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  • InHome, Interiors

    Adding Value To Our First Home

    Our house purchase was of course the biggest purchase we have ever made. It’s not our forever home by any means but it was a great way to get ourselves onto the property ladder. We went for a house that needed some work as it was in the village we wanted. So although it was an investment it’s also something that hopefully when we come to sell, it will have increased in value. We have made lots of changes in the hope that when it comes to selling up, we should make some money on the house. Here are some of the ways we have been trying to do just that.

    Kitchen
    When it comes to our home, the kitchen is definitely the main hub of it. Not only is it the place that we cook meals, but also a place where the children can do their homework, we eat all of our meals in here, and we love nothing more than entertaining and catching up with friends and loved ones in our kitchen diner. So naturally renovating the kitchen, although it was a big job, was high on our priority list. What we have done will also probably of increased the value of our home considerably. There is no denying that our kitchen renovations were a LOT of hassle, but it was so worth it!

    Bathroom
    Just like the kitchen, the second room that tends to cost the most to do up is the bathroom. But it can also add considerable value when done right. This will be our next big renovation project. We want to knock down the wall between our bathroom and toilet which will be much more practical. The plan is to also convert the built in cupboard into a shower too. I have lots of ideas for this one so it’s not only nicer for us while we live here but also it will make it much more appealing to buyers in the future too.

    Decorating
    I have said it before but simply just decorating our home has given it a whole new feel as well as adding value to it. I imagine most buyers prefer a more natural and neutral colour scheme. So that they can imagine their furniture, the things they like and their taste in your home. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use bolder colours, because you can always paint over it when it comes to selling!

    Extensions
    Adding an extension will always be one of the biggest ways to add value to any property, but for us that just isn’t an option as we have a very small garden. But what we did do was we changed what was a brick built outhouse into our utility room. Which was a much better use of the space!

    Converting
    Finally, converting a loft area or a garage if you have one can be a great way to add living space or bedrooms to your home without the need to extend. It can still give you considerable value, but the structure is already there to work with so it potentially could be an easier build project to take on. I don’t think we would convert into our loft, mainly because we really value that space. We sadly don’t have a garage but if we did I would be very tempted to convert some of the space into something more useful!

    I hope these ideas have given you some inspo if you are thinking of ways you can add value to your home too. We’re considering getting ours valued soon as we’re curious to see how much value the renovations we have done have added!

    *Collaborative Post but all opinions are of course my own*

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  • InBrand Collaborations, Home, Interiors

    Back Garden Renovation Progress

    The sun has finally got the memo that it’s Summer and apart from a few showers here and there, the weather is definitely looking much more brighter! This means that as well as throwing all my windows open at every opportunity and dusting off my summer wardrobe, my attention has been brought to looking at the gardens and wondering what the hell happened.

    When we first bought our house the front garden was beautiful, it was so well kept and full of amazing plants and flowers. But it was super high maintenance and we definitely let things slip! And then next thing we knew, it looked like an overgrown mess. Oops. So we have started doing some work out there which I will share soon.

    But today’s post is about the back garden which wasn’t so pretty. It’s very small sadly and was covered in super uneven patio slabs. Which were not child friendly at all. Like most families, our gardens are mainly used during the summer months only. And, though we are pretty good with the whole refreshing your home on a budget thing, I wasn’t really sure where to start when it came to the gardens. But after many hours on Pinterest looking at various ideas for small garden spaces, we decided in order to make best use of the space we would create some different zones. We made a start with the renovations out the back last summer and started by ripping out all the patio slabs and levelling the garden as much as possible. And then we created the following zones!

    Adult Space
    We decided to use CorTen steel edging to make a slightly raised seating area with cotswold stones. We put our garden corner sofa up here which I added some colour to with some outdoor cushions. In the afternoon it becomes a real sun trap and a lovely spot to sit and watch the kids play. It’s always good to get a bit of extra sunshine as its a great source of vitamin D which most of us are lacking! I’d also love to add a fire pit to this space so Josh and I can sit out there in the evenings when the kids have gone to bed and enjoy a nice cold gin!

    Play Space
    For the main garden area we opted for a LazyLawn. Artificial grass was definitely not Josh’s first choice but I managed to sway him by pushing my point that it would be ideal for the kids to be able to play without getting muddy. And it would mean we could enjoy the space all year round rather than just in the summer. I love that when I look out into the back garden during the cold and wet winter months that the grass still looks pristine. I also really enjoy being able to hoover it!

    Dining Space
    Eating al fresco is one of the simple pleasures in life. Both kids always eat so much better if we sit outside! We have a table and chairs set up on the artificial grass and we recently invested in a better BBQ. So I am planning to try and use it more during the week as well as at the weekends. I have been scouting out recipes to try and came across this great list of 33 types of chicken on the bbq which I am hoping to try out a few of!

    As well as these three zones we have also managed to squeeze in a small shed too! We’ve then created a little flower bed that runs along the house too. We made a great start last year but need to finish things off this year by painting the fences and shed, planting some more flowers, adding some festoon lights, replacing the gate and finishing the path off! So it’s still a bit of a work in progress but here is a few snaps so far!

