Tag: moving house

My house just had it’s Pinocchio moment!

When we bought our house earlier this year, it certainly wasn’t for it’s charming good looks!

In fact, it was such a strange building that we’d been scrolling past it on RightMove for almost 4 months, dismissing it completely out of hand. It was in the postcode we wanted, but that’s where the appeal ended. It was marketed as a 2 bedroom apartment with a private garden and 3 garages. And it looked like this.

Our house when we bought it

We assumed that, as an apartment, it would be leasehold; that it was some type of commercial property; and that the 3 garages were probably rented out or, if not, what the hell were they there for?! Plus we were moving out of a 2 bedroom place, and specifically wanted a 3 bed.

It wasn’t until the husband, in a fit of back to work after Christmas boredom, had a proper look at it that it even became a possibility. He came home from work and told me it was actually freehold, all of the garages belonged to and were being sold with the property and, looking on Google maps, it was in a very secluded area. Also, it had potential for planning permission. Bubbles of excitement started to develop.

The other thing to say here is that we had a very limited search area. When Phil & Kirsty talk about Location, Location, Location – we embody that! We had perhaps a square mile area where we wanted to live, and we were struggling to consider other towns or locations. The problem with that square mile area was that there weren’t really many properties that matched our needs. There’s lots of flats (which, as I say, we were moving away from), lots of Victorian houses which don’t have a garage (essential for the husband’s Harley) and very poor street parking which is high in demand, and lots of really big multi bedroom houses which were way way out of our price range. There really weren’t a lot of properties which were going to meet our (strict) requirements.

So, when the funny apartment with 3 garages started to tick some boxes, we began to wonder whether, in the absence of something available that matched our wants and needs, we could actually part build something instead?

I won’t bore you with the tumultuous offer process, estate agent dealings or price negotiations. Or the planning permission, rules and regulations. Obviously there was a happy ending because we bought the property, and we’re now making it into a traditional house. We’re converting the double garage (leaving the 3rd garage in place for the husband’s motorbike), knocking that through into what was a really big porch, and building an extension to the side which will open out on to the garden. Downstairs will be fully open plan, with an L shaped kitchen and lounge area in the (former) garage, a dining space in the extension, and the large hall/walkway up for discussion! The layout of upstairs will remain the same, but we’ll repurpose the space – what’s currently the lounge will become our bedroom, the kitchen will be a laundry/utility room, and we’ll have 2 more bedrooms and the bathroom as is.

The builders have been on site for 5 weeks and it’s been a stressful and exciting time. Every morning at 8am we hear them starting work and every evening we get home wondering what will have changed that day. On the plus side, because the property was a 2 bedroom apartment, we’re living relatively undisturbed upstairs with no building mess or interruption (although we still have a lot of boxes and bags that we didn’t unpack after the move because we didn’t have space to put everything!)

You’re probably wondering about the Pinocchio moment I mentioned in the title of this post? Remember when Pinocchio the puppet gets his wish, turns to Geppetto and says “look, I’m a real boy!”

Pinocchio I'm a real boy

Well, where once was 2 garage doors is now 2 proper, double glazed, uPVC framed opening windows. And we have the rudiments of a canopy over what will be our new front door. I feel like our property is saying “look, people who saw past the weirdness, I’m a real house!”

Our house now

Unfortunately, for now, that’s as far as it goes, because we have to wait for the extension glazing and the front door to be manufactured, delivered and fitted. The builders have downed tools for a few weeks because they can’t proceed with doing anything inside until everything is watertight. But we’ve picked and ordered our kitchen and worktops, interior doors and flooring, and it’s SO EXCITING! Still clinging on to the hope that we’ll be done before Christmas (god knows I’ll be cracking the whip on those builders!) and then I get to do all the exciting stuff like cushions and pictures and pretties, which is far more interesting than plasterboard and wall insulation.

When we moved into the flat 11 and a half years ago, we had a bit of work done then – redesigned kitchen and an interior wall knocked down. It was so stressful and messy that we swore we’d never move anywhere that needed big work doing again. You can see how that vow worked out!

I’m sure I’ll be boring bombarding you with lots more pictures in the weeks to come, as we start the decorating and dressing of the new rooms!

