At this stage all we have, is the view…and no, not the American version of Loose Women. 

With our Brown House we had room after room, after room, and downsizing to the Bullock Bungalow for a better location has had its pros, but also had its cons. 
Pro – Easier commute 

Con – More expensive 

Pro – Garage & Drive 

Con – House is half the size 

The list can go on and on but one huge pro for us is the view, and at this stage in our reno it’s kind of all this house has going for it! We love that when sitting on the sofa and looking out of the huge lounge window you could be anywhere in the world. 


Since moving we haven’t looked back, but on times it has been difficult to look forward. Like the time when we cut through a gas pipe, twice, the time our kitchen fitter cut our Island in half by mistake, the time we built a wall tired and the next day someone leant on it and it caved in, the time we hired a tiler but we forgot to buy adhesive so he couldn’t actually tile… the list goes on. 

Renovating whilst working isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. We have some fab plans for the Bullock Bungalow. We want to install a Juliet balcony in the place of the lounge window to maximise the view, split one bedroom into two making it three, install patio doors in the master bedroom to the garden, have an outdoor shower and a log burning hot tub, and potentially convert the garage so we kind of have to work to achieve this! 

For now though its demo time, and things have got to get a whole lot worse before they get better…. 

Advertisements

Take Two…

A time for first times…. Apt name for my blog as we venture into our second home reno, but our first bungalow


Moving from a house which was far two big for just us two into a bungalow means we are more likely to use each room, but that’s probably because there’s only actually four rooms in total! This purchase was one we considered for months before proceeding, first looking at it back in December and talking about converting the garage for extra room. Then visiting twice more in January before starting the process. Though carefully considering the move nothing quite prepared us for living in a bungalow, it’s much like living in a caravan. Even more so because when we moved in we realised the boiler was broken so for the first month we filled the bath with a kettle unbeknownst to our friends who would have insisted we went to theirs I’m sure! We didn’t want to burden anyone with our tales of reno woes again, last time we had and needed so much help from people that we wanted to be more self sufficient this time round so we cracked out the kettle and pans until it was replaced… And even though we smelled for a month the views a cracker so it’s all for the cause! 


Moving out of our last house was sad for me more so than Chris but I haven’t looked back since! We are on to our next challenge and this time it’s proving more challenging but in many different ways. This time round we have three jobs between us which means time is not a commodity to us, but money in the bank means surely we can push on quicker. Well this is the first time I’ve ever been truly able to understand the plight of my clients. Money compensates for nothing when you have no time to spend it. 

When we first moved I was panicking, panicking that we would spend it all frivolously and have nothing to show for it so I wouldn’t spend a penny without tons of research, but then the flood gates opened after initial purchases and soon we were on a roll… Suffice to say we didn’t have any trouble spending it after all! 

Doing a second reno had also been easier than the first in so many practical ways. For example we don’t have to worry about The Day of The Skip happening again… lesson well and truly learnt and never to be repeated and we haven’t, as we did last time Ripped Through the Place Like a Whirlwind! 

First Task…. Dream kitchen, living, dining area…. Oh the decisions! 

So we finished the upstairs bathroom… Then Sold! 

Yes that’s right, we are on the move and onto the next part of married life together. Our brown house has been such a blessing to us in many, many ways. Getting on the market was something we never thought we’d be able to do as we didn’t have savings or family to help, and Chris was self employed at the time when we bought so even just getting a house was a huge miracle in our books. Certain couples and friends made the whole thing possible and those people will be friends for life. Being able to do 90% of the work on it – with a little help from our friends of course – came as an even bigger surprise as we had never previously done anything like it before and having very understanding bosses on both sides took away a lot of stress!   

    
    
    
 It’s tried and tested our relationship and ultimately brought us closer together.   

   
   
   
    
   
So why on earth are we moving?!?!?! 

Well the area in which we bought was never our ideal but the house is, well as it stands now it’s complete it is. It’s more than perfect for us but Chris’ job with our church needs him to be living in the community if he’s to have real success at what he’s trying to achieve so after much consideration and thought we are moving! 