    *Collaborative Post but all opinions and images are of course my own*

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  • InHome

    Life Update {Our New Home & Renovation Plans}

    Unfortunately Life With Mrs Lee has been somewhat neglected over the past few months which is mainly due to our recent house move! It’s already been almost two whole months since we moved in. So I thought it was about time I finally did a post all about the purchase of our first home and our renovation plans. I plan to document everything here on the blog as we go, so if interiors are your jam, keep an eye out for those posts over the coming months.

    NEW HOME
    If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that at the end of last year we bought our first home! It was a little bit unexpected to be completely honest. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be moving house with such a young baby or so close to Christmas. We’d previously agreed that we’d like to buy a house in the next few years but we certainly weren’t looking (or so I thought!!).

    But Josh is one of those people that is always browsing Rightmove. Whether he’s looking to move or not. It’s almost like he can’t help it. He is just property obsessed and loves to know what’s out there. He’d mentioned at the beginning of last summer that a house had caught his eye. Mainly because it was in a local village that we liked, one that has a lovely primary school that our niece and nephews go to. It was obviously playing on his mind. As by the end of September when he noticed that it still hadn’t sold, he told me he was going to book a viewing. I laughed and told him to go by himself as we weren’t moving any time soonThis wasn’t the first time he’d been to view a house ‘just because’ so I didn’t really think much of it.

    So off he went to go and view it. He called me as soon as he got back in his car and told me he thought we should try and buy it. I think I told him he was crazy and we weren’t ready yet. But he was persistent (as always). He convinced me I should go and have a look around at least. We contacted a private mortgage broker to make enquiries about how much we could borrow and a couple of days later we went to have another look around. It turned out we could actually get a mortgage for much more that we had thought. By going through a broker he was able to find us way better offers than all the online calculators. We were also very lucky to only have to put down a 5% deposit.

    Before I knew it we had put an official offer in, which after a bit of liaising, was accepted. Suddenly the ‘for sale’ sign turned to ‘sale agreed’. I didn’t let myself get excited as I was convinced something was going to go wrong and it would all fall through. But I was totally wrong and the sale itself was actually pretty straight forward as we were both chain free.

    It was around two months between our offer being accepted and the sale completing. We moved in at the beginning of December which in hindsight, also went very smoothly. We used a local removals company to move all of our things and it made life so much easier on the move day.

    The house is definitely not our dream home but it’s a really great start. And it has got us on the property ladder which we are so grateful for. Our new home is a three bedroom end of terrace. It’s in a quiet residential area of a lovely Sussex village. The previous owner had lived in it since it was built forty eight years ago. So as you can imagine, it’s pretty outdated decor wise but totally liveable. We have lots of renovation plans which will hopefully add value to it when the time comes for us to move on in a few years time!

    RENOVATION PLANS
    We’ve wasted no time in getting stuck into doing up our new home. For us as a family the most important rooms in our home has always been the kitchen and dining room. The current layout of the house is a living room / diner and a separate kitchen. This just doesn’t work for us as a young family and we knew straight away that we would much prefer an open plan kitchen with dining space and a separate living room. So we plan to knock down the wall between the current kitchen and dining area to make our new kitchen diner and then to put up a wall to separate off the lounge.

    After much deliberation we have chosen a light grey gloss handle-less kitchen with contrasting black worktops. White subway tiles (which caused ALOT of disagreements) with dark grout for the walls between the worktops and the wall cupboards. And a light grey toned laminate floor will run throughout most of the downstairs bar the living room.

    There is also a room off the back of the house which was described as a ‘brick built shed’ but we have decided to make better use of the space and turn it into a utility room with a downstairs toilet at the back. We’ll have a second fridge freezer in the utility room along with the washing machine and tumble dryer. There will also be a few cupboards in there too for things like cleaning supplies and occasion table wear – which we have a hell of a lot of!

    These two (soon to be three) rooms will probably be the biggest projects so we thought we’d get those out of the way first. We’re also putting gas central heating in at the same time as we currently have storage heaters and it made sense to do it whilst things were already being stripped back. Oh and we are having to re do all the electrics too. But luckily Josh is a qualified electrician, so he’s doing that all himself.

    In fact, we are saving a small fortune by doing the majority of work ourselves (mainly Josh although I am pretty good at painting). My husband is quite the DIY enthusiast lets just say. So he’ll be ripping walls down, putting new stud walls up, fitting the kitchen, tiling, laying flooring, wiring electrics and painting himself. There are a few things we’re getting people in for like fitting the worktops, plastering and all the plumbing! I’ve had a few people tell me we’re crazy for doing the work ourselves, but I have every faith that Josh will do an amazing job. He’s a perfectionist with things like this, so I know it’ll be just fine.

    I’m sure later in the year we’ll start on re decorating the other rooms in the house but this is all we have planned for now. We started a few weeks back and the utility room and downstairs toilet is already beginning to take shape. Things are starting to get a bit too chaotic at home with two young children around so we’re planning to move in with Josh’s parents for a few weeks while the majority of the work is being done.

    Hopefully the next renovations related post I share will be of the finished utility area. I’m trying to take photos along the way so I’ll be sharing those here along with the after photos soon!

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    Harriet XO

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