Bedroom Renovation: 3 Things I Would Have Done Differently

Bedroom Renovation, HOME RENOVATION

If you weren’t aware, we have been renovating our bedroom for months. Since the end of last year to be exact. We needed the bedroom walls taking right back so we could have the room plastered and painted and even with all of the time to consider certain things, make changes and know exactly what I want there are still things o would change about the process. I thought I’d note a few down so I can remember what I would have done different, with the idea in mind that of course money is endless. As it’s not unfortunately we have had to make a couple of compromises. These aren’t big things and I am incredibly happy with how the bedroom has turned out however I realised 3 things that I would now do differently (Hi hindsight, how ya doing?)

1. Have fitted wardrobes. The alcoves are an awkward size and even the ‘fitted’ PAX system in IKEA didn’t come in the sizes we wanted. We arranged for a joiner to make us some fitted wardrobes but due to COVID delaying his other work that needed doing before ours I didn’t want to wait, it ha already been a couple of months and I wanted the house back to normal. It was then decided that we would have my old wardrobes from my parents house. This worked well for me as they were the style I wanted anyway and would have repurchased and well, they were free. (I mean I paid for them yeeeears ago but I wouldn’t be spending again.)

2. Have a decorator in. A professional would have had the room painted to perfection in two days and all I would have to have done is make the bed and display some candles. A pro would have included getting the skirting board and coving on and painted in the two days without us having to lift a finger. I’m estimating it would have cost around £300-£400 for the work but in some cases it’s worth having the job done in a reasonable time. As much as I love my family for helping and am forever grateful I’d rather them not have to do work when they could be relaxing or doing their own projects.

3. Chipped in for the plug sockets. The sockets either side of the bed have always stuck out and I’ve always disliked them but unfortunately I didn’t have time to chip them in further before the plasterers arrived and now the room is finished I wouldn’t dream of doing them and messing up the smooth walls. It’s a shame but luckily they will be covered by the bedside tables in this case. They will also look slightly better after having new covers (to include the USB option) put on.

This all being said I LOVE the new bedroom look and although there are some things I would have done differently they would either cost money (that I was unwilling to spend) or would have been too messy. The more that gets done in the house the more I realise where I want to out money and where I believe I can do the job myself or with help of course. For me it’s about weighing the options and seeing what comes out on top.

We are also nearly finished! The mattress arrives later this week. I got impatient and moved both bedside tables, even though we were technically using them in the back bedroom I could no longer wait and the window dressing is being altered from curtains to a blind #mumskills.

Is there anything you would change in your house after a DIY project? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram @lorenjessica_

5 Must-Haves Buying Our First Home

HOME RENOVATION

I recently posted a list of things that I would want a new house to have if we were to move again and it got me thinking back to the must haves that I wanted our now house to include. We were first time buyers so had a lot to learn (we still do) and we were set on a certain radius as we wanted to be close to family and friends. This in itself narrows the options down a fair bit as in a suburban area with a budget we find ourself set within limitations. We just had to find the diamond in the rough so to speak. or even better: the worst house on the best street. Even with certain limitations there were still compromises I wouldn’t make and I thought I would jot them down.

If we hadn’t have found the right house we were in a comfortable position renting a nice cottage and simply wouldn’t have moved at the time but kept looking. We simply wanted to start putting money into our own house and we were in a position to do so. When we moved in our house needed quite a lot of work so I’ve added some pictures to give you a feel of what it was like after just after we’d started but more on that later.

A Garden. We knew we were going to get a dog as soon as we moved in so a reasonable size garden was a must. We hit the jackpot when we bought our house as the garden is a good size and south facing. We haven’t done much to the garden since moving in and we keep saying ‘next year’ and one year will be the right time but for now the majority of it is laid to lawn with an apple tree. (The apples get given to friends and family to make pies – have you seen me bake?)

A Hallway. Another item on my wish list was a hallway so that we wouldn’t be walking straight into the living room. For me I like to get in and have somewhere to take my coat off and have a little buffer to pick up the dirt before heading into the rest of the house. Saying this we don’t take our shoes off when getting in the house and used the back door leading straight into the kitchen for 3 and a half years of the 5 so this point did fall a little to the wayside but I still appreciate having a hallway.

