Where to even start with these renovation posts, at the moment?! They’ve eaten up most of our time, money and energy but I still think it has been worth it. Sitting in this beautiful room it is almost hard to remember that first evening when we moved in at 9pm, hoovered the mouse droppings and laid straight down on a mattress in the freezing cold.
We didn’t have many ‘before’ pictures as we had to move straight in and use the space, so we had no time to really think about it – even the photo above is after we removed built in shelves, pulled out metres of redundant wired, laid down rugs and spare carpets and put pictures up. I also didn’t want to remember the state of the old house to be really honest, it was grim and so dirty and dusty. We lived like that, with a temporary rail, my stuff piled in a basket next to the bed and walking on remnant carpets we got from my parents, for a year. And this room wasn’t actually a priority for us.
But when we found out we were pregnant, we realised that we’d probably want to spend a large amount of time in the bedroom and it was important to me to feel relaxed and clean – so we made this room our priority. Because it was so big, we used it pretty much as a studio – showering, feeding, hanging out, eating – in those first few months of Peggy’s life.
The first task was pulling down the big storage cupboard to make more room for us – we decided to put an ensuite here, but still managed to reclaim some space in the room for a wardrobe as well.
We designed the plans for the room ourselves, keeping a lot of the original features but we also made a few adjustments: moved the door into the room (to make room for a wardrobe), moved the door to the balcony, chose the dimensions of the ensuite etc. But we didn’t really decide on the decor until the building work started, we just researched as we went as had no storage for things like coving or anything until the last minute!
We had the floor sanded before the building works, as Mick (who did our parquet in the study) was available (if anyone would like his details, email firstname.lastname@example.org and she can pass on his details – but be warned, there’s a waiting list!) and then we laid down plastic sheets for the building work. He came back after the works to finish sanding and added the sealant and varnish. We were so excited to be able to keep the original floorboards, we honestly weren’t sure it was possible but it’s something I can’t imagine any other way now. A few were damaged but Mick found some from other rooms to replace them with – there is even a line running down the floor where the old cupboard used to be, which I love as a bit of a memory of the old room.
The builders began the work early November last year, and we decided to do the hall at the same time (however, a year on, the hall is still not finished!). They basically stripped back the walls to the brick, and replastered and put back the ceiling, coving, skirting etc. Unfortunately none of the original coving and skirting could really be saved so we bought it all online. I thought it was a good excuse to add some fancy coving and a ceiling rose.
In regards to the electrics, there were two lights in the ceiling, which we moved down to one, and we added lights to the edge of the bed rather than having lamps. Something I’d always loved in Hotels and I was so glad we could make it work here.
Living with the dust was hard, especially as I was heavily pregnant through most of it, living with builders and working alongside having a huge to-do list every evening – parking permits, skip hire, ordering supplies and doors and handles and toilet seats etc. But it’s funny how quickly you forget, isn’t it?!
By the way, in this post, I’m only discussing the bedroom – but you can read about our Ensuite renovation here.
We painted the walls Farrow & Ball ‘Wimborne White’, I know it’s so silly but I wanted white but not stark white so this a good compromise. And yes, I can feel the difference – it feels warmer plus it adds depth to the room where the coving and picture rail is white. Then the woodwork we painted Farrow & Ball ‘Downpipe’, which is a grey but it looks almost blueish/green grey in different lights, we used it on our stairs in the last flat and I was excited to use it again. F&B paint is more expensive but we love using it and it goes a lot further than others, we used Estate Emulsion for the walls and Modern Eggshell for the woodwork.
The chair is an old one from our last flat, we were thinking of a sofa here but this chair was so hand for feeding, positioned perfectly in front of the TV! Which we put on a vintage cabinet we found from Etsy (I tried to find the brand but it doesn’t seem to exist anymore!).
We tried to keep as many of the original features as we could…the fireplace and original wardrobe mainly. the builders took them off, plastered round them and put them back for us to paint.
There was a gas fire in front of the fireplace when we moved in, but it wasn’t connected to any mains, in fact, there was no gas mater when we moved in. Just electric radiators all attached to the walls which we had to remove when we moved in.
We painted the fireplace Rustoleum chalk paint in ‘Graphite’ – it’s funny how the features almost popped more once we painted it dark. I love the different texture the chalk paint brings to the room, and I was so pleased we could get the tiles to sit flush to the floor, we got these from Walls & Floors, which were really affordable and look so much more expensive.
Chris stripped the paint of the original wardrobe with a heatgun we got from Amazon, and then we sanded and painted it Downpipe, added new shelves inside and I scrubbed up the original handles which came up so well! The wardrobe itself is not the most functional, I have to admit, but we couldn’t throw it out…so Chris mainly uses it for his folded clothes.
The bed was the first thing we bought for this room, I had seen it in Lisa at Edit.58’s house (see her amazing house tour, here) and The Artist Residence hotel and knew it was a good starting point to the room. It was the quite easy to pair back the rest of the room and keep it simple, with the bed being the focal point. We will put some more pictures up over time, and some shelves above the TV, but it’s nice living amongst everything and allowing some time for the room to grow, as well.
We move the door to the room which meant we got a little more space in the recess behind it, and managed to fit my wardrobe in! It was a tricky space and we had to add a lot of doorstops in but I’m so pleased with how they turned out. We had ridiculously high quotes from a few joiners/carpenters so, like the study, we asked our builders to make something out of MDF and I designed them. We got them floor to ceiling to utilise the storage and the even added soft closing doors and drawers. They did, however, take a lifetime to paint inside and out but I’m so glad I went to the effort now!
The decision to use brass fittings was a bold one, and I think a lot of companies are slowly realising its popularity again – I’ve truly never appreciated my parents’ trade until I needed all new handles, hinges and doorstops! We bought doors rather unexcitedly from DoorsWorld (which has since closed!) which felt so dull at the time but having lovely new doors which don’t squeak and aren’t stiff was a revelation, and something we realised we had never experienced before!
And finally the windows. We used London Joinery, which weren’t cheap but turns out, wooden sash windows just aren’t. We didn’t go for the traditional Edwardian windows which is technically a faux pas, but there were leaking aluminium steamed up windows when we moved in so we thought it was okay to go off piste.
There was originally a door in the cupboard going onto a balcony, which we removed and turned into a window in the ensuite. But we wanted to keep access to the balcony still, so brought the door into the bedroom. From first glance, it looks like another window and we are so pleased with them. Again, we’ve never had windows that open smoothly whenever we want – what a luxury! These were the priciest bit of the room though, so we will have to wait a while before we change the rest of the old aluminium windows in the house.
There are probably a million items I haven’t credited and tons of questions I haven’t answered so please ask away in comments and I will get back to you!
But thank you for reading, watching our stories, commenting and following along – it has been an amazing journey! We’ll keep you updated on the hallway in roughly 2022…..!
You can watch our video on IGTV here…