Category Archives: D.I.Y /Home Design

Our Home: Before, during & after the Renovation

We’ve been living comfortably in our lovely home for two years after the renovation was completed but never had the time to photograph the final results, until now. I remember moving in and sleeping on an old mattress in the living room, possessions in boxes, no internet for ages & wearing many layers of clothing because the entire house needed central heating, partial double glazing, plumbing & damp proofing. The owner before us did a quick, shoddy paint job to make it look reasonably livable and then rented it out to students before selling it. So we also had to rebuild and plaster walls, used a wall steamer to help us peel off the years of old wallpaper and layers of paint on the walls & period features.

I remember the time when Jon managed to sand all floorboards in the house by himself, over an entire week with a hired industrial sanding machine. I remember sanding down the banister by hand and feeling my finger tips going numb from the cold and I remember it being a time of financial strain and barely affording to buy decent food because everything Jon earned went into this renovation project and I was looking for employment (I eventually got a part time retail job which covered food costs); but we were happy. This was Jon’s big art project so to speak and he did most of the work you see in these photos (with the exception of getting in professionals to do work we were unqualified to do) and I assisted in many late night wall paper pasting, stripping walls & sanding down skirting boards. This renovation project was hard work but we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Living room:
This room was outdated, had a damp problem and needed a wall rebuilt. We sanded and varnished the floor boards,had the walls plastered and added classic, soothing grey & white tones to the space. Making the room feel airy, modern and cosy. Most of the furnishings were either brought with us, given to us for free or bought cheaply off gumtree. If you want to learn how Jon built the new fire place on a cheap budget, click here.
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Dining room:
This room didn’t need too much doing to it. This was also completely stripped and plastered and the space has been left as a multi use room. It currently acts as an unused dining room or potential rental room if we decided to bring in another lodger but now Jon is considering clearing the space to turn it into an office/storage room for his photography equipment plus floor space for my yoga & dance practice.
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Hallway:
Probably one of the darkest areas of the house because there are no windows in the enclosed space, we decided to lighten it up by painting it completely white with only a blue toned striped carpet runner which adds a touch of colour and leads the eyes to the open kitchen and the light streaming in from the new back door. A new front door was also added, again to bring in more light and now this area feels more open and fresh.
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Kitchen:
The kitchen was originally going to be left as it was but Jon decided to go ahead with renovating it. We moved the backdoor from just outside the kitchen (at the side of the house) to the back of the kitchen so it leads straight out into the garden, we had to knock down an exterior wall to do this and we had a little toilet built where the old backdoor used to be so that space didn’t go unused. The new backdoor leading out into the garden, lets even more light flood into the house and it is my favourite part of our home and I love sitting on the floor in a sun spot just watching the bees play with the flowers whilst I sip my tea. We also have a downstairs shower where an old pantry cupboard used to be but it’s a difficult space to photograph. Most of the original kitchen cupboards and counter tops were kept and reused to keep costs low and we bought a few more cupboards to make sure the entire space was utilized well. The entire kitchen now looks and feels both elegant and practical.
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Third Bedroom:
This was originally a very small box room situated next to the bathroom with a good sized separate landing shared between the two. Bringing in professionals we had the bathroom door frame moved and a new wall built which turned the mini landing into more floor space for this bedroom, making it feel and look adequate. There was also a mysterious leak coming through the wall from the bathroom and even our plumber was confused, we did find out where it came from in the end and it was quickly fixed. Floorboards in this room were bleached to make the room look lighter and feel spacious. A turquoise blue hue was painted on one wall to be a feature colour and soft baby blue tones were added to feel breezy with a light feeling when entering the space.
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Second Bedroom:
This room sits on top of the dining room and is pretty much the same so we continued using the same biscuit colourings for a warm atmosphere but added red furnishings for a bit of a pop. This room was pretty easy to renovate, other than the damp problem it had around the window. It is the quietest and receives a good amount of light in the early mornings and is now occupied by our lodger.
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Master Bedroom:
We decided early on that we wanted a white bedroom with a light green, botanical features. We will be adding more house plants and green cushions and other accessories to give it that fresh spring feeling. This room was one of the first rooms we began to work on and I remember stripping the wall paper until 2am! The only issue with this room were the floorboards, the lead stain was original to the house, back from when it was built & first lived in during the Victorian period. They were a nightmare to sand down because the friction of the sand machine would only melt the lead paint and made it tacky like treacle, Jon very nearly gave up to re-stain it mahogany.
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Upstairs Bathroom:
I chose the new bathroom layout and Jon agreed it was the best use of space, now the room is easier to maneuver round and doesn’t feel claustrophobic and narrow. The size of the bath, coupled with the angle of the door meant you had to swivel your entire body between door frame and corner of the bath before you could shut the door. Now with no overtly large bath in the way and nothing underneath the window, gives the illusion that the bathroom is bigger than it actually is. This is one tip I learned from my mum (who is a retired manager of a furniture store and loves renovating properties): Never put furniture under a window area, it makes a room feel smaller. People have this weird habit of unnecessarily NEEDING to fill every single wall space and sometimes it’s best to leave a wall free to just be a wall, it really does add space to a room and prevents clutter.
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Over all not bad for first time buyers! We’ve got bundles of style (if I do say so myself) and we did it all on such a small budget. The trick to making a house look classy & classic is to paint all rooms muted tones (avoid magnolia at all costs) and then add furnishings and accessories to heighten a feature colour. This makes it easier to change your mind at a later date, instead of having to re-paint entire walls because you don’t like the colour anymore, all you have to do is change the colour of your furnishings! I am pretty proud of what we achieved and now we are thinking about what we’d like to do next, either another property in Devon or an abode abroad!

