Are you ready for a house tour? Finally, this week we FINALLY finished decorating our house to a point where I could say I was happy with it. Nearly 4 years after we bought it and 3 years after we had finished the renovations, our home works for us as a family and the décor brings me joy. All ready for us to put it on the market again!
Are we mad?? Hahaha.
When our house came on the market, we were living 85 miles away in Military Married Quarters and I knew I had to get in my car with my two small kids, drive down immediately and view it. It had all the accommodation we were looking for; 5 bedrooms, a huge kitchen family room, two bathrooms and an additional reception room.
When the estate agent met me at the door I said, “take me straight through to the kitchen” and I pretty much put the asking price in there and then. Although it needed renovating, we would not need to do any extensive building work so it was ideal with two small children and within 6 hours, our offer had been accepted.
So, now it is back up on the market, I thought I’d take you on a house tour so I could question my reasoning for wanting to sell it!
We love this house, but I am itching to do another renovation.
The beginning of the House Tour – Hallway
As you walk through the front door, there is a staircase immediately in front, a second reception room on the left and the living room on the right. Originally, we boarded up under the stairs to make it a “throw it all in there” kind of cupboard, but as it felt like stepping into Narnia and never finding your way back just to retrieve your coat, we eventually pulled it down and created under stair storage.
I love this addition to our house!
The Living Room
Turning right into the living room, this room was originally painted completely yellow. I get why it was this colour as the fireplace has a beautiful sunflower tiled surround so it tied the room together. But, I found the yellow a bit much. We had the room plastered, the floors sanded and we painted the chimney breast and adjoining walls dark green which inspired the rest of the room.
The Kitchen Family Room
Heading back through the hallway on the house tour leads you into the kitchen/diner/family room. This room is what completely sold the house to me. It is 25ft x 17ft with bi-fold doors opening out onto the garden, a large skylight and another large window to the left of the dining space.
Originally the kitchen ran along the wall under the large window and there was a wood burner in the chimney breast with a formal sitting area. We completely ripped out the kitchen, utility and downstairs bathroom (see my kitchen renovation post here) and had them all replaced by a team of builders. I knew immediately that I wanted the oven to go into the chimney breast with statement tiles creating a back-splash and the whole kitchen was pretty much designed around that.
Although I love our kitchen, there are a few things that I would change if I were to renovate now. I wouldn’t have gone for a peninsula, instead a large island as this is where everyone naturally stands when we have people over. I would probably have had the kitchen units running along the entire right-side wall and installed a larder but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The Dining Area
Walking through the kitchen and past the peninsula, we have a large dining table to the left that runs along the window and can extend to seat up to 14 people. We had low lights installed over the table which is perfect for those dark winter nights.
The Family Area
I wanted a large sofa in the kitchen so when we had guests over, they could sit there and look out over the garden but we realised we never used this space. I have recently been sent some wallpaper and this inspired a whole shift around in the house. The sofa now faces the wall where we have put our sideboard from the play room with a TV and the kids games consoles on top. Instead of them disappearing to the play room when I’m preparing dinner, they now sit in this space playing games so I see much more of them!
We have had some fabulous times in this kitchen and with the aspect out to the garden through the bi-folds, this is the room that I will miss the most!
The Dumping Room
Leading out from the kitchen is our dumping room, or utility room if we use its official title. This room has been invaluable for its storage capacity and is where we keep all our crap. Oh, and the washing machine and cleaning stuff. It also has a door leading out into the garden but is a wasted opportunity to put up more storage for more of our crap as we never use it.
Downstairs Shower Room
Our glorious downstairs bog and shower which leads off the utility room was the last room to be decorated in our house (finished 3 days ago!) We kept it plain white after the renovation but it just wasn’t me. Inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest, I painted the room Harley Green by Little Greene Paint Company with pink accessories, some shelves and changed the grouting from white to black.
It’s a whole new room now and makes me so much happier when I’m hiding from the kids… sorry! Using the loo!
The Play Room/Office/Reception Room
Another reason we bought our house was the extra reception room. It was originally the garage so is long and thin but gave is that little bit more space downstairs.
At the point of buying, our kids were 3 and 1 years old and with that age came mountains of plastic toy tat and other toddler paraphernalia. We were lucky enough to have a 2nd reception room when we were still living in Married Quarters and I loved the fact that you could keep the toys in there and shut the door at the end of the night and walk into a relatively tidy living room.
However, as my kids grew up, they spent more time in the living room than the play room and it just became a glorified office space. This room has now had more makeovers than Laurence Llewyn-Bowen could shake a Unicorn glittered poo stick at. When we moved the sideboard out to put it into the kitchen, we moved the sofa bed under the gallery wall and turned this room into a movie room with large projector screen and projector.
Like the family space in the kitchen, we have used this room more in the last 3 weeks than in 4 years of living here!
It’s amazing how you can keep reinventing your house if you just move a piece of furniture around.
Let’s head upstairs
When the previous owners converted the garage into living space, they handily built a double extension which meant they added to double bedrooms upstairs and this was a huge factor when we bought the house. It meant we had 4 double bedrooms and a small single upstairs with a family bathroom.
At first, we toyed with turning the box room into an en suite to the master bedroom but discounted it because 1. The amount it would have cost to install would not increase the value of the house to make it worth it as we would be losing a bedroom and 2. The master bedroom is quite small and as we didn’t need the 5th bedroom, we could turn it into a dressing room to free up more space in the master bedroom. It is now full of clothes which around 70% do not fit me and high heel shoes I never wear but that’s another story!