My blogs entitled A Time For First Times and it’s certainly the first time we have ever sold a house, and the process is quite stressful, definitely more so than expected! we had our house valued by two local estate agents, both asking us what we thought it was worth to which we replied we had no idea so when both come in well over what we were expecting, and within 5K of each other we decided it was not only the sensible thing to do for Chris’ job but it was now the logical thing to do financially. We pitched it in between the two valuations and after one day on the market we received an offer of full asking price to the first viewer! 

Believe it or not we didn’t celebrate, something in us was saying hold off – don’t get too exited and we were right. The lady kept us hanging for about a week, maybe more and after we had cancelled other viewings and taken it off the market she pulled out for financial reasons. It was all going too quickly to comprehend really so when it went back on the market we were obviously disheartened that the process can be up and down, and isn’t as straight forward as one may think but we weren’t at all concerned that we would have trouble selling it as we knew better than anyone how much work we had done to it, making it a great home for a new owner.
In the meantime we had found a house we liked, this time in the right location, so we were keen to progress and when it went back on we dropped the asking price 2K to get a quicker sale and after doing some self publicising on Twitter on a Sunday we had 6 bookings for the week ahead! Good work, and by the Tuesday we had received another full asking price offer – this time from someone in a proceed-able position, thus bringing us to this point! 

   
  I will always love, and adore our brown house but it’s time to say goodbye… Would it be weird if I came back to visit it time to time?

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

   
  

   

 

 

 

The Not So Final Room.

We have had our ‘Brown House’ for 18 months now and the final room to renovate is our upstairs bathroom. It started life as a bedroom, a not so attractive one might I add with just a small window and a boiler so rather than keep it as an uncomfortable room for guests which would only be used on the odd occasion likes Christmas, and well Christmas we decided to convert its purpose into a bathroom complete with freestanding bath and double basins. 
  
Great idea, right?!

  
To save time and money I suggested having no shower, and only tiling the floor. In my mind this would mean this room would fly together in no time at all… Then I remembered I’m married to Chris, the male version of myself, very easily distracted and king of leaving things until the last minute. We are also really good at excusing ourselves! A little too good, “oh well we deserve a break”, ” We have had a busy week”, “let’s do it tomorrow after a rest” and so on and so forth!

Thus 18 months in and we are still only part the way there… 

  
The reason I’ve now labelled this room ‘The Not So Final Room’ is because technically it’s the final room that needs any major renovation but by default everything for it, so tiles, bath, adhesive, toilet, pipes etc etc have all been spread throughout the house meaning that when the bathrooms finally done, the rooms which currently hold all the stuff for it will need redecorating again!  

  
The never ending cycle of home owning… And self renovating! 

Our Dream Kitchen!

Everyone wants their dream kitchen right? Well we made our dream kitchen become a reality for the same price as an Ikea one. Really.    

Our before shots! 

 The methods we deployed to achieve our goal of our dream kitchen I probably wouldn’t recommend for the faint hearted! For example we actually bought the kitchen before we bought the house… Hard to believe I know but 100% true! It’s no secret that a kitchen and bathroom are the most important rooms to get right in a house, it’s not like buying a sofa that’s a bit too small, in a kitchen there is no room for manoeuvre. With that in mind when I came to view our house for the last time before offering on it I ran a tape measure over these spaces so I knew what I was dealing with. With a mental note and the estate agents plans I was busily planning our kitchen and bathrooms of our dreams. I say of our dreams because that’s the only place where money’s no object! I knew that even though I was telling Chris we could renovate this house whilst living in it, without time off work, with our wages alone, no savings and bare minimum trades people that it would be a near impossible feat. I also knew that if I wanted a nice kitchen I had to act fast before he cottoned on to that.    

As with everything we have done to this house…

 …it had to get worse before it got better – and we lived in it like this for months and months!

 
We toddled off to ‘browse’ the market, venturing to all kinds of stores including Wren, Ikea and Magnet but nothing struck me. Everything was the same – high gloss and more high gloss. Now I’m not a glossy kinda gal but I am a granite kinda gal, my budget and husband were not pleased to learn. So when we finally visited an independent kitchen company I knew from work and saw a thick stone top with inset stone basin I knew I had to have it! As I had a relationship with this company through work I knew that they were mid-high end and that my budget was non existent to low end so in reality I was dreaming even being in that store but I knew that piece of stone had my name on it. I ran a tape measure over it and 3.62m was the result. Making a mental note I knew that resonated with me somehow and then I remembered, that was the exact size of one wall in our soon to be kitchen so I made that top mine. After intense negotiating I had £4000 worth of worktop for £400 cheaper than an Ikea wooden one of the same size. This girls got skills!    

To save extra cash my darling husband did most of the work on it!

 After also purchasing all of our built in appliances ex display the only things we paid full price for in our entire kitchen were the cupboards. As I checked off my list I couldn’t believe it, we had a dishwasher, stone top, Hotpoint Luce induction hob, statement extractor fan, double oven and soft close German cupboards…. What more could we want?!    

    
    
 We absolutely love the finished result, what do you think?

The eBay Queen. 

I once worked for a hotel, and when I left the patisserie department baked me a leaving cake in the shape of eBay logo and written on it was ‘eBay Queen’. A title of mine that once no one could rival. I went on to pastures new, which entailed working days not shifts which in turn meant my eBaying paid the price and after being banned as a seller indefinitely for not posting goods on time I swore I’d never use the thing again, how dare they rob me of my hard earned title! I was de-throned. 
Since then I have coped quite well without my eBay addiction. I went cold turkey and I’m out the other side but doing the house has made me dip back into it and man does it feel good! I’m fortunate enough to have a fabulous job so I do get first dibs on any bargains such as ex display items but the pull of an eBay bargain is just too strong to resist on times…
I had our downstairs shower-room countertop basin and tall basin filler for just £37 including postage, when it arrived brand new and boxed it reminded me of why I earned the ‘eBay Queen’ title in the first place! I’m just too good at it!

   
   
After that success I thought I’d try my hand at the basin game again so when it can to buying bits for our upstairs bathroom to beat £37 for a basin and filler was my aim. I outdid myself and managed to get two large counter top basins, two tall basin fillers, click clack wastes and bottle traps for £79.98 including delivery… Again all boxed and brand new but the best part was when I opened them and they were Porcelenosa, branded bargains!!! The best kind. 

   
 They still won’t let me sell on there, but buying they can have, the pull of an eBay auction is just too strong to resist on a home renovation, wouldn’t you agree? 

Why so long? 

Even with the best intentions things just take forever…. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who have had this experience and positive we won’t be the last! 

We are now at a completely livable stage in our home renovation, so much so that we have taken to shutting doors of the rooms that are unfinished and just using the ones that are which in essence means we are using only half of our house, the house which we bought because it was big… Ironic isn’t it! 

Our front lounge which was a few weeks ago ‘getting there’ has since regressed and become a dumping ground for all things new. We have new bedding, chairs, curtains, rugs, mirrors and vases in there, not to mention a complete bathroom which are all behind closed doors ready for when the last few rooms need their new bits and pieces. The trouble is; out of sight, out of mind and boy is this true.   

(Our lovely new bath, shame it currently is sat in our living room rather than our bathroom!)

So why does this happen? My husband who is very experienced in Youth Work tells me that children can only concentrate on something for however many minutes their age equates to plus 1. Maybe in home renovation adults can only concentrate on it for one year plus one month? Any who, whatever the reason for our sudden standstill we need help to get this finished! 

Time to regroup! Yellow pages anyone? 

To ombré or not to ombré that’s the question! 

…. And the answer is. Ombré, just not as bright as originally planned! 

I am such a tone on tone kind of girl, I struggle to introduce colour into my own home even though I try, and oh I do. My mother in law even bought me Abigail Ahern’s new book Colour for my birthday but still I revert back to type.

