Jo | 16/05/2018
Building our dream home.
Finding our new home was relatively easy in the end. We initially had this idea of the wonderful french dream. A big derelict house in the country with hectares of land to make into our dream home, becoming self reliant in respect of food, energy and generally living the dream. All that sounds wonderful until you start looking and real life kicks in. Land and property may be cheap in comparison to the UK but utilities, taxes and most importantly labour and materials are not. The larger the property the more outgoings, obviously and in actual fact it came to light for me pretty quickly that I would much prefer to be in walking distance of a town.
I wanted to walk the children the school, be able to go for a coffee (or glass of wine when I wanted) but most of all become part of the community. I did however still want a large enough garden for a pool and small vegetable plot ( bearing in mind i’ve never even kept a pot plant alive for long) and somewhere to park – all in town, maybe we were asking too much.
I would look at all the properties whilst my sailor was away and then shortlist the ones suitable to view with him when he got back. Going back in time, about 1 year to be precise, I viewed an old gothic style property that ticked all the boxes. It was habitable but needed work. I fell in love with it! I had visions of converting the attic to bedrooms, bathroom and playroom for the boys, there was plenty of space, or so I thought. I told all my family I had found the one. Even tried convincing my sailor to let me put offer in on it. His response, was as expected, a definite no! Upon his arrival, and I mean literally, he had just walked through the door after a 28 hour trip home, I ushered him straight back out to see it. He loved the entrance and hallway as I knew he would. He could see all the potential I saw downstairs, but upon entering the attic area it became immediately apparent that unless our 2 boys stopped growing when they are about 10 years old, or we took off the whole roof and built upwards there was no way in hell there was room for my well thought out plans. Ooops!
As luck may have it and as a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, the estate agent said we have got 1 more that neither of you have seen yet. She described it has being a project and it ticked all our boxes regarding space and location. She said we could see it immediately. As we approached the property, which is on the steepest hill in Belves, we saw the house. Unbelievably we had actually looked at the house online before leaving for France and had said how awful it looked from the outside but what a good price.
We entered and it became clear why to many this house had seemed unsuitable. There were so many small dark rooms, nothing flowed and it was like a rabbit warren. Immediately upon entering the upstairs, walking down the smallest corridor we entered a rather old conservatory style terrace thing!
Weird but the views were outstanding. We looked at each other and the ideas started flowing. There was no stopping us. We would turn the house upside down with our kitchen, dining , living room and playroom being on the top floor. This would allow open plan living with a beautiful new conservatory leading straight out onto the garden, terrace and a swimming pool (obviously all in our imagination at that stage).
Downstairs was a little more difficult, in trying to make a working and wonderful plan allowing access to all rooms. We have a triangular room, you might think that odd and we did to start with but we love it, even in its current state. This large triangular room was initially on 2 levels, neither of which was big enough to walk through, apart from me as I am vertically challenged. We took the first floor out and opened it up and it is now a wonderfully large, albeit dark, triangular room.
I like to call it my Harry Potter room – I don’t think the builders have any idea what I am talking about and why I love it so much, but who cares, its my house! What to do with this wonderful room, other than it being the access to all the bedrooms? A library, definitely, with wonky bookshelves made from wood we have removed from the house and old ladders (I am addicted to Pinterest by the way) and after much consideration and my sailor at sea he contacted me to say he had a great idea. Why not make it a cinema room as well. Awesome!! Log burner, corner sofa, its already dark so that solves that problem and a screen on the wall surrounded by the library. Various Pinterest images sent between us and that is the plan. Anyone that has renovated anything knows this idea may change a little or even completely but at the moment that is what we are aiming for. I can’t wait to snuggle up, this winter hopefully, with the boys and watch Harry Potter in our Harry Potter room.
Anyway, if you have followed previous blogs then you know we are living in phase 1 of the house now. The upstairs is done so we are sleeping in what will be the sitting room, the boys are sleeping in what will be the playroom and and dining room has a small sofa and TV. The kitchen is finished and is beautiful and the pool is in (although not working and the rest of the outside looks like a complete building site) but we are getting there.
Living there whilst the builders are there is great as I can be on site constantly. The difficulties arise when I have to take a shower after working out during the day and they are all around. No door to the sitting room (our bedroom), glass doors straight out to the garden and our one very conscientious builder (who is getting paid by the job and therefore wants to get it done) turning up at 8am on a Saturday morning, much to my horror, as I scream at the children to let him in because I am still in my PJ’s.
It is such an exciting thing to do, as all the ideas are our own. We have drawn the plans for every room, we have decided where we want everything to go, we have changed our minds on some occasions (poor builders) and we can only learn by our mistakes. But whatever happens, it is our vision, our ideas and our love that has gone into building our dream home.
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