually completed and started using, as well as being pretty popular amongst my insta followers, so I hope you like it!


The pre-existing deco-bathroom of darkness

The Nitty Gritty:
Before we started this project, it was intended to be a single story extension ‘glass box’ on the back of the house. However we wouldn’t have gained much space if the resulting room had followed the line of the exterior wall at the back so we wrapped it around into an area that housed our bins. That meant I could have a utility room (whoop whoop!) and the living space would be bigger, which then opened up the possibility of addressing the family bathroom on the floor above. Our first floor has 3 bedrooms and had a small bathroom with a separate toilet on the landing. This made the landing an odd shape, dog legging around the loo, and there was no natural light there either so it was dark. The previous owners had renovated the house to sell but sadly their taste was dated and as a result I hated everything about the bathroom – black and white, art deco style tiles, and faux Victorian white suite.



Top left – shows the landing area dog legging around the loo. The bottom exterior shot hopefully shows the back area we built across but also the way we filled in the side to make space for the utility and bathroom, without extending the house footprint sideways.

It could have been a lot worse I’ll admit, but I really did hate it with a passion. It also wasn’t ideal for a family of 4, kids bathtimes or just spending any enjoyable time in it. There was a small north facing, (possibly original, read: draughty,) window so it was dingy too and basically didn’t have much to commend it. I dreamed of space and light and 2 sinks! Having extra space in the ground floor footprint of the house meant we could build out and over the utility room making a bigger family friendly bathroom, and creating space and light on the landing by moving the loo into the bathroom too. Pete was keen to make this a 2 phase job and come back to the bathroom but I was adamant I didn’t want to revisit the mess etc so we planned from the outset to just make it one big project.


Once the walls started to go up, the space took shape pretty quickly. We went away for the week in March and our ace builders used the opportunity to do all the horrific demolition bits while the kids were out of the house, lifting the floor downstairs to install our underfloor heating, demolishing the landing loo and making the new wall between the bathroom and landing. I remain eternally grateful – anyone who has endured a renovation knows what brick dust is like, and in a house as old as ours, removing ceiling sections means soot flying everywhere which is possibly worse and certainly more pervasive.


Once we could walk around in the space (at first climbing up via the scaffolding!) it seemed at once much bigger and much smaller than I expected. One of the only structural changes we made during the build was to this room, adding a velux when the walls were in, as it suddenly seemed very dark. I hadn’t factored in how the roof pitch comes quite low in this particular aspect of the house, which meant the wall wasn’t tall enough for our usual high windows. So we opted for a massive velux that matched the width of the window below and placed it directly in line with the window too which looked pleasing from the outside but also meant it was positioned perfectly over the bath. This also resulted in the vaulted ceiling that the velux made necessary and now I absolutely love. I’d like to say it was a pre-planned design feature and take credit but it was in fact a twist of fate with some good advice from our builders!


Once the shell was in place it was left as just that by our builders and our internal finishing team took over. Side note: We had 2 builders, one for the big structural stuff and another team that did all the internal specification like the wall panelling, bathroom, tiled flooring, utility and decoration. This played to each of their strengths according to our Architect and we were really happy with how it worked out. The internal finishing team had a fantastic eye for detail, shared my appreciation for Pinterest and basically were ready to do exactly what I wanted, as well as adding their own experience, and expertise. They first sorted out the plumbing for the double vanity, wall hung loo, bath and shower, all of which took quite some effort as each bit had it’s challenges. My main concern in this room was the width. On our architects layouts it seemed spacious enough but it was long and narrow in reality and I worried until the very day the vanity unit and bath were installed that there was enough space for them both and inbetween.


