Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Interior Design, Gently does it.

I've been thinking about interior design a lot lately and this much I have learnt - It's best to take your time when you are on a budget. Don't rush it.


We bought an old house which was beautiful but badly in need of a renovation 4 years ago this week. It's a Victorian semi-detached with 4 bedrooms and outbuildings. It has wonderful original features and is a former dentists, we think.

I love it so much. I get a real sense of peace as soon as I walk in.

But, as is often the case, we spent most of our money on the house and have been refurbishing it on a tight budget. Originally it was really tight and recently not as tight.

This means I have had to take my time. To not rush into anything. To restore gently and let the house and space evolve.

I gave the house a photoshoot 2 years ago and I'd like to share how the space changed over the first two years. I'll do another photoshoot soon I think as it looks quite different again as it continues to evolve.

My goals for my house have always been to be comfortable and welcoming. I love colour and pattern as you know but living with three boys who don't love colour and pattern keeps me in check (a bit). This house is filled with natural light though and I've tried to celebrate that.

Let's start with the living room. It's approximately 3 metres high, 5 metres square with a bay window and faces East so it gets the morning sunlight.

Here is the before picture on the day we got the keys! It was an unloved house so the first day we paid for all the carpets to be cleaned and it made a huge difference in terms of smell and general feelings of cleanliness.
Two years on. Lighter, brighter, no horrid carpet.
So, let's look in a little bit more detail of the first two years transformation of this one space. Here are a couple more images of how the house looked on the day we took ownership. The room was a bit dingy but it's all fairly sturdy. There isn't much falling down - except those curtains!
The windows are the original sash windows. Over 110 years old and still lovely. Bit draughty but worth keeping.

Then all our stuff arrived and things got a lot worse!
So as I said, we were on a tight almost zero budget. The wallpaper wasn't falling off and as we had no idea the state of the walls underneath we thought the safest option would be to paint over the wallpaper. I choose a flat white and it took three coats. (It always does with white paint, sigh.)

Work in progress shot.
Then we ripped all the carpet out and hired a sander and sanded the floors back.
Work in progress shot 2 and 3...

They came up pretty clean and I loved the original colour. But I decided to put a stain on the floor so it was hardwearing. Here it is... It's a little hazy because it was a very long few days and was about midnight when I finished painting the floor.

Then it was a question of doing all the fun bits, putting the furniture back and decorating the space. This is one of my favourite parts of interior design.

Except this couch. It just doesn't fit the space. It's from our old house and I have tried every layout but it does not work. I've almost convinced husband of this now and we will hopefully be replacing it soon.

And that's how our living room evolved into a brighter and more comfortable space. It's taken time and it didn't all come together particularly quickly. The fire is still the same and still as ugly as ever. We want to replace it with a real fire at some point. But we can wait.
It'll get there. Gently and at it's own pace.