Have you ever taken on a building project? Done lots of work to a property? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

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5 things I learnt from living in our flat

We officially moved into our new place on Saturday – how exciting! We haven’t quite left the flat yet, there are still bits and pieces lingering around that we need to transfer over, but its no longer our main residence (I sound like the Queen!)

It’s been a super happy and fun 11 years in that little place, and I’ve loved every minute.

5 things I learnt from living in our flat

I’ve also learnt a few things too!

———–

You can fit a lot more stuff in a 2 bedroom flat than initially thought

As evidenced by the fact that we still haven’t 100% moved, and that we have boxes everywhere, and that I don’t remember our move 11 years ago being anywhere near this messy, it’s fair to say we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. Neither of us are good at living a minimal lifestyle – me with clothes and shoes and the husband with music and guitars, so it was inevitable that we’re going to have to buy more storage for the new place!

I love one level living

The idea of living in a flat didn’t come naturally to me at first but within days (more likely minutes) I loved having everything on one level! Not having to go upstairs for the loo in the middle of a TV program, or go downstairs for a drink in the middle of the night – it just really worked! So much so, in fact, that when we started to earnestly talk about moving, I insisted I would only move to a bungalow! And now I have a whole 13 stairs – I’m just hoping they help me lose weight!!

How much I like trees and squirrels

The flat was built in the 1960s, and most of the trees on the estate are from that era, so you can imagine their height and magnitude after growing for 50 years! The surrounding is so very green and lush, with thick trunks and dense leaves perfect for squirrels to climb, jump about and hide in. I love to sit watching them playing or chasing each other. We were worried that the move would mean giving up all the greenery as we live in an urban location, but we’ve been incredibly lucky to find a place that, if possible, is even more green and quiet than what we’ve left behind. Standing in the garden, all you can here is leaves rustling and birdsong, it’s beautiful. And I spotted a cheeky squirrel at the weekend too.

How much I dislike ceramic hobs!

I bought our kitchen hob for appearance rather than functionality and it drives me mad! It’s so unresponsive when you change the temperature, and it’s a sod to keep clean too. Definitely not repeating that when we get our new kitchen!

Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas

Ah, tiny twinkly lights, how I love thee! From multi-coloured pretties on the balcony, to star shaped ones in the lounge and a Moroccan inspired set in the dining area, I think everything is improved with the soft subtle glow of fairy lights. I’ll be having lots of them in the new place, and even more in the garden!

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With all those lessons learnt and experiences…experienced, it feels nice to be starting in a new place with the basics all ticked but the rest as a blank canvas for us to make our own mark. It’s going to be a long, slow and expensive process, but it’s going to be fab!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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How does your garden grow?

Not gonna lie, this is a blatant way of giving a shout out to my new garden!

We got the keys to our new place on Friday night, and although we don’t have to move in immediately as we’re waiting to complete the sale on our flat, we’ve already been enjoying the novelty of having a garden.

When I was growing up I just assumed I’d get married, live in a house with a garden and have kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, at all. It’s just that I realised it wasn’t what I wanted out of life, even though I thought it’s the path I would take, because that’s what grown ups did. Instead, when I got together with the husband (who himself had already had houses and gardens and…shock horror…other relationships (!!) and other houses) we evaluated what we wanted and decided that actually we weren’t in the right headspace for the responsibility of a house and a garden (translates to couldn’t be arsed with the idea of mowing grass and the like) so we decided on a flat with beautifully manicured gardens, looked after by the estate gardener, and a balcony space where we could have a bit of colour in pots and some furniture to sit outside and soak up the sun.

Fast forward 11 years and our priorities have changed. We no longer want to be out and about multiple times a week – we love the thought of being at home in our own space, spending Saturday afternoons outside in the sun, welcoming friends for barbecues, and being more homebody-ish (that’s not to say we don’t still love eating and drinking out – one of our criteria for moving was the location which had to be in our beloved Moseley with it’s proliferation of restaurants, pubs and bars).

Anyway, to backtrack, we bagged our house and garden. It’s very very private – hidden behind a cul de sac so you wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew it was there. No passing traffic. A garden with different areas and lots of scope for al fresco dining and relaxing, plant pots, pretties and all the solar lights.