As a result I was obsessed with making sure not an inch of space was lost to stud walls and pipes – any of you who have created a bathroom will know often pipes are just hidden behind stud walls which built around all the perimeter can mean precious space is lost. We already had some tricky aspects with some decorative brickwork (see above) that stuck into the room at the shower end and differences in the old thin walls and new building regulation thickness block and breeze walls. Our finishers took the opportunity to hide some pipes where the walls had to be built out to meet the new thicker ones but also recessed some pipework into the bricks, even chiseling out space for the super slim cistern to hide in the wall. We chose wall mounted sink taps which also needed accommodating and placed the shower controls as you walk into the shower on the right, where you can turn them on without getting wet while the water heats up, so they also needed the pipework sinking in.


Next up was the floor and my beloved encaustic tiles. Oh my, I absolutely love these tiles. I plan to write another blog post about how incredibly high maintenance they are – think full on drama queen, but I don’t think you can beat them for texture and pattern. They are very thick so scuppered the floor level a little and we have a lipped threshold on the door frame to allow for the thickness of not only the tile but the stabilising cement board beneath them which added to the depth. Next the loo was installed and then the vanity I think, where more trickery went on to again maximise the width. That decorative brick work I mentioned actually extended along the wall to where the vanity was supposed to be positioned right against the wall and was higher than the bottom of the vanity unit, even on its legs so our builders cut a section out of the back corner to allow it to be pushed right up to the wall.

We chose a Swoon Editions sideboard which we converted into a vanity unit which required a bit of consideration of the storage layout – for example many of them have drawers to one side which would have been much trickier to convert and make space for the plumbing, and we actually chose a different design which ended up being delayed again and again so we opted for the current one instead and I actually think it was the better choice now. It was 10cm longer than the first design we chose which I think was better for the proportions of the usable worksurface on top, and the first one we chose had a brass upstand around the back which in retrospect wouldn’t have worked well with our sinks either. I think the bath was next and the free standing tap (chosen because the window position prevented us having wall mounted bath taps,) and the custom shower screen was last to go in.

A nitty gritty post wouldn’t be complete without a note on what I would have done differently and despite the planning there are still things I would change. The freestanding bath tap wasn’t a big deal aesthetically but became pricier because they are vastly more expensive than wall mounted ones, because: bigger. Adding the Velux cost us about another £2000 which seems a lot in the scheme of the bathroom but wasn’t in terms of the over all build (the Velux itself is massive and was ~£900.) My main and currently very prominent regret given that it’s January, is the underfloor heating we ditched as it would have been on a separate electric system to the water circuit on the ground floor and was an added cost. We felt we didn’t need it as we would have enough heat from the radiator but however the ambient heat is achieved, a cold tiled floor is still a cold tiled floor, which I think we notice more in contrast to the warmer floors downstairs and the vaulted ceiling makes it a very big space to heat.

Other than that I’m really pleased with our choices. One other thing I would say that made this project is the team we had working on it. When looking for trades people find yourself a YES man! All too often trades people will tell you it can’t be done or won’t be right, or will cost a lot more – whilst details like herringbone tiling will take longer so involve more labour its not that significant in my experience and you don’t want to settle then regret it all because a tiler wouldn’t just do their job! Ours did everything I asked of them and more when things didn’t go according to plan. I’ll pop the links for the builders and bathroom fitters below. I’ll also be back with the finished reveal next – the post is all written, I just need to add in the photos and product links so it shouldn’t take too long, (she says – it’s the most time consuming part!!)

Back soon!
Rebecca

ArchitectSpace AP
BuildersBoarshurst
Interior finishing/fitting108 Builders.

You might also like to read about our inspiration here: #FFHouseReno: The Bathroom

#FFHouseReno: The Bathroom

The bathroom looks like it will be the first room finished in this mad renovation project so I think it’s time I talked about the design process. Before I start, a disclaimer… I don’t really *cough* like bathrooms. That’s not strictly true I suppose. There’s many a bathroom I have enjoyed spending time in, but bathroom design just leaves me cold. So I basically ignored the bathroom for the longest time during the planning stages. We have never renovated or replaced a bathroom before so I also didn’t really know where to start. Expect of course, Pinterest.


