On February 19th 2016 we finally set foot in the door of our new home.
After over half a year of SO MUCH STRESS we were finally sat on a dirty floor at 10 o’ clock at night, with a much deserved glass of champagne (ok maybe a few glasses), celebrating our first night, surrounded by boxes, with the rain battering the windows, soaked through, yet we didn’t care… we were in, we had the keys, and it was finally ours!
Sitting back and looking around, it quietly dawned on us how much work was needed to make this shell of a house into a home. It needed more than a lick of paint for our stamp to be printed on it, it needed restoring, it needed love and attention.
Everything was either dated or broken. Every floor was rotten through and the rank green carpet that lay in every room looked like it had been attacked by several moles, we had buckets catching the drips were the ceilings were leaking and the dream of hot water was long gone. But we didn’t care, it could all be fixed.
The thing with this house was that despite everything when I first walked through the door all those months ago, I saw immediately what I would do. I had design after design racing through my mind, and as we were taken around each room in the house, taking in all the potential, as we walked into the living room I just knew this was the house for us…. straight in front of me… I knew it… that’s where the Christmas tree would go.
I was sold.
Usually when you move into a property you take a few weeks, months even to take everything in before decorating. Not us… within 3 days one of the major walls downstairs was being knocked through and steel girders where being brought in (God knows what the neighbours were thinking!)
Our first and potentially biggest job was the kitchen. Tattered lino on the floor ran through to wood-worm encrusted units. A large stove and a dishwasher that didn’t work were sat there glaring us in the face every time we walked into the kitchen. Ceiling roses hung from the ceiling where lights shouldn’t even be and a wall blocked access from the dining room where light from the garden could flood in. Everything had to go. We had to literally peel this house back to the bricks and mortar before we could start building it up again.
But we did. I spent hours sketching out designs to make the most of the new layout of the kitchen. Poor Mark used all his self taught building knowledge to craft and create everything I presented him with. I dragged him and Blossom (who, bless her cotton socks, found a love for running down every aisle in B&Q and climbing on anything she could lay her hands on) through shop after shop looking at floor tiles, kitchen units, and wall colours. (I could create a rainbow as high as the Tower of London with all the colour swatches I now have in my possession)
As we both hold down full time design jobs, literally every spare second we could muster when Blossom was sleeping was put into the kitchen (luckily my daughter sleeps like a hibernating squirrel).
The days turned into nights, and we soon stopped realising we hurt anymore. My usually perfectly manicured nails were broken and dirt stained and we were both covered head to toe in bruises!
My dream was always to create a country kitchen; I love everything about them from the wooden accents to the creamy Belfast sinks to worktops adorned with fresh yummy treats! But I wanted to create something a little more modern whilst still keeping in tune with the country theme. I wanted a kitchen that would feel welcoming and cosy, not sparse and futuristic; it had to have plenty of places to play and relax, but still it had to be beautiful to look at.
After months of hard work, months of no running water, months of having to go outside to a cool box to fetch milk (and as my boyfriend claimed… battle his way past the hungry badgers), months of no matter how many times I cleaned… everything was still covered in dust, oh and months of horrendous microwave cooking…. until finally it was all finished.
Our kitchen is now the heart of our home. It’s where we spend nearly all of our time. I love nothing more than sitting on one of our handmade kitchen stools, flicking through food magazines enjoying a chilled glass of Rosé from my beloved American fridge freezer. I spend hours colouring with my daughter on the tiled floor which Mark single-handedly laid.
We relax in this room, we eat in this room, we play in this room and it’s the absolute perfect space to entertain.
Through everything it was such hard work, but every second of it was worth it, because we now have a kitchen I feel fits perfectly into the pages of the magazines I spend hours pouring over.