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.

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


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;


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

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?!)


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….


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.)


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…!


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).


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.


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


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


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..!


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…!


Colour and tiles

We’ve suddenly got to the stage where the walls are ready for some colour and the bathrooms are ready for some tiles. At last, the house is coming alive again and looking much more like a home… not a building site!

To assist me with my colour decision making, the boys helped produce colour swatches. Rather than painting swatches on to the walls in each room (we would run of out of paint tester pots this way and end up needing more!), we painted small plaster board samples and placed them around each room in the house. The boys thoroughly enjoyed this.


In the open plan living space, the marble floor tiles have started to go down…


The oak flooring has now arrived and here we are trying to decide on the best way to lay the wooden boards. The crucial decision is whether we should keep every room the same and follow the direction of the hallway or, whether to flip and change direction based on each room preference i.e. the direction of the windows, room dimension etc.


For the hallway and landing, I opted for the colour Shaded White by Farrow and Ball. This colour is great for any style of home, being neither too warm nor too cool. It has a soft greyness, but with none of the cooler tones of Cornforth White or the more yellow tones of Off-White, making it a versatile neutral. I really wanted this space to be warm and inviting which, I think we will achieve through using this colour.


Here we are again (but upstairs this time) deciding on wood directions!


Tiling is now almost complete in the family bathroom and the master ensuite.


I am now at the stage of finalising my choice of carpet for the stairs. My favourite is a hard wearing twist carpet from Germany which is manmade, eco friendly and hypoallergenic. The price isn’t cheap, but I only have the stairs to fit so perhaps I can get away with it!


The lounge has now had its first coat of paint. We went for a statement look and chose the colour Plummett from Farrow and Ball. It’s certainly more daring than my other rooms but I think it works, especially with the white wood work (alcove cupboards and shelving, skirtings, covings etc.) I can’t wait to see this colour in situ with the smoked oak flooring.


And finally, last weekend we started to move some of our stored items back into the house (albeit just to the loft). At last, we have space in our shipping container, which I will no doubt start filling up with Christmas presents. (The presents are currently stacked mile high in our WC in the static caravan!).


Keep posted for further updates! Next week should be a busy one for us as we are hoping to take delivery of our windows (yes!), utility and kitchen and 2nd fix of plumbing and electrics should be fully underway.

Thanks for checking in x

The latest on site

So what has been going on in the last few weeks… well, quite a lot in fact (to my relief!). I really feel that things are starting to take shape which is so great to see.

  • The sliding glass is in
  • The underfloor heating is fully installed
  • The heating is now on
  • Plastering of the walls is in full swing
  • Bathroom tiling has begun
  • Floor tiles for the open plan space have arrived

Can’t wait for the next developments…!