This is the image which inspired our bathroom design as a whole.

A little bit of background first, Kate Watson-Smyth from Mad About The House says you need to know the who, what’s and where of a house before you plan anything and I wholeheartedly agree. This bathroom, although it will be a bathroom for all of us currently, will long term become the family/kids bathroom, when we complete the final renovation stage of this house and move up to the top floor. For now though we are a young family with many a bath time ahead of us in which all four of us will be trying to move around the space, so layout was important. I wasn’t prepared to compromise on having two sinks and we wanted a freestanding bath but that was pretty much it. This was a bit of luxury for us now but also half an eye on two girls competing for mirror space in future. 😉 I also wanted storage for the myriad bath toys we now have, plus toiletries of mine which are bound to double again with the girls growing up. That was pretty much it in terms of what we needed. And what I wanted desperately was for it not to be boring. Easier said than done.

I scoured my bathroom pinterest boards and tried to establish some themes. It turns out I like my bathrooms light and bright, with simple natural colours and warmed by wood accents. However, every now and then a crazy tile I had saved would pop up and make me think, ‘Am I missing the opportunity to do something fun? Is it going to look boring?’ so I tried to find a way to bring in a bit of colour and personality. Not something synonymous with contemporary bathroom design.


The first moodboard I made to get my thoughts and ideas down on ‘paper’.

Now one part of bathrooms that I do love are tiles. But trying to find the cool tiles you just saw on Pinterest is not easy. And it’s even harder to find them at a good price point. It’s fortunate I don’t like the 4 tiled walls look because my goodness, tiles are expensive. I decided the way to include that pop of fun and colour I need was to have a patterned tile and quickly fell in love with encaustic tiles when we were researching for the hallway floor. My encaustic tile search is probably for another post as they are not the cheap option but I managed to source them at about half the price of some of the first ones I spotted. We finally narrowed the design down to a graphic starburst hexagon tile, after a brief flirtation with stars, in a dark marine blue.

For the walls, I considered tilling up the wall in the same tile but that would have been missing out on the opportunity to mix in another style I like. I have a lot of love for the clean, classic and budget friendly look of metro tiles, but I’m slightly obsessed with herringbone too so decided to tile the shower in a white elongated tile in a herringbone layout. I managed to find a handmade looking tile with quite an undulating surface in the right proportions for a fraction of the price of the higher end tile stores and to make it more of a textural effect rather than a graphic pattern, we have chosen white grout.

Black shower taps

Next up was taps. Again, I had decided on brass, but wow, taps are expensive (there’s a theme somewhere in here…) and I couldn’t find quite the style I wanted. When I was bath hunting I came across Lusso Stone who have really well priced tap and shower sets, and decided to cross over to the dark side and go for matte black. Those of you who are regular readers may remember that I really dislike black. I have barely anything black in my wardrobe but I’m finding that I am using it more and more in interiors as an accent neutral and I am so excited to see these go in. It was compromise that made me go for them, particularly as we chose everything for the bathroom so late we were starting to really try and cut the budget, so were under pressure to make savings in this room, but I think they are going to make a fantastic compromise and won’t look too stark because of…


Wooden vanity

The Vanity Unit. I knew I wanted a wooden floating unit or a sideboard style piece of furniture, originally thinking I’d source a vintage midcentury sideboard, but I just couldn’t find anything I was happy to make a decision on. Eventually I reconciled myself with the fact that anything we bought new would have to be chopped up and drilled into to convert and settled on the Fresco Sideboard from Swoon Editions. Unfortunately we had quite the debacle and had to switch for another one last minute but I’m really happy we did and can’t wait to see it in situ. The wood will add warmth to an otherwise quite stark room and the brass detail is just going to make me happy. 🙂 We plan to top it with a piece of marble to save the wood top from getting stained and have chosen counter top rectangular sinks to fit the mid-century vibe.


The final moodboard where I put all my chosen products together to make sure they worked together.

