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.
This room was outdated, had a damp problem and needed a wall rebuilt.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!