Our cute Mediterranean court yard garden is our next project, we have ideas already, take a peak at this blog post and Pinterest Board.
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Thangka Mandala Painting

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Jon finally hung up our Thangka Mandala “wheel of Life” painting we brought back from backpacking in Nepal.
This painting was created by a master painter from the Sunapati Thanka painting school in Bhaktapur and it’s so beautiful, especially in the light when it shimmers gold. We don’t usually buy things whilst abroad but I purchased this for Jon as a birthday present, so It’s kind of special because Nepal was a magical, eye-opening destination for us. It was the furthest we’d ever been together, it was the first place we’d backpacked around without a plan and we only had accommodation booked for the first three days and the people we met made us want to travel more often, we arn’t “holiday” people, we don’t just visit a place and sit in cafes by the beach all day taking selfies every day, we try to explore the entire country and we try to do it just how a local would, we catch that rusty bus, the rickshaw ride or haggle with taxi drivers, we sleep in one star hotels (because all we need is a bed and a place to brush our teeth in the morning), we talk to the locals who then become friends, Jon & I are not tourists, we are explorers and so this is something we hope will become a bigger part of our lives in the near future, so much so in fact we are already planning and saving for our next trip.

However right now our daily lives are what we are primarily focused on and these past few weeks have been reasonably busy with having our lodger moving in and Jon being able to have more time off work due to his contract changing so he’s been busy working on the house. We’ve sorted out minor tasks around some of the rooms that had taken a back seat until now and we are currently finishing off certain left over furnishings in our home, even our bedroom has a new light shade and green cushions, and Jon is also planning to build a new bathroom cupboard. I’ve been working two jobs as you know but I’ve also been planning a photo-shoot for promo material for my Kid’s yoga classes and this will happen at the end of this month and I have been drafting two new articles for Yogi Approved and potentially a prose poem for Bad Yogi Blog. So lots going on, lots of changes happening and lots of things to look forward too!

This Home

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I adore this place, it is exactly how I would decorate my own home with wooden floors, high ceilings and white walls plus numerous house plants, trinkets, art & collected objects from around the world. This place feels bohemian, homey & cultured. There is an offbeat dream-like quality to the spaces that inspire creativity such as painting on a lazy Sunday or writing poetry during dusk. Even though surrounded by antiques and other quirky pieces this space still feels airy and bright. This home has definitely made it to my pinterest board!
Click on the link here to view more and read the interview.