Lastly the bath. We looked far and wide at baths and really fell for the composite ones with their matt velvety finish. The first we liked was Victoria and Albert then we found Lusso Stone which are vastly cheaper than most and supply a lot of hotels and building projects with very sexy baths. The one we chose was mainly due to size restrictions because I could easily have chosen many of their gorgeous designs and hopefully it will be with us next week.

I think that’s it! I’m still updating Instagram Stories most days with daily progress and much of that is currently bathroom progress, so please do check in if you want to see some behind the scenes action. (Disclaimer: I may or may not be found on some days tearing my hair out or rocking in the corner quietly, depending how bad a day it has been!) I think it will be another couple of weeks then I should have some finished photos for you!

Hope you like it!
Rebecca

#FFHouseReno: Part I [Foundations]

Well hello, finally I can write our first post about the extension, not in the planning stages but the happening stage. Whoop Whoop!

Yeah, well it was exciting for about 2 weeks I think! Already it feels slow and dirty and messy and just muddy. The mud. Seriously. People warned us about starting building work in January and they were right! But let’s skim over that and start at the beginning.

We were supposed to start on January 3rd and were immediately foiled by the piling company still being on Christmas Break for another week. The next week came and went and I think it was 22nd of January before everything came together and the work finally started. 18x 3m steel tubes were delivered, the drain survey people, piling contractors and our building company all arrived on site at once and things finally started happening.

It was a pre-requisite of our build over agreement that we survey the drain below the works both before and after the building work, and although we had already surveyed the drain to get the drain position and structural calculations for the build over agreement in the first place, that was 2 years ago now so we repeated it to make sure there had been no damage in the interim that we could get blamed for later. All was well and the position was once again marked out ready for the piling.

The piling process was pretty incredible. Our piles were a combination of augered and driven piles. Most people think of driven piles when they think of piling – if you’ve ever been in the vicinity of piling work you might recall the thud thud thud of the piling taking place and the ground literally shaking for what seems like miles around. Because of the drain, our piles were augered which looked like a huge drill bit and essentially drills down, turfing the ground up out of the hole it creates. They did this to below the invert of the drain, about 5m down and then put the steel in and drove the last meter or so down. Fortunately for us, that meant the impact and vibrations of the banging was so far underground it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but that said, it was still thumpingly loud, like make-your-chest-vibrate loud, and the house shook. I’m so glad we have forgiving neighbours! There were other benefits to this method – one being that when drilling down, they would have had a heads up if they had hit anything (like the drain!) However, it also involved some guess work and the final depth depends on when the piles hit firm ground – at least one of the piles needed to go deeper than the planned 6m and the deepest is at 9m underground which is pretty mind boggling. Once in place we could look down the piles to the bottom and it was like looking into the centre of the earth.

Once the piles were in place we breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. It was a little bit weird that something we had been focusing our whole minds and worry on was over in a matter of days – I think they were finished in 4. However then there was another wait while the piling contractors disappeared again and our builders picked up the work, digging our foundation trenches, before the Piling company came back to finish off. They had several staffing issues and other overrunning jobs which was beyond their control but it was incredibly frustrating. They were responsible for not only the piles but the whole foundations on top of them so until they finished our builders couldn’t do anything. They eventually came back and created the ring beam – a steel frame that rests on the piles and then was set in concrete to form the foundations and finally the foundations were done! That whole process took 2 weeks, but it could have been a lot quicker as I think we had at least 4 working days where nothing happened at all in those two weeks.

Since then our builders have been on the job and it seems like everything has been happening really quickly. We joked that as they had already built up 9 meters we could expect the rest of the work to be done in another 4 weeks or so! Sadly not!

I guess it’s not surprising but we have had a taste already of the disruption the work will bring. There will be times when we have both the downstairs toilet and the first floor bathroom out of action and holes in the walls of the house so this rates pretty low on the scale of inconvenience, but the outside pipes to the kitchen sink and dishwasher were disconnected during the piling and we’ve had a bucket under the pipes collecting the water that gets emptied daily since then. I’ve been a bit paranoid about using excessive amounts of water, which when you’re constantly cleaning up after 2 kids is not that easy. However I’m sure there’s much worse to come!

