• Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

    My big green garden renovation

    by  • April 15, 2016 • Living • 0 Comments

    In September last year my partner and I moved in to our first house and subsequently gained our first garden. The previous owners had lived there for five years but hadn’t touched the garden during that time, apart from to cut it back when it started looking more like a jungle than an actual garden.

    Jungle garden - the before

    When we moved in, it was overgrown to say the least – we had a grape vine (yes, grapes) growing all the way across the garden and into a tree, an apple tree (that while fruiting in abundance was very much diseased) and more weeds than we could shake a stick at.

    Garden full of weeds

    One afternoon we decided to tackle the garden (to the best of our abilities). With a little help from family we chopped, pruned, dug, strimmed and hacked our way through the afternoon and were left with a space that looked dramatically different and much, much bigger.

    Garden after strimming

    We left the garden for the winter in the hope that the frost would kill some of the weeds, with a view to tackling the garden properly come spring. Well spring has sprung, the weeds are growing with a vengeance and we’ve decided that rather than tackle the necessary rotivating, turfing and new fencing that is needed with our wholly insufficient skills, that it would probably be best to get someone in.


    The previous owners of our house were very much into their DIY, which wasn’t always a good thing. It’s a beautiful Victorian house but every room has at least one bodge job, from excessive plug sockets in really weird places to skirting boards too short for the room… So we have decided to do things properly (and by properly, I mean getting someone who actually knows what they are doing to do it for us).


    Wish us luck!

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    Take the ‘Homeowner Challenge’

    by  • February 5, 2016 • Living • 0 Comments

    My Facebook newsfeed, probably like yours, has been filled recently with family photos posted for the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ – where mums are asked to post three pictures that make them proud to be a parent.

    I can’t get involved in this social media campaign, so I’m starting my own: The Homeowner Challenge.

    My home, a little Wendy House (as my mum lovingly calls it), is far from perfect. It’s pretty dinky, still has green radiators – despite my good intentions to sand and paint the last two over the Christmas break – and after several projects, of course isn’t finished.

    But it’s home. My home. I love waking up there and I love arriving home, but it has certainly been a labour of love with London property prices and a lilac kitchen (more on that later) to deal with.

    So, here are my Homeowner Challenge photos – the pictures that make me happy to call my tiny terrace ‘home’.

    Fancy sharing yours? Let us know in the comments and on our Facebook page.

    My new Shaker kitchen

    before    After

    Our house had a grotty lilac kitchen when we moved it. The units – evidently once baby blue – had been painted in sickly purple and were falling apart. The worktops had seen better days and the oven was in a ridiculous spot – slap bang in the middle of the surface, leaving little prep and serving space.

    It was ripped out and replaced with a gloss Shaker scheme, complete with wood-effect worktops and metro tiles. The room was our first big expense in the house, and the worry about the work was certainly in the air over the week the builders ripped out and rebuilt the room. But the result? I love it.

    My Power Shower

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    After a few months of recovering financially from replacing the kitchen, our next project was our bathroom. A bulky, dated room with green accents, we ripped out the tub and replaced it with a swanky hotel-style rain shower.

    It wasn’t without its problems (water damage on the living room ceiling, anyone?), but the result has been a game-changer for the room. The space feels so much better, it’s easier to keep clean and that first shower after two weeks without a bathroom was a feeling I’m never likely to have again.

    My raspberry feature wall


    The living room was white and dark green when we moved it. We quickly covered the green, but wanted a splash of colour – step forward Raspberry Bellini from Dulux, a vibrant treat on which my world map sits proudly.

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    5 things you learn when you have your bathroom renovated

    by  • October 28, 2015 • Living • 1 Comment

    Earlier this month I had my bathroom ripped out. Literally the room was ripped out. The flooring came up and the walls actually came down (turns out removing heavy wall-to-ceiling tiles pulls plaster boards clean off).

    After two loooong weeks, our cramped bathroom with painfully weak electric shower over a very old tub was replaced with a fancy-pants walk-in power shower. Naturally, a project is never really finished, and we’re still painting.


    So, until I have amazing before and after photos in a ‘this bathroom doesn’t look like this anymore’ manner, here are a few pearls of wisdom I have learnt along the way…

    1. You cannot control the mess

    Everything for the new bathroom was neatly stored in the spare room – next to the bathroom. Naturally, the storage system completely went to pot as soon as the work started, and our two-up two-down quickly became more dusty than a desert. After a few days of vacuuming manically each evening after work, I gave up trying to keep the place together and embraced the mess. The big clean after the builder left was the best feeling ever!

    2. You learn the art of hair washing in the sink

    Rainy dark nights are not conducive to packing up your washing paraphernalia and trekking to the gym. The sink hair wash became my new party trick, and by the end of the first week I’d even managed to keep the floor dry throughout proceedings!

    3. You have to trust your instincts

    We debated about removing the bath and having just a shower for months. The jury was out amongst friends and colleagues whether it was the right thing to do, but we were convinced it was a much better use of the small space available. And we were right. The shower fits brilliantly in the awkwardly-shaped room and the room feels miles bigger.

    4. When the builder’s done, it’s not actually done

    Once the finishing touches have been done and the tools have been packed up…it’s still not finished. We’re painting the room ourselves to save a bit of cash and as the walls, ceiling, skirting and (currently gloss green!) door frame all need two coats, it will be another week before we’re all finished. But it doesn’t matter because…

    5. …The first shower is the shower to end all showers!

    Stepping into the shower for the first time and feeling the power ‘rain shower’ hurtle down on your skin after two weeks without washing in your own bathroom is possibly the best feeling in the world.

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