Things I’m loving at the moment

Design Vintage Pale Grey Vintage Cupboard
Loaf Pudding Sofa
The White Company Beaumont Four Poster Bed
Distressed Metal Shelf Unit
Rattan Butlers Tray
Timsbury Velvet Mustard Sofa
New Trapeze Chandelier
Long Ear Hook
Easton Baskets
Chambray Towel
Stamford Single Bed
Design Vintage Pale Grey Vintage Cupboard
Loaf Pudding Sofa
The White Company Beaumont Four Poster Bed
Distressed Metal Shelf Unit
Rattan Butlers Tray
Timsbury Velvet Mustard Sofa
New Trapeze Chandelier
Long Ear Hook
Easton Baskets
Chambray Towel
Stamford Single Bed

Surviving a property renovation

I couldn’t tell you how many times I get asked ‘how on earth did you cope with two babies in a caravan whilst doing up your house?’ The honest answer. I don’t really know. But I did, and I’m still here to tell the story! 

But looking back, it was something I agreed to with complete ignorance. I think it’s fair to say it’s an understatement to call Luke a ‘handyman’, as he is much more than just ‘handy’, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband. He is a qualified plumber, that’s his main trade, but he specialises in property renovations. He has done quite a few for clients now, but admittedly never his own.

Our first home was a one bed coach house, which he transformed into a two bed with a garage conversion downstairs that became our kitchen/living area, but that was a well overdue project. It became a joke amongst our friends who’d ask me in front of Luke when he was going to finish the kitchen. This project took about 6 years and was only completed as we were selling. But in all fairness to Luke, he does have a full time job to do so all the ‘handy work’ he does on our home, is done in his spare time.

Spare time isn’t something you have much of when you have children. Can you see where I am going with this one.

So going back to our current home, our ‘still’ pink home, Our Pink Project, which I’ve fondly named it due to the peeling pink paint on the outside of the property. Which, we’ve had sandblasted, but Luke the perfectionist still feels the need to go over the whole property himself ready for painting. still not completed, but totally liveable. No longer are we residing in an unheated caravan with a shower that lets the rain in, a cooker that you have to stick your arm in to light with a match and a toilet that has slugs in. Yes this was our living conditions for over two years. An original promise my husband made to me was that we’d live in the caravan for ‘just a couple of months’. This, I could just about deal with, but two years?! Well that’s what happened, two years at which point we even brought our new born baby, Wilfred home too.

I distinctly recall viewing the cottage for the first time, walking around, listening to Luke talking through all of the walls he’d knock down, moving doors and adding rooms. Meanwhile I was just clocking up the pound signs and thinking about how much time it would take. But for some reason I agreed.

The decision to live on site, even though the living conditions were pretty unsavory gave me a chance to see the progress. So at times when I’d have a mini meltdown (and trust me, these were quite often), I could just look out the window and remind myself what all of this was for. I think this helped a lot. The start is probably the hardest. It’s exciting when you’ve got the keys, the property is yours and one of the first things you do is rip down that old 1970’s flowery wallpaper, some of the old brown and orange curtains and start dreaming about putting your own stamp on the place. But once that initial excitement turns to realisation that the point at which you will be choosing curtains is probably a very long way off. Reality sets in and that question that you will be asked more times than you’ll ever imagine, ‘when do you think it’ll be ready to move in?’ starts to become the norm. 

Then there’s the spreadsheet. It’ll become your right arm throughout your project, you document everything on this, listing all those little jobs and materials, the timeframe and then don’t forget to add in that ‘total cost’ column. Unfortunately I have this incurable condition which prevents me from choosing the cheapest or most reasonable item for sale. But why are the nicest things always the most expensive? This causes a lot of arguments in our household, but in most cases (agree not all), they’re usually the things that last the longest or are just better quality. Or have I just brainwashed myself having had to say this to Luke so many times when he questions me. This is a debilitating condition when renovating a property though, because any budget you may have had, you can kiss goodbye. Instead, do the essential rooms first. The bathroom, the kitchen and then the bedrooms. However we didn’t take this particular advice, and did a few things backwards, utilising the caravan kitchen for as long as possible. 

A friend who had also been through a full house renovation said, once you start seeing plastered walls, you’re nearly there. She was right, at this point it feels as if everything is coming together. But the journey to that pint felt never ending at times! When we had discovered we had a pretty bad damp problem downstairs and ended up digging a few feet out of the floor, things really looked like they would never end. This wasn’t a one off unfortunately, but I think in the grand scheme of things we were pretty lucky as nothing too serious happened. Unless you count the chimney falling down.

