The ups and downs of renovating a house

…or two

Archive for the tag “renovation”

The final video

I know.  It’s been a while. We went on holiday, I got ill, things got in the way…you know the drill. But I finally got a chance to take the final renovation video.  Is the work all done? Not entirely, there’s things to change. But it’s mostly done (and what has to be done isn’t really all that visible).

So, here’s the “before” video.  Definitely check it out first so you can see the changes a lot better.

Youtube video of “before”

And this is our video of “after” (please note that I did not spruce up the house – it’s how we live – and it’s certainly NOT a show home).  Excuse my voice and brain farts.  I did this three times and I guess it’s how my brain works.  It’ll never be perfect.

Youtube video of “after”

If you want to see all the pics I took and saved, you can head to my Flickr album here: click

If you have any questions about where we purchased items, please get in touch.

I’ll update the blog as we put up new paintings, do the outdoors, etc.  Owning a home is a never ending bit of work!


Week 15: walls are down, skylight is up

The walls have finally come down in the kitchen and the steels have gone up.  It’s now one big, huge room.  Honestly, I think that room is bigger than my first flat.  In addition, the skylight has been placed where it’s going to be (though still covered with film so its full glory is not to be seen yet) and the doorway to the back garden has been measured (so we’ll hopefully have the bi-folding doors in a few weeks).  Not much else has happened in the house other than the corner toilet has been put in place in the loft bathroom.  But it’s still SO EXCITING!

We did a walk through and figured out where all the lights are going, where the electrical sockets should be placed and what else might need to be changed.  It’s going to be fabulous when it’s done.  I hope.

On my side, I’ve ordered the English solid oak wood flooring from Northwood Forestry Limited.  We’ll have to finish it at the house but I like that idea – it gives us the ability to choose whether to keep the natural wood colour or stain it a bit.  The flooring is meant to be used with underfloor heating and was just about the same cost as good engineered wood flooring.  Yay!

I’m quite certain we’ve selected our tiling for the backsplash, but I’m not going to share it ahead of time.  There needs to be a few fun reveals, ya know!

So, here’s the collection of photos from this weekend to check out:

New door handles have been selected

It’s a tight fit and a small bathroom but it will work.


Wall covering have been removed - discovered a bricked in fireplace.  We're not using it as it just won't work with the rest of the room.  Plus it'd be darn expensive to fix it up.

Wall covering have been removed – discovered a bricked in fireplace. We’re not using it as it just won’t work with the rest of the room. Plus it’d be darn expensive to fix it up.

Steel beams are in place

More steel beams and the pyramid skylight is in place.



I thought I’d post something that wasn’t about the actual work going on in the house, namely, choosing colours.  When doing a house project, I find that choosing the colours of the rooms/house is the most difficult of all the choices to make.  And when you have three people involved (my mother-in-law (MIL), my husband and me), it gets even more complicated.

Clearly, my MIL got to choose the colours of tiles for her bathroom and will do so for her bedroom and the hallway/stairway paint and carpeting.  BUT as I want to have some continuity in the house, I did do a bit of ‘steering’ away from a few colours.  My MIL loves browns and pinky beiges.  I hate both.  I tend to like cooler or cleaner colours.  So, I steered her toward a creamy tile with a light beige streak (not a pink or orange tinge in sight).  She was happy (I hope) as was I.

Similar to bathroom tile for MIL

I know she’ll want a white/cream for her bedroom and the hallway, so I’ll steer her toward a white/cream that will work with the greys in the house.  And I’ll try to keep her away from patterned carpets. There were so, so many different patterned carpets in the house originally that it blew my mind (none of the colours worked together nor did the patterns).  But each to their own.  Perhaps we’ll find a lightly patterned carpet for the halls and stairs that we’ll all love.

My husband tends to like some colours that are not my favourite, such as baby sky blue.  It’s pretty in the sky or for a baby’s room, but not for our bedroom.  I tend to like dark and bold colours, which he’s not a huge fan of (as he thinks they’ll make rooms too cave-like).  So, we’ll try to compromise.  At least we both loved the pale grey cabinets for the kitchen and my MIL liked the simple Shaker style we chose.

Our most recent decision was about the main bathroom tiles.  As this will be the bathroom my husband and I will be using, we made the final decision.  And happily agreed.  This is what we’re going for:

similar matt white tiles on the walls (have a light sheen versus shiny)

Various grey hexagon tiles for floor

Now we just have to figure out what paint we’ll use on top of the metro tiles.  I know we’re leaning toward a blue…but which one to use?

These are just a few of the decisions you have to make while renovating a house.  It’s amazing all the small details that you never realised were “important”.

Week Seven – small changes

This week brings with it a few small changes and a few concerns and possibilities.

Possibility: to be able to lower the floor so that we have higher ceilings.  Most of the 1920s houses in London seem to have very high ceilings.  Our house doesn’t really.  But there is a LOT of space under the house so we can move the floors down (which is good, especially as we’re doing underfloor heating in the entire ground floor).  This will be a great thing.  You can see below all the space under the kitchen that exists:


Can we fit in the bi-folding doors that we want?  Can we fit the kitchen furniture that we ordered? TBD.

