February 19th, 2016
Our house is DONE.
I mean, is a house ever really done?
The answer is no. At least any house with my name on the lease never will be. But this one is done enough to share.
You may remember from my blog post, almost a year ago now, that my parents bought a house that we would be renting from them. It was a mess, so my dad (a.k.a. the handiest Andy alive) made it beautiful, and then Ewan and I have made it extra beautiful with all our finishing touches. You can see that old blog post, full of lots of pre-renovation pictures HERE.
Welcome to our home!
If you’re not a fan of white walls, then this is not the house for you. Because I love them. They are everywhere. And I am in love.
In our little entryway, the main difference is the floors. Out with the old, stained floorboards, and in with the white! Also, white walls and a few clunky boxes removed/hidden. The end result being this cute, bright space.
You may be wondering how on earth we keep white floors in a entryway clean. The answer is, we don’t really. They generally get a bit mucky and muddy, but it kiiiind of blends in with the dark cracks between the floorboards (it probably doesn’t, but humour me). But the bonus of this tiny space is that it’s very quick to sweep and wipe when we have fancy people coming round, and then it looks good as new! I didn’t clean them for this picture, and they look fine. Right?!
We also have this lovely Shaker-style coat rack from Iona Designs by the door, which I guess is a tiny extension of our teeny entryway.
And then in to the lounge…
This is just the most yummy, cosy space.
We wanted this room to feel spacious, minimal and bright, but also so cosy and snuggly. Enter: textures. There are so many different fabrics and materials going on in here and it’s just so snuggly. It’s also one of the brightest rooms in the house so it’s just really dreamy too.
(Also, note for later, how much brighter the kitchen looks through the door than it used to! Miracle.)
The big jobs in here were, of course, the walls and the floors. Dad also built us some shelves in the corner which I then painted white to lighten them up a bit.
The sofa was an IKEA bargain from Gumtree (which I’ve filled with cushions and blankets), the coffee table was £8 from a charity shop and we found that wicker chair in a car park!
The corner cabinet and the frames are all from IKEA, and the shelves are filled with a few bits and bobs we already owned that looked nice. Don’t be fooled that those are the only books we own. The rest are hiding in drawers!
Let’s just appreciate that FREE chair once more.
Obviously it’s probably missing it’s original cushions, but with a faux sheepskin, a couple of cushions and a blanket it’s pretty comfy. It rocks and twirls too so what more could you want from a chair?!
We ummed and ahhed for a long time about what to do with this empty fireplace. Fancy candle holders, logs etc etc, but nothing felt quite right until we decided to pop a load of giant church candles in there. Problem solved. So cosy and a pretty bright source of extra light in the evenings! The beautiful mirror was an antique shop find and the lampshade (that you can see in the mirror) is possibly my favourite thing we’ve bought! Well done Dunelm.
This little corner contains our wonderful tree that’s still going strong. Ewan is the person to thank for our happy house plants. If it was left to me they’d all be dead within a month. The basket and frame also came with us from our last place, and the drawers were a kind donation from Ewan’s parents. They hold all those extra books and DVDs I mentioned.
So love our giant window! And our line of happy little cacti! That other wicker chair is from IKEA.
And the final wall. Our old electric piano was living here for a while, but it didn’t really get used because it’s pretty broken, and it wasn’t the prettiest addition to the room. So when my parents offered us this unwanted chest from their house we happily accepted it and it’s made the whole room feel much nicer. The stool is from my Gramps’ workshop and is full of chips and drill holes and paint and I love it. And the painting is one of my Granny’s. She was the most wonderful artist. So this is a little Granny & Gramps corner!
Moving on from this snuggly, blanket-filled room, we enter the kitchen. Dad’s masterpiece!
This room fills me with so much joy. The white! The wood! The shelves!
The kitchen cupboards, surfaces and fittings are all from IKEA (surprise, surprise) and we couldn’t be happier with it. Dad fitted it all himself (super man) and he also made the shelves out of left over work top. The jars and bits and bobs are mostly from IKEA, etsy, Tesco and the garlic is from France. Ooh and the new back door! This room is SO much lighter than it once was.
