We moved into our bungalow in April 2016, but for a while before there was a lot of renovation work going on behind the scenes to our lovely home.
We rent number Eleven from our amazing family friends, Nick and Tracy. (Their daughter, Lian, is essentially my un-biological sister and there isn’t a day we don’t talk – so it’s a great set-up!) When Nick and Tracy first bought the bungalow, it couldn’t have been more different to what it is now.
As you enter the house, you are greeted with a spacious hallway with a built-in coat-closet which was originally fronted by dark wood sliding doors. You can either walk around the back side of the bungalow and down the ‘corridor’ which leads to the bathroom, 3 bedrooms and eventually the kitchen, or walk around to the front and enter what was the living room-diner; a room that had all the wood in the world.
As you can see, this was one, very long, narrow room with a really high, arched ceiling covered wall to wall in wooden slats. I’m not sure whether it was the shape or the colouring, but it made me feel like I was in a boat. The carpets had a hypnotic pattern, the walls were heavily papered and there was a large old fireplace on the middle wall. If you walked to the end of the room, you could enter the small square kitchen on your right. Another door led out of the kitchen, taking you back round to the hall past the bathroom and these bedrooms…
After securing the house, Nick and Tracy started stripping it right back (even their granddaughter Isabella got in on the act). The fittings were taken down, the carpets pulled up and the fireplace even removed, but they weren’t even the biggest changes of the renovation.
The small square kitchen had its dividing wall knocked through and suddenly became a huge, light, bright kitchen-diner. (Well actually, a kitchen-diner-living room to begin with but that’s hardly practical).
A new, dividing wall was erected between the previous living room area and the new kitchen-diner creation. The living room was still huge even with this, but it meant having an enclosed space that could be shut off from the rest of the house.
The wooden ceiling was a mammoth job in itself and for the amount of work it would take to strip back and re-do, a better solution was to simply build a new, clean, flat, non-arched, non-wooden lower ceiling beneath it. Genius!
The bathroom – or shower-room as it was – was completely gutted and the baby pink paint covered with more neutral tones and striped-effect tiling.
After the walk-in shower, sink and toilet were ripped out, a new bathroom suite was installed along with beautifully stylish dark units (honestly, I’ve never had so much cupboard space in a bathroom, it’s incredible!)
Each bedroom was stripped, re-carpeted and re-painted, and the hallway given a neutral but light makeover to match the rest of this new, vibrant house.
Huge, high-shine floor tiles were laid throughout the kitchen-diner and out right through to the hallway, which helped brighten up the space even more. Then, after all of that… the main event happened.
This absolute masterpiece was installed, and the party kitchen was born.
There is not one part of this entire kitchen I do not like. If I was a kitchen, I would be this kitchen. I LOVE IT. I love the contrasting colours, the amazing bronze tiling, the glistening copper flecks in the worktop, the amazingly eccentric tap, the fact that every appliance beeps at me to tell me something – it’s just perfect.
In our previous house we had really limited space, but we had the same huuuuge dining table and chairs (seriously, heaviest things ever; lifting one of those bad boys is enough to put your back out). Yet in this wondrous new party kitchen, that very same dining table looks lost. Teeny some might say. And yet, not only do we still have it, but we have an incredible breakfast bar area with 4 bar stools too. WE HAVE A BAR.
Even though we’ve lived here for nearly 6 months now, I’ve still never got over the kitchen and I don’t think I ever will.
We’ve slowly been making our mark on the rest of the rooms in the bungalow but they are all really still a work in progress, so I’ll be keeping you updated as I tackle each one.
For now though, we’re just so grateful for the perfect canvas Tracy and Nick created for us, which caused my décor-obsessed brain to go into complete overdrive thinking about how we could add to it and what we could do with each amazing new room. We love it.
So, here’s to our journey at number Eleven – our perfect house and lovely home.