Interiors: What we've learned since renovating our cottage


With the nights being lighter and the days warm, it makes me really appreciate the changes we made to our old cottage in the renovation. 

As a child I always preferred to be outdoors, appreciating the seasons but especially summer, and this has been a philosophy I've carried into adulthood and my home. I find being in the light very energizing.

The cottage always had dual aspect windows in every room and that really attracted us to it, as it was so light and bright, but some of the flow just didn't work for a modern family home.

We wanted it to accommodate a growing family and give us even more connection to the outside. When you've got babies and small children, you're pinned to your sofa a lot or at home, so being able to look outside and enjoy the changing seasons was a must.

I love that no matter the weather, we feel a part of what is going on outside and notice so much more of nature changing. I long all year for the warmer months when we can throw open both sets of bi-fold doors and enjoy that indoor / outdoor lifestyle. 

Also opening up these rooms made them function so much better and we have had tiny babies in cribs, in here, as well as two mobile toddlers giving me grey hairs and now preschoolers who love the freedom of running in an out. The have energy for days and need to run and play, so an open plan space was a must.

Come evening, the Carnivore and I can gather round the island also lightheartedly known as the 'chefs table' with a glass of wine in hand, while the other one cooks. It works well when the kids want to get involved in watching us cook or taking part in baking too.

No matter where we are in the kitchen there is a view outside, which helps all of the cooking, cleaning, meal planning and household duties feel easier.

The big pan drawers make everything easy to get to and storage on both sides of the island helps to keep occasional use items like party platters tucked neatly away.

The flooring has to be durable and easy to maintain, as it gets a lot of mess and spills, in fact everything does but it all seems fairly robust so far. With hindsight though I would have gone for tiles, but as we had a baby and another one on the way, we felt they were not the best choice for crawlers/ early walkers but I now realise how fast these phases go. I feel tiles may have been more durable over a longer period but I like how our flooring flows between rooms.

We will always think that there may be certain things we'd have like to have done differently with more time and money. Did you know we were considering a phase 2 build after baby was born?  Of course, after the dust literally settled and the snagging completed, we decided that wouldn't be while we had two small children at home all day.

But considering we made most of these choices and completed the building work in just a short number of weeks whilst I was heavily pregnant and with a baby in tow it came in on time and budget. We kept the project management tight, made quick decisions for efficiency, which is both a good and bad thing if in hindsight some things could have been more considered and spent hours finding cost effective options like lighting and extractors. But on the whole, it is standing up to the test of time and the initial ideas we had of family life.

As our family grows, it may need to adapt again but for now we still feel it meets our needs and there isn't too much we would have done differently.

Is there anything you had to let go of when renovating a kitchen or anything that you are thanking your past self for?

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