Hi all! This week on my House Renovation Highlights series I’m excited to be featuring Nicole and her beautiful home, do check it out on her Instagram @lets_stay_home_and_renovate. Here Nicole shares her house renovation story from finding her house by leafletting all the houses on their favourite roads, to doing their renovation during the first lockdown (remember the lack of plaster?) whilst being pregnant with a toddler in tow. To be that all sounds incredibly brave, well done!
Nicole has totally transformed her home including demolishing the existing extension to create a large open plan living space and kitchen, and creating a beautiful home to be proud of. Her top tips are invaluable including planning and buying everything as early as possible to avoid delays to the build, and choosing a house that has loads of potential for you to put your stamp on it.
I would love for you to have a read of Nicole’s story and read all about what she’s up to next…..
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
So, this house was not the house in the area we originally bid for. We lost that house and I was completely devastated. This home already had an offer, so all hope was lost. It thankfully came back on the market but I was really not that impressed with the estate agent pictures and it took my husband to convince me to physically see it. I instantly fell in love, and saw the huge potential it had… even though I was completely scared by the prospect of a renovation.
The first step was finding a good builder and architect, and luckily, they all lived just streets away from us. We gutted the whole downstairs area, knocking through the drawing room to the dining area, and redesigning the original extension built; to form an open plan kitchen/dining/living area overlooking the garden. We also changed the flat roof into a pitched roof, and converted the garage into a home office, shower room and utility room.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
We actually started our renovations the week before the first lockdown in March 2020. With the pandemic in full force, this was a welcome distraction to a crazy world. There was only one builder allowed on site, so progress was slow to start, but it was at least some progress, and we absolutely loved seeing the changes happening on a day to day. Am I weird by saying I really enjoyed the old kitchen being demolished?!
What was your biggest challenge?
As I mentioned, it was during lockdown 1.0 and having a toddler at home, and pregnant, crammed into a tiny living area for 6 months – which consisted of one small sofa, a coffee table, TV, microwave, oven and electric hob…. It was challenging to say the least not being able to leave the house. But we managed. We survived, and we always felt thankful and grateful that we were able to carry on.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
What would I have done differently? In hindsight I would have stocked up on plaster! It was gold dust at the time, and it held everything up. We took the build right up to 2 days before I gave birth…. And it still wasn’t completely finished…. Which I would definitely NOT recommend!
Tell us your top tips?
- Choose a house you can see huge potential with. It may not look pretty and glossy but think long term, think of the future and the investment.
- Don’t fall out with your other half over decisions. Renovations are stressful! Throw a pandemic in the mix, a toddler not in nursery, and a hormonal pregnant woman and voila! A very easy scenario to bicker. Remember, you are in it together, and aiming for one goal. To make your house into something you’ve always dreamed about. Be nice to each other.
- Plan everything as early as you can. From bathrooms, kitchens, floor, paint etc and purchasing items such as tiles, bathroom suites and anything you can think of. These items can take a while to arrive, and that can delay the progress of the build and finishing off the rooms.
What was your best renovation purchase?
There were items in the build we were unwilling to compromise on, and that was the big sliding doors, the flooring, our island pendants and the partition doors. I couldn’t possibly pick the best from that list!
Would you do it again?
Never say never, but this is hopefully our forever home. You never know though…. I love a browse on rightmove and something else might catch our eye one day! I have to say, I love a renovation and I have definitely caught the bug.
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
We have a bricked workshop at the back of the garden which we want to renovate into a gym studio and chillout area. But for now, we’re tackling the upstairs bedrooms because I can’t wake up every day to wallpaper falling off the ceilings and walls any longer!
There’s also a loft conversion on the cards one day and the front drive. The list is endless!
Thank you so much Nicole, I have loved featuring you today and it’s great to hear that you have caught the bug! You can see more of Nicole’s stunning home by visiting her Instagram @lets_home_stay_and_renovate.
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 Catrin Stuart.