After 2 years of constantly having work done around the house we have now officially completed our home renovation. (Doing a little happy dance while writing this!). Renovations can take a long time, especially if you’re trying to keep things within a relatively low budget as we did. For that reason we decided to do this gradually and did a lot of work ourselves. The first year we focused on the upstairs, and this year we completed all the downstairs. Our home is finally complete and this is a bit of an emotional post for me, as I’m looking back to all the work we did, and sharing all the before and after shots mostly without all the ugly in between. Well, when I say finally ‘complete’ don’t take my word for it as there is always something I want to change.
I often been asked what is my style? The truth is, that I don’t have a specific style. I wrote a blog before about how I think you should dig deep in your roots to find your style. By doing so, your style is linked to who you truly are and what you are comfortable to be around with. Mine is a combination of many styles together like Scandinavian, Rustic, Beach house, and Minimalistic with a touch of Boho.
But enough with this, do you want to see some before and after shots?
This was the first room we tackled. This room was dark, dated and in need of a lot of TLC. My aim was to bring in more light and create a calming feel. We also moved the old water tank as we changed the old boiler to a new combi one and changed the window and radiator. Here is some before and after shots but you can see the full detailed tour here.
This room is a tiny box room. Initially we were thinking of using it as a study, but it felt too small. Instead we decided to create a dressing room. We did everything in this room ourselves. Decorating and painting the floors white. The room feels double the size with some clever placement of mirrors and it was the BEST decision we ever made. We don’t own a lot of clothes and I didn’t want to cramp all the other rooms with wardrobes so this solution was perfect. Keeping all our clothes in one room saved us a lot of space in all the others.
You might need your sunglasses for this one. When we first bought the house, this room was used as a kids bedroom and was painted bright yellow. It took three coats of paint to cover it but me and Russ got down and dirty with the paint brushes and you can see the results for yourself 🙂
I wanted to create a calm cocoon feel with our bedroom, hence the darkest wall, somewhere we could retrieve and recharge. We’ve done all the work here ourselves apart from the changing the window and I’m really pleased with the result.
SPARE ROOM & STUDY
This room was quite bland but the space was so good we decided to create a spare room and study. We opted for a day-bed that opens up as a double bed when we have guests stay over. When you don’t have the luxury of space day-beds are such a great idea for your guests. Think about how often you have guests staying over. If, for example, it is only 20 days a year in total, isn’t it a shame to ‘waste all your space’ with a double bed sitting there and gathering dust for the other 345 days? Invest in a good quality day-bed and combine the space with a study, hobby room or dressing room!
Again we did all the work on this room ourselves and you can see the full tour here.
The entrance was dark and tiny. There was a door to the kitchen that was blocking all the light, the front door was solid wood, the walls were painted a dark blue colour and it had a dark stripy carpet that wasn’t bouncing any light. A lick of paint, new carpets, new front door with glass panels and removing the in between doors made a huge transformation!
Our driveway was making us feel like the ’embarrassing neighbours’! It was overgrown, untidy and there was a mismatch of bricks and stonework. We hired a professional builder for the hard landscaping, (brickwork and slabs) but we did all the soft landscaping ourselves. Laid all the grass and tidied up the jungle. This was two weeks of very hard labour and poor Russ did his back out pulling a tree stump out, but we did it and it looks oh so neat and tidy! Not the embarrassing neighbours anymore! 🙂
Before & After
This was the biggest project. Not only because we completely renovated this old tired kitchen, but we also created an open plan area for the whole downstairs. Meaning we had to knock 2 walls down, put steel beams in to support the ceiling, remove all the doorways and add new flooring throughout. You can see the full tour of our kitchen here.
As we opened up the kitchen we created an open plan kitchen diner which is very sociable when you love to entertain friends as much as we do. Before, there was always one of us stuck in the kitchen doing all the prep or cooking, but now our friends love to gather around while we do this. It’s so much more inclusive and relaxing. This room had two facelifts. A mini one while we were waiting to save some money, that we did ourselves, and the big one that we hired builders to tackle the big job.
You can see here what we did while we were saving money to spruce it up and make it look nice. The biggest change in this room, apart from the walls, was the new bifold doors that lead to our decking and garden and brought so much more light in.
This room was a bit bland and didn’t have anything very interesting apart from a nice big bay window. We discovered that behind the tv unit there was a blocked fireplace and decided to open it to create a focal point. Below you can see the pictures of how it looks now. But we did the same thing again as we did for our dining room and we did some updates ourselves which you can see here, while we were saving for the big project.
We’ve put some much love and effort in this house and I’m really happy to call this place home. I know Russ feels the same, but here is a few things we learned along the way.
- Always keep an eye on the budget and be strict with your contractors when it comes to what is been agreed.
- Be open to compromise and always include your family in decisions. Relationships are more important than tiles!
- Moodboading is not only helping your ideas come to life but it’s a fantastic tool to explain your ideas to contractors and also keeps your focus when you get overwhelmed with choices. You can read here how to create one yourself
- Never leave choices to contractors even when you are tired with the project or you feel under pressure. They might make some decisions and you will have to live with them.
- Always discuss finishes to the last detail!
- Always go with your gut instinct when it comes to design and what feels comfortable and true to you, instead of following trends
I know it’s been a long two years but I have loved this journey. It wasn’t always easy but this place we call home 🙂
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