A Project House. Yep it had to be a do-er upper. I wanted a renovation project and boy did we get one. Some times have been harder than others and it’s not cheap but when you stand back from a room and see the changes that you’ve made (with help of course) and know that you’ve learnt new skills doing so, well, I love that feeling. When we need a tradesperson to do a particular job I don’t mind getting quotes and enjoy knowing I’ve done the research to getting the best quote – and quality. I may be weird but I would do it time and time again without hesitation and if anything you can only get better at things you repeat right?

Off street parking. This one doesn’t need much explaining. I wanted to park in front of my house, who doesn’t.

A Good Location. After all it’s all about the location. I know it sound cheesy or cliche or whatever but when we saw our house, we knew. We were only driving round and had 2-3 more to check out afterwards but after seeing one other from the outside I didn’t want to see anymore. I just wanted to get that one, our house now. It was in a quiet location but close to amenities and was the worst house on the best street due to the work that needed doing to it. It was in a good location in regards to family and work and automatically I had set my heart on it. Something I wouldn’t recommend but do we ever follow our own advice? No. Exactly.

Now, call me spoilt or call it simply impossible but if we were to buy again I would want the same as above ADDED ON to the list of things I recently wrote about in my future home post. Compromise? Pffft.

DIY Drinks Cabinet Renovation

HOME RENOVATION, Uncategorized

I love a good renovation project whether the project is mine or not and I can always appreciate a before and after shot on Instagram for a job well done. Sometimes a smaller project (other than the rooms we are currently doing in our own home) are great to do as you see the result a lot quicker and can mainly do them yourself, not like our current bedroom renovation where we have had tradespeople in/waiting for lockdown to end etc. 

The DIY I’m talking about today was a project that my sister started. Soon to be moving she wanted a drinks cabinet to go in her new place and found one she liked on Facebook Marketplace for £10. She then chose furniture paint in duck egg blue and decorative wallpaper, both from Laura Ashley which came to £16 for both.

It soon turned into a family project as with DIY we all like to get involved in some way and the cabinet had been deconstructed and sanded, with the bulk of the structure painted before I got involved. The doors were then painted taking 3 coats as it was pale blue covering a dark wood. This being said there is still some paint left (maybe for another mini project?)

Once the painting had been completed and fully dried it was time to apply the wallpaper to the inside of the cabinet. They were sanded, again to give the smooth wood an abrasive layer for the glue to sink in. Each section was different in size so needed measuring, marking and cutting out from the roll. It was decided that the more of the peacock print the better and the floral splitting up the panels so the sections were pretty precise in their marking up. Doing this I believe gave the best effect and although it did use a little more paper than it could have it was definitely worth it. It was a standard length of wallpaper so we had plenty to work with and plenty left over but if I was to do a similar project with patterned paper it would make me think about the pattern, which parts I wanted more of and using this to calculate how much paper or vinyl actually needed.

We used PVA glue to attach the paper inside and it really worked well for a project like this instead of wallpaper paste as would be the standard. Once the paper was measured, cut and glued the task then fell to my mum to apply to the wood, she’s the one who wallpapers in the house and arguably has the eye for detail with things like this.

My sister then drilled the handles back onto the doors and the drawer so the decoration part was finished but not the project as a whole just yet. The drawer on the cabinet is a fake however my dad is making it into a real drawer by attaching runners and a base for it to also be used as a pull out tray for when drinks are served, they are just waiting on some parts to arrive to complete it and I can’t wait to see what it’s like finished.

Let me know if you’ve got any big or little DIY projects on the go either in the comments or on Instagram.

I can say that it has definitely inspired me to 1. Have a drinks cabinet in the house and 2. Do a little furniture project of my own. 

You know maybe after finishing the bedroom, putting shelves up in the kitchen, retiling the bathroom. Yeah, after that. 