Here are a few pics!

I have bluebells and daisies – how exciting!

Lots of ivy and trees make the whole space incredibly green

Garden greenery

After a strong start on Saturday, we dedicated Sunday to buying sunloungers, relaxing, and looking up!

Are you a garden person? Do you love outside space?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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We bought a house!

Well, to be technically correct we exchanged contracts on a house, which means that we (or the seller!) could still pull out but it would cost thousands of wasted pounds so isn’t really an option for anyone. So it gives us some peace of mind (at last). Hurrah!

The place we’re buying needs some work (pink bathroom suite, anyone?!) and some structural work to change the layout (it currently has too many garages and not enough living space) so it will be a costly and lengthy process to get it to where it needs to be, but it will also be nice to completely put our own stamp on it and make it into a place that meets our needs.

Plus the location and garden are everything we wanted but thought we wouldn’t get when we first started looking, so that’s great news.

I’ve been in a Pinterest frenzy for the past 3 months, with boards for garden ideas, décor and kitchen spaces, which I now need to revisit and start to narrow down into some sort of plan so that when we complete in mid May we can get cracking straight away. One of the first things to do will be get an architect round to draw up our building plans and submit them for planning permission (please be nice, Birmingham council!) as it can take up to 8 weeks to get approval. We’ll be glad of the garden in the meantime, and I have so many ideas for it, so lets hope we have a good summer!

Here are some of my fave home inspo pics that I’ve collected during the arduous home buying journey, and you can see more on my Pinterest if you’re of a curious mind!

Expect lots more housey stuff in the coming weeks and months, I’m sure!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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5 things estate agents suggest to help sell your property

Our flat is going on the market today! The estate agent has taken pictures, made a floorplan and is getting it listed online and in their branch. It’s exciting and nervewracking and lots of other complex emotions.

In the lead up to today we’ve been making sure that our home is in as good a condition as it can possibly be. So we’ve been painting, decluttering and somewhat depersonalising (prospective buyers probably don’t want to see our band artwork or the husband’s bongos – not a euphemism!)

I also had a quick Google to see if there are any other useful tips we might not have thought about. We’ve all heard the suggestion to bake fresh bread and brew coffee to entice buyers, but here are 5 others you may not have heard.

Top tips for selling your home

  • Flowers on the table. Makes sense. Nice scent, a pop of colour; this is something we can totally do.
  • Make your bed, using bedlinen to match the room décor. Bit of a nobrainer this one? Who’s going to leave their bed unmade?
  • Remove selected interior doors to give the illusion of space. Eh? Where are you going to put the door? And what about the hinges that are left behind? To me this would just look like you’re a bit trampy or you’ve had a fight and one of you have smashed the door in!
  • Take a sofa out of the lounge, again for the space thing. WHAT? That’s bonkers! If I went into a lounge with only one sofa, in my head I’d think the room is only big enough for one sofa and it would definitely put me off. And again, WHERE DO YOU PUT YOUR “SPARE” SOFA???
  • Park high end cars on the driveway. OK, so I’ll just go out and hire a Range Rover and a Porsche to sit there until my home sells, god knows when!!!!

Have you come across any bonkers house tips that make absolutely no sense? Moved or are moving house? Hit me up!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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The last few days…

…have been up and down to say the least. Mainly down. The weekend started on a high, with a surprise birthday celebration for one of the husband’s old friends. It was great to see people we hadn’t seen in ages, and there was Indian food too, yum!

Unfortunately, from there on in, there was little good to report. The drive home was soured by receiving a property survey which was wildly different to what we expected (see Plans for 2017 for reference) which led to us maturely abandoning our weekend DIY plans in favour of sulking and feeling sorry for ourselves. Spirits were lifted briefly on Saturday night, when we celebrated another birthday, and I was delighted to debut my new velvet flares; I’m nothing if not resourceful/vacuous when it comes to being cheered by trivial things (more about them tomorrow).

