Monday, 18 March 2013

Living room before and after...

We bought our house 4 1/2 years ago and it was in a state. Apart from an eighties extension it hadn't been touched for 40 years. The thing that we liked about the house was the floor plan, location and the garden (although the garden was knee high like a meadow!)
EVERYTHING on the inside needed changing!

Sadly, whilst researching images of red hair whilst I was summoning the courage to take the plunge with my blond locks a few years ago, my computer got a virus and had to be wiped. I'm pretty sure we've lost all the pictures of how bad it was when we moved in here, unless my husband has them backed up somewhere and he's too busy to look.

I did find the brochure from when we bought the house though, and I found this charming reminder of the living room...



Imagine if you will, aluminium double glazing, oh yes, the kind that creates condensation on the frame when it's cold. Then secondary glazing too so there are no window sills left. All panes of glass were orange with tobacco.
Burgundy brushed nylon curtains on aluminium tracks. The rather dated green carpet I've shared before
The walls and ceiling were peach. Well, they were white with tobacco staining. It was funny, but it never smelt smokey in here, despite all the evidence of heavy smoking. Perhaps because the house had been empty for a year? 
The door, like all the others, was green with tobacco staining too.

We also had a gas fire with a back boiler that was condemned shortly after we moved in. As we needed to redesign the whole central heating layout and get several quotes this meant our first* winter without heat. And it just happened to be the coldest winter since time began. Or something.

It was very similar to this one. Without the glamourous surroundings...

It was removed when the central heating was put in leaving a hole in the wall.
One Sunday morning I went on ebay and spotted our now fireplace which was here in town. The seller described it as stone and it was a 'buy it now' for £30.
I quickly emailed him in a frenzy of excitement to try to clarify it it was 'real stone' or 'stone coloured'. When he hadn't got back to me four minutes later, the suspense was killing me and I bought it, just in case someone else did.
And it was stone! The man had taken it out of a newish house as they wanted a log burner and he just wanted rid of it.He even brought it round for us for free.
I am very jammy. (You can hate me a little!)

Firplace: ebay, crates: flea market and boot sale, mirror: charity shop, wall colour: Dulux York White


We did have to get a new granite hearth as the one that came with it was too long for our chimney breast, but I sold the original one. Probably for £30! Haha!
We also had to get a gas insert and get it all installed which was seven or eight hundred, but that £30 fireplace has to be the best ebay bargain EVER.

We put in new windows after a wooden frame fell out. My husband phoned me  in such a flap as he thought I'd be devastated but I wasn't surprised at all. The windows were rotten and we had penetrating damp upstairs. We actually still do thanks to the astonishingly bad work that was done by our window installers. (I'm talking about you Safestyle UK.) But I'll save that for another post.

New windows meant real windowsills for the first time. Oh the joy!

So here's the before and after, pretty much the same angle.

(demolition?)


Er, forgive the Xmas tree. There is currently a 'spare' dining table in the way...Dresser: ebay (was pine)









Leather chair: junk shop (it was pink!) Sewing table: facebook local selling page, Cushion: home made

Laura Ashley Stowe curtains: ebay,  Radiators: B&Q, rug: ebay, suite: ebay.Tv stand charity: shop (needs painting...) wicker fishing creel (toys): fleamarket.

Cupboard: ebay, Moppe drawers: boot sale, Lampshade: under construction!

Sofa bed: Ligne Roset, ebay. Not loving the green but we can't change it yet...anyway the cats wreck it. Hence patchwork throw! This is where I blog!
There's also another armchair and a desk behind the door that I've not pictured...

So there we have it. I sill have to paint all the skirting in here and fill some cabling holes. The light is falling off the ceiling and I started building a unit next to the fire and er, stopped again. But this is the most finished room in the house and I'm mighty proud of it and how far we've come.

(* We had two further winters without heat but only when temperatures dipped below freezing and the pipe which comes out of the loft got frozen. (Often!) This has now been fixed and we've had our first winter without the heating cutting out at all! Thank you British Gas for your pipe heating element installation! )

Linking with Ta daa Tuesday at Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping
and Whimsical Perspective: Your style in Pictures



31 comments:

  1. What a transformation I love your dresser. In fact I love it all xx

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  2. What a smashing read, your house is gorgeous and the amount of time and effort you've spent turning it into a beautiful home on a budget should be in a magazine!
    We've a couple of years on you and our garden's still a wilderness and every room still needs something doing. xxx

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    1. Thank you Vix. There are rooms that are still pretty much untouched! But as I'm not working it's a slow process, I have time but limited funds. And when everything needs doing, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to start. We'll get there! xxx

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  3. How lovely. We moved in to our house seventeen years ago and are still doing it! Sadly it was just before digital cameras were popular so we don't have many photos but the images of brown and orange 'stretchy' wallpaper and 'crispy' brown carpet are still there! Jane x

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    1. You just can't rush these things. It might be 17 years before I tackle the skirting boards...x

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  4. You are doing an amazing job on your house, and completely transforming it into a thing of beauty. I know what you mean about finding it overwhelming when so much needs doing but funds are tight... That describes our situation too! It's probably as well to take the long view - no rush, is there?! xxxx

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    1. Thank you Curtise. Absolutely no rush. We aren't prepared to do it on credit! xxxx

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  5. GREAT POST, YOU'VE WORKED MARVELS HERE. My house looks similar to yours, (is it a 70's build?)I also had a horrendous wall hung gas fire/back boiler just like yours. Had to save for a new one and only got it replaced last year, 6 years after I moved in! My fire surround is almost identical to yours but alas mine is painted wood and it cost more than thirty quid. You ARE jammy!

