Back in December we moved into our first house together, after living in a flat for three years. The whole place needs some TLC, lots of paint and we have big plans to transform it into our family home. We’re making small, affordable changes but they’re making a big difference already.
It’s been a little while since I talked about our home projects so I thought I’d share an update on what we’re working on, how it’s going and what we’re hoping to tackle over the next month or so.
We’re going about things in a bit of a haphazard way, if I’m honest. Rather than concentrate on one room at a time (which would be the sensible option) we’re making small changes here and there in different rooms. I say we – a lot of the work is being done by Oli while I’m watching the kids or working on my blog or business.
Over the last few months there have been a few changes in nearly every space in our house. I’m enjoying the process but it would be great to get one room completed and feeling like it’s ‘done’… even if that’s only done in the sense of the walls being painted, flooring finished and the furniture where we want it to be.
It’s the first room you see when you enter so it made sense to start with our hallway first.
The hallway is small and dark, with the stairs straight ahead and a door (which is usually open) through to the living room and kitchen. It may be tiny but I am so pleased it exists, even if it’s only as a dumping ground for our shoes at the moment.
It was painted in a creamy colour, with a fair bit of damage to the walls and a few repairs to the woodwork needed too. We laid flooring in all the downstairs spaces before we moved, and carpets upstairs a few weeks later, so the only thing left to do with the floor is to add in the edging strips for the laminate flooring. This is something we need to do in the living room too, and it’s one of those jobs that seems to end up at the back of the list – probably because it’s not very exciting!
We’ve started painting the hallway, stairs and landing in pure brilliant white and it’s already making a huge difference. I really hadn’t noticed just how yellowy the paint and woodwork was before, and how clean and bright it feels now. The ceiling above the stairs is going to be a bit of a challenge to get to, but I’m sure we’ll have the whole space painted before the end of next month.
After the walls and ceiling are painted there won’t be too many changes to make here. I’d love to swap our shoe rack (that’s honestly too small) for something with a bench seat, hooks and shelves but wonder if it might make the space feel too small. What do you think? I’m thinking about adding some photos or artwork to the walls in the landing off the stairs too, to add a bit of colour, and replacing the rug that’s just inside the door for something that suits the space better.
Moving out of the hallway, the next space is our living room. I love all the rooms in this house but this is one of my favourites. It’s north-facing so it can be quite dark but that makes it cosy too – it’s perfect for cuddling up on the sofa together and watching a film (or Peppa Pig).
This was one of the first rooms we focused on as it’s somewhere we all spend a lot of time, and I think it’s coming together well.
Like in the hallway, we have laminate flooring down in here and we also need to add the edging strips to finish it off. The walls have been painted in Dulux Timeless, a shade we’ve continued throughout the whole house (with the exception of the hallway/landing). We had the same shade in our flat and loved the way it was white but not too bright, it’s softer and warmer, and wanted that same base colour in our new home too. There are some finishing touches to do when it comes to the walls and paint but we’re nearly there.
Our furniture is roughly where we’d like it to be. I want to replace the coffee table with something that works better at some point and we might rethink the TV unit and storage in the future, but for now it does the job and we’re happy with it. I do think we need a rug in this space but I haven’t found the right one yet, so that might take a while longer. I’d love to add a plant or two in here as well and we’re going to replace the blind as soon as we find something we like.
Off the living room you’ll find our kitchen/diner and it’s my favourite place to spend my time indoors. I love sitting at the kitchen table and looking out at the garden – we seem to get a lot of birds and wildlife here which is so lovely. It’s also where we spend lots of time as a family – cooking, eating, colouring, working, and planning our garden!
Like every other room in this house, it’s very much a work in progress. Oli’s painted the walls and the floor’s been cleaned (although you wouldn’t know it after breakfast), and we’ve sort of got the furniture figured out. There was some damage to the walls in here too, and honestly we’ve just resigned ourselves to the fact that the walls aren’t going to be perfectly flat and pristine. I’m okay with that, because I don’t want to spend the time and money in having them replastered or anything like that. It’s an older house, it’s lived in – I don’t mind. The only thing we really do need to do in here decor-wise is make some adjustments to the curtains and buy a new blind for the window.
The kitchen cupboards are probably the area we need to focus on most – while they don’t need redecorating they do need some serious organisation. We moved from having a tiny kitchen to this one which is slightly bigger, but all we’ve done is fill it with more stuff. I really want to organise and streamline this so it doesn’t take looking through three cupboards to find the cereal bars, or unstacking frying pans to reach the saucepan.