I’ve also had my first wobble about the plans as the layout of the steps coming down from the extension were marked on the ground and it just looked massive. In fact the modest strip of paving outside the sliding doors, then the planters and stepped path down to the rest of the garden is almost as wide again as the new room we are building, and eats into the garden further than I expected, however, theres no other way of achieving the design I want so I’m trying to hold my nerve. The foundations for that area were concreted in last week and the supporting walls that are above ground but below the floor level of the house were put in too. The highlight of my week was the insertion of a piece of steel that will be between the glass corner and the sliding windows, that essentially holds the roof up over the largely glazed area. It gave the space a sense of a perimeter and felt like real progress.

Right now however, I’m still having a lot of trouble visualising it all. Because it’s below the floor level of the house it’s hard to get a sense of the space, and the weather has been so awful that it is hard to see past the mud. Thank goodness for the break in the weather. My to do list this week involves trying to pin them down to a rough timescale so I can try and plan when its going to be worst inside and we can try to get away. We met with another contractor to do the finishing last week (the bathroom/utility and loo fitting, tiling, wall panelling etc etc etc) and are awaiting a revised quote and I need to make a decision on who we will be sourcing our internal crittall door from. We’ve also got tile samples arriving and colour chips as I think we will be making a bespoke colour way of the tiles we want. So all together that is super exciting, especially as I feel like I’ve finally found my bathroom mojo after weeks of being less than excited about it – I just couldn’t get interested in off the shelf all-in design, but now I can’t wait to share our plans with you!

I hope that was interesting for those of you planning building work. The photos aren’t very inspiring but I hope they are illuminating at least and I’ll try to do a monthly update and progress report amongst the fun interiors posts. We are actually on week 5 now and a lot more has happened – as always follow along on Instagram – I tend to update my stories almost daily with progress including live videos walking around the site – quick and easy for me, brilliant if you happen to be super nosey. 😉

Happy Thursday Guys!

Rebecca

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.

Featured and Quoted…

Happy New Year readers! Whilst I’m trying to finish January Joy and a post on my return to work, I thought I’d pop in quickly to share something exciting! Last year an image I submitted as part of the #MyFaBHome competition with Farrow and Ball was selected as one of their 50 most inspirational rooms and included in their digital booklet. Apart from the fact that I’ve been slightly out of the blogging game of late and it’s fun to do a little trumpet blowing, I LOVE the booklet. The rooms featured are incredible and so inspirational, so I wanted to share it here as a little bit of New Year interiors inspiration for all of you.

There’s such a great range of modern spaces, heritage backdrops and quirky styling – it really shows how you don’t have to be decorating a country pile to use Farrow and Ball. I’ll certainly be spending some time pouring over it’s pages while I’m planning the interiors of our new extension… which incidentally started today!

Whilst I’m trumpet blowing, if you’re over here because you saw my review of The Watergate Bay hotel when they shared it earlier this week then hi! Welcome. And if you haven’t read it yet… you can find my whole review here. I’m working on a review of Another Place (the WGB sister hotel in The Lake District) too, so if you don’t want to miss that then please do follow along on Instagram or Facebook for post updates!

Right, back to January Joy… it’s coming 😉

Rebecca

A tentative hello…

Well hello readers! Are there even any readers out there? I’d forgive you if not… it’s been almost 8 long months since I wrote a blog post here, announcing that Cora had arrived, bumping our little family to four. I’m lying when I say it’s been 8 long months though, good grief they have flown. The days have whistled past, the nights though? They have been loooooong. Having two children has Kicked. My. Ass.

