I honestly can't believe six years have passed since we first set foot in our Edwardian semi. As "project bathroom" rears its ugly* (*read pricey) head, I'm hoping the process of writing a blog post about one of the rooms we have completed will serve as a reminder that, despite the looming projects, we really have come a long way to making this place look and feel like our home. These pics are not the best quality and you'll see a few rogue cables and a grey fur ball named Henry in their midst... but hey, we did promise you real home projects..
Of all the rooms we have tackled so far, our living room has probably seen the most dramatic change. When we moved in the space was carpeted, wallpapered from floor to (and including the) ceiling and the furniture, woodwork and doors were a cherry wood. The room has gorgeous big windows and is a great size, yet the decor made it feel dark, and not at all where you'd expect to find our little clan chilling out in on a Saturday afternoon. We knew the main objective was to get some light into it!
First things first
The first step was to take up the carpet (not least because my husband managed to spill the entire contents of an Indian takeaway all over it a week after we moved in! (#turmericgate) But really, the incident served to prove we are not carpet people! Luckily, we found that the original floorboards were salvageable so we had them sanded, and after three years of a chestnut stain we decided to brave it and have them painted white. I can't even begin to tell you what an impact that had. It was transformative! I thought upkeep would be a nightmare but it has been absolutely fine. If you suffer over any small mark though, it's probably not for you. I would definitely say never go cheap on the floor paint and if budget allows, get the professionals in! We went for Mylands floor paint and, if you're local to Essex, Simply Sanding did a great job on the floors.
The living room and dining room are essentially one big space divided by an arch. I like open plan but I also like each part of the house to feel like its own space, so didn't want to use a single colour for the whole space. After going back and forth on the idea we decided to go for the light Conforth by Farrow and Ball in the living room and a darker Worsted (which I LOVE) in the dining room. The light coming in from the windows at the front of the house now bounces off the lighter walls and flooring in the living room and straight into the dining room (which receives less natural light). The result is two bright tonal spaces each with their own identity. Hurrah, we had light!
Save pennies where you can!
We did A LOT of recycling, sanding down and painting ourselves. Furniture is not cheap so salvage it where you can. The previous owner left a Laura Ashley dresser (you can see in the pics) which we had stripped and then painted it Downpipe by Farrow and Ball to work with our new colour scheme. Similarly we also repainted the frame of the large mirror above the fireplace, a black gloss. I'm not gonna lie, all the sanding down and painting was not fun (bleeding knuckles galore) but it did mean we had more in the savings pot to invest in plantation shutters and to hire professionals to do the floor!
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It's all in the details...
I am a true believer that in order to avoid making your house look like a show home, (and I'm gonna sound cheesy here) you need to surround yourself with things you actually love. It's so much fun nodding to interiors trends, but don't shy away from letting your style say something about you. After all you're the one who's going to have to live amongst it! If you look at the photo with the shelves at the top of this post, you'll see what may appear to be an odd array of objects, but each one has a story and means something to our little family. To me, that goes a long way to making a house a home.
I would love to know if any of you have had your floor boards painted and how you got on... I have heard so many mixed reviews. Now, back to thinking about those bathrooms, wish me luck!