This is the next big project.  We have done nothing in here since we moved in apart from replace the fireplace.  It feels a bit like an old people’s home at the moment due to the eclectic mix of chairs we have in there and it’s always freezing cold.  To be honest we don’t really use it much as neither of us like it in there due to the drab wallpaper and dirty old carpet.

With everyone coming for Christmas we’re on a mission to get the room looking its best.  Last weekend we started by taking down the horrible wooden blinds that were here when we moved in and it instantly looked better:


It will be tight timings wise to get it all done but The Husband reassures me it will be fine and done in time to get the tree up!

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The basement has quickly become the hub of the home and we’ve been spending loads of time down there.  There is still a fair bit of touching up to do on some of the paint work and the bathroom is not 100% finished but we’re really enjoying the space.

I don’t think we have had the dividing doors shut at all and the big space feels really warm and cosy thanks to the new floor and fire.  It’s funny to think that it was just a dirty concrete floor for most of the year and we didn’t come down here at all…or that it was once our bedroom!

We’re now starting to turn our attention to the furniture we want.  It turns out that buying a sofa is pretty stressful!  We’d spent hours researching designs and costs online and then spent a fun(!) day driving around to all the different shops.  The quality of the material and the way they were built was really extreme and unfortunately very few of the ones we had seen lived up to our expectations.  We’re going to be sitting on it every day so want something that is going to last.

In the end we decided on one from BoConcept.  The unique little designs to keep the cushions in place and the quality of the materials available really impressed us.  Most importantly it was really comfortable – even for The Husband and his extra long legs!  We were even lucky enough to find the one we wanted being listed on one of the store’s clearance sites which was a huge cost saving – those sort of things never normally happen to us!

We were really restricted on the size because of the wall that sticks out but it fits perfectly…all it needs now is some cushions:

IMG_5897The only glitch was getting it into place.  The back window was too small and the stairs were too tight so unfortunately the stair rail had to come  out:


Originally we had been looking at a small chair to go with the sofa but we’ve decided to wait and see how we use the space first before we buy anything as it will cut off that side of the room.

Attention has now moved to storage and The Husband has once again decided to make everything himself.  I’m not sure it will end up saving us any money due to all the paint and wood we’ve had to buy but at least we know it will fit perfectly.

We’ve not had a TV since the start of the summer and neither of us has really missed it as we’ve had the iPad and our laptops.  We also wanted to wait and see exactly where the new one would go rather than rush out and buy one that ended up not fitting the space.  On Friday, we made the most of the Black Friday deals to get a new one in time for Christmas and The Husband has been hard at work making a bespoke stand:

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An extra shelf has now been added and the soft close doors match the floor:




Work has also begun on a unit for The Husband’s office to match:

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We have lots of guests coming for Christmas so are on a mission to get as much done as possible so it looks more homely and less like a squat!

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Compared to everything else in the house this is probably the biggest project and so we have left it until last to think about.  It’s also the one area that I really care about and am keen to have a say on what goes where.

When we were house hunting we wrote a list of things that we weren’t prepared to compromise on.  We wanted a:

  1. hallway
  2. guest room with its own bathroom
  3. outside space for entertaining
  4. third reception room
  5. study
  6. walking distance from town
  7. quiet road
  8. side gate / easy access for bikes
  9. double glazing (which we don’t have but I wouldn’t change our windows now we’re in as I really like the old glass)

However, right at the top of the list was:

  1. a kitchen with room for a table
  2. a kitchen with lots of surface space

We definitely don’t have that at the moment but hopefully we’re getting closer.  This is what we currently have:


It’s fine and it has suited us well over the last three years but I can’t wait to have a table so that I don’t have to eat every meal off my lap but also so that we can have friends over.

We have very little storage at the moment and things are slowly breaking.  The most recent was the freezer which was actually a blessing in disguise as it made us realise there was a fault.  The wall it backed onto was randomly home to the old water tank which we have always found odd.  We couldn’t find it when we first moved in but after discovering that wine in the cupboard in front was always warm we tracked it down!  We had it disconnected when we put the new boiler in but it can’t have been done well and must have been dripping for months and months.  The shower room at the end of the house has always been horrible and damp but had got much worse and so we were lucky to discover it when we did.  I can’t wait to knock the wall down and get it out completely.

The Husband has had his graph paper out again and has planned out the whole space and we’ve recently had two kitchen designers draw it all out for us and add in a few small builds.  We’re going to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, build into the fireplace in the dining room and knock down the fake wall in the kitchen and get rid of that fireplace.

The structural engineer has been and we think we have found the units we want so all we need now is some dates as to when the builder can start.  We had hoped to get it done this year but didn’t want to be worrying about whether or not it would be done in time for Christmas so have decided to put it on hold until the New Year….apart from the awful mess and disruption I can’t wait!

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The top floor landing is a real sun trap and is turning into one of my favourite parts of the house.  It’s always nice and warm and really bright and airy.

Getting the window repaired turned into a bit of a nightmare as it took far longer to do than we’d hoped and therefore caused us long delays but it was definitely worth doing.  We had to have it hand made to fit the shape and installing it was not easy but we got there in the end.IMG_3407
IMG_3413We replaced the handles that came with it almost immediately so that they were in keeping with the rest of the house but we recently added some extra locks too:


If it had been left to me I probably wouldn’t have thought about changing them but it was definitely the right thing to do as they look so much better.