So many times I’ve wanted to write a blog post but haven’t had the time. When I have had opportunity, sleep has often been higher up the agenda. Cora has not been a great sleeper… In fact as I write this, it’s 05.42am and I’m sat in the feeding chair, having failed to put her back down once and with the genius idea to try and use my time productively, I’m typing on my phone.


Cora at Francesca’s hen weekend // Plannign the amazing flowers with Miss Pickering // The Tipi’s pre-wedding // My sister, The Bride!

Aside from having a baby (which frankly, would have been quite enough thank you,) it’s been a busy old 8 months. Aside from the daily, no, hourly trials and tribulations of having two, we’ve had a few milestone events going on. My sister got engaged just two weeks before Cora was born and married a week ago. With a short engagement it was all hands on deck and lots of appointments and planning to be done that I helped her with. In September Bea started preschool nursery at the local primary school, a decision we had agonised over and I’ll come back to in a separate blog post at some point. And behind all of that… the project that has been grumbling along since we bought this house, but in ernest for the last almost two years, we are finally about to start the extension we had in mind when we first looked around this house.


Choosing floor tiles // My original inspiration for the extension // Bathroom shopping // Architects meetings

Some of you might remember the ‘monster pipe’ story. If not, here is the blog post if you want to read about it. Essentially our house is built almost on top of a large overflow sewer which predates the house and is massive. 1m across, 4m underground. (Which isn’t as deep as it sounds when you consider that we have cellars!) When we bought the house we were told there was no way we would ever be able to build over it but after realising (2 years in) that the house just wasn’t working for us with a baby in tow, we decided to make some bigger moves to try and get the go ahead. We managed it and then were planning to start in January this year when Cora was due in March, so we postponed. Looking back that wasn’t realistic at all… there have been delays and decisions at every turn and I’m determined to get this particular project right. Leaving the top floor aside, it will finish the house for us, adding a much needed family living/dining space and utility room, and rejigging the downstairs loo, hallway, landing and extending the first floor bathroom. What started out as simply adding a ‘glass box’ to the back of the house has spiralled somewhat… whilst I absolutely can’t wait to have it done, I really don’t want to ‘do’ it at all – particularly as we will be living in it throughout.

We’ve also been to Greece, Cornwall (twice) and The Lake District, Just So Festival, renovated the dining room and acclimatised to being a family of four. Honestly that has been my longest and toughest project, one I’m still working on, but also one that I finally feel comfortable with. It’s only taken 8 months!

Anyway, I want to expand on all of these things, and so many others, so I’ll be back. Fingers crossed!

Rebecca.

Lighting up the Night…

Since we decorated out master bedroom, finishing the decor has kind of fallen by the wayside in favour of, you know… the rest of the house and having a baby. After all it’s nice, but the lack of detail has been bugging me. I already have a new dressing table on order – mirrored again to match the chest of drawers and with several more drawers so hopefully it will hide way more of my stuff that currently resides in baskets under the existing dressing table. That should take care of some of the clutter.


(Bedding: Secret Linen Store // Pink velvet cushions & Gold sequin cushion: H&M Home // Geo cushion: Conran for M&S // Wall colour: Cornforth White – F&B)

However a more pressing practical consideration has been bed side lights. We had a small lamp on my dressing table but it was really awkward to reach round (as the bed was slightly forward of the dressing table as it is against the chimney breast,) and turn off, and meant the only light was on my side. It’s a small thing to turn it off but it drove me crazy that it had to be me to do it every. single. night! The other issue was that the wall above the bed was really a blank canvas waiting to be used. I didn’t want a simple print or canvas up there and started to think some wall lights would be great. One big ‘but’ stood in the way and that was the fact that our bedroom walls have been lined as well as painted, so having something wired in would have been a massive cosmetic issue and hard to patch up, so whatever I chose had to be plug in.

After looking at lots of different options we chose these Ogilvy swing arm wall lamps from Made.com. They were a budget friendly £50 each and despite my dislike for black, actually work really well in here because of the black accents on the mirrored furniture and of course the black iron bed frame. I had considered the white but think it would have looked very wrong in retrospect. Initially we were looking for more industrial bare bulbs but it didn’t fit with the room at all and I’m glad we didn’t force it.