Continuing our house tour up the stairs, the bathroom is the first room to the right. This was another room we completely gutted and renovated (you can read my bathroom renovation post here) and a bit like the tiled back-splash in the kitchen, the bathroom was planned around the tiled floor (can you see my obsession with patterned tiles?)
It is very small for a family bathroom so I wanted to put in a claw foot stand alone bath tub so you could see the tiles running underneath the bath and give you the impression it was bigger.
As we were ripping out a cupboard in the bathroom to make way for a standalone shower, I wanted a large vanity unit with sink so we could still store all our toiletries out of the way. This is probably another regret I have about the renovations. The shower is quite small because of the size of the bathroom (2.3m x 1.8m) so we never really use it. It feels quite claustrophobic in there and we always use the larger downstairs shower. If I were to do it again, I would have a larger bath with shower above and more storage.
The Guest Bedroom
I have probably had the most fun in this bedroom. Haha, no, not like that! As this bedroom was only really used when we had people staying over, I was constantly redecorating it, experimenting with colours and practising my styling techniques. This room was where I put up my first mural wallpaper and my love affair with all things floral began.
It’s still one of my favourite rooms, it is bright and airy, has an original fireplace and lovely exposed wooden floorboards. It has also been a god send during lock-down as the dressing table has been turned into an office space for Mr B! A very pretty office space, that’s for sure!
The Main Bedroom
The master bedroom is slightly bigger than the guest bedroom but is pretty much the same footprint. Originally, I kept this bedroom plain grey and white but my love for colour crept in and it has been blue, yellow, green and pink, with me finally settling on grey and blue with splashes of mustard!
We had a reclaimed fireplace put in this bedroom and with some leftover tiles from the bathroom, created a hearth which still looks fabulous and creates a real focal point in the room. The only thing that steals its thunder is our herringbone style wardrobe from Next. I always get asked so many questions about this piece of furniture on Instagram!
The Box Room
Something you’ve never seen on my Instagram but included in the house tour is our box room. It stores all my clothes, shoes, handbags, suitcases and household crap and there’s not much else to say about it to be honest! Other than I am so glad we didn’t turn it into an en suite and has been invaluable as storage space!
Walking back down the landing and across the stairs is another little landing with skylight and this leads to my daughter and son’s bedrooms.
Emiko’s room is above what would have been the garage, so like the office/movie room downstairs, it is very long and thin. We’ve always had a bit of difficulty trying to arrange the furniture in this room as, no matter what we did, it felt like a furniture corridor. We’ve recently had another shuffle around and are now happy with how it looks. She also has a huge floral mural in her room (a bargain from Komer Products via Wayfair at £79) an IKEA day bed and a pink bed canopy which I think really finishes off the room!
My Son’s Bedroom
Last, but not least on the inside of the house tour, is my son’s bedroom. I would say this room has been the most challenging to decorate, why are boys’ rooms notoriously difficult? A bit like my bedroom, we have seen many different wallpapers and colours over the years (all to the amusement of my 5-year-old son who couldn’t give a monkeys) but we are finally happy with how it looks.
Again, a large wallpaper mural from Rebel Walls has provided the basis for this room, giving it a jungle theme. We swapped his cabin bed for a house bed from Wayfair which made the room feel bigger as the cabin bed was too big and bulky for his room. I need to paint the last two walls and then I can finally put my paintbrush down!
Finally, The Garden
Going outside on our house tour, is the garden! This has seen a dramatic change in the last couple of months, all inspired because we went into lock down and knew we would be using this space a lot more.
When we moved in, we inherited a rather lovely and somewhat characterful garden. It was separated into zones with a play zone at the back, a pond and a few trees in the middle of the lawn, a chicken coup to the left with a tree house perched on top and a gravel area around the side with a bistro set.
I really liked the garden, but as we had small children and absolutely no interest in gardening, we had all if it taken out, the ground flattened and new lawn laid. We put our huge 14ft trampoline in the back corner under the trees and paid to have decking put to the side of the house where the conservatory used to be.
3 years went by and although we had the occasional BBQ and the kids used the trampoline, we never sat out in the garden. It is east facing so the trampoline got most of the sun and the decking area where I envisaged us all sitting with a G&T was never used. Until I had a brainwave! “Why on earth did we put the trampoline where it gets all the sun?” I thought. Within 2 weeks we had ripped up the decking, moved the trampoline to the side of the house and created my med inspired garden in the back corner, under the trees where it got the sun until at least 8pm.
We use the garden every day now without fail. We have recently bought a hot tub which sits next to the seating area and have had many wonderful late nights sat in this corner with family and friends.
We also have a large outdoor garden room with electrics and lights. A bit like the box room, this has just become a huge dumping ground and we have never really used it to its full potential. I think if we were to stay in the house, that would have been our next project and I would have liked to turn it into a bar or kids’ room.
The one thing I have realised since sorting out the garden, is how important a garden is to a house! You can pretty much do anything to a home, renovate, decorate, extend… You can completely change the footprint of a house but there is not a lot you can change about a garden. You cannot change the size or the way that it faces so this is going to be a huge factor when we buy our next house.
That’s it folks
Phew! Sorry about that. That turned into a bit of an epic post and house tour but once I started writing I realised how much time, effort and love we have put into our house. Why on earth do you want to move I might hear you say? Well, for a start I would like a south or west facing garden. We would also like bigger rooms as, although we have a lot of rooms, they are quite small. I would also like to reconfigure the kitchen and have a bigger island as this is the space we use the most.
But ultimately, I have itchy feet and I am eager to do another renovation! Watch this space…