It's been an age since I sat down to write anything, as this year, time has slipped through my fingers like sand.....
In November of last year, as the days closed in early and the leaves fell from the trees, my love and I began the restoration of a lovely, old Victorian home that we had purchased in the depths of winter the previous year.
The house was built in 1902, had been well taken care of by the same family since 1950 and had the beautiful bones that we had been searching for ~ original fireplaces, high ceilings, large windows, airy rooms, long elegant hallways and all the potential.
From the moment we walked through the door, we knew that changing this house into a home would be quite the challenge, but also an adventure. It would be a way to explore our creativity in different ways, to put our own mark on a project and to eventually have space to both work, to have people we love come and stay and to build a home that would allow us to create memories for years to come.
We're eight months into the journey and I thought I would take a breath to document some of the process. It's been such an exciting, stressful and overwhelming experience and I know looking back on this time will be filled with so much emotion.
I wrote a short snippet of what the house looked like here when we initially moved in. Since these photos were taken, we've completely changed the downstairs layout by relocating the kitchen, adding a WC and utility room, removing a downstairs bathroom, adding an opening between the two living rooms, changing the entrance and stairs into the cellar and knocking out the back wall in preparation for beautiful doors leading out to the garden.
On the first floor, we knocked together the bathroom, a small bedroom and a separate WC to be the main bathroom.
We've also completely rewired and replumbed the house, changed all of the windows throughout to be timber sash, removed the fireplaces to be restored or changed, added in a new stair to match the original and replastered almost every wall.
If the above wasn't enough of an undertaking, we added a new loft with a second bathroom, that will eventually become my work studio and client meeting space for both Kelly Love and Broomhill Interiors. I'll leave that for another post, as the design and build of this space, along with what it will be used for, almost feels like an entirely separate project.
My love and I have taken on the task of both the house and loft without an architect (which is incredibly rare for a project of this size), have lived onsite for the entire time (expect for a few nights whilst on holiday or staying with kind friends) and have meticulously made every decision together.
We had very little to no heating throughout winter, have dust in every corner, haven't had a kitchen since February, the majority of our belongings are packed in boxes and the old bath is our only source of water. But seeing the progress of what we've designed, looking back on how far we've come and knowing what the end result be will, makes it all easier (most days!)
It hasn't always gone smoothly, as no renovation of this size ever does, but overall the experience has been a positive one.....
The main bedroom a few days before the building work began. Our aim throughout the renovation has been to have one livable room and this is it. Our sanctuary to live, work and eat meals in.
And so it begins....the chaos of knocking into an 120 year old building.
One of the three living rooms in the house has now become our kitchen, which will lead into the garden. The window in the first photo was made larger, which will sit behind the kitchen sink, and the chimney breast will be built out to house an oven. The door has become the window in our utility room.
The downstairs bathroom was removed to become part of the kitchen, utility and WC.
The original red brick lintels at the back and side of the house were meticulously recreated, after changing the size of the kitchen window and when the side door became a utility room window.
The upstairs hallway opened up to make way for the stairs leading up to the loft.
The upstairs bathroom, a small bedroom (that was an upstairs kitchen when we purchased the house) and a separate WC were knocked together to become the main bathroom.
There was wallpaper throughout the entire house (including the ceilings), which was stripped before plastering. Fireplaces were removed to be restored if they were original and replaced if not.
We added an opening into the two living rooms to be used as one large room or to be closed off in the cooler months. The back living room will have a beautiful French door leading out to the side garden, which will bring in an abundance of light.
All of the original windows in the house had sadly been replaced with metal casement windows. We replaced all with dreamy timber sash, which has transformed every room. They were quickly covered up once installed to protect them from the ongoing building work.
The house has come along since these photos, and I'll share more in another post soon. We're about to make a start on the 'prettier' parts of the renovation, which is really what I've been waiting on all along....
Slowly, slowly the dream of restoring an old home back to it's former glory is becoming a reality.....