It’s been a while since I’ve just talked about what’s going on around here in terms of making progress on the house. I think because Instagram seems to be getting so much focus these days, I tend to chat more about the day-to-day there than I do on my blog but of course, I know not everyone who reads here necessarily bothers with Instagram or follows me over there (although, really you should) or even sees all my posts (thank you algorithm for being such an a**hole). Plus, I love that my blog has always been a journal of our plans for this house and I’d never abandon that original purpose in favour of anything else. So here we are.
I had spoken a few months ago about our plans for reworking the entire downstairs on the west side of the house. At the moment, it incorporates the dining room as well as a rather sad utility room and a horrible bathroom that we never even use (it’s that bad). We have plans to remove the wall between the dining room and utility room and putting on a small extension to the back of the house to create a beautiful open plan kitchen diner. You can read more about our plans that in this post.
We actually started the process before we moved in and I met up with the architect to discuss ideas with her back in early March. We moved at the tail end of March and by May, she was here, measuring everything up and coming up with a beautiful design. Of course, every step of this process is a long one. We waited for the drawings to be created and we had to submit everything to council to get Lawful Development approval – that process alone took a few months and in the meantime, we were meeting with building surveyors and structural engineers and needing things like party wall permissions from the neighbours. We are not from the area originally so we also had to try and find at least three recommended local building firms to provide quotes. Every step in the process takes weeks (or months) and you simply have to wait until you can take the next step.
Thankfully, we got approvals on everything back in early September and received the final tender drawings from the architect and structural engineer so we could start getting estimates. Once we were able to speak to builders and have them over, we were being told that there was no way they could fit us in before Christmas. Even the estimates have taken weeks to come back and I don’t even have all our estimates in place at this point (I need to chase again!). I naively thought back in April that we’d easily have it all done by October or November – hahaha! Oh, how wrong I was! To be honest, the best builders WILL be busy and so I suppose it’s just the way things go.
And now, we are entering the colder months and removing walls and starting a huge job when the weather is turning is just not ideal regardless. So, we are pushing back our plans and looking to start work in the early Spring. I’m disappointed of course – I hate my kitchen with a passion and I know that making these changes are going to be hard in the short term but so so worth it in the long term. And so, we’re just rolling with the punches here and trying to get on with other work that we can complete in the meantime.
And so, we’ve decided to work on the living room whilst we wait. It does make me laugh how many people think we painted the room this colour and added the wallpaper when that’s not the case at all. We inherited the look from the previous owners and while it’s been fine for now, it’s just not what I would have chosen myself. It was serendipitous that the things we had from the previous house worked really well against the wall colour and so it’s not been difficult to live with – in fact, it’s probably one of the more successful rooms in the house! But that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay this way! ;)
In terms of what we’ve already done in here – well, it’s been fairly minimal! We had all the electrics replaced on this side of the house a couple of months ago and so we replaced the light fitting and changed the locations of a few of the plug sockets and light switch (although they are currently just the bog-standard white ones you can get anywhere so they need changing!). We also fitted a gorgeous set of shutters which I shared on the blog recently from The Shutter Store. We also removed the carpeting that was in here and whilst the original floorboards photograph pretty well and it does look better than the original carpet, they are, in fact, in pretty bad condition!
So while I’ve not got everything totally nailed down just yet, here are a few of our plans…
For the floors, we’re installing a gorgeous engineered oak parquet flooring in a herringbone pattern to match the original flooring (in terms of style and size – not necessarily colour as we’ll refinish these in the future) in our hallway as seen above. I’m working with a fabulous company on this one so I’ll be sharing all the details once we make a start on that. Wayne has installed a ridiculous amount of flooring in his time but it’s the first time we’ll be attempting herringbone parquet so this should be interesting! We’re doing lots of research on proper installation methods and gearing ourselves up in the meantime.
