Christine's beautiful kitchen with reeded panelling

House Renovation Highlights featuring Architect V Engineer

Hi all! Here’s a second installment this week in my House Renovation Highlights series, and today I’m delighted to be featuring Christine of @architect_v_engineer where it’s great to see a love of reeded panelling like I do. Here, Christine shares her renovation journey of fully renovating her 60s home that hadn’t been touched since then and I would love to see some of the “before” pics.

Christine has done some serious work to her home including opening up the ground floor and moving the kitchen to make it the beautiful home that is is today, and I love the look of the playroom they have been built for the kids.

The top tips that Christine shares are hugely valuable for anyone thinking about a renovation or is doing one, including her point about never ending the plan, and that it will change whilst you are in the midst of renovation.

Do have a read of Christine’s renovation story, she shares some brilliant insights with us as well as the challenges of her floor, and how she juggled time, two young children and budgets.

Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?

We bought a house that had been designed and build in the 1960’s by a family who lived here they entire lives. It’s a 4 bedroom detached house with an amazing mature garden. Although really well built and solid it hadn’t been modernised or decorated since the 60’s ( it had some crazy interiors!) It was the perfect project to make a modern family home.

Our main building works consisted of opening up the ground floor, relocated the kitchen to make a large open plan family living space overlooking the garden which was our dream. We also converted a series of outdoor stores to make a ‘secret’ playroom for the kids connected to the living room. 

The rest of the house was modernised; re-plumbed, re-wired, new windows and doors internally and externally and then ALOT of decorating!

We used a contractor: Laird Contracts, for the building works and we took on all the decorating ourselves. 

The pocket hidden reeded doorway in Christine's home

What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?

I’m an architect by profession so living in one of my own designs is pretty cool!  I took control of the renovation and I sourced everything, every hinge, every trim was bought by us, I love it’s all so personal to us!  

I also loved making art work for the spaces, again personal and totally unique to us- a nice sense of pride. Some even got the whole family involved so the kids feel it’s their house too!

What was your biggest challenge?

Budget is always a challenge.

We covered all the renovation costs with our savings so we had a limit of what we could do at this point. It is a long term project. 

Time was also a challenge, we moved in a week before Christmas. It was a big push- the kitchen fitter left and hour before we had a birthday/house warming party for my sons birthday!  It was hard and frustrating to get all the trades organised and on site when they where needed so not to hold anything else up!

We also did it with 2 young kids- a 3 and 1 year old. We didn’t live in the house during the works. This meant my husband worked a lot of late nights over at the house on his own so someone could stay with the kids. But it was only for a few months and we survived!

Christine's bold and stylish bathroom

Is there anything that you would have done differently?The floor!

We went for a waterproof laminate throughout the entire ground floor. It had a built in underlay so we fell for the sales pitch and put it directly on the existing concrete floors. We had levelled it in parts to save costs but should have done the whole floor and still put an underlay down too. Whilst I still like the look of the floor its uneven in parts to walk on and unfortunately a massive job to fix so this was a hard lesson learnt! 

Tell us your top tips

1. Make a dream list of what needs done, what you want to do now and what can be done later! Helps with time and budget.

2. Research and source yourself and don’t accept the price that’s given. I found tiles I loved at £80+ a sqm but did some research and ended up getting the exact same tile for £20 sqm for a local company! 

3. The original plan is never the end plan- accept things change and that renovations throw up lots of unknowns! It might even be better.

An extremely fun bedroom

What was your best renovation purchase?

Our kitchen is my favourite – our first house had a functional but unsightly  kitchen, we didn’t do anything with it, to keep money for the dream kitchen one day. I love to cook and I knew exactly what I wanted, designed it and worked with a local company to make it a reality.  

Would you do it again?

Yes I would – I love it! The other half would have a different answer mind you! This was our first project and we learnt a lot – the dream would be to build!

What’s next? Any future renovation plans?

Yes still lots to do!  Does it ever end?! Next up is external tidy up with painting, new soffits and rainwater goods. Inside we have a few rooms (utility/dressing room) to decorate, they are purely functional at the minute. 

Bigger plans for the future, we plan to extend our bedroom and make a master suite with en-suite with the dressing room. Our kids are still little so one big family bathroom works well for us but an en-suite would be nice for the future! Hoping this might be something fun like a black zinc box!  

Thank you so much Christine for sharing your renovation story, I have loved ready this and I hope that anyone else reading this does too! I’ve found it really inspiring that you sourced absolutely everything yourselves, and you’re right the plan really never ends.

Key info

Contractor – Laird Contracts

You can see more of Christine’s stunning home on Instagram, do pop over to see more and give her a follow as well.

If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email and take a nose at my last renovations highlight post featuring Rachel Renovates.

Claire x

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