Four and a bit years ago, a long time before Baby Lighty came along, the Lightys decided to buy a family home. Casa de Lighty. A family home which we fell in love with, right from the first viewing, but which was clearly in need of a bit of renovating and general TLC. For the Lighty Residence hasn’t always looked the way it does now; no, in fact there isn’t one wall, floor, ceiling, fireplace, window, door, surface that hasn’t been touched with renovation. The previous owner of Lighty Towers had obviously had a good life within its four walls and our little house had obviously been much loved, but it was time for a major update.
This major update has taken the best part of five years, and is still ongoing now to a certain extent. We had some experience in DIY, having done cosmetic renovations to our tiny starter home when we bought it ten years ago, but this was DIY on another level. And considering Mr Lighty uses Command Strips to hang pictures, many people, myself included, have often wondered about our sanity in taking on such a project house. But in losing our sanity we have gained some valuable lessons along the way.
This is the house that Jack built, but we love it. And if, just if, the Lightys were to up sticks and move again (bahahaha!!), these are the lessons we’d take with us:
1) Don’t tile your bath panel.
If you do, and you have a leak, you’ll need all the help you can get. Hammer and chisel at the ready, that thing’s coming off!
2) If possible, live in a house before rewiring it.
If you can live in a house before rewiring it, you’ll know exactly how many sockets you’ll need in any given room, as well as the likes of whether and where you’ll want TV aerial sockets. To this day we only have one TV in the house because of the lack of aerial sockets we failed to include in our renovation. This is both a blessing and a curse at times!!
3) Buy the most expensive boiler you can afford.
Yep. We’ve learnt this one the hard way. 3 and a bit years on from installing a cheap-as-chips boiler, as that was all that we could afford, we were staring down the barrel of having to replace it. A definite false economy. And so this time around we’ve gone for one with a seven year warranty, just in case…!
4) Don’t buy Furnishings and Decorations just for the sake of filling your home
There’s a temptation, just as we did with our first starter home, to buy decorative items just to fill your home and make it feel less bare. This time round, we’ve bought pieces that we really love.
Not only has this given our home more character, but every time I look at certain things they bring back good memories, such as our living room clock which was bought when I was 4 weeks’ pregnant we were in Paris, or our lovely Lighty family button picture which was a handmade gift from my baby shower.
And remember, if you’re planning on filling your home with your very own little people eventually, your house is likely to be filled with all sorts of plastic tat in the not too distant future, anyway!
5) Make a note of what the paint colours are called in any given room.
If you do fill your home with your own tiny army, that army is likely to put their grubby hand prints all over the walls and you may need to retouch the paintwork. If so, it’s a good idea to be able to remember whether you painted the chimney breast Nutmeg Brown or Almond White!
So there we go. Just a few little pointers if you’re thinking of renovating a house (I can hear Mr Lighty shouting: “don’t do it! Don’t do it! It’s horrendous!”). There are still things we’re working on and still things that we need to do. And this house really is the house that Jack built: proven at times like the time when a piece of coving fell off the ceiling with an almighty crash at 4am (true story). We still have doors that need painting, a drive that needs doing and a garden which is a constant work in progress. But we’ll get there eventually (and one day I may even get my wood burning stove installed, too!).
Actually, this post has got me thinking. Perhaps I’d quite like another project house to sink my teeth into. What do you reckon, Mr Lighty?!
If you’re interested in exactly what we took on with this house, here are a few before and after pics for you:
Dining Room and Conservatory:
Bedroom 3 (Baby Lighty’s bedroom):
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