Happy new year! We’ve got quite a few ideas cooking for the house – most of them for downstairs – which won’t all be achievable in 2018, but we’re enjoying the planning process anyway.
Back in November, Barry contacted the local planning department about whether we would be able (in theory) to extend the house. The idea is that you pay about £50 and submit a vague plan, and they come and have a look to see if it would be at all viable. Saves you getting an architect involved if it’s a big fat no.
It was an as-it-stands no. We were looking at knocking down the current garage and building another one attached to the house, putting more bedrooms above, which would provide a bigger bedroom for Jude, a spare room and a craft room for yours truly.
The plan he submitted would mean the house would end up looking like this…It’s really unlikely that we’d start anything this huge this year, but Barry’s enjoying the planning process and trying to get a design past the planning department, so he’ll probably do more of that. They said it would unbalance the character of the housing when looking at our house with next door, and that it would be too far forward and would block the view of the church. This view is a tiny sliver you can see from one spot in the field across the road which could just as well be hidden by a tree, but regardless, we know what they want now.
Barry’s liaised with them with a few suggestions that seem to make it more likely to pass, such as stepping it back from the road to retain the view, and turning the apex 90°.
A new kitchen
We’ve also been looking at replacing the kitchen with something a lot more traditional and in-keeping with the original cottage. It’s about eight and a half years old (but is in great nick), but we’ve got a lot of ideas for that room – I’ll update you on this later.
Another thing we feel needs doing soon is the downstairs flooring. We’d like to put parquet flooring in the living room and kitchen, and tiles in the utility and downstairs toilet.
For the wood flooring, I’m loving this kind of stained oak finish, and Barry likes ash. We’ve been investigating reclaimed wood, but it seems that it’s either really, really expensive or lots and lots of work to bring it to a usable standard.
Some beautiful reclaimed teak flooring caught Barry’s eye on eBay recently, which I think is a bit orange for me. However, once I got researching teak floors with blue walls, like this one from Hege in France, I could totally imagine that down in our house. So easily swayed! We resisted in the end though – it had thick bitumen that needed removing and the tongue and groove were damaged so all of the tongues needed removing too, so we’re still looking. Engineered wood is still in the running. We would just need to make decisions on the kitchen and flooring at the same time to make sure they’ll work together.
One thing parquet flooring would nix is underfloor heating, which is something we always wished we’d done when we put the flooring in the last house. This time around, I’ll get a rug, I want parquet so badly.
On the tiles front, I really like monochrome geometric ones like these Mr Jones charcoal tiles from Laura Ashley. We’d be worried that the gravel at the back would damage wood flooring, so it makes sense to have that in those rooms instead, and for these two rooms, we could put underfloor heating under the tiles.
I was lucky enough to have a day painting with the absolutely amazing Emily Garcés last month. I took a 50 x 100cm blank canvas with me, along with a photo of the wall this canvas was for, and inspired by the yellow tshirt I had on, Emily decided our room needed a pop of colour.
The cushions (the original ones that came with the sofa) have been looking sorry for themselves for some time, so I’ve just ordered some yellow cushions and a little yellow candle to bring the painting to the real world. The whole room is looking incredibly empty after Christmas and I’m feeling like a Homesense hit is needed any time…
Finally, my hatred of the ever-shrinking gravel outside our house is growing. I like to walk round with no shoes or socks on, meaning every tiny bit of gravel that gets walked into the house ends up embedded in my feet. We’ve got an idea for paving everywhere that’s gravelled, but like most of the other things on the list, it ain’t cheap.
The plans for the front garden still stand, it’s just when we do it and how! It’s in that eyesore phase of winter again, when we’d be happy to raze the lot, but when spring comes it’s so beautiful we don’t want to ruin it!
Lots to think about, loads to save for and much to plan. Here’s to a great year!