Renovating Our Home: The Back Story

If you’re a follower of this blog then you’ll have heard me talk about our building work from time to time. As someone who’s obsessed with DIY and interiors, I love reading about people making over their homes so it seems only right to share ours. Over the next few months (and years), I’ll be sharing our progress as we finally turn our plans in to a reality and let you in on the building work that’s taking place. But first, let’s start at the very beginning, here’s the story of our home…

The Back Story

In 2014, we finished work on our first home together. We’d taken a run down, 60’s bungalow and gutted it completely; opening it up into an open plan, modern living space. Our final job was to rebuild the front wall and, as we stood surveying it, we agreed to get the house valued. We were about to get married, both in demanding jobs and were in complete agreement that we definitely weren’t moving for a long time. Less than a week later, we’d sold it privately and agreed to purchase the next one.

Renovating Our Home: The Back Story

The house was part of an estate sale, meaning it was already empty. With a lot of luck, we managed to save significantly on the asking price and complete two months later. In November 2014, we moved out of our finished home and in to what we hope will be our forever home.

The House

Built in the early 1980s, our new home had only ever been owned by one family; a couple who’d lived in it for over thirty years. It was pretty apparent from the word go that it had barely been touched in this time; it was like entering a time warp with heavily patterned wallpaper and carpets throughout. Each room had it’s own quirks – a serving hatch between the dining room and kitchen, a swirling brown carpet in the lounge, a blue themed bedroom, a pink themed bedroom and my personal favourite, a shag-pile carpet that has gone brown at the edges.

Bedroom 4 - wallpaper stripping

Aesthetics aside, the house is well built, has barely been touched and has plenty of space for our family to grow in. The upstairs consists of four bedrooms and a bathroom. The downstairs hosts a utility, kitchen, dining room, lounge and toilet. Additionally we also became the proud owners of a double garage (which would inevitably become a dumping ground!) and a leaky conservatory. The key word on everyone’s lips was, and still is, potential. This house has a lot of potential; every room needs work.

With the pressures of a wedding fast approaching, we knew that this was going to be a different story to our last home. There we’d moved in and started ripping out cupboards within 24 hours. This house is a long haul. What’s the rush when you have forever?! As we move through the house and show you our progress I’ll be sure to share more photos of the original before shots so you have a better idea.

The Outside

Having moved from a home with little garden, a huge selling point for us was the size of the grounds. Sitting in the middle of a generous plot, this house has an enclosed front and back garden, both of which are considerable in size. The front garden is gated and enclosed by walls at the side and a front hedge; finally giving us a private driveway that fits multiple cars comfortably.

To the rear, the garden opens into a wide and relatively flat space. It’s clear that the garden hasn’t been maintained which is a huge shame as it was obviously someone’s pride and joy some years ago. Instead, shrubs have been allowed to overgrow and we’ve a huge project to undertake in deforesting it. Two and a half years later, we’re still working our way around removing the overgrowth – it grows back so quickly!

There’s a lot of maintenance to do with the outside in order to keep it under control but nothing pressing. Over time we know we need to replace all of the guttering, give the brickwork some TLC and generally get the garden under control.

Where are we now?

We moved in in November and focussed primarily on our wedding in June 2015. Rather quicker than we intended, we realised there was due to be a new addition shortly after and in May 2016 we welcomed our son. Since then we’ve done work to the nursery, main bedroom and some remedial works to the lounge before embarking on our extension and big plans! Each of these projects I’ll cover in more detail separately but suffice to say, there’s a long way to go.


  • Nicola 28th June 2017 at 7:33 am

    Thanks for sharing! As the owner of a house built in 1981 which had no updates to decor since, I feel your pain! I can’t even face attempting to remove the anaglypta wallpaper that is tormenting me in the hallway!
    The garden looks lovely, so important for the little one and dog!

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Hahahhaaa, it’s horrific because once you do one room, the rest look even worse. If that’s even possible (it is, it totally is…). Garden is amazing. Our last one was about 5 x 5m with a shared driveway so we’ve upgraded in a big way!!

  • Amy | All Things Amy 28th June 2017 at 10:45 am

    I’m so excited to see the work you have done, especially your kitchen after hearing your plans! It’s so lovely to have something you can completely renovate and make your own and it looks like you live in a beautiful area.

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:15 pm

      I’m excited too, I still can’t fully picture what it will look like! We are super lucky with the area, it’s in a village I always wanted to live in… I can’t see us EVER moving (she says now… hold me to that!) x

  • Sophia 28th June 2017 at 11:48 am

    I’d love to buy a house and just redo all the aesthetics and make it our own!

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:09 pm

      It IS lovely. I can’t imagine going back to being in rented properties again now. It’s a little scary though knowing that your bashing up something that is literally ALL of your money!!

  • Laura Stevens 28th June 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Look forward to seeing your progress! We moved into a new build a year ago and we still have so much to do x

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:08 pm

      It’s amazing how long it takes isn’t it? I feel like it’ll be a lifelong project… atleast it better be otherwise I’ll get itchy feet again!

  • Sarah 28th June 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I love old houses, not saying a 1980’s house is old but an older house has so much character and memories! its going to be exciting to see the house grow and become your home x

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:07 pm

      I know exactly what you mean, we looked at buying a new home but I figure we’d want to put our mark on that as well so we may as well stick with something old that’s well built!!

  • Alice Spake 28th June 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I love home posts! Hope the renovations are going well, must be fab to be able to put your stamp on it xx

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 9:59 pm

      I love them too!! The work is going alright so far, it’s builder central in our home!

  • The Breastest News 28th June 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Sounds like it’s taken a little while to get everything done but then Rome wasn’t built in a day. Lovely to hear the back story though 🙂

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 9:59 pm

      It most definitely wasn’t! I think it’s fair to say that life’s gotten in the way over the past few years but that’s what was always going to happen so I’m trying to embrace it!

  • Abbie 28th June 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Oh I just love home renovation posts! Will definitely be following for updates! x

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 9:58 pm

      I love them too, I’m so nosey about what people get up to! Between that and Rightmove, I’m a bit of an addict!

  • Sophie Durrans 28th June 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Looking forward to reading more about your renovations. I’d love to buy a bigger house in our area, with a big garden, but we’ll never be able to afford that round her unfortunately. Hope you enjoy the renovations and your forever home.

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:10 pm

      We have been So fortunate with our moves, we would never normally have been able to afford it (and our mortgage is GINORMOUS!) but both houses we’ve bought have been wrecks that are selling quickly due to the owners passing away. That and selling our last house privately for a great price has allowed us to do this. It’s so hard though, houses are EXPENSIVE!

  • Kirsty 28th June 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Renovating a house can be an absolute project and a half – at least it’s big and has plenty of room, thats half the battle! Looking forward to your update pictures!

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 10:06 pm

      The size is working for and against us, feels like the whole thing is upside down right now!

  • Kira 29th June 2017 at 10:08 am

    How lovely . We are saving up to buy our first home , if I won the lottery I’d buy a farm! A big garden is definitely a must 🙂

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 9:56 pm

      Ha! I love the idea of a farm but the reality of upkeep would just kill me!! Good luck with your saving!

  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... 29th June 2017 at 12:09 pm

    We have barely done any work to our house since we moved in almost 2 years ago.. We are saving up for a garage conversion and conservatory so looking forward to the extra apace and chance to put our own stamp on the house. Keep us updated on your projects!

    • DevonMamaOnline 29th June 2017 at 9:56 pm

      This has been exactly what happened to us – it’s not really worth doing anything until the building work is done, it’s just so messy and destructive! Good luck with your project and saving!!

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