We moved into our home just over a year ago and for a while now i’ve wanted to write about how it’s changed in that time. It took us over a month to move in once we had been given the keys to the front door, partially because my mum was so ill and partially because it absolutely stank. I’m not a smoker and never have been, neither has Steve but unfortunately for us the previous owner was a smoker, who evidently smoked indoors. The dry yellow stench had worked its way into all the carpets, into the walls and into the curtains that were left. It was choking at first, so the house needed a lot of airing, washing, painting and ripping up of carpets before we could bear to spend our first night there.
We practically whitewashed the whole house – luckily it was all magnolia before hand (at least I think it was, it could have been yellowing from cigarette smoke. eugh) with the exception of choosing a soft grey for the bedrooms and living room (which actually looks a little lilac, oops). Buying a house is an expensive business so we cut corners wherever we could afford too, to get it close to how we wanted it as possible. This included washing the non-offensive cream curtains that were left by the previous owner, so we didn’t have to buy new ones straight away. We washed the cupboards, left odour destroyers in them for weeks and used a grouting pen in the bathroom to make it look fresher.
Probably one of the most expensive things we did, was rip up the carpets in the bedrooms and install wooden flooring. Ideally we’d have liked to rip up the hallway carpet but this actually managed to stay for months after a thorough washing to de-smell-ify it – though it was covered in paint from whitewashing the ceilings, because we knew it wasn’t going to be staying. Finally though, we put new carpet down and made the stairs an exciting feature.
We also had to make the garden suitable for Magnus before we moved in too, which was a huge task as it was all gravel and we wanted all grass. Especially as Magnus has a history of eating rocks (luckily not so much these days) and I wanted him to have somewhere nice to chill out (and wee, ha!). Steve slaved away in the garden for a couple of days to remove all the gravel and lay some free turf we managed to bag (Homebase were going to dump it as it was dying, but we thought we could probably bring it to life and if not there’s always grass seed!).
After all of this, we began to bring furniture in. Most of our furniture we either already owned, or we bought second hand or was donated by lovely family members. The main big new pieces we bought were the corner sofa and wall unit in the living room. Everything else big furniture wise we upcycled, found in charity shops, bought off facebay (yes that’s a thing) and found at bootfairs. Now it’s been over a year, we have bought a couple of extra new things like a wall unit for the spare room which i’ve diy’ed some doors for and some little bits and bobs. But overall, i’m really proud of how our home looks now. It’s not perfectly how we would like it, but I think it looks good considering the mish mash of make-do furniture and random treasures and trinkets.
I thought in this post I would share some before and after photos and talk a little about some of the things in them. I’m really excited to see for myself, as I took the ‘before’ photos before we moved in and haven’t looked at them until now! (btw Magnus has somehow managed to get in to almost every photo after following me around the house, but he’s cute so that’s fine).
The main bedroom has probably received the least amount of love of any room in the house. I guess it’s mainly because we use it the least, but it did receive new flooring as the old carpet was stained and smelly, and a lick of paint. I guess once the furniture is in it makes a lot of difference to the room anyway, but all we can fit in here is the bed and the two bedside tables which we picked up secondhand. We put also put cute handles on the built in wardrobes. There is still so much I want to do to this room but for now at least it’s non offensive. We had plain white duvet covers up until recently, until Yorkshire Linen offered to send me this gorgeous new duvet* set to bring a little bit more warmth and interest into the room. It’s amazing the difference one small change can make. You don’t have to know me well at all to know of my scandi obsession, so this set was perfect! (Magnus approves too). I also picked up some tiny lights for the head of the bed, which give a really nice soft light to wind down with for the last few minutes before going to sleep. I really want to buy some prints by Andreas Lie for the wall above the bed and paint the frame of the mirror that the previous owner left with a nice complementing pattern. Ideally I’d like to add wooden cladding and a shelf on the wall behind the bed too. And find better lampshades and other little details. I’m sure i’ll get round to it all eventually…
This room has had quite a lot of change during the time we’ve been here. We originally had huge wardrobes that took up a whole wall and a tiny desk and not much else. But I found this mini vintage wardrobe for sale for £15 and painted it white from dark brown and it now looks amazing. We also swapped some furniture with my mum for this lovely IKEA day bed that she didn’t want any more. It’s a perfect place to read and chill out as well as pulling out to a double bed when friends stay (with a bit of furniture arranging). We also picked up this wall unit more recently from IKEA which for a while revealed all the contents inside. But I DIY’ed some doors for it with velcro, foam board and an extra matching bed sheet to match the day bed (I’m very proud of these!). We also upcycled a dressing table that i’ve had since I was quite young and painted it from pine to white and added cute handles. This room also had a new floor and a lick of paint, but we kept the curtains! For now…
Not a huge amount has happened in the bathroom, but we put down a new vinyl floor for £15 (technically £45 after cutting it wrong twice! But shhh). We also grouted in between the tiles, painted, freshened it all up with a new white toilet seat instead of the brown original one and added lots of bottles of stuff and some cupboards. We also installed a bog standard new shower as it was broken when we moved in. We would love to have a new snazzy bathroom eventually, but we’d rather save money for travels and adventures, especially when this one works just fine.
The stairs! These have become a talking point for most people who knock at our front door and i’m very proud of them. When we eventually got around to having new carpet fitted, we asked for this top step only arrangement. It caused some confusion but it worked out fine, leaving me able to live out my wildest pinterest dreams. In the interest of keeping things cheap but cheerful, I exercised my right to visit my local Homebase and ‘collect wallpaper samples’. A few layers of PVA glue has ensured that these pretty designs stay wipe clean friendly. I still need to put up some photographs etc.. on the wall to compliment the giant ‘Born in the USA’ boss poster that’s just out of shot.
The kitchen hasn’t changed that much, it’s just been clean clean cleaned and had LOTS of stuff crammed into it. We did paint it and out of shot there is a small strip of blackboard paint for writing shopping list reminders and drawing pictures on.
The living room has probably changed the most and is the best room of the house. We LOVE our corner sofa from DFS and we LOVE our tv unit from IKEA, they really make the room. We tried to position the furniture to give us a bit of a dining area, which works really well in a very small room. The table and chairs were purchased second hand off of local ‘facebay’ and the beautiful vintage glass cabinet was my wonderful Aunt Lala’s, who I miss dearly. I’m so happy that I saved it after she passed away and I think she’d be really happy that it’s still being enjoyed – as a drinks cabinet, but still, very much enjoyed! The radiogram was a charity shop purchase of Steve’s which amazingly still works and plays old records. We use it from time to time but when not in use, it’s a really cool looking stand for my terrarium and a 80’s answering machine and a 50’s telephone. (We don’t discriminate by era, evidently). We’ve got such a mish mash of things but I feel like they kinda work together quite nicely and it feels homely and cosy. There is a lot that we’d still like to change and a lot that we need to do – some of you might spot that the photo frames don’t have any photos in yet….we’ll get around to that, eventually.
As I mentioned earlier, the garden went from gravel to grass very unwillingly. Until recently there was a bald patch all the way along. It’s still a huge mess that I barely like to look at and has taken a backseat behind lots of other to do list items (and almost looks as though the before and afters should be swapped as it was smarter before). We’ve done a couple of things like had the palm tree and bush removed to create more space as we’d eventually like to extend the garden back a bit and put a shed and a vegetable patch in. We also need a new patio quite desperately as it’s covered in paint, courtesy of the upcycled garden set you can see that used to be black. Ideally we’d like a wood decking area instead though. We’ve also been testing fence paint colours and have a lot of pallets that we have plans for, so as with most of the house, it’s a work in progress.