Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The House of Laura, a tour. Part 1: The hallway

With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise that having named the blog 'House of Laura' I maybe should have kicked it off with an introduction to 'The House of Laura'! Oh well, better late than never.

I'm going to drip feed these as there's quite a bit I'd like to include about each room, like the 'before' and 'after' shots, the inspiration for each space and the problems I'm still working through with each one because, as anyone who has extensively renovated an old house will know - it is never "finished"! Plus, having moved from a 2 bed flat to a 3 bed house, we still have quite a bit of furniture buying ahead of us.

As a quick intro to the house and the project overall, we first saw the house - a typical 3 bedroom, late Victorian semi in South London - in August 2013 and completed on the sale at the end January 2014. Which means we've now owned it for a year so this feels like a really good time to look back on the project..

The previous owner had bought it for £1000(!) in the 1960's and although the house was basically structurally sound, it wasn't fit to live in, especially after said previous owner ripped the kitchen out and took it with him! I think this actually made it easier in some ways for us to decide to have it totally renovated and extended while we lived in our existing flat a couple of miles away, as it just wasn't possible to move in and renovate slowly, room-by-room.

So, at the beginning of June 2014 the builders moved in and to cut a very long, and at times painful, story short we moved in at the end of October 2014 - about a week before our wedding. I do not recommend this by the way - house renovations + moving + wedding planning + getting organised to go straight on honeymoon for 3 weeks does not make for a happy lead up to married life!!

But we're in now and have (mostly) put that stressful episode behind us, so onto the first part of the tour:

The entrance and hallway

This is the hallway 'before' shot. The terracotta painted woodchip (you'll be seeing a lot more of that later in the tour!), and the yellow stained 80's style linoleum on the floor added up to a pretty miserable welcome (ignore the handbag on the banister - the floor was so disgusting and sticky I didn't want to put it down!):


It's still not finished - there's something lacking and I'm not quite sure yet what to do about it, but it is a whole lot lighter, brighter, more welcoming and thankfully a lot less sticky underfoot! The tiles were shipped over from Denmark from Historiske, a Norwegian company who make gorgeous reproductions of historical Norwegian hallway tiles. The walls and all woodwork are all painted in Farrow & Ball's All White and the globe pendant lights are a much cheaper version of these vintage ones from Skinflint design.

I'm still undecided about what to do with the stairs - I'm tempted to paint them like this (source: desiretoinspire.net):

Or, half paint the walls some shade of blue or grey like this (source: universdanais.canalblog.com via www.madaboutthehouse.com) and put a carpet runner up the stairs:

But, as the builders and painters have only just finished painting the hallway white for the second time in 3 months, I think I might have a tough job persuading the OH to get them back to paint it again in the near future so the hallway will remain a "work in progress" for a little while yet.

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