The little changes – they have begun to plaster a bit and rip things off the walls.  The master bedroom has been pretty much stripped.  Lighting and electrics are being laid.

Main bathroom – ready for lights & plastering.

No more pine cladding or ceilings or plastered walls in the master bedroom

Plastering has begun in the office and in the loft bedroom.

We can see that things are coming together a bit more but it also means there are more questions.  We shall see what comes over the next few weeks.  I’ll post again in two weeks.

Week 6: many changes

Just back from a two week holiday to the States and it’s been a while since I last posted.  There are fabulous changes in the house that I can’t wait to share.

From front of house – you can see the new bay windows in the living rom and master bedroom

As you can see the new roof with new tiles has almost finished. It’s been very well insulated and the tiles are solid.  This is a view to the back garden and the park behind us from the extra bedroom.

The interior has also had quite a lot of changes – actual walls are up, new windows are in the front of the house, the bathrooms are beginning to take shape and the walls are starting to come up for the extension.

Loft bedroom facing the back of the room.  The two holes will have small doors for loft storage.  Behind the wall on the left (to the left of that hole) is where the shower rooms will be (small corner shower, toilet & sink)

Bay windows in the master bedroom. They still have to get rid of some wood around it (can’t wait).

Beginning to insulate the uninsulated office.  It used to have a small unused fireplace behind the ladders which we tore out and filled in with brick.  All of this will be insulated and then plasterboard will be placed on top.

The main bathroom.  They took out the windows and the wall separating the bath and the toilet.  Instead, they installed two Velux windows into the roof ceiling (it’s angled).  This will allow us to put our bathroom furniture in different places.

The walls are going up for the extension!

This is the office again with the new windows.  Because we took out some built in storage it’ll be so much better for us to use.  I’ll be able to fit in a small sofa or large chair to use for a psychotherapy room.

We’re very happy with the progress so far.  I have some more things to order but have to talk to our contractor about them.  Busy and exciting times.

Week 2: demolition continued and scaffolding

The house is looking decidedly different right now.  Not so much from the outside, though it is covered by scaffolding, but definitely in the inside.  We can now see the house starting to come down to the studs.  The original plan was to take down the wall paper (walls and ceiling…yes, wallpaper on the ceiling) and then skim and paint the walls.  Well, as the wallpaper came down, so did the walls.  The original plaster was in horrid shape, as were the slats underneath the plaster, which is not surprising as it’s from the 1920s.  We also got to see that there was little to no insulation in the ceilings.  We are going to be insulating between walls (sound proofing and retaining heat/cool in rooms) and then putting up some of the best insulation in the ceilings which are exposed to the roof (which would be the bathrooms on the first & second floors, office and the loft bedroom). Our house is going to be well insulated!

As it all came down, some interesting things came into show – an old bird nest in the ceiling of the office as well as a shirt stuck amongst the bits of insulation.



More pics can be found in my Flickr album: Golders Green house works.

Week 1: demolition

Well, week one is over and done with.  Most of the items which need to be taken out of the house have been and the scaffolding has begun to be put around the house (for roof repairs and new tiles).  We had the window/door company in and they gave us a quote (my brain is going to explode from the amount of money we’re spending) on 4 bay windows and bi-fold doors for the back of the kitchen (they are going to be amazing!).

I’ve taken a few more pics of the work and look forward to seeing what happens in the next week.

No more conservatory!

Chimney’s have come out (not the cute little ones…promise)


Bye, bye kitchen and “interesting” wallpaper that was under all that wood.

And some more interesting wallpaper:

Scaffolding on its way up

Renovations begin again!

It’s time for the Vale House renovations to begin.  It’s taken us a while to get here, but it’s going to be great!  I’ll update as we go along.

To get it started, here’s a link to my Youtube video I took of the empty house.  Pictures to follow!

Cumbrian House final video

We’ve finally come to the end of the renovation.  Carpet is in and furniture is about to be moved around.  Overall, I’m very pleased with the work that was done by Stefan and his team at AMG London.  He’s been great at communicating everything and his team do lovely work.  We’d suggest him for future projects!

So, here it is, the links to the videos showing the original house and then the final product.  Enjoy!  While the stairway/hall carpet is not entirely my favourite, it will be a good hard wearing one (especially as we’re going to allow pets when we rent it out).

Next up…final choice in builders (Stefan is a front runner, of course), moving into the Cumbrian house and then seeing when the work can begin!

Our loft conversion…original house & plans for current house

I think we’re going to have to talk about current versus original houses.  There’s so much going on right now around both houses.

Current house: we have invited an architect to design our ground floor as we decided to actually pull down all the walls between the kitchen and dining area/conservatory…and build into the conservatory.  We’re also going to add a shower room to the top floor where my mother-in-law has her bedroom.  So excited.  It means we are cancelling our bathroom order from Wickes and we’ll probably change the bathroom order as well.  We’ll pretty much put in all new flooring, paint most of the rooms, etc.  It will look like a different house!

Original house (aka the one that features in this blog originally): we are starting the work on 16 September (well, that’s when they’ll put up the scaffolding).  Yay!  I took a video of what the space currently looks like and what I hope it will look like. It’s here on Youtube.  Enjoy!

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