Look out for a post later in the week on some other options I found for plug in wall lamps. I hope you like the result here!

Rebecca xo

The Garden in Winter…

Waking up on a cold, frosty and foggy morning here reminded me I had some frosty shots of our garden that I took a few weeks ago to share with you all. One of the reasons I chose the style of planting that we went for in our garden is that part of the intention when planning is to choose plants that have striking form in the winter months. They might have fabulous seed pods or just hold their shape in the early winter and I happen to think that there is nothing more beautiful than frost coated flower heads in the depths of winter, with the low sunlight streaming across the garden. I was fascinated to see how my planting turned out in this respect and I’m pretty happy!



In fact it’s actually time now to start chopping down the old dead stalks and seed heads ready for the new growth to come through and generally tidy up the garden. It’s also a great time to prune your shrubs if they are getting out of hand. (You can’t really go wrong doing it now but if you prune them hard and they are the kind of plants that flower early on last years wood, you might sacrifice this years flowers.) If you want to be really brutal and reclaim your garden you can chop them by 2/3!


If you would like some winter form in your Garden, here are some plants to look out for that have featured in these pictures:

  • Rudbeckia and Echinacea
  • Sedum
  • Monarda
  • Verbena
  • Verbascum

And of course grasses 🙂 (the pale floaty one you can see here is called Stipa Tenuissima – plant it in swathes of 5 or more for a mass effect.)

It’s also a good time to look at your garden and see where the bare patches are. Now is the time to think about putting something there that would look good at this time of year – something with berries, an early flowering blossom or shrub, or with interesting coloured branches. And if you (like me) are wishing you had got around to planting some bulbs last autumn, go and pick a few up at the local garden centre, ready potted and put them in for instant colour.

Happy gardening readers!

Rebecca x

The Small Things… LOFTi Laundry drying rack

(In the past, one of the things that held me up from blogging was that I felt my posts were going to be one-dimensional or too simple if you like, but there are so many things I find and love and want to share that I’m creating a new column for them called ‘The Small Things’. Short and sweet. 😉 )

When I was growing up we lived in a house with an old fashioned airer that was fixed to the ceiling and had a pully system to raise and lower it for hanging the washing out to dry on. It helped that it was in the same room as the boiler (and I believe some people will have seen them above Aga’s?) but it was a demon at drying clothes in the winter. As a result I don’t remember having a tumble dryer when we were growing up either. Since we moved into this house and when Bea was small we now have somewhere to put a dryer (the cellar) and bought one, but I have been wholeheartedly disappointed with it – I find it shrinks Bea’s clothes so they don’t last long at all, and apart from towels which it is great for, the drying takes forever. Bedding just gets in a big warm wet ball.

Over the last 2 years as we have renovated different rooms in the house, lots of the rooms have been out of action as dumping grounds or just out of the way, so we have always had a ‘drying room’. Read: Mountains of clothes hanging to dry, (slowly and sometimes with that damp smell that I hate!) and piles more that have been dumped off the dryer but not put away. I was so fed up of it I decided we needed one of these drying racks and set about finding one. I opted for the Lakeland Lofti aluminium drying rack as it was light and completely smooth so no chance of snagging tights and the like. We have positioned it on the landing of our top floor. It’s not that warm up there, as the roof insulation is virtually non-existent, but its above a radiator and so far I couldn’t be happier about how quickly things dry. The added (intentional) bonus is that once new washing needs to go on it, it has to be cleared and the clean laundry can’t just be dumped on the landing so it is getting put away in a timely fashion. #winwin!

If you have somewhere you could put one, I’d highly recommend it!

Rebecca x

Disclaimer! Edited to add, this is not a paid review, nor was the LOFTi provided for review. It was bought by me and I liked it enough to share.



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