So, this is where the fun really begins! After a long cold winter in This Old House, him, me and our three have finally got plans agreed and passed and the builders are due to start work in a month.
It has been a frustrating time of inactivity. I had major surgery in November which meant that for twelve weeks over Christmas and New Year, I wasn’t able to do much at all. I confess that patience is not a virtue that I have been overly blessed with and the winter months did seem to drag. It is wonderful to see the sun shining and to have a second round of (thankfully minor) surgery over me. The flowers and fruit trees that we planted soon after moving in are resplendent in the summer warmth and our apple tree is already bringing forth a bumper crop.
The enforced rest over the winter did give me plenty of time to just be still and get a true feel for the house. I was able to get an idea of how the light moved around the building at different times of the day and imagine how we would live as a family when we finally get to open the place back up from three flats into one beautiful home.
I took the time to draw and redraw plans and consider the options open to us to make the best of the space, inside and outside. Our surveyor and architect, Wayne Storey, must be given credit here for his outstanding patience. There have been meetings in his office where his role has been more one of marriage guidance counsellor than architect as my hubby and I debated the conflicting merits of playroom (me- surely it makes sense to try to gather all the mess in one space) versus roof garden (Andrew- for the five nights each year that it might be nice enough to sit on a terrace and admire the view we have of Parliament Buildings).
In the end we managed to compromise and both got a scaled down version of our wish list included in the final design.
The house is on an elevated site and, at the moment, has a very “unusual” 1970s extension which completely cuts it off from the back garden. A large double garage takes up half of the garden in its current position and the fire escape at the back of the house provides the only access to the first floor. It was quite a challenge to come up with a design that will divide the kitchen to open up to the garden without cutting it off from the rest of the house.
A friend of mine, Yvonne Todd (whom we actually purchased a previous house from) has done a wonderful job in her kitchen and living area by having steps down from the working part of the kitchen into a sunken seating area which leads outside.
We considered this as an option but with plenty of living space at the front, we wanted the whole of the back of the house to be a large kitchen and dining space. My husband has a strange aversion to steps going down inside a house so, after much consideration, I came up with a plan that allows for an open concept scheme at the back of the house, improves the symetry and overall look of the rear elevation and gives us double doors with steps outside into the garden.
We are reducing the size of the garage and bringing it forward to increase the usable outside space. This should please my green fingered husband and I will hopefully get the kitchen of my dreams. My Pinterest account is literally groaning with images under Creative Kitchen as I search for everything from clever storage ideas to my dream island unit. You can check out some ideas I have for the interiors of our home on Pinterest under Sheelagh| home interiors blogger | decadent decor . I regularly add images to my many boards and you can follow me on Pinterest to check out my interior ideas. I love to get pin suggestions and see what other folks are up to as they gather ideas for their homes so please share some of your inspiration with me.
After all this waiting we are not quite out of the blocks yet. We still have several hoops to jump through before we get final sign off from building control. We will have to undertake another move to temporary accommodation which, I confess, I am dreading so soon after surgery. I’m trying to look at it as another opportunity to de-clutter as a serious amount of craft supplies, toys and general junk seems to have accumulated since the last move. I will have to dust off my top tips for moving and get organised!
In the meantime I am falling in love with some of the beautiful interior features of the house and working out how I can rescue those that are very much the worse for wear.
I am trying out paint colours that will hopefully compliment them and praying hard that I find a way to convince the building control officer that my 100-year-old solid oak doors are likely to be as fireproof as any cheap modern pine ones. I am not sure I fancy my chances but, as my husband has said, in 16 years of knowing me, he has never won an argument and he used to be a solicitor! I plan to give it my best shot so wish me luck!