Home improvements

We bought our first home back in 2015, when my wife was pregnant. The house we bought is one that estate agents would describe as ‘having potential’. That’s not to say it was derelict, but it had dated decor and needed a lot of work doing.

We spent much of 2015 renovating the downstairs rooms – new plaster on the walls, new electrics and fixing various issues which meant that, whilst we got the keys in June, it was October before we could finally move in. In 2016, we converted a newly-partitioned room into a downstairs toilet, and had a new central heating boiler fitted.

Progress with renovating the rest of the house slowed down after this. Working full-time and having a child meant that we just didn’t have the time, and money was also an issue. But then in 2020 I inherited a sizeable amount of money from a deceased relative, and so we were able to start work again.

Whilst we had done a lot of work downstairs, the upstairs rooms had remained pretty much as before. Of the three bedrooms, the one we had earmarked for our child needed the most work, so this is the first of the bedrooms to be renovated. As with the downstairs rooms, it was a big job.

Firstly, there was a large, built-in wardrobe which had to be removed – it was falling apart anyway, and it was partly there to house a water tank which was removed when we had the new boiler fitted. Once that was out, and after stripping the wallpaper, it became clear that re-plastering was necessary here as well. We also needed new wiring – before, we only had two single plug sockets for the whole room – new floorboards, and some central heating pipes needed re-routing. Thankfully, we were able to employ a builder who could do all of this for us.

The room now looks totally different; as with downstairs, we’ve gone for painted walls rather than wallpaper. We’ve also decided to have the floorboards varnished and put rugs down, rather than carpets, so that the room can more easily evolve with our child’s changing tastes as they get older. And it’s a more flexible space, with more options for where the bed can go.

This year, we’re renovating the kitchen. I’ll write more in detail about this later, but again, it’s a big project. When we moved in, we didn’t do much work on the kitchen, compared to the other downstairs rooms – just a few extra plug sockets and a new floor – but this time it’s a total renovation. It also includes opening up one of our cellars as a utility room.

There’s still more work to be done elsewhere – the bathroom needs renovating as well, as again we only did a small amount of work when we moved in. And the other two bedrooms could do with a refresh. We’ll need some more money first though.

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