At Home

artistic eccentric couple in UK, Katie Ness

Jon Roberts Photography
As a creatives working on numerous art forms (Me through Dance, Yoga, Art & Writing and Jon through photography, video, media design and even house renovation) things at home can get a little odd sometimes. When I am not reading a book and Jon isn’t playing clash of clans we can be seen building strange things or having weird conversations. Yet this is completely normal for us and it would be wonderful if my future kids joined in with the craziness!

Recently I have been embodying a new character for my Belly Dancing as well as a performance piece that will be set up in the dining room and recorded. This character is part warrior, part savage, part mystic and part inner child. It is a primordial being, a huntress and sooth-sayer. The inspiration comes from my Pictish ancestors and the T.V series ‘The 100‘.

Jon built a structure to hold a hoop with a paraffin soaked rope attached to it in order to photograph a tennis racket floating through a ring of fire once the rope went up in flames. This was for a photo-shoot with a Tennis brand. I have no idea how he managed to do this because on that night it was cold, blowing a gale and raining; you’ll notice that his lights are protected by the elements with plastic bags.

I am on the second edit of my video and choosing photos for the Croatia post! Also some exciting news is on it’s way, stay tuned for the announcement!

Around our Home

home décor

Ikea big white book shelf

house plants

glass candle holders with sand

Pillows with Hare illustrations
First Photo: This is my cute little table that I redesigned myself. Originally it had a working clock face and was brown, I bought it from a charity shop for a fiver! Now it is duck egg, looks aged and is also a music box. This table sits at the top of the stairs, right outside our bedroom and has certain objects displayed on it that make me happy so you can kinda call it a shrine of happiness I guess?

Second Photo: I love books and I love this book shelf. This is in the master bedroom which we are primarily using it as a guest bedroom/photography studio/Yoga & Dance space. This is our creative space and so I love seeing my arty & holistic books on display with Jon’s vintage camera and my Hindu Statues with the smell of essential oils burning. Really brings me into a state of calm when dancing or doing Yoga.

Third Photo: Jon recently bought himself his first house plant. We named him Jimothy and he was on sale, we wanted to bring him home and give him lots of love. The smaller plant is called ‘Plantie’ I photographed them together meeting each other because I am sentimental like that. I do treat plants as though they are human, studies have shown that even talking to them with love or positive words they grow faster and healthier. Everything on this planet grows well when it is loved. We plan on buying more house plants in the future, I quite fancy some Cacti.

Fourth Photo: I bought these candle holders about a year ago, they were going cheap and I recently decorated the sandy bit with pine cones and concurs because it has that autumn vibe mixed with that serene Buddhist feel. I love candles and was given a candle making kit for my birthday. I also quite fancy collecting more candles, preferably some black and some white.

Fifth Photo: I received these giant pillows from Jon’s mum as Christmas present. I adore nature, I adore woodland creatures and the fact that these look like quirky hand drawn prints or illustrations make me love them all the more. I would really love to find a cushion with a fox illustration and one with a stag, if anyone knows where I can find these let me know!

Believe it or not, our home is styled on a budget. We love finding bargains that we can recreate ourselves, our furniture is mix and match but well colour co-ordinated so it works. If I was to describe our taste or our home in three words it would be: minimal, bohemian & earthy. Who needs expensive & flashy things when you can collect lovely objects and furnishings or add something hand crafted by an arty friend making your own home individual and unique? People can spend something like 50 to 100 pounds on a mass produced so called ‘designer’ or branded vase for example from shopping malls which to me is an absolute joke, instead you can have something made just for you by an artist on Etsy or a friend, making that object unique to you and your home. It is a no brainer to me, I enjoy supporting local artists or charities. But then I personally dislike mass produced consumerism, although I know I do have to live in it as I need clothes and food etc, I am not consumed by it and it’s silly advertisements.