On move in day, we had a bathroom, we had bedrooms and a sitting room, but no kitchen. Instead, we’d do the walk from the house to the caravan for cups of tea/ cooking. It was a great way to cut down on unnecessary grazing and curb my 20 a day green tea habit, but it was pretty tough with a toddler and a baby in tow. So we made a makeshift kitchen in part of the kitchen area, this made a huge difference to our quality of living. We even bought a mini cooker which had two hobs on top, so we could still cook hot food. 

Plastic boxes became our savours. We invested in loads of them. Also those plastic storage shelves with the drawers for organising things. We used the plastic boxes and shelves to store food (clear ones, so we could see what we had), and enormous black ones for clothes, toys and shoes. We used the caravan as a bit of a storage unit to start with and then slowly moved everything into the house.

Brand new carpets were laid. Cream carpets. So with works still very much ‘still in progress’, we were keen to make sure the carpets stayed cream. Luke laid lots of clear plastic sheeting over all of the carpeted rooms, and the stairs. If we were potty training, this was the time to do it! 

We painted the entire house white, just so that it was painted and ready to move in and we could make decisions once we were in. I’m glad we did it this way. So many people say that you should try and ‘live’ in a space before you decide on how it’s going to look. For me, this couldn’t have been any truer. I think rooms are a bit like people, they’re all different and all have their own personalities. How can you know what they’re going to be like without spending some time in them (the room that is).

Moving into the cottage couldn’t have come soon enough, but works on the house still hadn’t finished at move in day, and even though Luke had tried to get a lot of the dirty and dusty jobs out of the way, there were still things that had to be completed. So this meant dust storms of varying degrees throughout the house. At one time in my life this would have sent me over the edge but everything can be cleaned (and it was!) Several times. Living in such chaos and uncertainty, which pretty much sums up a house renovation, means you have to try and avoid letting things totally out of your control bother you. And if there’s one big piece of advice I can offer you, it’s that most things during a home reno from timescales, materials, costs and trades turning up are all pretty much things completely out of your control and be prepared that these will not always be on time/ to budget or will be delayed. But what’s important is to remember, it will be done, because you’ll make sure it will. 

Having lived in the caravan we had to embrace the minimalist life. Having a toddler and baby in the caravan and all the baby paraphernalia that they come with meant Luke and I had to sacrifice a lot of our own belongings just to fit theirs in. So when we finally moved into the house, opening boxes with our belongings in was an amazing feeling but also brought about some feelings of shame. I had so much stuff. Stuff I hadn’t used or needed or even remembered I had, had in over two years (some of it longer as it had been packed up and put in storage when we sold our first house). So I can honestly say that living in the caravan and undergoing a home renovation has been truly humbling. I wrote a blog post on this too ‘My life cleanse and why I don’t need things to make me happy’. It has definitely made me appreciate what I have, what we have and how lucky we are. For so many, our living conditions in terms of space and everything else in that caravan and even our makeshift kitchen in the house, are some peoples’ way of living. They have no choice. 

So from those dark days, the arguments me and Luke had over when the house would be ready, the days I was ready to throw the towel in and book into a hotel or sell up and go and buy a new build so we could move straight in and I could start choosing curtains… and now, I’m writing this and can confidently say, I’d do it again. I would. This isn’t our forever home. We never planned for it to be, although we’re not planning on moving anytime soon, but I now know I couldn’t ever buy a house and move straight in. I’d need to knock down a few walls first! I’ve actually really enjoyed reconfiguring our entire house and making it our own. Now I feel like I know what to expect though, so will that make it any easier? I don’t know whether ignorance is actually bliss. But, one thing I do know is, I’ll be making sure we buy a much newer model of caravan (with central heating and double glazing), with no slugs next time!

Follow:

Something Pink

I’m not actually a fan of the colour pink. Yes, we have bought a pink house, but that’s not why we chose the cottage.

Without sounding completely cliche and stereotypical, I do feel that being a female all things pink can often come with the territory, and it’s not difficult to find something pink in amongst the rails of girls clothing. You only have to walk around a baby department to see that from the moment we’re born we’re wearing gender specific colours. *I am not going to starting discussing gender neutrality here by the way. But you can’t argue that we still recognise that blue is for boys, pink for girls… but I’ve never fallen for it. I don’t think my mum did really either, when I see pictures of me and my sisters dressed up as little girls we were never really dressed in pink. Perhaps that’s why my staple wardrobe colours now are black, grey and white with the odd daring slash of colour, and I honestly don’t think I own one item of pink clothing in my wardrobe.

