Hey all! It’s another week and this week I’m delighted to be featuring Catrin Stuart and her amazing home in South Wales. Catrin has completely renovated and transformed her home with only a few rooms left to go. Her renovations have included pretty much everything, including removing the old and impractical extension, and re-building to create a stunning space housing a beautiful ply and formica kitchen that looks out onto a fun pink painted patio.
Here Catrin shares with us her renovation story, documenting the highs and lows, and how you always forget the bad bits (it’s a bit like childbirth). Her advice on adding in loads of storage is really important during the renovation stage, and creating floor to ceiling storage so that it looks like part of the room. I’m now regretting not having a charging drawer in our kitchen so that the messy wires can be hidden out of sight.
Do have a read of Catrin’s renovation story and journey below and check out her stunning home on Instagram.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
We live in a lovely seaside town called Mumbles, on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, we moved there in 2009. After initially renting, we then bought a Victorian terraced house that needed completely gutting and renovating, we lived here for 7 years and were then lucky enough in 2018 to move just a stones’ throw away to our dream home; a detached, double fronted Edwardian house with a sea view of Langland Bay. As we plan on being here until at least our retirement, we decided that we needed to give the house some much needed TLC and to turn it into a true family home.
We had to do all the boring bits first; re-pointing the chimneys, a new slate roof, guttering, fascias etc. We replaced the windows throughout with aluminium, and replaced and reconfigured the 2 bathrooms. We then hacked off the front interior wall and replaced a section of the floor prior to attacking the major task of knocking down the back extension which housed the kitchen/diner – it was past its best and just didn’t function as a space for us. We subsequently rebuilt it with flat roof and skylights to extend out to the side, allowing us to switch the kitchen and dining room sections and wrap it round the side to incorporate a new porch with storage (my cupboard of dreams) and a traditional front door that now opened on the front of the house (instead of the side), allowing an improved aesthetic and balance to the front profile. We also re-paved the front steps and terrace, whilst replacing the railings with a glass balustrade. The back patio was also entirely re-paved and we added an outdoor shower (pretty useful when you live so close to the sea), an outdoor kitchen, a pergola with seating and a hot tub deck. The exterior and interior have also been entirely redecorated throughout, with our signature pinks and blues!
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
I love interiors, so really enjoyed being fully involved in the planning of each room, choosing the lights, tiles, fixtures and fittings but particularly our kitchen. Our brilliant builders @greens_ltd ended up making us a bespoke kitchen, and I was able to be involved in every element of the design, planning and product sourcing. I had very clear ideas of what I wanted and with their help we were able to turn the vision into a reality.
I also really enjoyed finishing the back patio space during the first lockdown. My husband found his DIY mojo and built the pergola and seating whilst I painted all the walls pink – it’s now my favourite space!
What was your biggest challenge?
We encountered a couple of challenges during the renovation. Due to living on an elevated position by the sea, we get majorly hit by the storms, so there were delays to the chimney and roof work, which led to being unable to dismantle the scaffolding and start the extension groundwork. Our first lot of outdoor masonary paint also hadn’t been mixed properly either (and subsequently streaked) so the entire paint work required re-doing, which put us back a few weeks. The paint supplier did pay for the mistake though.
Our other major challenge was sourcing a ply/formica kitchen. After much searching online and struggling to find any suppliers/specialists in South Wales, I explained the concept to my builders who have a strong joinery background @Greens_joinery. They said they would be confident to do it and they did a fantastic job, all within budget.
Renovating is a bit like childbirth though, you forget all the bad bits really quickly!!
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
I’m really happy with how everything turned out considering it ended up being such a big project. I would definitely trust my judgement more and be more confident with buying online and the price matching elements.
I would probably have less spot lights: I was convinced to put them in but we also put in lots of mood & task lighting and now we never actually use the spots. I did make sure they had white surrounds so at least they blend in as much as possible.
Tell us your top tips?
1. Be clever with space and storage. We had a cupboard built in to the back of the porch with floor to ceiling storage, hanging rails for coats, cubby holes for shoes, and shelves for gloves, hats, helmets, bags etc. We did the same in the Utility; floor to ceiling storage across one wall with space for washing machine, tumble dryer, ironing board, wash baskets etc. I even had a rail for wetsuits put in which has been brilliant. Build in storage wherever you can!
2.Think about the electrics, light switches, charging sockets (you can never have enough), speaker controls, underfloor heating etc. As part of the kitchen I put a side shelving unit which houses the main switches, speaker controls and loads of charging space (I wish we’d put in a charging drawer) so it’s all in a really handy spot, but also tucked out of sight.
3. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to be bold and do what you love (particularly if it’s a house you are going to be in for a while).
What was your best renovation purchase?
Difficult to narrow it down. I love the aluminium faux Crittall doors in the kitchen that open out onto the back patio. Other favourites were the mid-century drinks cabinet that I bought from ebay which we re-purposed as a double basin unit in our bathroom.
I also love the bespoke plywood/formica table that the joiners made, that ties in with the kitchen. It seats 8 and fits the corner seating area perfectly. The midcentury chairs I sourced to go with this are great and the original Ladderax shelving works brilliantly in the space too (definitely a mid century theme here!).
Would you do it again?
Yes, I’m always up for a project. I have some friends and family doing projects at the moment and they are always asking for advice. It is stressful but always so worth it.
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
We still have a couple of rooms to do: a box room to convert into a walk-in wardrobe and a couple of loos.
We also have plans to put in a garden room to house a games room and gym so that is next on our list.
Thank you so much Catrin, I have loved featuring you on my blog and as part of my series. Do all go and check out Catrin’s stunning home on Instagram.
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email email@example.com and take a nose at my last renovations highlight post featuring Home of Haynes.