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    1. I think maybe you appreciate things more if you've saved up for them rather than borrowed for them! Ours is a 1960's build. According to one of the neighbours, summer 1960 and it was £3000 new! The house next door was £3500 as it had central heating. x

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  6. Lovely fireplace and looks really homely. The thing is with decorating you get one room done then another then you have to go back to the start again.
    I think theres more satisfaction saving for items yous want, or getting them on ebay for next to nothing or freegle.
    Ive just started to read your blog and Im enjoying it, thankyou.

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  7. You've done an amazing job Emma. We had a horrible old fire and badly built brick surround in our house when we moved in which we lived with for several years before we could afford to replace it. My fire surround cost a lot more than £30 though! Mind you that was in the days before Ebay, nowadays I'd be looking on there first. I'm really interested in your wing chair-did you recover it yourself? I'd love a chair like that one day when our cat's no longer with us (she wrecks our sofa too!)
    Gill x

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    1. Thank you Gill. I love that chair. It was dusky pink when I found it for £30 in a junk shop. It's the most comfortable chair, you could practically sleep in it. We got the colour changed by a professional leather colour changerer(?) shortly after we moved in as the pink wasn't working. I love the new colour and I'd like to do the same with our sofa bed, chair and footstool but it's not cheap. It's worth doing if you have quality leather furniture.
      I think the green sofa really stands out in my photos. Not in a good way. But I'm a colourphobe when it comes to interiors!
      x

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  8. As you may have realised "Before and After" is my all-time favourite phrase- particularly if it involves a room makeover! Your living room looks absolutely beautiful and that fireplace really is the bargain of the century :) Out of interest, did you use some sort of leather dye on that armchair, or did you get it reupholstered? xx

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  9. Thanks Katie, A very nice man came and took it away and changed the colour for us. There was also a badly mended cut in the seat that he made invisible. It was under £300 but as I'd only spent £30 on the chair it was worth it. To buy a new one would have been more. It's totally colourfast. Unfortunately he also painted over the nice bronze tacks but I intend to go over them with a gilding wax...xx

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    1. Just had a look on ebay and you can get these chairs for £350 new so it's probably not worth changing the colour...they seem to have come down in price.

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  10. That room is so welcoming. Well done! xx we had the same gas boiler in the old house, it chokes me everytime we put the fire one. We don't have one in this house :( I want one! yours is gorgeous and bargain indeed! x

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    1. Thank you Mary Grace. We've only used the fire once in 4 years but I like the look of it. My dream would be a log burning stove! I love the idea of free heat. But they are soooo expensive. x

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  11. you have lots of lovely things but I am Really Envious of your patchwork throw. And your clutter free window sill. My first winter here was without heat or hot water, we had a coal fired back boiler thingy and hubs was working away for 6 weeks and I couldn't keep the thing alight. Started saving up to have an oil fired central heating boiler and then we won the lotto! Only £1200 or so but just enough for the heating to be done. Joy. Unluckily the plumber fell through the living room ceiling, luckily I'd had a vibe and had moved the tv into the bedroom that morning.

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    1. Ah, the joys of having workmen in the house! Thank goodness you saved the telly! x

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  12. Hello, your room looks really lovely, you have some great bargain finds!! I'm curious, how did you turn your leather chair from pink to brown? Did you get it re-covered? I currently have a pink leather chair in our living room, I hate the colour but its really comfy so I put a huge throw over it. Tracy x

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  13. You've done an amazing job - well done!

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  14. You've done a fabulous job with the renovations! I eventually have to do our kitchen, its so unworkable. I have precisely two feet wide, one foot deep of counter space. Hence why things wind up getting fixed on the stove! Thanks for stopping by my blog, love yours! XXX Jet

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  15. It's looking amazing, so satisfying to see what can be done and the difference that can be made isn't it? We had the same hideous gas fire in our first flat, although I think I'd have had to get rid of those lovely green doors first!

    Our new place to be is in pretty good nick (I think) but we still need the builders in to try and steal some space from the garage. And there's silly things - like the lack of sink in the downstairs loo, which need sorting. And the painting. And unpacking. And all the new furniture we need - it's been gradually falling apart and we've just been repeating the mantra "when we move, when we move..."!

    x

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    1. Thanks Lakota! I don't envy you. Moving is hell. Good luck with it all and don't rush the decorating. I think you need to live in a place first and think on it! Same with the furniture. We have sloping ceilings upstairs and it really stuffs up what works in the space! x

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  16. I love the transformation and your fireplace is lovely.

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  17. I love everything you have done Emma, it looks really wonderful.You have obviously taken time with it all.

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  18. I love the cabinet! Thanks for linking up.

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I love to hear your comments!