We live in this room so much that it becomes a bit of a ‘dumping ground’ for various bits and pieces. Things end up on the dining table, the washing ends up piling up, and there’s a pile of objects in the corner that we have earmarked to go to the recycling centre (today, thankfully!). Once a few other spaces in our home (like the airing cupboard) are organised I think the kitchen will feel less cluttered and we’ll have more usable space near the patio doors.
I’m so excited about our plans for the garden. I’m going to write a whole post on it shortly, but in a snapshot we’re going to replace the fencing, add some grass and make it into an outdoor play and relaxing space.
We haven’t made many visible changes with the garden so far, apart from tidying it up, removing some concrete and making it safer. It honestly was, and still is, a total mess and that’s why I’m so excited to be working on it this Spring (hopefully!) so that it’s somewhat ready for Summer.
Heading back upstairs, our bathroom is at the top of the landing and although it’s smaller than our old one it’s much brighter. When we moved in this room wasn’t in great condition and we had to call someone out to check the bath wasn’t leaking, and it was a little dirtier than I’d have expected too. We’ve cleaned it up, Oli’s painted the room and it feels so much better already.
We’ve added an under-sink cupboard for storage – although I really need to spend some time moving things off the bath and into the cupboard, and a mirror above the sink too. There’s some work to do on the tiles as they’re all scratched and our first attempt at improving the appearance of the grouting didn’t work, but hopefully those will be small jobs that won’t take long. Again it’s something that’s not high on our priority list – the bathroom works, is bright and clean and I can live with the tiles for now.
I want to add some more colour into the bathroom and find a way to bring some more storage in too. There’s no space behind the door and I’m not wild about the stick-on shelves so I need to have a good think about how we could make something work. We have a yellow bathmat that’s ready to go down on the floor and a bright new shower curtain that I’m hoping will make the room feel cheery. I find bathrooms aren’t very exciting and I never spend very long in there, but maybe I’ll show it some more love once the other rooms are closer to being finished.
I love the kids’ bedroom and I’m really excited to make a start on decorating it. It’s south facing and gets so much light throughout the day, it’s really such a lovely space to play in.
It’s originally one of the rooms I wanted to tackle first but we ran into a few problems. The walls had some wallpaper bordering the whole room, and once removed it took some of the plaster away with it too. We filled in the spaces but filing it down was nightmare and created so much dust that we had to stop and rethink it. We’re thinking of bringing someone in to sand the walls down and bring them to a place where we can paint them – hopefully there’s a way of doing it that creates less dust and is less time-consuming.
Once the walls are ready, we’re thinking of going with a pale grey in here instead of white. As the room stays bright throughout the day I think it could handle colour better, but I do wonder if I’ll regret it at some point – we do love a white wall. When it comes to the styling I’m undecided too. I love the colour of Ottilie’s cot and wanted to use mint, peach and pale grey, but I’m really taken by using pale grey with bright, rainbow colours as accents through bedding and decor instead. What do you think?
Another thing I think we need to work on in here is the furniture. We moved Ottilie in earlier this month and it’s been going well, but did present some challenges when it came to arranging where their beds would go – especially as the wardrobe and bookcase are fixed to the wall and I don’t want to move them over and over. We’ve made it work for now but at some point I want to sit down and see if there’s a better way, as there’s a space by the window which isn’t being used to its best which is a shame in what’s not a massive room.
Lastly, our bedroom is a space that we’re really only just getting started with. We’ve prioritised our main family living areas and then the kids’ room, and honestly I don’t mind leaving our bedroom until last.
Oli has started painting our bedroom the last few weeks – mostly so that I could set up a mini home office in the corner of the room. Now that I’m running my business and blogging I need somewhere quiet to focus on bigger projects, and this was the only space in the house that would work. It’s tiny and I spent forever agonising over how to fit a desk in, but it does what I need it to do for now. The desk’s inexpensive and temporary (I’ll re-sell it when I upgrade) and I need to figure out some better storage, but that’ll come later on.
Like most of the walls in the house this room needs some filling and sanding before it can be painted, and we need to buy curtains or blinds. The bedroom furniture has been moved around and I love it how it is now. We have the chests of drawers either side of our bed and it’s a much better use of the space, which feels bigger now that Ottilie’s moved into sharing a room with Oscar. After painting and window dressing the main issue in here is much like the kitchen – getting and staying organised.
I think we’ll continue working on small projects in each room until we’re done – and I don’t know that we’ll ever be ‘done’! We’re going to focus on the garden this Spring as I really want that to be a space we can all use by the time Summer rolls around, and I want to get more organised in the kitchen and all of the rooms really as I think that’s a big help when it comes to making life a little bit simpler.
We’re going to get as much done in the next few months as we can so that we can enjoy Summer and keep things simple for September when Oscar starts school, but I’m really looking forward to continuing to make this house our home.