journal

renovation tales | four years in

06.09.15

I am writing this (seemingly random) post for a reason, as a little explanation I suppose. You may have noticed my photographs are almost always cropped. They contain small vignettes, not the wider picture. Particularly those that I take in my home. The reason for this is two-fold, firstly I like cropped images as they leave elements up to the imagination and would likely do the same even if it weren’t for secondly, we are renovating. Let me continue…
dining room before

We have lived in our house for almost four years now. We love it. And sometimes we don’t love it quite so much but we do always appreciate just how lucky we are to be here with a roof over our heads and enough space for us all to be. It was the first house we viewed (we have lived in 5 since we married and viewed so many more along the way) and just known, almost as we walked through the front door, that it was ‘our’ home. It was built in the early 1930’s and although we know little of its older history we do know it had subsidence in the 1990’s and was underpinned, it still bears the scars if you know where to look. At this time it was also extended to create a great kitchen space and enlarged dining room.

Without wanting to bore you too much we have been renovating pretty much since moving in. This is an intentional long term plan as we feel that for us to really know what works we have to live in a home for a while. So we began with the invisible improvements like stopping the roof spreading, treating the roof space against woodworm and insulating, replacing windows, the boring bits. It’s a beautiful beast this house. From tall chimneys unreachable by ladders to biscuit thin roof tiles and original leaking iron gutters down, too much to list and expect you to read, lets just say there have been a fair share of ‘surprises’ here yet we still love it. It is well proportioned and spacious with a large garden. Am I selling it to you…?

So this leads me to the point, we ARE fixing it! Hooray! It is time consuming and there are endless trades people and sourcing of fixtures and fittings but it’s worth it! Honestly. It will be worth it. So if you are waiting for an email from me it’s possible I haven’t sent it because the electricity (ie wifi) is off (again) and we have no mobile reception here to speak of. The builders tend to love that fact. Or it might just be that I’m turfed out by the noise/mess/frustrations of the current building site. Or maybe sourcing items for the house. All on top of the everyday roles and routines, but don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining. I’m maybe just a little overwhelmed at the moment.

Phase 340 (maybe a small exaggeration) our current project, is the utility room and dining room. Which also involves the removal of a wall linked to the kitchen. Let me show you some ‘befores’, don’t be fooled by the nice white interior, the plaster is not attached to the walls and there are leaking roofs to be fixed in this space. Since I took these photographs on Friday the ceilings have been taken down and some of the plaster chipped away ready to re-do. All I would say is thank goodness for dry weather and al fresco dining. Ask me again in a month or two and I might even tell you I love the result but for now, pass the gin…

dining room before

dining room before

One of my favourite original features is this bell box, I can’t imagine living with staff and love the notion that once someone here did. And yes that’s a new radiator leaning against the wall, hopefully to be hanging on a different wall soon.

The image below was taken last Friday. Believe it or not this is a vast improvement on the utility room a week earlier! It’s not pretty or photogenic though so for now I’ll keep sharing a little bit of the white walls and surfaces on my Instagram account…

utility room in progress

One day our forever home will be ‘done.’ Until then project managing takes up a fair amount of my time and you know what? Secretly I enjoy it…

Julia xx

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11 comments on “renovation tales | four years in”

  1. I’d be interested to learn where you are in the South Coast as I’m also on the South Coast and it’s nice to discover bloggers close to home! You are doing a beautiful job in your renovations and its lovely to see as my ideas for my home are of a similar pared back aesthetic. One question: where did you find your kitchen table? I’d like a wooden topped one with white legs.. simple and one which can’t be instantly destroyed by my 4 & 2 year olds… keep updating us on your renovations. It’s lovely to see!

    1. Hi Hilary, I am in Eastbourne, whereabouts are you? And what are you renovating? The table was actually a find on eBay, a man who uses reclaimed timber for the top and new legs, I think he was somewhere near Tonbridge but can’t exactly remember… It is 7′ long, not easy to find in the shops, great for gatherings and full of what we will call ‘character’ courtesy of our three children… Thanks for reading x

  2. Ah Julia hang in there! I know how stressful renovations can be…it may sound trite but you will be so happy when the house is done…and for now, try to take it day by day (or hour by hour!) and enjoy the cropped images ;) xx

    1. Thanks Cristina, it’s been a frustrating project with an expected finish date in October now! But yes I’m focusing on the finished rooms and Christmas decorating to keep me going. I kid you not xx

    1. Yes that’s so true! It’s hard to see the whole picture when stuck in the middle of a mommoth job but bit by bit we will get there… Thank you Christine xx

  3. It will all be so worth it – soon the mess and chaos will be a distant memory…. Hope you manage to find a few quiet moments in the meantime. We’ve been doing all the boring bits too and I have to say it is a pleasure not to have workmen tromping around the house. But now we need to paint, and sort flooring… Lovely to catch-up with you the other day – I look forward to admiring it all when it’s done xxx

    1. It will be worth it one day, for both of us! This week has been overwhelming, many problems and no calm to be seen but it is a means to an end so lets keep looking forward hey? It was lovely to see you this week, hopefully we will meet again soon xx

  4. A gorgeous and fascinating post. Even your renovation images are stunning! Such a satisfying project, and at least you can see the fab results as you go!

    1. Thank you Carol! It sometimes feels like an endless job but its age and character are unquestionable. Mostly I’m enjoying the process. Today has been a debatable one though. J xx

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