But, I’m strangely drawn to a splash of it here and there interior wise. There’s lots of different shades of pink, and I’m talking about ‘blush pink’. There seems to be a lot of it around at the moment too, but I’m not one for trends. Well that’s a bit of a lie, I like to think I’m on trend (doesn’t everyone?!) But I’m one of those cautious buyers that hates to think what I’m buying will be ‘so last season’ in a few weeks time. So I’d say I’m pretty safe with my purchases. Perhaps that’s why my wardrobe is so monochrome.

From the very start of Our Pink Project, the one thing I knew we would do is re-paint the house. Not just because it’s desperate for a lick of paint, but because I don’t want to live in a pink house. There’s nothing wrong with pink houses, but it’s just not me.

I am excited about painting the outside of the house, it currently looks a complete mess (and that’s not because of the enormous static caravan to the side of it). We’ve bricked up windows, added a doorway, tidied up brickwork and all of this has meant there are some pretty ugly bare brick patches, crying out for some paint.

When it’s painted, I think it’ll look a very different house and it won’t be pink. So I wanted to somehow find a way to pay homage to the pink, after all I named this blog after it!

I remember when I first saw this bathroom sink on Instagram by @rvk_loves, I thought  I could recreate this look and it would be a great tribute the house and it’s pink beginnings.

Roses and Rolltops have created a whole blog post on how they create this look and ‘that’ pink sink (see image below). And quite rightly so, look at it! I was going to go for this exact look in the bathroom but instead I chose a blue/grey chest of french drawers and they were too good to paint. But every time I see this image I’m ready to get my paint brush out! And I do wish we’d have had brushed gold taps. Luke wouldn’t let me though, he said they’ll tarnish. Perhaps they would, but they look good don’t they!

Then I started to see Pink arms chairs, like this Margot in old rose by Made.com. The details on this are perfect, in particular the rose gold feet. This would look good in a large bathroom in the corner. I’m thinking for our main bathroom. A little bit of luxury for mummy to sit on at the end of the day bathing the babies!

And then there’s this bed. Margot king size bed in blush pink velvet, also from Made.com. I am head over heels. I can actually see myself in it. This would look so good against the wooden floors in our bedroom. Styled with crisp white, linen bed sheets, lots of different sized cushions, including some fur cream ones, and a dash of yellow mustard velvet or grey. Alongside a cream sheepskin rug or cowhide (and we have a lovely big cowhide from our old house) to step into at the side of the bed on the floor, it’s a match made in heaven.

 

And this Brissi Oxford Ottoman Coffee Table for the lounge. This oozes luxe and I think it’s a pretty timeless piece, plus a very clever way of adding warmth and texture to what will otherwise be quite a neutral room.

I love everything about this piece of furniture from the velvet material to the feet, so it’s not necessarily a static piece of furniture. Not to mention the colour, blush pink.

We have this chaise lounge that we bought from a friend about 5 years ago when she sold her underwear shop. It was upholstered in her brand colours (purple), so quite an unusual colour but it’s quite worn and we didn’t cover it over when storing so we will definitely be re-upholstering it and I have decided we’ll definitely be doing it in velvet blush pink. I want to do it right now, as I’m excited to see it. But there’s lots of other things we need to sort first. It will be done though and I’ll share the finished product once it’s done.

Follow:

Are you in the house yet?

Are you in the house yet?

Oh the million dollar question.

They say what goes up must come down, well what goes in a caravan must come out. God I totally made that up. Sorry. All I can say is at least I still have a sense of humour, shame that wasn’t funny though. I’m writing this very late at night! Anyway, what I’m getting at is that we ‘really are’ now starting to get ready to move out the caravan and into the house. True story.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still quite a bit to do. We don’t have a cooker yet, the boiler isn’t actually on as it needs to be wired to the electrics… but hey, it’ll all get done in a week or so I’m sure. So alongside beginning to attempt a declutter in the caravan and think about putting some of the right boxes in the boys bedrooms upstairs. I am also starting to think about what each room in the house will look like. A lot of it is dreaming, with no budget at all in mind, but it’s good to have goals.

Styling and the interiors has been a long time coming. The room design, the position of a cupboard, adding a rug or lamp, all things I’ve been itching to do since we bought the house! Luke’s done the digging, plumbing and all the other stuff. Now it’s my turn. This is the best bit too.

