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Life After Renovation

From idolising island units to squeezing in en suites, guest blogger Tracey Petherick tells us what it’s like living in her renovated property.


Island Life

For a long time, the idea of an island unit in the kitchen seemed like an impossible dream. Our three previous kitchens were either the wrong size or the wrong shape. But starting from scratch on this latest renovation meant that we could have our new kitchen/dining/family room designed around the long-coveted island unit. All we had to do was rip out an old kitchen, knock down two walls, build a new room, brick up a doorway and remove a chimney stack. Hey presto! We had our island unit. Joking aside, it has been well worth the time, cost and effort. It’s the hub of the house and a perfect entertaining space. 

A kitchen island can become the hub of the house

En-suite talk

If you’ve only got space for one en suite bathroom in your house then of course it’s going to be in the main bedroom. But I’m a big believer in sharing the love when it comes to en suites. If you can squeeze a little one into the spare bedroom as well, your guests are going to love you. By stealing a bit of airing cupboard space and repurposing a built-in wardrobe, we managed to fit a perfectly adequate en suite along one wall of our compact and bijou guest room. I figure the privacy outweighs the need for bedroom space when you’re a passing visitor. So, if you ever come to stay, don’t complain that there’s nowhere to put your stuff. You’ve got your own bathroom, alright?

Bathroom with brass fittings and bright lighting
This little vault is the ideal spot for a lovely en-suite

Utility – Boom!

A good friend once said to me, “You know you’ve reached a certain age when you start getting excited about utility rooms.” I’m more than happy to say that I have reached that age. A utility room is not just somewhere to shove the washing machine and dryer. Oh no. It’s also a cloakroom, a boot room, a garden storage area, a cat dining room and a guinea pig holiday home (they overwinter indoors). And when you don’t want to look at all that crap (quite literally, in the case of the guinea pigs), you can just close the door. Genius! Also, we have one of those hanging pulley clothes racks, which has actually changed my life.

Snuggling Up

When our build was taking place I had an ongoing joke (read: argument) with my husband about whether our lounge was to be called the Cinema Room or the Snug. You can make your own assumptions about who preferred which title. Suffice to say, now that it’s finished – with its glorious dark walls (Farrow and Ball Hague Blue), velvet curtains (’s Julius in Antique Gold) and a slouchy corner sofa – neither of us care what it’s called. We just love it.  

Sadly, it’s also the Xbox room, which means that most afternoons it is filled with the mysterious hamster-cage odour of pre-teen kids. On the plus side, Jo Malone candles are no longer an occasional luxury – they’re an essential. 

Even a beautifully designed hallway like this won’t save you from being surrounded by bikes

And finally…

For all those bike widows and widowers out there, a word of advice. When you’re planning your house renovation, don’t kid yourself into thinking that the smart new layout and clever use of space will mean your home stops looking like a bike storage and maintenance facility. The opposite happened to me. Rather than storing the seven bikes in three different outside sheds, we now have space for two of them on a trendy rack in the hallway. It’s “urban art” apparently. What the…?!

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