A house into a home

I thought today I would give you a little update on a few of my favourite changes we have made to our home. As of this month we have been living here for a whole year, which is frankly just CRAZY, where has that time gone?

 It was Easter weekend last year (which was actually a week or two later in the month last year) when we crazily tried to clean, paint, and move into this house before the end of the bank holiday. If any of you are thinking of doing it, I wouldn't advise it, mainly because everything is shut on the Sunday and has shorter hours on the other days, it doesn't help those "dammit we forgot to get so and so" moments at all!

We have managed to achieve so much in the past year, though it often doesn't feel like it because we haven't done any structural work. We have really started to show off our style for furnishings and although there are still lots of things we want to do to the house we plan to be here for a while to come yet so there is plenty of time to do it.

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One of the first things we did was tackle the kitchen. I had been saving bits of kitchenalia since I was 16 and had amassed basically a whole kitchen worth, so thankfully we didn't have to go and buy all new. We did however have to find room for it all.

Our kitchen has a low ceiling, lovely white gloss cabinets and butchers block worktops, so we didn't want to ruin the space and light with over the counter cupboards and instead went for the Pinterest dream, open shelving! We have these two sets opposite each other and they make me smile every time I look at them.

I own quite a few vintage knick knacks so they are dotted around, and baking is my true love so I have one set of shelves devoted to my baking station and one for more practical cooking. My baking station is actually much larger than in the picture too as I managed to squeeze in an island at the the end of the worktop (top picture) to give me even more room for kneading dough. Also not pictured is a bright blue chalkboard wall at the other end, just to add some sunshine :)

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The next area we tackled was the living room. We actually painted our chimney breast the first day we got the keys before we moved in. Everyone told me to live with it how it was and that I would regret the sudden change but I just needed to get rid of the old owners' influence. It was a really dark blue and the chimney breast actually spans two chimneys and the gap in between so it sapped a huge amount of light from the space. Now it is all this light grey which James initially thought was a bit bland, but I like that colours pop against it.

The room is a large L shape, and it houses our living area, dining area, and my little study area too, so we have been quite creative with space and dividers. This lounge area is our main space, and I have been slowly collecting vintage furniture from eBay and the local antique centre to get it just how I like it. My dream is to replace my old suitcase for an Ercol Pandora coffee table, and replace the sofa with one with mid-century styling.

I was determined to use the L shape to our advantage and put in a big gallery wall in this space and it has taken literally months to finish. Some of my photos are odd sizes because of the camera I use and eventually I resorted to ordering custom frames online for those gaps. I used the old parcel paper trick to map out all of the pictures, and the Instagram prints up there are actually applied with wash tape so that I can change them easily if I want.

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This area is my favourite, obviously.

This is my reading nook, and is a bit small so hard to photograph. My bookcases there form a divider between the dining table and my study area, and I have managed to cram my reading chair, another bookcase that has been turned into a sideboard to hold my ridiculous cookbook collection, and my desk into a relatively small space. I am afraid the shelves are always a tip, you will never get a perfectly styled photo of them! My desk is right in front of the front window too, something I have always wanted to do, and it means I can keep an eye on Bertie as he likes to bask in the sun on the sill.

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The current work in progress is the hallway.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen this already, but I painted that wall with the power of masking tape and Valspar tester pots alone! One Saturday I had 7 different colours at my disposal, had spent the previous weekend going through 3 rolls of masking tape, grabbed a small brush and just started painting by eye and I am so chuffed with it. We intend to hang vintage racing posters in simple clip frames on that wall, and a mirror collage on the wall opposite near the front door, hopefully the glass will reflect what little light comes in through that window at the top all the way down into the hallway below.

This is also Bertie's second favourite place to sit.

Our other work in progress at the moment is our garden.

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It was basically a patch of funny shaped grass with a huge deck when we moved in, not very inspiring! At the end of last summer we reduced the deck by half, leaving more room for me to plant things, and so far this spring I have been planting all manner of pots with herbs, fruit and vegetables. This past weekend was spent painting the raised beds that James has made me which next weekend should hopefully be filled and sewn with seeds.

I have big plans for this space, with a nice seat in the corner, beds filled with bulbs and flowers that look after themselves, a couple of small fruit trees and pizza oven up on the deck with the barbecue. I can't wait for summer, can you?

So there you have it, an update on our home a year in. I am a bit gutted that I didn't take before pictures, but I am proud of all that we have achieved anyway. We have so many plans for things we want to do still, we both desperately want to knock down the weird triple width chimney breast and get the original and still working part behind the plasterboard up and running, and we haven't even started on any of the upstairs!

Hopefully I will document a few of the other projects as they happen. Have you taken up any home renovation projects lately?