I am SO EXCITED to reveal the launch of my new weekly series where I am featuring a house renovation. This is driven by my own passions for house renovations and home interiors following our own ongoing house renovation. It’s a way to show you what others have done to their homes and to provide you with a whole host of inspiration. I hope to feature many wonderful home and interior accounts that I have come across on Instagram sharing what they have done to their homes, their renovation top tips, challenges and my favourite…..would they do it again!
So to kick this off with a bang my first house renovation highlight features the lovely Kate Pickford, and you can find Kate over on Instagram @housebykate. Kate has a now beautiful home, it was a completely different picture when she moved in. The house has been totally transformed, and I love the style. It’s classic, yet also totally modern and features so many pops of colours. I would love for you all to have a read of how Kate has transformed her home, and how she overcame the challenge of spare room ceiling.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
When we bought our period home it was extremely filthy, run down and in desperate need of modernisation. Even the estate agent showing us round was talking about what a hovel it was, and my mum said she wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. It was, however, packed full of original features, and all I could see was the potential. I was so excited about it I told my husband he had to go and see it as soon as I got home.
Once we had the keys we didn’t move in for the first 3 months (we lived with my mum). This was to give the builders time to update all the wiring and electrics, plumb radiators into each room, install a dishwasher, retile the kitchen and knock down and reconfigure the toilet and utility room. We then gave it a good clean (I found a bit of garlic bread in the aga that had seen better days) and then we moved in. We took 2 weeks off work to decorate the master bedroom and kitchen to give us two key rooms in the house that were nice to be in whilst we worked on the rest in slower time. The garden was completely overgrown too, and we switched between the inside and outside over the following 3 years until we reached the point we’re at today.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
I most enjoyed repairing the features that had been damaged over time, it felt like we were restoring the house to its former glory. We repaired broken picture rails and fireplace hearths, installed ceiling roses, fixed damp throughout the dining room and patched, sanded and polished the beautiful wooden floors. Whilst we were staying with my mum the house was broken into and the stained glass windows on the front door were smashed. This was devastating at the time, but it meant that we were able to design our own windows and I love the beautiful pastel colours we chose. We also included panes of Victorian glass adding to the authenticity of the final finish. Once the bones of the house were restored, we could start on the fun bit and get our paint brushes out!
What was your biggest challenge? Is there anything that you would have done differently?
The biggest challenge we faced was the spare room ceiling. We put in a larger loft door and had completely redecorated the room when the ceiling started caving in. Our builder told us that the main ceiling joist had been sawn off and was missing (the previous owners had tried to do a DIY loft conversion and this wasn’t picked up in the survey). Unfortunately no builder would touch the job so we were stuck. My 86 year old Grandad came to our rescue… he used to be an engineer and actually built his own house. He planned what we needed to do and ordered the materials, and then oversaw my husband and uncle doing the work. It involved completely restoring the ceiling joist and rebuilding the ceiling! It was slightly terrifying to watch but we got there in the end. We also had to redecorate the room which was a pain!
Tell us your top tips….
- Take the time to prepare the room properly before painting it. It’s the most boring job filling, sanding and priming the walls, and frog taping everywhere, but it’s so worth it as the finished result looks amazing.
- Don’t just slap paint over things and hope it will look good. We did this with our doors, and are now planning to go back over them, sand them right back to the wood and paint again. We should have done it properly the first time!
- Try and live in the house for a little while before you do all the decorating. How you use a space can change how you feel about it, and what you were planning before you moved in may not work for you once you’re in the house.
What was your best renovation purchase?
I have a number of awesome vintage pieces I found on ebay after a lot of hunting. The sideboard in the conservatory, wardrobe in the master bedroom, and all of the Persian rugs. I love that they’re unique pieces and they were a bargain compared to the new items I have.
Would you do it again?
Hmm… yes, but give me a few years. I still can’t stand the sight of a paintbrush right now. We also have a baby now so it wouldn’t be quite so easy to do all the work ourselves, we’d need to be able to afford to pay tradesmen to do more of the work!
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
The house is a 3 bed, and ideally we’d like a 4 bed longer term. We’ll have a decision to make in a few years as to whether we extend this home, or find a new one. I think we’ll end up selling as I don’t think we could bring ourselves to undo all the good work we’ve done here and start again!
I have loved reading this and featuring you Kate! Thank you! Do all go and check out Kate on Instagram @housebykate and follow her home renovation and inspiration journey.
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org