It’s hard to shop for things though when you’re not living in the house. I think you can get a feel for a room a bit better then too. Sometimes I find myself dreaming up a room in my head, furnishing it, then I go and look at the room, and realise I imagined it to be five times bigger than it actually is. Does anyone else do this?

Well I sort of did this with A’s bedroom. I just bought him a gorgeous new big boys bed from the White Company, it’s the Stamford Single bed. The bed looks great, Luke built it today, I’ll share a pic on my Instagram stories so you can see it the room, but I imagined his bedroom to be so much bigger than it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hardly small, but where I imagined placing the bed, is not where we’ll be putting the bed. So perhaps I need to invest in a tape measure and start measuring up before I go buying anything else. A top tip there folks!

Meanwhile, I’ll continue furnishing the house in my head. This is the part I have been waiting for, for so long. So, starting with our bedroom, these are a few of the things I have on my wish list.

The Bed. We’ve currently got a double (that’s just about all that would fit in the caravan), but we want a bigger bed. I’ve spent many a night feeding W browsing at beds and looking at Instagram for inspiration. I love the minimal four poster beds, like the Beaumont bed from The White Company. You may have seen it on The frugality’s blog as she has this very bed and it works really well in her home. But, we have pretty low ceilings as it’s a cottage so I’m not sure whether this would work.

Then there’s the french style bed. I absolutely love this style of bed. They won’t ever date, and I think they work in a contemporary or period home. I absolutely love the styles that Feather and Black have at the moment, well worth a google. Plus they have some great discounts on right now. My favourite is the Sienna Grey bed from Feather and Black. I just think it’s a really timeless style, but torn between this type of bed and a much simpler, traditional cast iron bed style that we currently have.

If we opt for a simple, traditional cast iron bed, my favourites are the Julia style and Paris from The Original Bed Co. I am confident these styles will last forever, and I imagine at one point one of the boys could have it when they’re older. We have a cream bed at the moment from Laura Ashley, but this time I think I’d go for black.

julia-iron-bed-black-icon

paris-iron-bed-black-icon

And lastly the most important part of any bed, is the bedding! And I wouldn’t choose anywhere else other than the White Company. Although I can’t say I’ve tried any other brands! The White Company washes so well, most of it never needs ironing either (which is an absolute bonus) and it looks like new wash after wash. I also have their bedding for A’s bed. I love their London bus range.

Their throws and cushions are also another of my faves. Great quality and really dresses the bed. I love this Hudson Quilt and Cushions set.

I also love this Cox & Cox Westbury Velvet chair in blush. I’d like a feature chair in the corner of the bedroom. To be honest I can’t wait to have a comfy chair to sit on at night to feed W, rather than sitting up in bed. I suffer with a bad back so every time I feed in the night I’m almost always uncomfortable and then struggle to get back to sleep. Not good when you are already hugely sleep deprived.

Downstairs in the lounge I am thinking about new sofa’s. We already have sofa’s. They’re tan leather three seater and two seaters, but for the lounge I’d like new ones, and I’d really like cream ones, preferably on wheels. I don’t want much do I. The leather sofas will go in the living area and I think they’ll work well in there. For now though until I find a pot of gold the cream sofas will just be on my wish list. I am dreaming about this Laura Ashley Chatsworth Cream Sofa. This oozes style, but also looks pretty darn comfortable too.

I have never been a fan of corner sofas but I really like this, and the lounge is a generous space and I think this Made.com Orson corner sofa would work really well in there. This same style also comes in a 3 seater and I think I’d opt for both. We have the room and I like the idea of plenty of seating. After having just one sofa and a nursing chair in the caravan, we’ll be spoilt for choice!

And every new sofa set needs an ottomon right?! And I’ve had my eye on this baby from Made.com, Branagh Large Ottoman, Anthracite Grey. Would look perfect with a tray, a few styled books and a candle on top, don’t you think?

At the moment, our bedroom and the lounge are a priority for me. Both rooms I imagine we will spend the most time in. We can’t afford to get the kitchen done at the moment, and still haven’t really decided what we want, whether it’s free standing cupboards and a few bespoke cabinets or a complete fitted kitchen. So, until this is completed, the lounge will be the main room where we’ll all ‘hang out’. I did want this room to be just for grown ups, hence why I’m dreaming of cream sofas but for now I’ll just have to enforce some rules!

Follow:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other subscribers.

HIBS100 Index of
Home and Interior Blogs
HIBS100
Close Me
Looking for Something?
Search:
Product Categories:
Post Categories: