Creating our playroom

So, it’s been a while since my last blog post but I am back and what’s more, I have a cracker for you all….! The children’s playroom (gosh it feels weird saying “children’s” rather than just “boys'” – but I have a little girl now so I must include all of them!), is now COMPLETE!

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As you may have seen via my Instagram stories, this room is rather small which gave me quite a headache when deciding on how to best design the space for the children. It is long and narrow, perfect for when it was my home office but as a playroom, it is not so good.

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After much deliberation over what storage solution to use in this room – whether to use off-the-shelf units (do you like the pun here!) or to opt for some bespoke joinery – we decided in the end to go with some fully integrated storage cube units and a bespoke curved desk. This was made by the same carpenter who made our lounge cupboards and shelves on either side of the fireplace.

Below are my initial illustrations which I gave to the carpenter of how I wanted this room to look.

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To fit inside the storage cubes, I bought 6 rope storage baskets from the GLTC. I did consider more child-like storage baskets i.e. ones with stars or dinosaurs on but I want the children to be able to pull these baskets out and bring them into the lounge to play with the toys inside. My thinking is that these muted tones will work much better in my lounge rather than brightly coloured ones!

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The curved desk is perfect for the room and doubles up as a workspace for the children to do homework on and to play with the Xbox.

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To utilise every inch of the room, I wanted to mount book shelves on the wall behind the door as you enter. The only problem was that the walls either side of the window were too narrow for even the smallest book shelves I could find. So, I ended up buying Ikea spice racks which were only 40cm wide and painted them in satin white. At only £3 each, I saved myself quite a bit of money and they do the job just as well!

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The feature wallpaper is from Cole and Son and is called ‘WOODS’, I bought this from Wallpaper Direct. The desk lamp is the FORSA work lamp from Ikea.

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The “PLAY TIME is the BEST TIME” print is from Alice’s Accessories and is framed in a Ribba frame from Ikea.

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I bought this cute little Eames style child’s chair from P and N Homewares on Etsy

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We used Ikea’s DIGNITET curtain wire and RIKTIG curtain hooks to create an artwork display wall which I’m really pleased with.

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And finally, the black and white striped runner is from Tiger in their St Albans store and the White BRANAS baskets are from Ikea. The walls are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Wimborne White.

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Thanks for reading x

Before, (during) and after: kitchen/living area

“So what did your home look like before you tore it down and started a fresh?”… I hear you ask! Well, to answer this, I’ve pulled together a selection of before and after shots starting with the kitchen and living/dining area. I’ve also thrown in some during shots for good measure.

Before, our kitchen was rather small with very limited worktop space. It had an old coal fired Rayburn with accompanying chimney stack which separated the kitchen and dining area, and an adjoining mint green conservatory which was both cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. The dining space was narrow and long and had two sets of bulky PVC patio doors facing out towards the garden. The space didn’t work and was in need of modification.

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The kitchen
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Kitchen cupboards
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James voluntarily went in there, I promise!
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The Rayburn and to the left the chimney stack
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Our tiles
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The conservatory
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Dining area (Christmas 2015!)

IMG_3981Our vision was to have one large open plan space that was modern, light and a great room for family time and entertaining.

In order to have all of this, a LOT of work was required. First off, we had to go through countless architectural meetings with our structural engineer to ensure our drawings were not only structurally sound, but what we wanted. Our biggest challenge was to incorporate an 8 metre wide glass opening whilst also supporting the bedroom directly above.

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Before: Rear Elevation
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After: Rear Elevation

After a year and a half of procrastinating and much to-ing and fro-ing with the planning office, we finally made a start on our renovation project. This could have not come sooner for us and we were ‘chomping at the bit’ to get going. Even the thought of living in a static caravan for 7 months didn’t put us off! So, in early June we moved out of the house and into our caravan.

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On the 22nd June 2016 works started (yeay!), and man, didn’t they start with a bang (or should I say crash!).

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Seeing all of this activity take place at the house was so exciting and exhilarating. We literally could not wait to get home from work each day to see what had been done! The level of progress in these early stages (i.e the demolition stages) was immense.

(I’ve got to say, looking back at the pictures now doesn’t make me feel excited, more just fearful and full of anxiety!)

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The build took roughly 8 months to complete (our target was 7). And generally, things went pretty much to plan. Here are the final results of our kitchen/sitting/dining area;

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I hope you enjoyed the read (and all the pictures!). x

The Lounge: finishing touches

What makes a home, “a home”? Well, in my eyes it’s all the finishing touches that are inside it that make it unique and individual to the homeowner. With this build, I kept my wall and floor colours fairly neutral to make the rooms feel spacious and easy to work with but now, it’s time to add some finishing touches to make it ‘pop’ and stand out from the crowd, making it unique to us.

I’ve already added some cushion colours to the lounge which have helped to distinguish my colour palette. I went for grey, navy and a gold/mustard colour which work really well with the colour Plummet on the walls and my mighty gold guilted mirror. The things I now need to source to finish off the room and to tie in all my colours are; curtains, a coffee table and an armchair.

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Coffee table wise, I’m thinking gold. I’ve got my eye on this coffee table from West Elm, it’s glass with a gold frame (perhaps not the most child friendly piece of furniture, but hey!). I think the gold will work well as it will bring out the gold/mustard cushions and tie in with the mirror nicely. One thing I have noticed about the room is that the grey walls can look quite cold so to inject some more gold will help to warm up the space. This coffee table is also lovely and practical with its underneath shelving – perfect for some of my home interiors books!

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Another option is an fabric ottoman in either navy or mustard. This would work well with the children – no sharp edges and a perfect climbing object (argh!)! The question is, will I find the right shade of navy or mustard to match my cushions…!?

I’m also contemplating on a side table for in front of the patio doors next to the sofa. Again, in gold which would match the main coffee table if I went with the West Elm one.

Images below: The side table top left is from Wayfair and would probably work best for the space that I am thinking about and the side tables to the right which have been styled as a combination coffee table are from Graham and Green.

For the curtains in this room, I have found these eyelet patterned curtains from John Lewis. I do feel that a bit of pattern in this room would work really well, in either tones of grey or navy. If anyone can recommend some, please PM me!

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Lastly, I would like to source an armchair for this room to break up the block seating that is currently all in the the far corner. I’m still toying with my style options but here are a few of my current selections…

Image 1: Timothy Oulton Bastille Chair, Image 2: Slub Velvet Edlyn Chair, Image 3: Linthwaite Velvet Club Chair Image 4: Bluebell Armchair, Image 5: Navy Velvet Chair

In terms of finishing touches for other rooms in the house, there is quite an extensive list! To name just a few… I am desperate to find a lovely big rug for my master bedroom, an L-shaped/corner sofa for my open plan living space, a gold statement mirror for my downstair toilet/cloakroom and a gorgeous yet practical sideboard for my hallway. Stay tuned for further posts on these areas!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Take a look inside…

It’s been a good few weeks since we moved into our new house and slowly but surely we are getting the rooms to look more homely and “lived” in. The builders have officially left (the portaloo was removed from site only the other day!!) and there is just a small snagging list to work through. We do have a few outstanding works to do but this is predominately outside electrical work so it shouldn’t impact us too much. There are also a couple of things that building control need verification on so we are hoping to provide this, this week to then receive final sign off.

So, why not take a look inside our new home…! (I hope you like?!)

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In my next blog post I’m hoping to load some before and after pictures so you can see the real differences between what our house once was and what it is today. The changes are pretty vast so stayed tuned…!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Tis’ the end of Jan and we are in!

I can, with a huge smile on my face, say that we are now inside our new home! The last two weeks of January have been a massive effort but we did it – we ARE IN! What’s more, the static caravan, the “worker’s” caravan and the shipping container are now off the site (much to my husband’s relief!). A BIG thank you to my parents for helping us last weekend to move everything from the caravan and container into the house. We were truly exhausted by Sunday evening and most certainly couldn’t have done it all without them!

It has been a hive of activity at the house, with all manner of tradesman on site. Take a look at the ongoings….

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So happy to be in  – cheers!

As ever, there is still more work to do to get this build 100% complete. Inside we have a snagging list to tackle and the outside needs the field to be levelled, the landscaping finished and the driveway gravelled. Stay tuned though as this week should see us through to the end…

The race is on!

Works have stormed into the second week of January and we are making great progress. The kitchen worktop has been fitted, the utility cabinets have been correctly altered to fit the space and the worktop has been templated. All wood flooring has been laid, upstairs painting has been completed and the underfloor heating thermostats have been fitted and are now operational.

Our target completion date (for the inside of the house that is) is the 31st January as we have now sold the static caravan so will be homeless from this date forward!

In terms of what is outstanding for the house; the utility room needs to be completed, the lounge hearth and stove fitted, downstairs to have its final coat of paint, the playroom to be wallpapered, door thresholds to be fitted, the sound system and TV’s installed, the kitchen to have its final coat of paint, the stair carpet to be fitted, lounge cupboards and shelving fitted, the front porch wood stained and for the whole house to have a good clean!

(It sounds quite a lot of outstanding work doesn’t it…?! But hopefully our builder will stay true to his word and we will finish on time.)

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As soon as the caravan and the container have been removed from the driveway, both of which will be on the same day, work can then start on the front landscaping. This will involve laying flagstone tiles under the porch, digging up the roots of unwanted plants, fitting electronic gates and laying edging stones and chippings to the driveway.

Meanwhile, at the back of the house, the decking needs to be completed, the balcony fitted, the gravel path adjusted to meet the new decking steps and a new side gate positioned to the access the field to the ponies.

Today, we were fortunate enough to experience some snow at the house. Here are a few shots from this morning and a short video of it actually snowing…!

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Back to work

With Christmas done and dusted, the house is (thankfully) back to being a busy worksite again.

The kitchen was fitted just before the Christmas break and is now waiting for its quartz worktop to go on in the morning.

The pendants and spotlights are now going in to the open plan living space. I can’t deny though, we have had a few position dilemmas along the way (the joists and beams certainly haven’t helped us…!). We are almost there though, we just need to spend this evening running through the finer details with our trusted electrician (AKA my brother-in-law, Danny).

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Yesterday, works began on fitting the cabinets for our utility room. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been without its problems. We discovered that the company that we bought the cabinets from clearly hadn’t measured the utility room properly and as a result, our cabinets are the wrong size for the space they need to go into. Not good. Fortunately, we have a very good carpenter on site and he is busy trying to fix the issue. Our lounge continues to house the rest of the utility room cabinets until they are all ready to be installed.

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The wood flooring continues to go down – we are now on to the landing…

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Satin, satin and more satin paint. All of the woodwork is now having its final coat.

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And lastly, towel rails and underfloor heating thermostats are going in. Although me being me, I think that the first towel rail that was fitted today, is too high and needs to be lowered. Sorry guys, more work for you I’m afraid..!

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Stay tuned for further updates… 🙂

A big week

Last week was such a big and exciting week for us. We reached two huge milestones; we took delivery of all our windows from Poland (and fitted each and every one of them), and our Tom Howley kitchen arrived on site and began its installation. Works have also started on the plumbing and electrical 2nd fixes.

We are now at the stage where things are really starting to move. We have a secure, air tight building that can allow the builders to crack on with finishing the walls and laying the wood flooring, plumbers that can finish fitting the bathroom fixtures and electricians who can give the property some light!

Stay tuned for the live web cam to see our kitchen being installed…!

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