House Diaries: 6 Months In

Well I’d love to say we’ve made miraculous changes since I posted my first House Diaries: 1 Month In back in June but the honest truth is the house looks very much the same!

We have made a few small changes, nothing of great excitement to those that don’t live here, but nevertheless they are changes/updates/fixings that needed to be made.

FIREPLACE

The biggest interior change is the fireplace. Installing the fireplace has been the longest journey! I thought removing the gas fire, installing the mantel and pillars, plastering the surround and tiling the internal walls would happen within 2 months of living here. 6 months on and it has only just been finished, literally 3 day ago! Whilst the fireplace and entire living room itself may still need painting, furnishing and floor laying the difference a log burner makes is incredible. It’s completely transformed the feel of the room, it finally feels homely and inviting. As you can see from the photos below we had a lot of brick to remove (nicely done by Henry), then adding the oak mantel and stone pillars were a pretty hefty job. Doing this DIY style things definitely take longer and you learn lots along the way. We decided to tile the back of the fireplace using the beautiful Mozzafiato Sorano tiles from Claybrook studio. We wanted something quite fun looking but in keeping with our coastal cottage vibe, plus these won the family vote.

Whilst I have a few paint samples/companies to decide on at the moment, I’m thinking of focusing on painting the stairway and living room white for now simply to freshen and clean it up. I have to many Instagram accounts to thank for the endless inspiration, there are so many beautiful homes out there and the support and help they offer is incredible.

Top Left: The day we moved in
Bottom Left: 3/4 through removing bricks
Middle top: Installing stone uprights and oak mantle
Bottom middle: Freshly plastered
3 Right images: Tiles + fire installed

DINING ROOM

The only thing to change in the dining room is that we now have a dining table. As mentioned in my first House Diaries we bought a dining table and chairs off a friend and planned to up-cycle it ourselves. I will admit half way through up-cycling I wished I coughed up a good few £££ on a new, pristine dining set but looking back it was totally worth the dust and sore fingers.

When we bought it it was coated with a deep orange varnish so it took a lot of man hours to sand it back to its natural wood in order for me to paint. I used Brilliant White Dulux Satinwood paint on he table legs and chairs, I am now however looking at it and thinking I’d love to paint the table legs and chairs a really deep blue/black colour, like the Farrow & Ball Railings – maybe once we decorate the room and install new flooring this may just happen. For now though, I’m really pleased with my work.

Dining Room vibes

KITCHEN

You may remember in my first house diaries that I took it upon myself and spontaneously ripped off all the laminate from the kitchen cupboards and removed some wall cabinets. Well there has been no developments here. They still remain the same chipboard exterior dying for a lick of paint. I decided to take a step back from the mini kitchen-reno simply because we had so much going on outside over the summer months, mainly making the most of getting control of the garden whilst the weather was good. When my dad came down after lockdown was lifted he did make a marvellous job of chopping of the inconvenient bit of worktop which stuck out into the kitchen walkway and turned it into a full length worktop by the window.

SPARE ROOM

I do feel like we’re making good progress with the spare room. I feel quite embarrassed, we’ve had so many friends and family members over to stay, it’s so hard to make them feel at home when your house is so bare and uninviting. However I feel like we’re getting closer to finally add a lick of paint to the walls. All the wood has been treated, the walls sanded down, beams sanded and treated, I’ve had to use some Polycel plaster repair and skim to touch up a few places and I may have again spontaneously ripped out the corner cupboard. Do I regret it? No. I’m not 100% set on what I intend to do with this little area, I’m thinking either floating shelves, a chest of drawers or turn it into a work station.

STAIRS

Henry and I have given the stairs a good standing over and over again. Having a puppy running up and down the stairs with dirty paws does not help so we desperately need to get them painted and sealed to avoid further marks. Henry removed the two panels from the stair rail and instead we are planning to add a similar feature like the images below. Our plan is to paint the banister, sides and under panels of the stairs in Frenchic Paint Dazzle white and then keep the actual step as wood. Then we want to add cleats onto each step, I think there will be 10 in total and zig zag some rope from the bottom to the top, in keeping with our coastal cottage vibe.

Left: Stairs the day we moved in
Middle: Drawing to bring my idea to life
Right: Inspiration

GARDEN

We have done quite a few big jobs outside since living here including: fixing the oil tank (thanks Dad), sorting the drains (thanks Dad), removing old satellite things (thanks Dad + H), removing a whopping great big hedge (thanks Dad, Jae and Mum + H), cutting all the hedges – this took my mum a solid 5 days (thanks Mum) and fixing up things in the garage (thanks Dad).

Left top and 2 bottom: The garden the day we moved in
Middle top, bottom and top right: Hedge removal underway
Bottom right: Hedge removed and all trimmed back

Whilst it may seem like not much is happening we always knew this was going to be a very slow renovation and whilst I scroll endlessly on Instagram and watch other homes suddenly transform so quickly it does make me feel so jealous. But then I want to know that I’ve lived in the house before making any major transformations and know that changes we make are for the right reason and not purely because of ‘aesthetics’. Plus there’s a lot on the side that happens in order to plan and prepare for future interior and exterior work.

Oh we also have some exciting plans in the making for a little project, in fact no it’s a huge project, that Henry and I are in the process of bringing to life. I will share more details with you soon, but I’m super excited for it!

Aside from that we are just loving living here and whilst we may spend far too much time at the beach, surfing, walking, playing in the garden, biking and having fun we are loving living in South Pembs.

All in good time…Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Love, AR