This week I’m excited to introduce Anya of @fernandgreen_ to my House Renovation Highlights series. Whilst Anya has been creating her stunning home, she has also set up a home interiors shop that you can shop on Etsy too!
I’ve loved reading Anya’s renovation story and hearing her honesty. How being realistic with budget is a must, and how communicating every single tiny detail to your builder is essential. If anyone is about to buy a project house or start a renovation project this is one for you to read.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
When we bought our house, it was going to be a complete renovation project. It wasn’t a pretty thing and wasn’t really a house of our dreams. We wanted to move to the area and the position of the house played a major role in our decision. However, I like a project and I like coming up with ideas for even the most uninspiring project.
Don’t get me wrong though, this house did have potential. It’s not a looker from the outside. Unfortunately my dream of a period property quickly evaporated when we saw what our budget could buy. When you have children, space and the number of bedrooms becomes a priority. But there was a potential to extend into the garden, convert a garage and into the loft giving us all the space we’d need. Some of these projects we are still to realise though.
Just before we moved we decided to renovate the existing space to make sure we have somewhere to live. We had electrics changed, put in new radiators, installed new kitchen, done the floors and painted throughout.
A couple of years later we did loft conversion to make sure we have the right number of bedrooms for the kids, and to have an office / guest bedroom for my mum who stays with us for long periods of time.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
I have to say that I get excited about a full renovation project. It is difficult for me living with somebody else’s taste. If I look at properties for sale and see newly refurbished houses, they are very rarely exactly how I want things to be as I have very specific ideas. But apart from paying premium for it, I also wouldn’t feel comfortable ripping out perfectly adequate fixtures, so a renovation makes more sense.
My husband is quite the opposite, he finds the idea of a renovation daunting, so I suggested he would sort out mortgage and I would deal with the renovation work.
As for the most part there were no major disasters on the project, apart from the usual going over budget and getting delayed with the completion date, I actually quite enjoyed the process and wouldn’t mind doing it again given the chance.
Of course the final part, when things finally start coming together, choosing paint colours, tiles, etc. and having the kitchen fitted are the most rewarding moments.
What was your biggest challenge? Is there anything that you would have done differently?
The biggest challenge for me was having to sometimes compromise and finding cheaper alternatives because of budget constraints.
Also, I made a mistake with lighting in the kitchen and the lighting I had wasn’t adequate enough. But there will always be mistakes if you are not a professional interior designer, so if you end up with one or two mistakes, I think you’ve done pretty well. Lighting though is one of those things that is worth planning thoroughly from the start as it’s not an easy thing to change at a later date.
Tell us your top tips?
As I mentioned before, planning essential things, like position of sockets, gas pipes and electric wiring in advance is a very important thing. If in doubt, better to consult with a professional interior designer.
Communication with the builders! What I realised, it is a must to explain everything to your builders in minute detail. Even if something seems common sense to you or you can’t imagine it done any other way, it is most likely it will be done differently from what you’ve envisaged, so very clear instructions, even if it seems silly, are very important. Better to be safe that sorry.
And another important lesson, if there are specific things that are important to you, if you know they will be bugging you later, do them right straight away. Don’t think you can do something quickly and temporarily and then change it a little later, because chances are you won’t get around to doing it again for a long time. For example, my husband was suggesting to lay cheap carpets in rooms for the time being, but I chose to go for a more expensive option from the start because I knew that once it’s there it will be a major hassle trying to move everything out the room and I would hate to look at the cheap synthetic carpet every day.
What was your best renovation purchase?
I think my vintage cabinets in the dining room are a real lucky find. I wanted to find something to fit the spaces on both sides of the chimney breast and I found these on Ebay and they fit perfectly as if they were meant for this room. They get a lot of positive comments on my instagram too!
Would you do it again?
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
The extension at the back of the house that would house a large kitchen with an island and a dining room with Crittal style doors into the garden is my dream.
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and take a nose at last week’s post featuring Interiorspickle.