Interiors

Our New House: The Lounge

February 27, 2013

 

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We moved house about 6 weeks ago and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it.

When we first saw our old house I was totally in love with it. But I was also 6 months pregnant and the landlord of the place we were currently living had just put it up for sale and I didn’t want to end up moving into my parent’s house with a newborn baby. We did that once before when we moved to the area, and though we all love each other dearly I think it’s safer to love each other dearly from separate houses.

(Long story short: the house we own is in Nottingham so we obviously don’t live in it as we need to be closer to London, we rent it out. We hope to buy a house in Buckinghamshire, where we live now, when that house has sold)

The house was everything I thought I had always wanted in a home. A barn conversion with double-height ceilings in the lounge, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a HUGE master bedroom with built-in wardrobes, an easy-to-maintain courtyard garden. In reality this was not the dream I thought it would be and the house taught me a very important lesson in the difference between wanting something and needing something. I wanted all those things, but I didn’t need them. I also didn’t need the £1500 per quarter electricity and gas bill (damn you, high ceilings! Screw you, drafty barn!).

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So we made the decision to move, which at the time felt quite difficult. I felt so proud of our big old house and it felt like a bit of a step down to be looking for somewhere smaller. But then PND set in and with it came the inability to clean, and with a house that big it became impossible to keep on top of the dust and the toys. Something easier to manage became essential, never mind the money we would save.

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Enter: the new house. Funnily enough we’d viewed this house before picking our old one a year ago. It had made me cry: I wept to Will that he couldn’t make me live in a house that was “such a white box so similar to the other white boxes” (it’s on a new-ish estate). Like I said, I was six months pregnant, and I can only blame my raging hormones for the ridiculousness of that comment.

Needless to say, when we looked round again we agreed to take it straight away. I loved it.

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This house isn’t at all perfect and if I owned it there are lots of things I would change straight away. I’d attack the faux black beams and fireplace with a tin of white paint for a start, and swap the doors for something a bit nicer. I’d remove the burgundy carpet in the hallway and up the stairs and do something about the shiny pine-coloured handrail.

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But otherwise, this house is perfect. We have a cosy lounge, a happy kitchen diner and a home office that otherwise masquerades as a conservatory. The bedrooms are a great size and the kids each have their own room. The bathroom is completely adequate for our needs (though the dodgy cold shower needs to be sorted ASAP, I’m so totally sick of taking baths). There’s a garage and a shed so plenty of storage space for furniture, tools and toys.

If you ask Elfie which house she prefers she will always say ‘Old House’. Though as she is so enamoured with her bedroom in the new house I am convinced this is because the new occupants of the old place have moved a trampoline in.

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The lounge is one of my favourite rooms of the house. It’s lovely to relax in at the end of the day and great to hang out in with the children. Yes, the toys are a lot more on display than they have ever been before, but hey, I didn’t have children to hide them away. I had children to enjoy them. So the toys will stay.

I’ve made some changes since we moved in: the original curtains were blue and not to my taste at all so I replaced them with some John Lewis curtain fabric. I’ve hung my favourite artwork and a picture rail and surrounded ourselves with our favourite objects. I’ve framed wedding photos and pictures of our families. As before I’ve made sure the room is as colourful as possible without having to actually paint any walls. I still like to think it’s grown-up friendly, though.

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So yes, we’re very settled. This house is so much more manageable than the old one, both financially and in terms of cleaning. We are saving £100 a month on our council tax and £20 a month on insurance (I went with Endsleigh contents insurance). Water is cheaper too as we only have the one flushing loo rather than three. Who on earth needs three toilets, anyway?! Elfie’s not even fully potty trained yet!

I’ve been amazed at the effect this house has had on my state of mind. I love it, it makes me happy. I’ve been able to work again both at my job and in my mum and housewife role. I feel so much more comfortable in my surroundings. Though it was obviously a massive ballache moving here was one of the best decisions we have made in a while.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Tasha Goddard February 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    How lovely. I also have a fear of white boxes, but am getting more and more inclined to look at them if we move again. This house always has things falling apart and, while I kind of like the worn look, it’s not always very practical. I have friends in new houses who have made them look gorgeous. I love how you’ve added colour with cushions and accessories. We have very bright walls and are now working towards turning them white and putting the colour in in other ways.

    And I’m so pleased the move has helped you mentally and emotionally, too. That’s a huge benefit!

  • Reply Eilidh February 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    This is a lovely lounge; it looks like a proper family home! I LOVE the fireplace and the beams, I don’t know why you’d want to change them – they have such character! You’re right about the toys – why have them all hidden away? So long as they are tidied away at bedtime so you can relax, I think it’s ok to have them on show (it also helps give you that colour pop without painting, hooray!). I’m glad you’ve chaned your mind about this house – it looks like a great family home! Xo

  • Reply PhotoPuddle February 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Honest truth – I was a bit sad when you said you were moving. I really like seeing pictures of your house as it looked amazing. But looking at this pictures I now realise it wasn’t the house I loved, it was your sense of style. You really know how to turn a house into a home.

  • Reply Workingberlinmum February 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    It looks lovely. There’s a saying here in Germany that is ‘klein aber fein’ which fits perfectly. Small but perfect :)

  • Reply FirstTimeMum February 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Looks great! Really cosy, colourful and home-like. Love what you have done in a rented place. Do you mind me asking where you got your sofas from? Just moving into our very first house of our own and upgrading from freecycle furniture… getting inspiration from your lovely ideas!

  • Reply mel February 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    It looks beautiful, i’m jealous! Our rented box has a hideous 70’s style gas fire that can’t be hidden and is surrounded by gorgeous victorian 2 bed houses…damn needing that third bedroom! x

  • Reply Anna February 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Congratulations Alice – your place looks absolutely lovely. You’ve done brilliantly to get it looking so good so quickly! I know that feeling settled in my home is crucial to me feeling strong mentally as a mum. I am inspired by you learning lessons as you go along and always creating a beautiful home for your family.

    Would love to see more of what you’ve done in the kitchen! I need some inspiration for ours which is a bit beige and dark.

    Thank you for your great blog! Anna x

  • Reply Jackie February 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    You are my inspiration! Our playroom/living room does not look half that good; jealous of your knack for decorating!

  • Reply Sarah March 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Beautiful room. But how come it still looks lovely and tidy yet you have toys around my lounge looks a complete mess when there are toys around

  • Reply Richmond Mummy March 7, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Looks fab! hope you’ll all be v happy there xx

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