“Let’s have an extension…”
“Hmmmm, we could just knock through the kitchen and make it open plan?”
“Nah, we’d only be gutted later that we didn’t do it.”
I can remember the conversations Mr Luxe and I had debating the pros and cons of an extension like they were yesterday. We spent hours discussing what we should do…should we just have a bit of a knock-a-round, after all Mr Luxe was more than handy with a sledge-hammer and would have been in his element knocking the wall between the kitchen and living room through. Now, Mr Luxe has lots of energy for stuff like that, oodles in fact. Only thing is, he’s not really a finisher (I don’t think I’ll be getting a leg tickle tonight after that comment) and he’s not too fussed with the details.
I’m ALL about the details. Like, ALL about it.
Since buying Luxe in the Cottage I had developed a worrying obsession for buying house magazines, an obsession which would (and still does sssshhhh) cost me a fair bit of money. Money that if I thought about it I could use to purchase lots of lovely delights but I just love nosing at other people’s houses. I also got tonnes of ideas and I just knew this house needed pulling – no, bloody hauling – into the 21st century.
This is a plan of the cottage. Originally the 180 year old part would have been the two rooms at the front, I imagine some kind of one up one down cottage or maybe even a pair of cottages. Over the years various extensions had been tacked on but nothing was very cohesive. As I’ve mentioned the stairs were really steep and I hated the kitchen that was tucked away on its own.
We stayed in a lodge in Center Parcs once and realised how we loved the concept of open plan living. It really seemed to suit the way we lived and it was just a more fun space to live in, especially with young children who like to draw with biro on your furniture and whom it would be nice to keep an eye on to prevent such atrocities.
We didn’t employ an architect straight away. Instead I pulled out my trusty felt tip (nicked from the five-year old) and took to the drawing pad. Many a night was spent with Mr Luxe and indeed many bottles of wine (should have saved the money for that bloody devil budget). We tried out various ideas, one including moving the front door and completely moving the stairs to a different location altogether. It got a bit crazy at one point before we started to realise this would cost a hell of a lot of money.
I spent hours trolling the internet, discovered Houzz.co.uk which kind of cranked up my ideas again and generally spent every waking minute dreaming about how our house could be. I can’t emphasize enough that at this stage you need to plan plan plan. And despite it being the biggest, most horniest, scariest devil of them all, you really have to BUDGET and be realistic about that budget. Any self-builder or home renovator will tell you that it is so slippery getting carried away when you’re in the midst of the build. You become so desperate just to finish the bloody thing that the credit card becomes conjoined to your hand and you start to memorize all the numbers on it.
In the end with the help of an architect we came up with this and Luxe in the Cottage was starting to take shape.
Currently the cottage only had one tiny bathroom. It was a delightful pink colour with fetching flowers on the tiles and very on trend brass taps. It even had a full wall of bronze mirrors which actually I kind of wanted to keep as it made you look like you had a year round tan.
A house of four including two girlies would not be catered for by this bathroom I always tended to feel more dirtier after a shower than before and even started having to actually go to the gym in order to use their facilities. We decided an en suite was a must so made the decision to lose a bedroom in order to gain this and have a good-sized master bathroom for the kids.
Might be a controversial decision to lose a bedroom but hey this was our forever house and we weren’t worried about resell value, plus we were closed for business on making any more babies (though recently we have been discussing potential number three spawn, but that’s a whole other blog one where I could give The Unmumsy mum a run for her money).
We also needed an office for Mr Luxe who works [plays space invaders] from home regularly and where I could potentially fulfill my dream of having enough shelves for a mini library for all my books. Another must was a utility room. Now the utility room came and went from the plan fairly frequently. It was finally made a permanent feature after I explained that if a dog was to become an additional member of the family then so would my utility room.
Planning permission was submitted to the council and a fairly nail-biting wait for judgement day. Then came the good news after which I discovered was a very expensive stage of the process. One we hadn’t budgeted for (that devil is laughing on my shoulder). Every man and his dog will want paying for plans/building regulations/surveys/structural drawings and that is only the start.
Next blog….”Is that a digger in my living room?”