Looking back, the most difficult part of the renovation was at the beginning, deciding on what sort of space we wanted and trying to visualise it before any building started – plus wanting to get it all right, so we would have no regrets about not doing something.
But the best aspect of embarking on a bungalow renovation was seeing it take shape as a house with an actual upstairs – the staircase going in was a big milestone. The beauty of it is we can move downstairs when we get a bit older, with all the facilities on the ground floor.
When we went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the landscaping process came to an abrupt stop. Then after about six weeks, it continued apace when a couple of the builders came back to work. Our new garden has a shady spot at the bottom with a circular pattern of paving stones, and the bifold doors and large window make it link well to the kitchen. The dining area is now so light and airy even when the doors are closed.
The renovation is now finished, but we did have some hiccups along the way. For example, the stair glass slipped down a bit due to the heatwave we had this summer and the turf we had delivered was dead and brown, so we had to wait a few weeks for new grass to be laid. Plus, the hot water was off for a couple of days after we moved in.
Dave’s favourite room, apart from the new shed, is the kitchen as it turned out better than he thought possible. My favourite rooms are the upstairs bathroom because it looks so nice and the kitchen area as it is so spacious compared with what we had before. I found a copper cooker hood on the internet and put accents of copper to match around the kitchen, like the kitchen unit handles and the toaster.
I haven’t really gotten any fixed décor ideas – I just look around and if I like something, I go from there. So, the décor is very minimalist and although it’s a much bigger place, it’s given us a chance to declutter and get rid of unnecessary stuff we’ve kept for years.
The house now looks completely different from the 1960’s two-bedroom bungalow at the start of the renovation. It is so modern and light and completely unrecognisable – in a good way. We still need to buy furniture for each room as it’s much bigger than our old house and nothing seems to fit in nicely, but that’s not such a bad thing to have to do, right?
And we still have some jobs that need to be done in the house, such as cleaning the stair glass of mastic and re-oiling the resulting gaps between the panels of glass on the oak handrail. The outside support pole on the porch needs to be boxed in and there are a few screws missing from some of the hinges – minor things that didn’t stop us from moving in.
Words of wisdom
If you are planning a renovation, have patience. The project goes full steam ahead at the beginning when walls are being knocked down and others put up. Then, inevitably along the way certain things stall a bit through no one’s fault – supplies get held up or they don’t have the bath tap you particularly want in stock. Also, find a good architect and builder and look at their work before you make a decision. Our project was only two months over the finish date due to Covid-19, which all things considered was very lucky.