The room was very white and plain, with a beige carpet that was sun-bleached in parts. Textured walls, a feature stone wall with built-in mirrored knick-knack shelf and an electric fire all made it feel very outdated, and not in a good vintagey way. The room had been extended in the '70s, so an additional problem was that the lovely original parquet flooring stopped two-thirds of the way along the room, with the new section having a particularly horrid lino flooring.
Above and below: How the living room looked when we viewed the house
Above: Three walls were covered in this textured artex
Above: The damaged parquet in the original section, and the laminate flooring in the extension.
Above: Work in progress, after the feature wall was dismantled and the fireplace was opened up
...ta da! Here is the finished lounge:
Slate hearth from reclaimed snooker table
Custom built Deco inspired shelving
Custom skirting board detail
And just a few snaps to show you what the parquet looks like underneath the rugs.
We were incredibly lucky to have the gorgeous Thomas Lloyd leather sofa and chair set for free. Thomas Lloyd is a high quality UK manufacturer of leather furniture, and they're made just up the road from us. A girl who was a friend of a friend was upgrading their sofa the same week we moved into the house, so we just had to hire a van (£60) to transport them. The girl's Dad had to come and take the pane of glass out of her living room window to enable us to get the sofa out of her house, as the hallway was too narrow! My husband looked like a mime artist holding the glass in place with special gloves... When we got to our house, it was a bit of a mission just my husband and I getting the sofa out of the van and into our house (down steps, round corners!) without anyone else to help us, but you can move mountains when you need to. Brand new, the sofa and chair set would have retailed in the thousands. £60 and a bit of brute strength was a small price to pay!
The woodburner was absolutely a luxury. We didn't 'need' one, but we decided it would be a great focal point for such a large room, and living in a cold and damp climate as we do meant it would certainly get used! We did a lot of research online to find out the best option, and discovered that Town and Country Fires based in Yorkshire make their stoves from start to finish (not everyone does) and that they used to supply a more top-end brand. So, good quality - and much cheaper. We found the best price at Colin Laver in Pontypridd. Installation was through a local company, New Heat, who were half the price of another installer in a posher postcode down the road.
The renovation included these stages (all done by my husband else otherwise stated, by himself mainly!!):
- Knocking down the feature wall
- Removing wallpaper and having the textured walls re-plastered over (employed plasterer)
- Fitting a slate hearth
- Having a woodburning stove installed (employed installers)
- Digging out the concrete floor of the extension
- Finding water pipes buried in concrete(!), so moving water pipes (employed plumber)
- Re-laying concrete to the correct level
- Painting the walls
- Making custom skirting boards (employed carpenter)
- Laying floor levelling compound
- Preparing reclaimed parquet for laying
- Laying the parquet
- Sanding the parquet
- Cleaning up after the sanding
- Glazing the parquet
- Painting pipes and skirting boards
- Building custom CD shelves
I say 'finished' but we still would like to find a mantelpiece of some description (heat proof because of the proximity to the stove!) and more pictures and artwork once we decide what we want. We also need some kind of custom unit to house the TV, speakers and electronics. The white vintage lamp needs a different shade, the door needs replacing, and we may change the existing ceiling lights. All in good time...
As you can probably tell, this has all been incredibly time-consuming, and even though we did everything we could to keep costs down, it's invariably ended up being somewhat of an investment in the house. So, how much has this all cost? Brace yourselves - we're talking thousands. The woodburner purchase and installation, including the slate hearth, came to around £2,500. On top of that, we paid to have the walls plastered and for a plumber to move some pipes, and also bought DIY materials and furnishings. I estimate around £3,500. It is a lot of money but this wasn't a 'quick fix', we wanted to do a proper job so that we wouldn't have to touch the room again for years. My husband put blood, sweat and tears into the renovation, and its thanks to his skill and determination that we have such a wonderful finished room, at a fraction of the price. In terms of value for money, we're really happy with what we've got. The room originally felt like a big empty space, but now it is a cosy room that feels like home. I know it won't be to everyone's tastes, but it suits us and our lifestyle. It is honestly so nice to have our lounge back properly after so long!!
Have you ever undertaken a big DIY job in your home? How did you cope with the mess and stress?!
Deco inspired CD shelves: Custom built by my husband, timber was £80
Coffee table: Vintage trunk, antiques shop, £10
Leather sofa and armchairs: Thomas Lloyd of Treorchy, *free* via a friend, but £60 to transport
Rug: Vintage, bought from an elderly lady via Gumtree for £50
Hardwood parquet: (in extension) reclaimed, from a 1950s bungalow in Merthyr! £50
Slate hearth: Reclaimed slate from pool tables, custom made for £160
Brass coal scuttle: Car boot sale in Cornwall, £8
Fireside set: Car boot sale, £2
Cushions: Sainsburys, £1.50 each in sale
Curtains: M&S, they were in an upstairs bedroom when we moved in
Leather foot stools: Charity shop, £5
Standard lamp and shade: Charity shops, maximum of £5
Skirting boards: Custom made by Seasons Joinery, Ton Pentre, with the stair-step feature added by my husband, £30
Woodburner: 'Little Thurlow' by Town and Country Fires, via Colin Laver, Pontypridd
Woodburner installation: New Heat, Treorchy
Red wall: Crown, 'English Fire'
White walls: Sanctuary, 'Soothing Matt'
And to my husband... THANK YOU!!!