We relished our time in London and the city was our home for many many years. In fact we ended up living in our Victorian house for ten years after saying we’d move after two! Funny how that happens isn’t it? We’d contemplated moving in 2008, when we’d grown out of the property, but decided against it in favour of a dormer loft conversion. It fell through days before work began but all was not lost as we used the money to renovate the house.
Our downstairs bathroom, typical for Victorian houses in that part of South London, was relocated upstairs. It wasn’t the largest but we really maximised the space with a roll top bath, separate shower, toilet and sink from The Bathstore. The tiles we used on the floor and walls were beautiful ones from Fired Earth. Downstairs a new kitchen was put in where the bathroom used to be, the old kitchen space transformed into a more functional dining area. Even the lounge got a makeover with alcove units both sides of the chimney breast. All the downstairs flooring was replaced too with wonderful solid oak panels from The Natural Wood Flooring Company. It looked amazing.
But the house was still the same size so two years later in 2010 we upped sticks from London and bought a Victorian property in the Home Counties. POD was born a few months later on Christmas Day that same year. Before she arrived, we’d knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room so we had an open plan living space. The uneven slate floor in the kitchen was removed and we re-floored downstairs as we had done previously in the oak. We picked the same style kitchen too. Somehow doing that felt like we were bringing all those years of memories in London with us to Surrey. All this work (and the unexpected re-wiring!) was of course done by professionals although we decorated the rest of the house ourselves. We wanted to have a bathroom like the one in London one day although the pipe dream was, and still is, a single storey side, back or wrap around extension.
Fast forward seven years and, for various reasons, not much has changed. In our main bathroom, we have a roll-top bath again, which I love, and matching Victorian furniture. The shower unit and bathroom cupboard both need replacing still and the entire room desperately needs re-tiling as it’s wobbly underfoot. But we’ve made a start. Storage is the biggest issue in the house as we don’t seem to have enough space in any room. We need a mass declutter and some clever storage solutions although we’ve recently had a carpenter make floor to ceiling wardrobes in our bedroom. These are awesome and have provided us with more space that the free-standing wardrobe we had before did. With any luck, we will be able to create the same kind of storage in POD’s room so we can pack away some of her toys. She gets so distracted at bedtime so it will help – we really need to totally do up her room. We’ve had two alcove units made for the lounge now which are already making a difference. Of course I need to paint the wardrobe and alcove units, along with the rest of the house, so a huge job but it will make such a difference I’m sure. The local Homebase is seeing me so often now, they’ll know me by my first name before long.
The most exciting house news for us though is a new kitchen as the Wickes team start later this month. Our cooker will be set in our fireplace in what’s currently our dining area. There will be units either side of that along with a decent sized sink and standard dishwasher instead of a slimline one! There will be floor to ceiling cupboards and the fridge on the opposite wall with an island in the middle of the room. We haven’t got a big space so we’re aiming to make the most of what we have. We also want to convert the old kitchen space into an eating area, potentially with banquette seating. Or a table and chairs. Exciting times!
There’s a ridiculous amount to do to the house overall, and we won’t be able to do everything, but we’re hoping a lick of paint and a new kitchen will help us love our house again. Perhaps I can even create an office space back in the loft room rather than working from the kitchen table! If you have any clever storage ideas, do let me know – I’m already spending far too long on Pinterest! Keep your eyes peeled here over the coming weeks too as we’ll be sharing progress.