In the midst of baby mayhem, constantly unfinished To Do lists and general mess, it’s easy to forget how much we’ve managed to achieve in making this house our home since we moved in 15 months ago. I love this house and although it’s less than 18 months since we moved here it feels like very much longer. Part of that has been Frog starting school, which has really cemented our life in the village. We know people here and feel part of a community – my 21 year old self is rolling her eyes but these are the kinds of things that matter when you have kids.
The house itself is perfect for us. The high Victorian ceilings keep my 6ft 5″ husband happy and the open-plan living / dining area is ideal when I’m trying to cook and keep an eye on what Frog’s doing (often emptying the contents of the craft cupboard all over the living room).
One of the first jobs we did after moving in was to rip up the carpet in the hallway, stairs and upstairs landing. It was dark and sucked all the light in, making the area feel unwelcoming and cold. We sanded down the floorboards underneath and I painted the runners on the stairs a fresh white. There were no floorboards downstairs, so we put down vinyl tiles which are a cheat’s version of parquet flooring.
Upstairs, we were left with a bit of an empty space. We have quite a big landing but it was being used as a dumping ground for laundry and toys. But now we’ve finally got around to sorting the space out, into a reading nook.
The old wooden chair was a brilliant discovery in our attic, left by the previous owners. I haven’t even needed to wax it – I love it just the way it is. The steps were another find, at the back of the shed. I cleaned them and painted them with a mix of Annie Sloan Pure and Florence, to make a minty turqoise shade. It’s become a great occasional side table, ideal for a book and a reading lamp.
The reading lamp is from John Lewis – the Penelope Task Lamp. And the cushion is one we bought ages ago from Dunelm Mill. There’s now a home for my revamped Printer’s Tray, bought for a tenner from a local curio shop. I cleaned it and decoupaged the trays with different coloured pieces of tissue paper. We’ve kept the walls white but added pops of colour with the textiles and the furniture. I’m always drawn to bright colours as they seem to suit our family life and personality, so we’ve picked out a bright pink and turquoise in the tray, which is then mirrored in the rug – the Gulort from IKEA, a steal at £35.
We’re a family of book hoarders, but all the bookshelves we’ve had in the past have never been kid-friendly. Frog would end up pulling her entire book collection off the shelf in search of her favourite book. Not any more.
Now we have the IKEA Bekvam spice rack – £3 a pop – to keep the children’s books organised. It means Frog can easily rifle through what she wants without having to pull the books off the shelf. I love how they add another hit of colour to the wall, almost acting like mini pieces of art in their own right.
Having a rug on the floor here instantly makes the space feel unified and cosy. It creates the feeling that the landing is a room all of its own, rather than just an area to pass through. It also means there’s another place for Baby Girl to play when we’re all upstairs. As she gets bigger, I can imagine reading them both their bedtime story in this space, before they both go to bed in their own bedrooms next door to each other.
I think the total cost of the project was just over £100, as the only things we bought new were the spice racks, the rug and the lamp. The Printer’s Tray, table and chair were all things we’ve had knocking around for a while. And I used leftover Annie Sloan paint to do up the table.
Now I just need to find a spare ten minutes to sit down and actually read a book. Still, it makes for a good seat to tweet from too…