Interiors • February 23, 2016

Our Living/Dining Room Makeover- Our New Extension Part Two… (Our Old House)

Last week I published a post all about our new living and dining room area. We recently had an extension built on to the back of our house and it has completely transformed our living space. Although the living room has changed in terms of changing it from purple to grey (we kept the yellow theme as it is my favourite) and getting some updated furniture and soft furnishings, the biggest and most dramatic change is of course the new extension part of the house and that is what I am showing today.

We have been wanting an extension for absolutely years but due to money it has never been on our radar until recently. We have been saving for it for such a long time and now it feels really surreal to actually have it finished. Our home is a 3 bedroom, but the downstairs had always been a bit of an awkward space, we have a smallish kitchen at the front of the house, as well as a little hallway and downstairs toilet, and then the back of the house was this awkwardly shaped living/dining room area. It didn’t really have a space for a table at all so we used to have a tiny dining table pushed up against the corner as you came in that you couldn’t even really fit us all around.

For a while we thought that we would move after a couple of years, but after doing a fair bit of work on other parts of the house, including the bathroom and the kitchen, we just couldn’t face the thought of moving and having to start again in something that wasn’t our style- our house is exactly how we like it now, plus it is in a reasonable area and now Mads is at school too. We also live in a ridiculously expensive area and house prices are so high, we found we couldn’t really get a lot more for the extra money we had, whereas if we wait a few more years we will hopefully be able to move to our forever home. So we decided that an extension was definitely the best option and we began saving as much as we could. It certainly won’t be a house we stay in for another ten years but by having the extended space it means we will definitely stay there for a good few more years and it will grow with us as a family.

We didn’t really have any requirements for our extension other than more space, so we started off by looking at more traditional conservatories with a glass roof, but we just found that we didn’t really like the style of them at all. Once we had a few quotes a lot of the builders were saying that perhaps a ‘warm roof’ extension would be better. We went to a particular company and saw these amazing bifold doors, and that was it- we were sold. Bifold doors are basically doors that completely slide open to give a huge amount of space.

And so all of a sudden it was all go. Plans were drawn up- we decided to extend out on our living room by about nine feet, with one wall being completely made up of the bifold doors, with two Velux windows and a big open plan effect, while also getting rid of our external double doors and leaving it all open. Then the idea was to screed (level) the rooms and put down wood floor throughout.

Work started in November, but obviously they had a break over Christmas and New Year and it was finished in the middle of February. It’s been a fairly short process really in terms of a building project, but of course when you are living in it, it doesn’t feel that way- sometimes it has felt very long and like it was never going to be finished. But finished it most certainly has been and we couldn’t be more thrilled with it. It sounds a bit silly to say, but I have had tears in my eyes on many occasions looking at this space. It has completely transformed our home and we are so proud of it. I think sometimes you feel even prouder if you have really worked hard for something and we have worked so hard for this little space.


A fair few people have asked me for some ‘before’ shots. Being a rubbish blogger I completely forgot to take photos before but I have a few of the building process that my husband took. The first photo on the left just gives an idea of what the living room looked like before, we still had the yellow paper but we had carpet down instead of wood floor, while the first photo on the right is of the girls helping me clean, but you can see the old double external doors and the beginning of the foundations. And then the bottom two photos are of the framework of the extension before they broke through internally- you can see the old external doors and window are still in place.


Here is our new extension in photos, we bought everything ourselves but I wanted to include links in case anyone wants to know where we got things from….


Basically from the archway, that is the new bit. The first thing you notice as you walk near the new extension is that there is so much light, it is amazing even at 8 in the morning on a grey and dull day. This is obviously due to the bifold doors and the fact we have two Velux windows in the ceiling too.


Yay finally a dining table we can all sit around! I absolutely love our dining table, which is the ASPER 6 seater white gloss table from Habitat. Our chairs are the Eames style chairs that you see everywhere, we got ours from Cult Furniture but you can get them in so many places nowadays.


The table is just such a great size and it sounds a bit silly but it really means a lot to finally all be able to sit around the table together properly, as well as being able to entertain family and friends too. The flooring we chose is Kardean which I couldn’t recommend more, it is expensive but it looks exactly like real wood floor but is really hard wearing and practical.


One of the other main reasons for getting the extra space was to have more space for the girls toys. I am one of these people who likes to put all the toys away at the end of the day and relax. I know everyone is different, some people love having toys on display but I like to tidy it away in our main living areas, of course the girls room is full of their toys. So we bought a fair bit of Kallax Storage from IKEA- it’s reasonably priced and fab storage.


As you walk in on the right hand side we have our new house plant- it is the first house plant we have ever owned (bar succulents!) and we both felt it was a very big responsibility. We have named her Pauline. 😉 Then we have lots of little trinkets and bits and bobs on top of the storage unit as well.


I have wanted this Marshall speaker for absolutely ages as I really like sitting in the evenings and reading my book or blogging while listening to music. However we couldn’t really justify the price after all we had spent, but one day Mr E surprised me with it after he sold an old bike- what a sweetheart. It is such good sound quality and lets face it, it looks lovely too!


I love the saying ‘Be a nice human’, it is something that I hope that I am most of the time and I put it on the lightbox in our kitchen a while ago. Someone on instagram saw the photo and told me about an actual website dedicated to the phrase so of course I had to buy this candle!


The geometric ball is from West Elm and Mr E thought I was insane for buying it, one night when he had a few beers he went on about it all evening and what a random purchase it was- but I love it! The cactus print is from Ingrid Petrie Design and weirdly when I posted a photo of it on instagram, the designer herself saw it as she is friends with someone who follows me on instagram and she tagged her in it- so that was lovely! It is a small world and I love instagram for inspiration.


The ‘hello’ ornament is also from West Elm, they do a ‘love’, ‘cheers’ and ‘xoxo’ one too!


Our floor light is from and I think it is a great addition to the room, I really love the industrial sort of style and also a retro style and I think this is the perfect mixture of both. It didn’t come with a bulb but we found this cool looking one in IKEA.


If you look across to the other side of the room you will see it is a similar set up, with two more Kallax storage units. We were originally going to put a pane of glass in the space where our old exterior window was, but in the end we decided we actually really like it open plan. Plus it is a great place to put a vase of flowers. We also went for a grey radiator in the new room, as we thought it flowed quite nicely with the other grey bits and pieces.


The ‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird’ print is probably one of my favourite prints in the new room. The quote is from one of my favourite films ‘The Notebook’ and is from Old English Prints. I can’t rave about Old English Prints enough, they do the most gorgeous designs and we have at least one print in almost every room of our house. A very old friend of mine Ben from my school and going out days is the owner and he has just done so amazingly well- they are now stocked on Not on the High St, Oliver Bonas and Urban Outfitters amongst others.


This gives you more of an idea of what it looks like from the other direction!


Yet more prints and trinkets on the other wall. We now have over 100 frames on the walls of our little house- I feel sorry for the next owners. My Dad loves to tell me how many holes I will have in the walls!


I love motivational quotes and always try and get things that mean something to us and our passions. I love the ‘I’d still hug you if you were a cactus’ print which was actually a card. Using cards as prints are a great way of keeping the cost down. The prints on this wall are from all sorts of places- including Rifle Paper Co, Old English Prints and Not On The High Street.


More little trinkets. I have such an obsession for cacti and succulents- I really wanted to make the room very green as it is essentially a garden room.


I also wanted to make it quite industrial looking and with lots of concrete. I love my big Aloe Vera plant which no doubt I will kill soon and I saw this concrete house light from BHS and it was 20% off so I snapped it up. I am not sure if it has sold out because I can’t now find it on the website so can’t leave the link.


More little trinkets, I found the tiny little concrete houses on Not On The High Street and I thought they would go really nicely.


The little geometric planters are also from Not On The High Street.


Another view.


Finally this is what the doors look like from outside when they are completely open. It is so amazing and I still can’t believe this is our house. I cannot wait to sit in the summer with a drink and watch my babies playing outside. Our next project is the garden which at the moment is a state but my husband has big plans for what to do with it and he has recently painted the fence grey to help make it all flow better. The bifold doors were quite expensive and the builder made me laugh when he was fitting them as he said they are really popular at the moment but he didn’t think they are worth the money, but to us they were worth every single extra penny. We love them and they are probably the best bit of the whole room for us.

I’ve also done a little room tour video as a few people asked if I would do one. I was a little bit out of my comfort zone doing it and also I get so out of breath due to pregnancy at the moment, so I hope it is ok, but I guess it helps you get an idea of the room a little easier than just with photographs.


And there we have it, that is our new extension. I can’t believe it is ours, although our house isn’t anything particularly special, it is our home, where we lived when we got first got married and where we bought our babies home to. It is full of happy memories and as our family grows, we found we were really outgrowing it. To have even this small bit of extra space means that it has transformed our family life and it means that we can enjoy many more years in our house.

It certainly wasn’t an easy process, it involved a huge amount of saving, a lot of sacrifices and a few months of upheaval. But as I sit and write this sat on my sofa, with my music playing in the background and my little ladies upstairs asleep in bed, I feel so proud we have achieved this. It was most definitely worth it and now we can just sit back and enjoy it.

(You can see the first part living room part of our extension makeover here)

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