5 *Different* Places to Shop for Homeware

HOME RENOVATION

Sometimes we can find treasures in the unlikeliest of places. Where we are used to going into a shop and getting exactly what we want sometimes furniture and home wares – often being bigger purchases – can be a little pricier than our budget allows. I’m not a stranger to a few bargain buys from various places other than the highstreet and believe in the saying ‘one mans trash is another mans treasure’.

I do still love the highstreet and there are some homeware brands that I will always purchase from because once you’ve found your favourites it’s hard not to, but over the years have found some great prices in unexpected places and I thought I’d go into a little detail about some of the other places I’ve made homeware purchases from.

1. The car boot. I have found some absolute treasures in the car boot and during summer I like nothing more than to head head out on a Sunday morning looking for a bargain. My favourite car boot find probably has to be my Fortnum & Mason large hamper for £4. It was half hidden and covered in blankets but I managed to see half of the print and had to have it. Car boots can be hit and miss and sometimes the only thing we’ll purchase is a cup of tea but other times I have been known to have left with 2-3 things, including a 20p Paris print in my living room. I tend to look for stalls that are clearly someone just having a spring clean, as I would, and have items that look well cared for.

Bargain Fortnum & Mason Hamper

2. Facebook marketplace. Another place I have previously purchased from. Now handed to my mum, I bought an IKEA cabinet from Facebook marketplace that sat in my hallway for shoes storage. I will say here that if you’re looking for something in particular going online can be a bit difficult. In relation to the cupboard in the hallway this is the old design unit and wasn’t the same as the one in the living room, even though they are both IKEA and technically the same product the style was updated at some point. Luckily they weren’t side by side but there is a requirement to potentially look at avoiding this in the future if I was ever to buy again to purchase another one or something similar to a product I already had.

3. Friends and family. When we first purchased our house hardly anything in it was new. The dining room table was one that my in-laws had in their garage. My bedroom chair was one that my mum wasn’t using and we covered to match our decor. Our bedside tables and wardrobe at the time were from friends that were having a house clearance. I’m sure I could go round the whole house and pick up furniture with a similar story and we are very grateful that we had the opportunity to save money when we first moved in with help from friends and family.

4. Charity shops. Much like with clothes there can be some absolute bargains to be found in local charity shops and some dedicated to just furniture. In here there is anything from coffee tables to three-piece suites and wardrobes at low prices. Sometimes these items may not be classed as modern however with a little paint the shabby chic style isn’t hard to achieve. I’ve done this myself with a few pieces of furniture including a previous wooden armchair and bedside tables that were previously my mother-in-law’s which I painted up to match our colour scheme in the bedroom at the time. More recently my sister purchased a classic cabinet and beautifully renovated it to match her new flat.

For number 5 I have to give an honourable mention to the bargain corner in IKEA. Although it is technically brand new and straight from the shop they have regular deals on ex-display furniture only found in store. These items can vary but sometimes you can find just what you were looking for as I did. I had been wanting Hermes bedside tables for a couple of months and at the time I couldn’t afford them. I then found them in bargain corner at £35 each saving around £50 off the usual RRP at the time because they were ex-display. They were in great condition and just needed the fixings removing. Similarly I was looking for a white gloss kitchen table but couldn’t see it on the shop floor. Lo and behold there it was, the exact one I wanted, fresh from display and marked down to £105.

It is always a good feeling when what you wanted goes into down in price at the right time and when you’re spending that little bit more on big items like furniture the more saving the better right?

Have you found bargain homewares at any of the places mentioned or have any other ideas on where to look?

5 Things On My Wishlist If We Moved House

HOME RENOVATION

Right now we have no intention of moving house. I know we probably will in the future but at this moment there are a few renovation projects that need finishing before I even look at a potential property purchase. That doesnt stop me from dreaming though and checking out Rightmove and on having lived in our home for a few years there are some things on the wishlist that if we were to move I would love the new place to have. All being said I love our home and the progress we’ve made from moving in to what it is now. It has a roof and walls and does everything it needs to do so we are incredibly grateful. We’re also on the property ladder whereas I understand that’s hard for many people at the minute so I’m very lucky to be having a wishlist for our theoretical ‘next’ home.

