Making Old New Again

I have no idea what my ‘style’ is.  Or even if I have any (haha I’m sure a few would agree).

All I know, is what I like.  I go on my gut instinct a lot of the time.  I’ve had no training in interior design.  I was good at Art at school but not especially.  My house will definitely not be to a lot of people’s taste but I LOVE what I am doing with it.  It feels amazing to be creating the space that YOU want to live in.  One that works for your family and for the way you want to live your life.

As I’ve mentioned before the main portion of our houses dates back over 180 years.  Originally it is believed to be two cottages knocked through into one.  I have documents and deeds that indicate there was also an orchard, something that is very evident with the number of fruit trees in our garden.  When we moved in the garden was so overgrown it was hard to tell what exactly was there.

Clearing it proved to be a mammoth job that took place over a long period of time.  And when we had the energy and Mr Luxe could be arsed to make the hundred and ninety trips backwards and forwards to the tip.  We are on first name terms with the crew now.  I think they secretly look forward to us rocking up to see what we’ve managed to cram in now.  We have an amazing quince tree (I was informed by my Dad that it is not a pear tree) that snakes up and is gnarly but quite beautiful.

When it came to the new extension we knew we wanted it to be modern.  I actually really appreciate the clash of old and new.  I think it can be done well and whereas previously home improvers thought it imperative to match the new with the old it is so cool now to go completely the other way entirely.  Here is some inspo.

Open plan living is definitely not for everyone.  Cooking smells, banging and clanging, nowhere to hide anything… My key thing was to plan what we need to make it work for us.  This was going to be our forever home so I didn’t want to get this wrong.  Some of the must haves on the list were –

  • Utility room – to hide the washing machine, pet paraphernalia, egg cleaning factory (as mentioned we have chickens) and all the other unsightly stuff essential to everyday family life that you don’t want to be face to face with whilst eating your chicken kiev.
  • Pantry – so sick of squashing family pack sized boxes of Cheerios into tiny cupboards, nuff said.  Plus I had these delusions of grandeur where I could end up some sort of Essex version of Nigella, making pastries and pottering about tieing string onto pretty jars….errr no, probably not.
  • An en suite – one bathroom where you couldn’t even bend over to fake tan your legs without your bum smacking into something wasn’t cohesive with happy family life and definitely wasn’t future proof with impending teenage daughter doom.
  • An office – Mr Luxe would be losing his upstairs with the creation of said en suite so go figure.
  • A really big hall as I’ve discussed on previous entry.
  • A separate play room where the spawn could socialise and keep all their junk in one place so I hopefully didn’t have to suffer with ‘lego up the bum’ (this is a real issue for parents, it is out there be sure) whenever I sat down to watch Towie.
  • A walk in wardrobe Carrie Bradshaw style….I’m just kidding, however there was a stage where I spent several hours with my felt tip attempting to squeeze it in somewhere!

So there we are, a list the size of your arm with a price tag to go with it.

We had a number of concerns with the floor levels in the property and outside area where the extension was going to be built.  Mr Luxe came up with the brill idea to have a split level downstairs and have the main living room lower than the kitchen and dining area.  By doing this we created two separate zones and it also meant that the living area could be on the same level as the garden and be ‘as one’ with the outdoors if you like.

I was worried that after a few Chardonnay’s I’d be falling down the steps but – touch wood – this hasn’t happened yet.  Above is some great examples of broken plan living.  It’s a great way to zone an open plan space, something we really liked the idea of.  We also decided to have different flooring in the two spaces to add a bit more interest.

It was so exciting when the foundations were dug and filled, then the walls started going up.  Scary also when you see the space and you start wondering is it too big/too small, have we done the right thing… So the back of the house features the newest additions to the property.  Thankfully the faux tudor was also going to be ripped down and new render applied.

We’ve been living in the house some weeks now and, maybe surprisingly, the steps leading into the lounge are one of my favourite features.  It felt a brave decision at the time but now we find people tend to sit there and admire the view.  Plus our builder found this amazing man that makes literally anything out of oak and he constructed the steps that contrast so good with the marble porcelain tiles.

Please excuse the dead cow on the floor.  Mr Luxe purchased it and we’ve all come to love it.  Plus the puppy really likes weeing on it.

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