We discovered this dreamboat of a table in our garage when we first got the house. It was a mess and all the legs had been broken off, but Dad managed to piece it all back together, treat it and paint it, and look at it now! The chairs are cheapies from IKEA which I painted white (took so long!!).
The view from the other end. Notice the new little window in the cupboard door to let in the light from the window in the cupboard. Who puts a window in a cupboard?
When we designed the kitchen layout we were a bit worried we weren’t going to have enough storage space because we left such a big space at the end of the room to fit a decent-sized table. It was the best decision ever though. With the two big cupboards at the end of the room, we have just enough space for everything, and it’s so lovely to have a nice big table in the kitchen, that never gets in the way and can seat plenty of friends.
We also gained a bit of space by fitting the upper cupboards to the ceiling, meaning we had room for a little shelf underneath. Handy for tea & coffee etc, and adds extra character I think! It makes working at the counters more spacious too which is nice. I’m really enjoying having plenty of room for all our cookbooks on that big shelf towards the back too. It was a bit of a pain when they lived in our lounge.
Dad has done such an incredible job in this room. It looks like everything we dreamed it would and more!
However, we have crammed so much into our two big cupboards that the before and after pictures almost look the wrong way round… Haha! A hidden washing machine, microwave, recycling box, cleaning stuff and even more shelves are super super handy in the creation of a pretty kitchen though!
Ah the crap we collect throughout our lives…
But back to the house tour!
The stairs are so much lighter now! White paint truly works wonders. I love how the dark wooden steps look too, so I’m really glad we kept those. They just had an extra coat of wood stain to cover up the dents and scratches.
I’m sad I don’t have a good ‘before’ picture of this part of the landing because it looks so much better now. It was just dark and oddly coloured before. The white has really brightened the room, and these 4 little frames have made it feel like it’s a separate space, rather than just the top of the stairs. It’s nice to have pictures of family and friends here too because we often stand and look at them while we brush our teeth!
You can see here how much brighter and cleaner the space feels from the top of the stairs.
That green had to go!! As did those messy floorboards. More white, white, white. Our laundry basket is a TK Maxx bargain and the beautiful little rug is from the loveliest shop that we found in Ibiza over the summer. We almost had to leave some towels behind to get it in the suitcase, but we just squeezed it in!
Ewan’s studio/office (which you can see through the door above) is the last room that still needs a fair bit of work.
It’s had new carpets and a lick of paint along with all the other upstairs rooms, but we’re having some problems with mould growing in the far corner and the walls just being generally very damp. We came home after being away for a couple of weeks, to find the heating had turned itself off and there was water literally dripping down the walls. Hence the large pile of stuff away from the walls…
Basically, we need to get some mould paint, and possibly some insulating wall stuff (which has been explained to me but evidently went in one ear and out the other so I’ll leave that to dad!) and then Ewan can start making some more permanent homes for his stuff. I don’t know how he spends so much time in this room, bless him! I don’t think I’d cope too well. There’s just not been enough time to get it sorted though yet so it’s on the list.
But on to happier rooms…
I still feel like this space could be one step cosier, but it’s definitely getting there. I occasionally wonder if it just needs a darker shade on the walls, but it’s by far the darkest room in the house already so I’m really reluctant to do anything other than white. We’ve made white walls work fine in every other room too, so I don’t see why this room should be any different. Maybe it’s just not quite finished yet.
All the furniture is from IKEA/Argos and is pretty cheap and cheerful, but sometimes that’s the only option when you’re kitting a house out from scratch! A bit of wax and some different handles has made a big difference though. I picked up the cushions from Dunelm, and our beautiful throw was a Christmas gift from Ewan’s sister and her family. I love it! The bunting stick above our bed was a little DIY project that I pulled together one afternoon. I found a stick, varnished it to seal it and then attached a length of the bunting which we made for our wedding. It feels like such a lovely thing to have hanging above our heads every night.
This big chest of drawers has been super handy, and its really nice that it isn’t tall and imposing on the room. It’s topped with candles, and meaningful little trinkets. I’ve tried to keep the cheesiest of our stuff to this room as I’ve been getting a bit tired of having hearts and twee things like that everywhere in the house! The art on the walls was made for us by my brother and sister-in-law (those two are ridiculously talented). It’s lyrics from our first dance song, which my brother actually sang at our wedding so it’s pretty special to us.
