Hi all! This week I’m delighted to welcome Lydia and Byron of @harrogate_rd_reno to my House Renovation Highlights weekly series talking all about their renovation, and I am so pleased to see that they have the same passion for a black reeded wall as I do!
Lydia’s and Byron’s renovation journey (so far) sounds like an amazing achievement. They are a family five and lived at home during all of the renovation work taking place, at one place their toilet was surrounded by rubble, and they now have plans to add a loft conversion and extension, so there is still plenty more to do here.
I loved hearing how they did most of the work themselves and only employed a few trades to help. Their top tips of keeping the end goal in mind rings true for any renovation, as well as taking as many pictures as you can for the renovation nostalgia. I would love for you to have a read and to pop over to Lydia’s and Byron’s Instagram @harrogate_rd_reno.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
We needed a bigger house and what we wanted / needed as a family of 5 was out of our price range so we decided to embark on a renovation project. However it turned out to be a much bigger project than we anticipated… doesn’t it always! The plan was to put in a new kitchen and take out the old bathroom which was downstairs just by the front door. Install a new bathroom upstairs in one of the four bedrooms, then just give the bedrooms a lick of paint. We were then getting the loft extended to make another 2 bedrooms and 3rd bathroom. However when we got in we found 8 tonnes of chimney breast was resting on the kitchen ceiling joists, the electrics had no earth cabling and all the external doors needed replacing! We couldn’t move in as it was deemed unsafe by our builder so we had to stay with family 30 miles away. We are almost finished renovating the original house, in the spring we will extend to make it a 5 bed and add a playroom and utility downstairs.
How would you describe your Interior Design style?
I like bright colours, I think our home is a mix between minimalist and traditional. I hate mess and like everything to have a place ( storage is my best friend!) but I also like it to feel cosy warm and welcoming. I really wanted a home where people come and feel welcome and comfortable relaxing.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
I loved getting involved, we didn’t even put shelves up before taking on our renovation! So our skills have drastically improved as we have done a lot of it ourselves using my dads expertise! The only trades we have employed are a plasterer, plumber to just connect up the radiators and an electrician for a rewrite but everything else we have done ourselves! I’m so proud of what we’ve learnt and hope our boys have learnt some skills too. The satisfaction when you are transforming a house room by room is something else!
What was your biggest challenge?
Learning to live in a renovation, god it’s hard isn’t it! I was such a control freak before. The house was always clean and tidy and then along came Reno life… we had no shower or bath at one point, our one toilet was in a room full of rubble. We had no kitchen for months and improvised with a camping cooker, microwave and BBQ (thankfully it was summer!) We have the most amazing friends who were constantly inviting us round for proper meals and putting the five of us up and providing washing facilities! I had to learn to lower my standards and not be as OCD about certain elements of home life.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
I think given the state the house was in we would have rented somewhere nearby whilst we did the work. We didn’t anticipate the amount of work that was needed to make the house safe! If we had known how long it would take to make it safe renting would have worked better rather than trying to live in a building site or stay at family nearby and living out of boxes. That said, that would have eaten into our budget considerably. It felt like we were camping for 4 months! Washing up in cold water in pyjamas in the garden was definitely a low point (every day!!)
Tell us your top tips?
Keep the end goal in mind, and praise all your achievements no matter how small! sometimes it is easy to forget how far you’ve come, make sure you take photos of each step of your Reno journey!
Lower your standards/expectations. We are more takeaways, the kids games more than they ever had, we couldn’t shower everyday etc. we had to lower a lot of our usual expectations but it actually was absolutely fine and you just have to roll with it!
Take all the help you are offered… from childcare to meals, expertise and time from friends and family. It really is invaluable! That saying of ‘it takes a village’ is so true and we were so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that helped us in so many different ways.
What was your best renovation purchase?
I love our reeded kitchen wall. When I was describing what I wanted to people everyone looked at me like I was crazy but I persevered and I love it and everyone that comes in our home comments on it. It has a secret door into our utility too my sons think it’s great for their hide and seek games when their friends come to play!
We also bought a superking bed and mattress so we could all watch films etc and get warm together when we had no heating!
Would you do it again?
It’s like childbirth isn’t it… now we are getting to the nice parts of the renovation I’d say yes. But I remember when we were in the thick of it, I was telling everyone to never let me do it again! I actually found it a lot harder than i ever anticipated. I found the unpredictable nature of the Reno and having to let go of high standards and routines really difficult.
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
Next is the loft conversion adding two more bedrooms and a bathroom. Also a rear extension to make a playroom, downstairs WC and extend the utility.Part of me is really excited by stage 2 but part of me likes living in an *almost* nice house!
Thank you so much Lydia and Byron for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly about your renovation journey so far. What an amazing achievement! It seems like you definitely have the bug to keep going and I wish you the best of luck for phase 2.
Please do pop over to Lydia’s and Byron’s Instagram @harrogate_rd_reno where you can follow all of their updates as well as the future loft conversion and extension, which is super exciting, I’m almost a little bit jealous.
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 .