I loved doing the moulding detail in our old dining room (seen above) and so I want to repeat this effect on the walls in our living room. We’ll be installing all of that as a DIY once more. The walls will be painted in a lovely soft neutral shade. I’m currently on the lookout for a pale creamy beige – something that’s not too yellow but also not too grey! I’ve been testing a few shades but haven’t quite landed on it yet so more sample pots are on the way! I know how everyone loves that strong colour on the walls right now and I’m sure there will be plenty of people disappointed that I’m not going with something equally as strong but it’s important to me that the things placed in the room are the stars and the backdrop is just quietly beautiful – that’s the hope anyway!
As much as I would love to get a marble fireplace mantle (my dream for a long time), I just don’t think our budget will stretch to it and so I’m going to be painting the one we currently have. I want there to be some contrast with pale walls. The current brick hearth will be replaced with tiles (samples for those are on the way too) and the current tiles in the fireplace surround will be changed out too. Choosing tiles is a little trickier because they need to be heat resistant but I really want the fireplace to be a feature in the space.
Much of the furniture will remain the same including the vintage shelving unit, the vintage bar cart, the gold cabinet our television is on (from Swoon Editions), the vintage white mirrored cabinet and the coffee table (purchased an age ago from West Elm). The rug may stay – I’m not sure just yet if I’ll get anything else in here because every rug we’ve ever had has been destroyed by our pets so I’m reluctant to get anything else other than cowhide!
What we will be changing is the sofas in here. I have loved my olive green chesterfield for many many years as you know but after 8 years, I figure it’s a good opportunity for a change! I’ve had my heart set on this one for quite a long time so I’m very excited about finally ordering it…
Of course, lead times on sofas are quite long so we may have the other work completed in here first before the new sofa arrives (we haven’t even ordered it yet!) but eventually, it’ll happen. I spoke a bit about this sofa in this post and I’m still in love with it. We really wanted a chaise-style lounge and I adore the mid-century styling. I’ve toyed with other shapes and styles but I just keep going back to this one and Wayne loves it too so I suppose that’s as good a sign as any that this is the one! I received samples of the fabric as well and the colour is a beautiful deep burgundy shade (less purple and much redder than it’s coming up on my screen!). It’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m sure it’ll provide exactly the kind of contrast I’m looking for against neutral walls.
We are also planning on getting a small 2-seater sofa in here. I’ve had my heart set on a pink one for a while and the one above has been a favourite for a while – plus the company I’m considering buying from is local to me which makes me happy… although I admit I’m slightly nervous about my dog destroying that gorgeous colour. I think that burgundy/pink combo is just stunning and I’m trying to keep myself from using it in every single room in this house and kind of failing. Ahh well. The heart wants what the heart wants! I’m still like 85% sure of this one although I may end up changing my mind 20 times by the time we get to ordering it so no promises!
I’d also love to get a big vintage French style mirror in this room – over the fireplace or possibly over the sofa. This one from Anthropologie is right at the top of my list but I’m going to need to find a cheaper version of it somehow because these babies do not come cheap *sob* And some new art pieces as well although I’ve not chosen them just yet!
Oh and one more thing – I’d love to replace the radiator in here with something that’s more in keeping with a Victorian style. Of course, that white one sticks out like a sore thumb against dark walls but with the shutters, it’s even worse! It makes sense to do it at the same time as the flooring is replaced.
This is a really rough draft of my moodboard and things are constantly changing on it but you can kind of see how the room might look once everything is done!
I think this room will take shape over time to be honest – not as in years but over the next couple of months. A lot of it is dependant on the budget, of course. We are saving up as much as we can for the extension and so I don’t want to dip too deeply into that fund for this room. Add to that the fact we haven’t had all our estimates on the building work so we’re flying blind a bit here in terms of how much we do have to spend on the living room. But I do want to get the major works out of the way at least which means the dressing and finalising of the space will just be one of those things that happens over time so I’m not rushing anything.
So that’s the plan for now and I’m really excited to get started on it all. I need to get all my dates in place and plan out the works but I’m hoping the majority of it will be done before Christmas, all going well. For those of you who love the dark wall colour, I hope you’re not too disappointed but I promise the room will be lovely once it’s all completed! Stick with me here! ;)