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My biggest mission throughout this whole house project has been to make it as warm and cosy as possible.  We’ve now got blinds on nearly all the windows, we have a fully insulated roof (and can no longer see the roof tiles), we have new radiators in all of the rooms and we have lots of working fireplaces.

The first was this one in the living room:

Then we fixed this one in our bedroom: 
IMG_0655And this week we were excited to have the latest one installed in the basement:  IMG_5889

It has really transformed the space and we’re so excited that we went for it after going back and forth for so long about whether it was worth it or not.  We’re probably going to paint the handle a walnut colour too but other than that it is all set up and ready to use.  We got it from The Harrogate Stove Company and the team there have been brilliant.  We’re actually excited about the temperature dropping so we have an excuse to use it!

We now just need to do the following to fully insulate this house:

  1. fix the living room blinds – as the ones in there are useless and provide no insulation
  2. hang a curtain by the front door to stop the draught coming in
  3. hang a blind on the top floor by the large window
  4. put some blinds up in the basement windows
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We’ve been cracking on with getting the basement finished over the last few weeks and trying to get the floor down.  It’s been a rewarding job in that you can notice the difference quite quickly and so that has definitely helped our moral!  We’d got to a point when the plastic was going down and the hearth was in on this post.

Thanks to the investment of another bit of kit (some work bench thingy) cutting the wood has been nice and speedy and so it has been quite easy to put down.  We’re really pleased with how it looks and the fact we went with the walnut.

The kit was all quite easy to use too which helped:


The Husband spent quite a bit of timing sorting the wood to get a nice mix of colour and grains:


This is looking from the ‘TV area’ into the ‘office’.


This is the corridor looking into the bathroom:


This is looking from the bathroom into the little store-room at the end:


We have also had the final two new radiators installed down there so they all now match and it looks much better:


The electrician also came to move the plug socket that was in the fireplace.  We always thought it a really odd place for a plug socket and can only imagine the previous owners had an electric fire in there or a desk.  We still need to fill and plaster the hole but that should be quite easy…

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The biggest issue has been having to move all the piles of wood around to get to different parts of the room.




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In the last couple of months we have not been down to the basement very much and it is funny to think that when we first moved in this is where we spent 90% of our time.  Things are about to change though and once we start to use the space again the whole flow of the house will change.

The plan is still to use one of the rooms as The Husband’s office and the other as a TV room/library.  It will be amazing for The Husband to have a dedicated zone to work in as he works from home and currently moves from one spare space to the next.  It will also mean that at the end of the day he can shut the door and leave work behind.

Following the great flood, the insurance company retanked and decorated the whole space apart from the floor.  This post shows where we had got to and our hope that we’d have the floor down in a few months.  Unfortunately lots of other things took precedence and then the dressing room took far longer than expected but we’re now ready to transform the space.

We want this area to have a bit more of a contemporary feel than the rest of the house and the radiators that were installed as part of the insurance work reflect that.  As always, my priority is to make the space warm but the rooms are not neat squares and so there are a few odd walls jutting out for us to work with.  After lots of deliberation we have finally decided to install a log burner down there.  We kept changing our minds as we weren’t sure if it was the best use of the budget but the problem is that if we don’t do it now it will be much harder to do at a later date.  We also don’t want the rooms to get too hot (well The Husband doesn’t) and so we’ve decided to utilise the space in his office.  We can then leave the doors open to warm up the second room rather than having it directly next to where we will be sitting.

The space is directly below where we want the new oven to go and so the first company we spoke to said we would have to have an external flue which suddenly hiked up the cost and meant we’d have an ugly pipe running up the side of the house.  Luckily another company said it could be done and that they would rather do it internally.  We’ve had the chimneys tested and it is possible but due to the proposed kitchen plans we are a bit restricted on the size of the flue we can have.  We have finally chosen this one but are unlikely to install it until we start work on the kitchen so it can all be done at the same time.  We’ve gone for a dark grey finish with the log holder underneath.

But before that can come we need a hearth so that has been The Husband’s first job down there:

IMG_5846IMG_5852IMG_5860The next job is the floor itself.  We can not have solid wood floor down there due to the temperature fluctuations so that was the first decision made for us.  Originally we were going to have a light wood floor to ensure the space was as bright as possible but we had always said we wanted a dark wood on the ground floor.  After nearly 20 different samples of oak we suddenly decided we wanted the two floors to match and switched to mahogany instead.  I am still a bit unsure about the lacquered shiny finish as I don’t want it to look like a laminated floor but it’s arrived and we’re really happy with the quality of the packs we have opened.

Despite the floor being tanked The Husband still wanted to wrap the floor so he has spent the last few days doing that in preparation for the underlay and floor itself:


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I couldn’t even lift one box of the floor so felt sorry for The Husband who had to move it all in himself.  His Dad is coming next weekend and so the plan is to get as much done then as possible.

One final job that has been done is that all the switches and plug sockets have been changed to match the rest of the house:


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