A lazy Sunday and roast chicken dinner ended with choosing an early night over washing the pots and pans, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake because we woke on Monday morning – the most evil of all mornings at the best of times – to find a sodding leak under our kitchen sink. A considerable leak, that will no doubt drip drip drip all the way through to our downstairs neighbours (we live in a flat) and piss them off for the umpteenth time since we’ve lived there. So I’ve been unable to use my sink, dishwasher or washing machine until last night when a plumber came and gave an ambiguous response as to whether it’s fixed or not. Sigh.

In the meantime a pile of dirty dishes have built up, I’ve handwashed the husband’s work shirts (and wringing wet clothes out by hand is a workout in itself, I can tell you, and certainly more exercise than I’ve done in months!), and tried to placate the manchild into better spirits with takeaway, beer, wine, fake cheeriness and sitting on my hands to stop myself clonking him on the head in frustration.

On the plus side I scored this little light up beauty from Store TwentyOne for the bargain sale price of £7.

store-twentyone-lightup-carnival-star-lamp

It also comes in white. It’ll look nice in our new home, if we ever get to fecking move…

What’s going on in your world? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Plans for 2017

Just because I don’t make resolutions, doesn’t mean I don’t make plans. The beginning of a New Year yields opportunities such as a whole load of annual leave to book, as well as a summer of fun, and music to enjoy.

Here are my plans (so far) for 2017.

plans-for-2017

Move house
This is a biggy! We’ve lived in our flat for almost 11 years, even though when we moved in the plan was to only stay for 5. We’ve been so incredibly happy and settled there and never both felt like the time was right to move but now we’re both ready to take the next step (although I’m not looking forward to stairs, I love one level living!) We want a garden where we can have friends round for barbecues and have wooden sunloungers with drinks holders, and we want another spare bedroom which I can have as a dressing room and display all my shoes in an MTV cribs style (yet to be agreed with the husband). Unfortunately we have a very small search area and also need a garage (rarity where we live) so we’re going to end up like those annoying couples on Location, Location, Location who are so picky you just want to shout at the TV that they don’t even deserve a home of their own.

Go to Whitby
Part of my birthday present was a weekend in Whitby, at a future date of my choice. Home of Dracula, Whitby has the stunning abbey ruins, a pretty harbour and the super cool Bats & Broomsticks guesthouse, which is where we’ll be staying. Each room is decorated individually and the candle lit breakfast room is in the basement. It has nothing but brilliant reviews so that’s one to look forward to.

Go to Malaysia
This is booked and in the bag – we fly at the end of April. I’ve always wanted to travel East and although Malaysia has never really been on my radar this appeared as a deal that was way too good to turn down. We’re spending 5 nights in Penang and 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur and it’s very exciting because we’ve never done a trip like this before. Oh, and imagine the food!

See Guns n Roses
I don’t actually love Guns n Roses (I find Axl pretty screechy at times tbh) but I do love some of their songs and the husband has a lifelong love of the band so when they announced a tour with 3 of the 5 original members it was a done deal that we would go. Lots of our friends are going too so it will be a cool day and night out at the Olympic stadium, although the ticket cost of £95 is disgusting, especially when you consider that £9.99 of that is a transaction fee. Per ticket. Bullshit.

Change my car
I do a 60 mile round trip to work each day so the miles have quickly clocked up on my car. I think it might be best to change it now before the mileage gets too high and affects the value, although I have no idea what I want instead.

Get back into blogging
The end of last year was not good for me – I (understandably) lost my mojo and blogging took a back seat. But I’m feeling inspired again with lots to talk about and, having blogged more regularly so far in January, it feels good to be productive again.

Start contributing to My Trending Stories
Last autumn I was contacted on Instagram by a representative for My Trending Stories, inviting me to become a contributor. I’ve seen some people suggesting that the website is trying to piggy back on successful bloggers, but I’m just an iddy biddy blogger with a small audience, so they’re certainly not taking advantage of me! Anyway, it was a compliment to be invited and it’s another outlet to share my thoughts and interact with other people so why not?

I’ve seen lots of resolutions around people eating more healthily, going to the gym, etc but it would be pointless me including them in my plans, because it would be an out and out lie! I can only be who I am, unfortunately!

Have you made any resolutions or plans? Leave me your links in the comments box!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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