If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that in January we finally got the keys for our new ‘forever’ home. We’d been trying to sell our one bed flat for over 2 years, but finally something shifted and we were able to move on. Our flat is currently rented out but we’re in the process of selling it to an investor.
Although I was very fond of our little flat we had most certainly outgrown it. Living there the past 12 months had become very tough as I’d found myself feeling trapped and like we didn’t have any way out. I felt enormous guilt that I couldn’t provide a home for my son with his own room and a garden to play in, which is ridiculous really given the situation some children around the world grow up in. But something shifted (basically we didn’t think we’d have the option to rent out our flat and buy, when we actually could – I think I might have been upper limiting myself there!) and all of a sudden we were in a position to move, yey!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is like a dream come true for me. We’re going from a one bed flat into a three bed semi with a garage, conservatory and utility room as well as a good sized garden. It has big windows and great natural light, it’s heaven! The location is amazing as well, we’re a short walk from Fin’s nursery and all the local schools for when he’s older. We also have small shops just a few minutes from our doorstep. The house has great potential for extending and converting too, it couldn’t suit us better as a family.
When our offer was accepted on the house James and I talked a lot about being intentional with how we create the space needed for the life we want to live. This idea came from the lovely book Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want. The concept discussed in the book is about decorating for the life you hope to lead, rather than the life you have now.
This really inspired me to think about how we wanted to live as a family, rather than how we live now, and how we could create space for that in our new home.
Currently we’re right in the middle of renovating the house. It’s needed a full rewire, all of the 1960’s painted overblown vinyl wallpaper stripped, a wall knocked out, and this week we’re starting on the plastering work. The actual kitchen and bathroom are in a good state, so it’s just minor updates that need doing to them thankfully. We’re also re-carpeting pretty much the whole house.
Obviously we have a budget to work within so we’re thinking creatively about how we make the space work for us.
I started with an idea of the ways in which I felt restricted living in the flat, for example, I had no space to exercise away from the rest of the family if I wasn’t alone. We had no dining table to eat together on, I struggled with kitchen storage space and an area for storing biz related equipment. Then I started thinking about the ways I really dreamed of living my days. I want a big fridge freezer and lots of storage space for healthy food and equipment. I’d like to make my own natural cleaning products. I need a space for my food photography. I want a dedicated yoga / meditation / exercise space. We know we want more space for Finley to play and an area for James to practice his music. As we’re both on our computers a lot, we want our office space to be a central part of the home rather than tucked away in a spare room. All of these ideas have gone into the melting pot as we’ve been thinking about how we can use our space to suit us as a family.
Some of the ways we intend to create that space for us includes:
- – Making a major purchase of an American style fridge freezer
- – Using part of our dining room to have our adjoined desks and office space (the bigger picture is to convert the garage into a studio / office in a few years time)
- – Using the conservatory as a multi purpose space for yoga, meditation, exercise and music
- – Instead of having a toddler bed for Finley, just placing a single mattress on the floor so I can continue the co-sleeping / breastfeeding relationship we have until we can get him night weaned
- – Lots of toy storage space in the living area for Finley
- – In time, making the garden a really awesome outdoor space that we use daily.
- – Buying a king size bed so Finley can still sleep in with us, as and when he needs, as he gets older.
- – Researching and then making all my own natural cleaning products
- – Buying a dining table (yey!) so we can eat together properly as a family
- – Getting fibre optic high speed internet installed
Ultimately this approach of creating space for the life you want, rather than the life you have, connects with health and wellbeing in a huge way. Just listing those things out has given me that excited feeling in the pit of my stomach!
You can follow our renovations and decorating on the Tumblr page I’ve set up here: http://lauraagarwilson.tumblr.com/
I’ll also be sharing pics of each room as we reach some stage of ‘doneness’. Now I just want to get all the remaining work completed so we can move in and enjoy this new space!
When it comes to going through a similar process for yourself, here’s some steps to try:
- – Think about the ways your space is working for you, and the ways it isn’t working for you
- – List out the way you’d ideally love to have your space working for the life you want to be living
- – Think really creatively and outside the box on how you can make that happen. We’re all restricted by something, but there’s still loads of ways to make things work. It might be changing the arrangement of furniture, changing the intended use of a room, creating a nook in a corner, purchasing something new (this could be second hand).
- – Also try not to worry about fitting in with ‘norms’. Some people might not like the idea of an office in the dining room or having their child’s bed on the floor, but if something works well for you and your family then who cares what anyone else thinks!
Do you feel that your space works for the life you want? How can you review and adjust things to suit you better?
So happy for your that the move all worked out, unknown it’s something that you’ve wanted to happen for a long time! I love the idea of not fitting in with norms – I live in a tiny studio flat but it’s in the area that I wanted and it’s just me so it makes perfect sense even if I don’t have an oven or a spare room or a lot of things that others would consider “essential”! X
Thanks Lily :-) How awesome that you live on your own terms!
Laura, how amazing this new house sounds. This resonates with us so much. I love the idea of intentional living within the home and really am going to try and curate our space more. We have just finished converting ours to a 3 bedroom but the living space is smaller right now. There are options down the track but certainly intentional family living is awesome. Having this smaller house means we may actually be able to do a round the world trip as a family in a few years ????
Thanks Hayley! I love the whole concept of it because it’s so easy to live quite automatically and mindlessly. How exciting for you!!
Its so amazing you guys finally got the house you wanted for so long. It sounds ideal :). I love the ideas you have. I would love a massive American fridge freezer one day like you see in their blog posts where everything is spread out neatly. My fridge is always jam packed and not neat at all haha. The conservatory will also be perfect for yoga, exercise and meditation! How exciting. Wishing you guys the best with this journey and looking forward to following along on Tumblr!
Thanks Lauren, I’m not going to know myself once we’ve moved in!
I am really looking forward to seeing how you do all of these things. As you know, we are going through this at the moment (well, we have sold our house and are trying to find somewhere to move to)- some of them we are looking at as potential with regards to extending them, because a lot of them don’t quite have the space we want. But it can be hard to visualise something when you look around- we have spent a lot of time on right move seeing what other houses in the street look like, to give us an idea of how to change the space around and make it suit us better. Still looking though!
That’s such a great idea Maria, in our area loads of the houses are exactly the same design, so we enjoyed having a nose on Rightmove to see how they’d changed that layout. Knocking a wall out was definitely a good move!
This is such a great post, Laura! This is something I’ve been thinking about recently (we moved a year ago, but never really made the space ‘our own’).
The book sounds really interesting – think I might have to give that a read! Looking forward to hearing more about your house xx
Thanks Bexx! It is a nice book, a bit of a coffee table book if that makes sense, but lots of inspiration :-)
Fab post. I’ve done the exact opposite to you in that I’ve obviously downsized from a house to a flat, but as it’s just Alfie and me it’s perfect. I made use of the space to exactly what I wanted. I think you’ve gone through a very sensible planning process and it sounds like it’s a fantastic work in progress – and also a great place to live even while you’re making it ‘perfect’.