And then this is the section that feels a little unfinished to me. I don’t know if we need more stuff on the walls, something on top of the (ugly) wardrobe, or what, but it just doesn’t feel quite finished yet. Knowing me, it’ll probably stay this way until I have an epiphany one day! Let me know if you have any ideas though.
Then on to my special little space. My office / the spare room. The place I could let the most extreme of my interior design dreams run wild, in a place where Ewan doesn’t have to look at it all day, every day.
And I knowwww, I know. It’s pretty tame considering this is my wild side… But there’s coral on my walls! This is a pretty big step for me. This is where all my deepest Pinterest desires have come to rest.
This gallery wall was one of my first dreams for this house, and one of the first things I did when we moved in. I know. My priorities are wonderful. It just makes me so happy though. Elise Joy prints are nestled amongst bible verses, a couple of my favourite ever pictures, and some peonies. It’s like all the prettiest corners of my mind came together in black, white, gold and coral. What a dream.
The heart is another of my sis-in-law’s creations, and I made the triangle patchwork quilt myself! One of my greatest life achievements. The sofa bed was probably the biggest of all our bargains, at just £20 from a charity shop. Cushions from Dunelm, throw from IKEA, dream lamp from B&Q and the chest of drawers was another charity shop find in need of a little make-over. Love how it came out!
This lovely little desk corner is what keeps me (mostly) sane. After 2 years of working from my lounge sofa, with my various work bits and bobs spread across our flat in whatever drawer I could find, the upgrade to a whole room with a desk, oodles of storage and the space to surround myself with pretty things is such a joy. There is a space on the wall, next to the shelves, that is patiently waiting for me to finish and frame the cross-stitch I’ve been working on for over a year now, but apart from that this room is finished and FABULOUS.
My dad built the desk and shelves from scratch (#madskillz), which I then painted white in various places. The beautiful wall calendar is from the wonderful Everthine Photography, there’s some more Elise Joy stuff, and then also a lovely bible verse illustration from Hannah Haigh.
This final wall is crammed full of storage. A wardrobe (£15 from a charity shop!) for the overflow of our clothes, and a WHOLE CHEST OF DRAWERS full of craft supplies. Is it bad that I need more storage for my hobbies than my actual work? I don’t even care. That is 5 drawers of crafty heaven right there. Oh, and a mirror so that our guests don’t have to go to the bathroom to apply make-up or squeeze spots. And of course, more plants, more candles.
And then the final room! If you’re still with me then I applaud you. I clearly have a lot to say about my house… That’s probably not a good thing.
This one is all Dad really.
All white (and grey). All clean (most of the time). All shiny (rarely).
The loo is the same one as before, but in a different position and with a new seat. The bath and sink are both new.
The jungle-like shower head of dreams!
We bought the plant on the window sill with my Granny at the Buxton town fair on the morning of the day she died. I think of her and her very green fingers every time I see it and it makes me smile. Pottering around those stalls, browsing over plants and bric-a-brac was the last thing she ever did and I feel so blessed to have spent those last few hours with her.
The mirror is from a wonderful vintage shop in Hyde Park (Leeds, not London), and on the wall there you can see the beginning of my mountains.
This wall has felt so empty for months and months. Just a bit too white and bare, but I didn’t know what to fill it with that wouldn’t be ruined by the steamy dampness of a bathroom. And then the mountains arrived. After a quick Google of mountain silhouettes, I drew a design free-hand, nipped to Homebase for a sample pot of paint and then started filling in. Couldn’t be easier! I so, so love the end result. I wasn’t sure I would, but it strangely makes the room feel so much more peaceful. As if the mountains are actually there.
And that’s it for now. I obviously haven’t touched on anything that’s been going on outside, mostly because nothing has really! Maybe another post for another day, but it could have to wait a few years. I’m not quite as green-fingered as I’d thought I would be.
But for 10 months work, I’d say this house is looking pretty great. It has been SO much fun. It’s been my dream for a long time to have a house of my own to design and decorate, and it’s happened way earlier than I thought it would, which is super fun.
Huge shout out to Mum & Dad for being the best landlords ever. And a hundred extra hurrah’s to Dad for actually doing all the hard work.
This house is a joy.