Updating our family home

Our house was always going to be a project.  When we bought it nearly four years ago it was the first time it had been on the market since it was built in 1956 and although it was in a very liveable and good condition it was really outdated.  Being nearly 5 months pregnant when we moved in I was keen to get our bedroom decorated first so I had somewhere I was comfortable and could relax.  We also wanted to change the bathroom too as it was quite a big job and not one we wanted to be doing with a new-born in the house, plus with it being such an old bathroom I knew I would just feel cleaner using a bathroom that we had put in rather than using someone elses.  I should probably mention at this point that my husband is a plumber so thankfully bathrooms are kind of his forte! I didn’t have much say in that room and just let him get on and do his thing.  Lastly, we needed to the nursery too because although we knew baby wouldn’t be sleeping in there right away we needed a place to keep all the hundreds of things that come with a baby.  These were all big jobs; each room needed plastering, new electrics, lights, radiators, doors, windowsills, skirting, and architrave and that was all before even thinking about paint colour and carpet…so lots to do, I expect I’ll share photos of each of these at a later date.

Two months after our little girl was born Mr G was at it again, smashing the living room up this time.  This was another big job and he did most of it himself at weekends and evenings which was tough going with a two month old.

Fast forward nearly four years since we moved in and our dining room and kitchen still remain the same except for the addition of a set of bifold doors we had fitted last year in the dining room to replace the existing window. Our house has a very traditional layout for its time, we have a living room and dining room both with fireplaces and then a small kitchen next to the dining room.  It’s such an outdated floor plan as families just don’t live like this nowadays.  When I’m in the kitchen cooking I’m shut off from the rest of the house, which isn’t ideal when you have two little ones to keep an eye on! It’s also not a very social space and when we do have a large group of people over we all end up sitting in different rooms or I’m away from everyone else whilst sorting food and drinks in the kitchen.  It’s certainly no party kitchen! Also we only have one toilet in the house (I know first world problems, right?) so we really could do with a downstairs toilet too.  Finally this year we have decided it’s time to start the work! We’ve had our plans drawn up and the quotes are in and the builders are arriving in May to start the extension.  Exciting, dusty and expensive times are ahead for sure!

Our budget is fairly small so we’re limited to what we can actually do as we aren’t prepared to cut corners and still want a nice finish.  If we had all the money in the world I would extend it very differently but unfortunately we’re not in a position to be able to go crazy and so that will have to wait for quite a few years. It will help massively that we can do a lot of the work ourselves.  We are going to take an area out of the kitchen and turn this into a downstairs toilet.  It’s an area that’s half under the stairs so it’s going to be a bit tricky working out where everything will go, especially as I’m hoping to get a tumble drier in there and a cupboard for the ironing board.  We will then have a small extension on the back of the kitchen.  We don’t have a huge back garden so the further we go out the more we will eat into the garden which I don’t fancy doing.  What we lose in the kitchen by adding the toilet we will gain in the new extension.  I’d like a vaulted ceiling with a sky light on the new kitchen roof to maximise the light and we’re also considering adding a small window along one of the walls in the kitchen.  Then we are having the wall between the kitchen and dining room knocked down to make a kitchen diner which will make it a more sociable space and definitely more family friendly.  To make sure we get as much light in as possible we have also decided to add double doors in between the living room and dining room.

Mr G reckons it will be finished in autumn, if I’m being realistic I think it will be more like Christmas.  I’m not being pessimistic but I think if I think like this I’m less likely to get frustrated with living in building a site! The plan is for him to take some time off work to fit the kitchen and the cloakroom but the rest of it will need to be done evenings and weekends.  We are having some builders who we know in to build the kitchen extension and knock the kitchen walls down.  My dad is a carpenter so will be doing the roof (if I can get him off of the sodding golf course) and we also know a plasterer already too.  Everything else Mr G is pretty much capable of.  It’s true what they say, ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’! I look forward to sharing some pictures as the work begins.

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