A break with the traditional Monday post of Beautiful Rooms as I figured you might want to be the first to see the not quite so beautiful rooms that we will be moving into in three weeks time. This is very much a post of befores. I’m hoping the afters will not take too many months.
If you were here on Friday you will have understood the reasons for this move. In short we are downsizing, but I have, it won’t surprise anyone to know, masses of ideas for this new smaller place. I’ll keep those until we are in and certainly until I have been round again with the architect and the builder and a tape measure. But here’s a flavour. I’m going to start with the floorplan because it’s always the first thing I look at. You can change all the decor (and we will) but the layout is the bit that tells you if it’s going to work for you or not. That is when it’s accurate, which this isn’t quite but it’s good enough for starters.
So here then is the ground floor:
As you can see it’s long and narrow but, as I said the other day, there are no plans (at the moment) to build into the side return. This is partly as there is already an extension and I see no point in knocking one down to build another that would give us the same amount of space in a different part of the garden.
So the plan is to make this look great within the confines of what is already there. I also think it’s sensible to have a downstairs bathroom – partly as we will be living there as we get older and partly because there’s no way to add an ensuite or second bathroom without losing a bedroom and this house isn’t big enough to afford that. So that extension will be part pantry – and you better believe it’s going to look amazing – while the shower room will remain and be also a place to dry laundry when the shower isn’t in use. The plan is to tank it so it won’t need a shower screen and the drying rack can roll in and out. And yes I have all sorts of plans for sliding doors and and internal windows etc.
The main issue – and here I must urge you to bear in mind that the pictures are, in true estate agent fashion, very stretched – is that angled wall in the kitchen. For months I have been pondering the cost, and wisdom, of pushing out a tiny extension to add maybe only a metre but one that will allow us to put the fridge freezer on that wall and then run units the full length of the wall opposite. However, a second look from the back garden yesterday revealed that the window at the back of the sitting room goes further over than we thought which means this might not be possible. This is where the first of the clever ideas may need to come in – I haven’t had it yet and need to get back in there with a tape measure and an architect.
I also plan to turn that window – with the arrow pointing at it in the kitchen into French doors leading into the side return (which is a decent width) and which will be covered in a pergola and vines creating a shady outdoor seating area. Again, if you look at the picture the window looks wide enough to make this easy, but in real life it’s a small window that will require widening, which will involve steel work. So there may come a point where it makes more sense to widen the whole space rather than making tiny adjustments that, when you take into account economies of scale, don’t save that much money. I haven’t said this to The Mad Husband yet who is talking about new windows and boilers and other boring (but vital) things.
Added to which, the existence of the pantry extension and the loft conversion probably means that permitted development rights have been used up. This means I might have to get planning permission to add a couple of square metres? That will cost more and slow things down. So there are a lot of decisions to make.
The sitting room is fairly straightforward although, again that angled door is taking up more room than it deserves. Currently I’m thinking about cutting it in half to make a small double door so that at least it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space in the room when open. And if you scroll back to the top (I know you hate doing that!) I can tell you that what looks like a grey sofa is actually an armchair so that gives you a sense of the stretch of the pictures.
I’m also pondering re-dividing the room with a set of reclaimed glazed doors sliding into a pocket wall on either side so we don’t lose light but we have the option of an extra, separate room. This would also mean re-opening the original door into the back half of the room which I assume has simply been blocked.
Upstairs, the angled wall creates the same problem in the bathroom. If straightening it turns out to be possible (by which I also mean affordable) then that metre gained in both the kitchen and upstairs would add immeasurably to the way the space could be used. However, if it’s not possible downstairs then it certainly isn’t possible upstairs and if it is possible downstairs it may cost too much to do it upstairs.
We won’t be having an ensuite bathroom as that middle room will be needed as an office, at least in the short to medium term. My older son will have the room at the back, with its roof terrace that may need reinforcing before it is safe to use it as such, while the younger one, now at university, will take the loft. This has a slightly strange temporary wall blocking it from the rest of the house and also blocking part of the window as it was, apparently, built as a studio and then a lodger arrived so more privacy was needed. We’ll have to look at that too. If you look at the plan below it doesn’t look like the wall covers the window at the back but it does a little bit which is why we can’t make real plans until we are in and can really examine the detail.
And there you have it. As I say I have lots of ideas to make it beautiful and I think it can be. But first of all we need to see what, if any structural improvements can be made and what they will cost before we can get to the pretty bit. But I hope you will join me on this journey and let me know if you have any clever ideas. As I say it’s hard to plan until I can accurately measure myself – for example – the fridge freezer might fit on that angled wall in the kitchen. We might get a tall narrow fridge to go on the wall that backs onto the reception (with the arrow pointing to it) and stick a small freezer in the pantry. The budget is small, building costs are high and floating in the background is the reason for downsizing in the first place so we might be able to realise a long held dream of a place in Italy.