This week I’m really excited to be featuring Haus of Hern as part of my House Renovation Highlights series, and wow is this a story. I loved reading this, hearing their highs and lows which was made all the worse because of lockdown. Anyone else have trouble getting plaster?
Here Ste shares the renovation story of their home, and how they dealt with all the challenges that were thrown their way. It’s a gorgeous home and it even evoked a little bit of renovation nostalgia for me. I would love for you to have a read and then take a nose at Ste’s home on Instagram. It’s beautiful, stylish and definitely one to follow.
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
Our home is based on the Wirral and built in the 1950s, we picked up our keys to our first home 2018 and after finding our feet, set about making a house a home!
We fell in love with the house instantly – after viewing a few (some of which were lovely but required top to bottom restoration and others which were…well naff)
Whilst not everything in the house was ‘to our taste, we could certainly see the potential – in particular the kitchen/diner. We’ve always felt that the kitchen is the heart of the home and so pretty early on we’d decided that this would be our first ‘major’ renovation.
Due to the really odd layout of the kitchen/diner (large dining area and relatively small kitchen) and the number of doors to contend with it wasn’t immediately obvious what sort of layout would work and would give the best use of space.
After going back and forth we finally settled on a plan (which I’m sure was version 275), and then came the kitchen shopping which itself was another headache! What cupboard style to choose, worktops to go with and then all the details like taps and handles.
We made our choices and liaised with all the trades and the date was set!
However…see the challenges part!
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
Seeing the whole project come together – in the end the project overran (through no fault of our own) and it was really difficult at times – not just because of washing up in the bath! But also morale and goodness the mess – I’m really tidy so I was sweeping up every time the builders left for the day!
It was really exciting as the build progresses and we looked forward to having family and friends over and seeing the ‘vision’ that we’d had for the room finally be a reality.
What was your biggest challenge? Is there anything that you would have done differently?
Funnily enough our whole family came down one weekend armed with all manner of hammers and crowbars – tooled up to the nines to help us rip out the old units and the hideous panelling that was all over the room
Before we went ahead my sister in law asked the million dollar question “Are you sure you want to go ahead with it”?, “Of course” we replied. No sooner did we say that then the destruction started – cupboard doors being pulled off and panelling torn down and that was the end of that, 2 hours later we’d gone from a functional kitchen to a shell. To be expected after all you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette, and the kitchen install was starting in two days. Winner.
Unfortunately for us Mr Boris decided to put us into lockdown. Nightmare! And that was the end of that until a few weeks later when it was decided that tradespeople could work on peoples homes, however this itself brought it’s own problems – the joiner couldn’t get any wood for battoning, the plasterer couldn’t get any plaster and the bricklayer no sand! Even the electrician had problems getting fittings.
Not to worry we soldiered on! And eventually it started taking shape , the pipes were chased in, wiring done and plaster on the walls and ceiling – it was finally coming together!
With all the madness that had gone on we’d had to rearrange our kitchen delivery and flooring install but soon enough, I was back on the phone to schedule them in. The kitchen delivery eventually arrived – but wait, there’s not enough units here! This one is all damaged too – great! Back on the phone to arrange replacements which thankfully was painless enough to sort out , albeit a wait for delivery – not to worry the joiner would get on with other bits.
We were finally ready for the flooring to be done, and we had scored a deal on a discontinued pallet of gorgeous wooden effect luxury vinyl tile (LVT) with a lovely grain and all the rest of it and at a great price too – perfect! The day soon came for install and the fitter arrived – I double checked the flooring before they went ahead (and thank goodness). It’s completely different?! Yet another hurdle – they’d sent the wrong flooring! Back to the shop he went and then when he finally came back it turned out they no longer had the flooring we’d picked and paid a deposit on (you really couldn’t make all this up!) In the end I had to go to the shop and have some ‘discussions’ but finally we had a replacement with an upgrade and discount for our troubles.
The flooring was finally done and looked amazing (Karndean Oak) and the fitter returned to do the last bits (plumbing in the dishwasher etc). And there we have it – despite all the hassle and bother it is 100% worth it and we love it and spend a lot of time in it.
Tell us your top tips?
Planning is key – Although it can take a while it’s important to explore every possibility and layout for the space you have – the last thing you want is to have it all done and then find that you could have utilised the space better. Make plans, screw them up and make new ones! We ended up doing some scale drawings in basic software but there are free versions online too so it’s well worth a root around to find them (IKEA do a simple one which we used).
Quick wins – Seeing your beautiful home expose to a bare shell can be a massive shock, if there are any delays or the mess gets too much, it can also be disheartening and can get you down (especially if you do it in lockdown). We found it so important to mix the bigger longer jobs in with quick wins – get the sink in and the water on, a lick of paint or even put a picture up all of these can help pep you up a bit. Oh and plenty of tea and biscuits!!
What was your best renovation purchase?
The island, I mean just LOOK at it, we went for the biggest available size which would work for the space (but also took into account the biggest size for a single piece of quartz (to avoid any weird joins in the worktop).
I’d also be tempted to put the lighting in here as well – we ended up using a local company (Univeral lighting https://www.universal-lighting.co.uk/ in Birkenhead) and they were SO helpful in finding us something of the right style, size and colour and really friendly too – so much so that we have other lights in the house from here, highly recommended if you’re over this way.
Would you do it again?
Why not, I’m a sucker for punishment!
Truthfully yes , sitting here today writing this from the island, all is good with the world and the issues are long gone and our kitchen is gorgeous.
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
As I mentioned, we’ve got a little one on the way in January and so we’ve redecorated the rear bedroom into a nursery all ready for them.
Next on our list will be the hall/stairs/landing – we have the standard boxed in staircase so we’re looking to reinstate a style more in keeping with oak staircase and handrail, coupled with a lovely little window which looks out into our porch area (but has since been blocked off ) which we are going to uncover and get some gorgeous stained glass to put in place.
I have loved reading this and featuring you Ste! Thank you! Do all go and check out Haus of Hern on Instagram where you can see their amazing home and follow their future renovations.
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org