Hi all! This week I’m excited to be featuring Rachel @rachel_renovates on my House Renovation Highlights weekly series. Here, Rachel shares with us all of the details about the renovation of her home that was built in the 1980s. I remember chatting to Rachel on Instagram about the size of her “potential” island and whether she could get one into her kitchen and she’s done it! So if you have a renovation dream and want to make something work, often with careful planning and possibly a compromise most things can be done.
It’s really interesting to see the renovation of a 1980s house too, often we see the renovation of older properties, and it goes to show that any house can be renovated, styled to meet your vision and work for you (and/or your family).
Rachel also shares with us three amazing and useful top tips, as always these are ideal for anyone about to plan a renovation. I agree with all of them, especially point 2, which is mega important! Do have a read of Rachel’s story and pop over to her Instagram to give her a follow and to see more of her beautiful home.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
Our house was built in 1985. We bought it just under 4 years ago. At that stage it was a detached 4 bed, (2 double, 2 single) with 1 bathroom, cloakroom, kitchen, utility, dining room, lounge and conservatory and all the downstairs rooms linked via doorways. It had an integral garage with a flat roof. The whole house was magnolia and lacking personality.
The downstairs was a good size but didn’t work with all the doorways but upstairs needed enlarging to work for a family of 4. We saw it’s potential, as the kitchen was big and relatively wide but the dining room that led off was small and had 3 doorways leading into it so was difficult to use. We decided to take down the conservatory, knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and open up that space. We moved the soil pipe so that we could have bi-folds across the whole of the space. We also converted the garage into a snug and built over the garage too. Here we built one bedroom with a high ceiling and skylight and we extended our existing third bedroom. We enlarged the bathroom and used our existing very small fourth bedroom and airing cupboard and turned it into an en-suite from the master bedroom.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
Seeing my ideas come to life was wonderful. I’d planned it in my head for so long but once it started I began to question if my plans would work in reality but everything did including the kitchen island that I’d been told would never fit!
What was your biggest challenge?
There were several ! Managing the budget was tricky as we had a very strict budget that we needed to keep to and we discovered part way through that the artex ceilings contained asbestos and they were in every room, so suddenly we had a really big expense that we hadn’t budgeted for. It was also tricky renovating through the lockdowns as you couldn’t see or touch things in showrooms, you almost had to hope for the best that what you’d chosen would be ok. The builders found getting materials difficult too.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
We lived in our house for 3 years before starting our renovation project so we knew it inside out and what would work for us as a family. As I mentioned before we were on a very tight budget due to covid and loss of income, so maybe if we’d had more money to play with we may well have extended the kitchen but it does work beautifully as it is. I should definitely have put in a bath niche though. I was so obsessed with getting the shower ones I forgot one for the bath!
Tell us your top tips?
- Shop around to keep within budget. For example using a local company for the quartz in our kitchen rather than going with the kitchen company saved us so much.
2. Pick a builder that you feel comfortable with and who you can talk to about any issues that arise.
3. If you’ve got artex ceilings get them checked for asbestos. I never realised that it was used in artex and that came as an expensive shock.
What was your best renovation purchase?
We actually didn’t buy many new things. We made the renovation work around our existing furniture but obviously we did have a whole new kitchen which I love and I still have to pinch myself about and I do love the statement kitchen lights and of course our new freestanding bath!
Would you do it again?
Definitely. There are times when you just feel like you are getting nowhere and the decision making is relentless but when it all comes together it is so worth it!
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
The garden is next on the agenda and I wouldn’t rule out another renovation project. I walk past houses all the time and think how they could be changed. I might just live in this one for quite a while though and enjoy it!
Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your renovation story with us and I am so pleased that you managed to fit your island into your kitchen!
Contractor – LG Blower
Worktop – ADL Granite and Marble who provided Rachel with brilliant customer service.
You can see more of Rachel’s stunning home on her Instagram @rachel_renovates
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and take a nose at my last renovations highlight post featuring The Handler House.