This is also a wishlist if money was no object and what I would look for in another property if we are lucky enough to purchase again in the future. I need a bigger house anyway, I need room for all the dogs I’m going to have.

  1. A downstairs loo. It would be great for parties and when having friends round as they wouldn’t need to go upstairs. We’re not a ‘shoes off’ kind of house (we have a dog and she doesn’t take off hers) but it would be nice if our future house was and we could lessen the carpet wear just slightly. It would also solve the issue of one of us in the bath (mainly me) and one of us needing the loo (mainly him). It’s a bit of a relaxation spoiler I’ll be honest and you can tell me its my own fault for having suuuuuper long baths but hey it is a ‘wishlist’.
  2. This is similar with the above but a bigger family bathroom would be a dream. At the moment our bathroom is on the small side and although we are lucky it completely functions as it should you can’t have two people brushing their teeth at the same time, there’s just not enough floor space (I know, problems). An ideal bathroom would have a separate bath and walk in shower and if we were going all out I would have enough room for a roll top bath but we could leave that to the 3rd house if need be.
  3. A utility room – Upstairs. Yeah I said it. I want my washing machine upstairs like the American houses have them. Please tell me why I bring my clothes downstairs, wash them, and then take them back upstairs. It makes no sense to me. I get that it is closer to the water supply but the toilet went from outside to inside and upstairs so I reckon we can arrange the washer to do the same.
  4. A working log fire in the living room. We could definitely fit one in this house but the amount of mess that it would include, the fact that the tv is on the wall and how small the living room is it just wouldn’t be worth the disruption in this house. It would be great to have a larger living space though one day and have a roaring, cosy log burner to curl up in front of. The dog I mean. Ok maybe myself too.
  5. A blank canvas. If we bought again I would take the house back to its bare bones and start completely from scratch. We weren’t too far off that when we bought our current home however now I know better and more of what/not to do I know more of what I would do and how I would want it to look.
Me stood in the renovated kitchen

And that’s only 5 things! I don’t ask for much do I? I am sure if I was to step foot in another house that was a potential future home I would decide on another set of criteria but that’s where compromise comes in (unless you build your own house I guess) and where decisions have to be made. Let me know what your dream home would have either here or on Instagram @lorenjessica_

Bedroom Renovation: Update 2 and Wishlist

Bedroom Renovation, HOME RENOVATION

We have a change of plan! What ever project went from start to finish without those words being uttered? Not one in our house that’s for sure. The bedroom renovation has been ongoing since the start of winter last year. It was a BIG job and then well, lockdown, so it has taken much longer than anticipated. But with a new month comes a new (finished) room.

There is still plenty that we need for the bedroom. Matching bedding is one of them. Because we have dusky sage green feature walls on both sides and then plain white walls I think going for white, creams and natural shades will make the room feel relaxed and comfortable. After a recent conversation with my mum we discussed how quality bedding, even when washed multiple times, can still stay in great condition. This is why I’m not worried about spending that little extra on a couple of good sets. We’re also slowly teaching Mia, at 5 years old, she’s not allowed on the new bed. It will be higher than our old one and with the change in room (back into the master bedroom) she will notice the difference and the change in rules. If not I guess I’ll have to get a throw!

As I mentioned it is a whole new bed we have had. That means we’re going to need a new mattress. The duvet came with the bed so no new one there and we recently purchased new pillows. The bed we’ve had is an ottoman style (to hold those extra sheets and throws I’ll be buying) and has sage green fabric finish. This will hopefully look great next to the sage feature wall although I haven’t actually seen these up close together yet as the bed is still in the packaging. Talk about leaving things until the last minute.

We already have bedside tables which I purchased from Ikea. I love the Hemnes range and wanted these bedside tables for months not knowing if they would fit but when I spotted them in bargain corner for £35 each I had to snap them up. Our previous bedroom was white and grey and I don’t think our grey lamps will look great against the green wall so new ones will have to be found sticking with the natural tones and nothing too big.