  
I had been gearing myself up all week to paint my home office this AMAZING shade of blue and sought out lots of inspirational images to get me going but I just can’t! 

So, I have decided to ombré, in grey. My comfort zone, greys, greys and more greys! Don’t judge me. I’m scared of colour. 

  
Stay tuned for some before and afters over the course of this weekend! 

Tableware treats!

Now we are settling into our first (owned) home and it no longer needs a complete overhaul just finishing touches (and one bathroom) I have started to channel my inner adult and sort out our tableware situation. 

Starting with basics first, the canvas which is in this case the table. I love our kitchen table, I mean seriously love it because the stone is a perfect match to our kitchen worktops so that’s one tick and I have that down!

My chairs however have been through the mill during our renovation and been everything including our only seats for a time, to our TV stand, steps, paint pot holders and garden furniture and now full circle right back to our table chairs so it’s fair to say they’ve done they’re time and could do with an update. My absolute wish list dining chairs would be black Kartell Masters chairs, I’ve said it before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time but these little numbers are just to die for! That said I need to get in the real world and maybe they are something I can work up to so for now these are my achievable options!

  
Left to right; Taylors Etc // Made.com // Joss & Main // Dwell 
Now that’s the basics sorted; people have something to sit on and eat off what about the all important tableware! As a former student and renter this has never ever been something I have desired or even wanted to spend money on hence why our current tableware situation is far from matching and most definitely disastrous!
 
One of our former houses had a ceramic Belfast sink and this one a stone sink and those things are like death to plates if you just throw them in there but never the less I need to get myself a sophisticated tableware set, and one which is dishwasher safe so they won’t face death by sink! 
My boss told me recently that she has place sets for up to 20 dinner guests, and I thought I had it bad just choosing and buying some tableware for our simple family of two and table which seats four! We were talking about tableware because we recently started stocking it through the Interior Design showroom I manage for her and this is what has sparked the realisation in me that I need a decent collection in my life…
I have whittled it down to these 3 sets which I love and when I decide I will bin off my old mismatch, chipped tableware and replace with shiny and new pieces which will make me a better housewife, right? Or one that has matching tableware at least. 
  
Broste Nordic Sand 
  
H&M Ceramic 
  
M&S Nordic Smoke 

If you can’t buy it, build it! 

It’s rare that I remember dates, but this date is something special, it’s exactly a year since we moved into our brown house. We had the keys May 2nd 2014 and ripped through it like a whirlwind so after a mass clean up operation it was about a week or so later that we actually got in it ourselves! 
I am an avid watcher of Grand Designs and whilst our renovation project is no where near a ‘grand design’ it is our grand design. We embarked on this project as first time buyers, with no renovation experience, very little skills and absolutely no savings. Our dream first house was way beyond reach, probably two or even three times our budget so we knew, if we wanted a house to call our own and more importantly a nice house we had to build our own! 
This was our front lounge day 1… 

 

It then became our ‘bedroom’ for 6/7 months and this was taken the first night we slept in our first house!
  

 

 
This room is now our front lounge and thankfully we are now upstairs but looking back at pictures it seems like years and years ago not just a few months. I’ve forgotten just how bad it actually was, the dirt, dust, grime and lack of well everything including comfort. I think we chose to put our make shift bedroom in the front lounge because it was the closest to the street we could get, and honestly sleeping in the street would have been better on times! We only managed the room looking like this for a week or so because then the rewire started. A rewire in a lath and plaster house with black mortor is grim to say the least and for months after we had to have a Hoover to hand to hoover our possessions before using them. That is not an exaggeration.
Here is another of the make shift bedroom as time progressed and as you can see things got much worse, before they got better! Friends likened our bedroom to Tracey Emins bed installation, and another to a scene from Train Spotting the movie!!  
  
  

 

Things are much different now, when we say working on the house we thankfully mean painting, decorating, cleaning etc etc gone are the late nights plaster boarding, the weekends of knocking down walls and the weeks and weeks of grafting into the night… And the icing on our anniversary cake, today we had it valued!