Friday, 29 July 2011

Lady Bug Says ... My Home, My Pride & Joy!

Evening Lovelies!

A while ago I asked you lovely people what you would like to see on my blog and a few of you said more lifestyle posts. So I thought I would show you the main thing I have been spending my time on for the last 18 months, my house!

We first started looking for our first home in April 2009 and very quickly realised that even though we liked older properties we couldn't get a whole lot of room for our money. So we started looking a new build properties and for us they offered a lot of what we wanted, a decent sized house, with a garage and a good sized garden. Plus they offered good incentives for first time buyers which certainly helped us get our foot on a decent rung of the property ladder!

In May 2009, at the tender age of 20, I co-signed on the dotted line and made the biggest purchase of my life so far! Now all we had to do was wait until the end of August for our house to be completed!

Every few weeks we would go and look at the progress! When it was just the foundations and concrete pad we were worried that it was tiny!

But as the walls started to go up we could get a much clearer idea of the size of the rooms!

As is the way with house builders, they were inevitably running behind and we didn't actually get the keys until November 2009!

One of the upsides of purchasing a new build was being able to pick finishes such as the kitchen cabinets and bathroom tiles. We could also choose exactly where we wanted electrical sockets, light switches and telephone points which was really useful! As I design kitchens for a living I did try to convince them to sell us the house without a kitchen but unfortunately it is illegal to sell a new house without one!

As house builders like to charge crazy amounts for any extras (£20 for a toilet roll holder anyone?!) we decided to go for the bare basics. Luckily due to the industry I work in I was able to call in flooring contractors, plasterers, plumbers and electricians to do any works we needed, at a lot cheaper than the house builder would charge us! After all our solicitors fee's and deposit we only had a few thousand pounds left to do any works, so ended up doing the majority of the work ourselves.

Despite purchasing a new home, we knew that there was a lot we wanted to do to make the space work better for us. As soon as we moved in the Mr took 2 weeks off work to get a big chunk of the 'messy' work done before we properly moved in. One of the first jobs was taking down part of the stud wall between the kitchen and hallway to make a narrow room a lot wider. We also got a plumber to take the toilet out from under the stairs (we definitely did not need 4 toilets in a 3 bedroom house!) and install the washing machine to turn it into a small utility room.

My Dad moved the doorway for us and we got a plasterer in to make good the walls and the ceiling. Once the wall was down the Mr chased out a lot of the floor to run cables under it as we were pretty keen to not have sky/network cables visible. We spent many a night routing cables under floors and through walls!

As the kitchen was fairly small for a 3 bedroom house, with very limited workspace and no where to put an under counter fridge and freezer (seems house builders don't think of this!) I got my work to build and extension piece for the kitchen to house the appliances and have a much need wine rack!

We purchased the slate tiles online for a load cheaper than we could in any tile shop and the Mr taught himself how to do floor tiles by watching a lot of YouTube videos! It was a long tiring job but I am so glad we did it ourselves and saved a load of money! He also extended the tiling over the new worktop in the kitchen.

We didn't really have any money left for new furniture so we had to get a little creative. The table legs were rescued from a coffee shop refit my work did and resprayed silver, the table top is a sheet of veneered mdf with solid oak lippings. The chairs were also from the same coffee shop and we sanded them down and painted them to match our colour scheme. Our 8 seater table and chairs ended up costing us about £45 which wouldn't of even bought us a new 2 seater set!

In the bathroom we wanted to install a shower and tile to full height ourselves. Unfortunately by the time we got around to doing this the existing tiles had been discontinued so we had to take them all off and start again!

The Mr had to build out the wall so we could get a plumber to install the shower.

Whilst building out the wall we decided to take the opportunity to build in a little cubby hole. We managed to save money by using a fairly cheap limestone effect tile for the majority of the walls and just purchasing 3 'special' large tiles as a focal point. As the ceilings we so out of level (thank you house builder!) we had to finish it all off with a wooden trim. We tiled all the bathroom floors ourselves, I definitely discovered that tiling was not my strong point, but I'm not too bad at grouting!

In the lounge we decided to mount the TV on the wall, which as the wall had no substance to it the Mr had to take down the centre of the wall and build a wooden frame to support the TV. We then decided to wallpaper a feature wall (oh how I hate wallpapering) and we have finally found a light that we like (£25 in the B&Q sale!).

We have still got a lot of things we want to do, mainly decorating (magnolia everywhere is a little dull!) and finishing off lots of DIY projects we have started!

Purchasing a new build was the right thing for us, but it was not without its problems, everything you hear about new house builders is true! We have had an 18 page long list of snags and so many various issues ranging from leaking showers to having to have the house re-roofed! But thankfully with new builds you are covered for 2 years so we haven't had to pay out for anything.

Sorry this is a very long wordy post, but the last 18 months has largely revolved around sorting out our house. We are very proud of what we have achieved and are glad to now be getting to a point where we can sit back a little and enjoy the fruits of our labour!


  1. It will be an fabulous house for fabulous girl! :)

    hugs and kisses by Mani.

  2. Wow, starting to look homely :), best of luck.

    Sadie x

  3. You should definitely be proud - it all looks amazing. Must be such a wonderful feeling to have something you can really call your own.

    As a 25yr old that still lives with her parents, this post has succeeded in making me feel extremely inadequate! But good for you, seriously :)

  4. This was a great read :) It's exciting to hear about someone elses house-buying experience, as ours was pretty different, but still just as crazy! It looks like you're creating a gorgeous home :) x

  5. WOW! Looks incredible, hope you finally get it exactly how you want it and look forward to seeing more pictures maybe?
    The dining table is FAB, such a good bargain too. Nothing like your own DIY! xoxo

  6. What a fabulous post! Your house looks beautiful. I think making a place over on a tight budget makes for a much more creative and homely interior than splashing the cash and creating a bland, catalogue-style interior. Well done. x

  7. This was such a fabulous post to read! x

  8. Oh this is fascinating. I must admit that new builds don't appeal to me whatsoever but it sounds like you've done so much work to make your house a lot more personal and interesting than the basic new build. Well impressed with all your DIY! I can wallpaper but that's about it.

  9. Your home is such a credit to you and your Mr, you’ve done such a great job and it’s always going to remain such a great memory buying your first home together. I really enjoyed this post and leave feeling very inspired indeed xxx

  10. How exciting to watch your house being built before your eyes!

    I loved this peek into your home, thanks for letting us in!

  11. What an incredible process! I hope the house is everything you dreamed it would be!


  12. What a great post! Really enjoyed reading it.

    I lived in a new build flat a few years ago and even though it was rented it was still a faff to have to get all the problems fixed. There's pros and cons with buying newer and older properties but your home looks fab x

  13. Wow that's so cool that you saw your house being built! I live in a new build too but we haven't had that many problems with ours! xx

  14. Nice!! It is coming along very well, how exciting!!


Your comments make me smile :)

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