The wardrobe is one of the complications that has slowed the bedroom project from finishing. We were hoping to get fitted wardrobes in the alcoves of the room however due to the lockdown delay and the subsequent delays from this we had to change the plan – shock! I spent way too much time trying to pick a wardrobe but a conclusion was finally found in the form of my old wardrobe at my parents house. This saves us a good deal of money which always makes me happy during a DIY project.

Now all of the decisions have been made I can’t wait for it to now come to fruition. I’ll be taking plenty of images of the bedroom as it slowly starts coming together and I am sure I will find a couple more bits to add to the room so feel free to keep up to date over on Instagram @lorenjessica_ and say hello!

Home Renovation: Gravelling the Driveway

Garden Projects, HOME RENOVATION

Ourselves. Thats right. We are gravelling the driveway ourselves. If I would have known how heavy gravel *actually* was I may have reconsidered this choice. Yes I know we ordered 4 x 850kg bags of rock however I think I was so caught up in the end result that I forgot about raking and moving it. We also believed naively that we would be able to cut the bags as they came off the truck and the truck would be able to empty them in the middle of the driveway but nope. On delivery the bags actually get placed on the edge of the driveway so that the gravel gets scooped out. I am leaving that sentence there as a strong reminder in case I think about doing the same at another house. Even my husband who is no stranger to a little heavy work said that it is in fact, good graft.

On top of the gravel delivery I also purchased some flowers to line the outer border that I wanted to leave in as a bit of decor and bark to lay on top. I now can’t wait for each plant to grow to really fill it out in the purple shades I have chosen.

If you want to see a little more (and how much we underestimated the gravel quantity!) check out the DRIVEWAY RENOVATION VLOG below.

Any questions leave a comment or get in touch over on Instagram @lorenjessica_

Ways I’m Bringing Travel Into Our Home

Kitchen Project

We try to go away, visit somewhere new or take a weekend trip to a familiar place a few time throughout the year. This depends on what budget we have at the time and what holidays we have available with work and so on. Of course, when we aren’t away we spend a lot of our time at home. We have lived in our house for around 5 years now and I don’t think I will ever stop decorating or finding some kind of DIY job and because of this we will never be finished. Even though we are at home I enjoy bringing little bits or places we have been to inside. They can either spark memories of things we have seen and done or inspire more trips. I decided to put this little list together with some of the items we have brought in to our house and a few that I would love to include one day.

Prints

We have quite a few of these in our house. Our Kitchen has developed a Lake District print theme and we purchased these on a trip a couple of years back. We have visited both of the places they represent and they go perfectly with our blue chairs, win win. In this genre we also have a drawing of the Arc De Triomphe which I love in our living room. This was a car boot purchase for 20p(!) so a very cost effective way of bringing the travel memories home. Last but not least is our Venice print from Pretty in Prints. We had recently returned from our Venice holiday when I saw this on their Instagram page.

Decorative Items 

Our Bakewell Pudding Mini Crate and Paris tray sit nicely in this idea. These mini crates were very popular at one point but I hadn’t seen a Bakewell one until we visited Belper one day (I know not quite the right place!) We love the Derbyshire town so I had to make the purchase.

The wooden painted Paris tray was a gift. I’m pretty sure again this was in the wrong location as it was bought from a shop in Switzerland I believe. It is two of my favourite colours and its a bit beaten now (I even dug it out of a bag once as my husband had tried throwing it away) but I love the design and images reminding me of places we’ve been.

Holiday Photos

This is probably the most expensive way to get travel items in your home because you need to actually go on the holiday to get the photo. Photoshop not allowed for this one I’m afraid. You can’t risk a new friend popping over and asking you all about your trip to Japan because she caught sight of you in a photo in the hallway. These can certainly bring back memories of trips and experiences remembering being in that exact spot.   

I also have an idea on my wishlist and of course it had to be food and drink related. I love trying to recreate a meal at home that we loved whilst we were away somewhere. An Italian inspired risotto or an attempt at chimney cake from Budapest just binging meal inspiration home. I must admit cooking is not my strong suit so I am sticking with a beverage idea instead. We visited The Lakes Gin Distillery a while back and I would love to order a couple of bottles to remind us of that time and the location.

Have you got any travel inspired pieces in your home? What would you add?