This is what Mark’s study looked like when we first viewed the house. It was the most modern room in the entire house as the top floor had been converted into a flat for the carer of the previous owner to live in. The fact that this floor had its own little kitchenette, separate hot water tank and updated electrics meant that I could envisage how we might live in this house while it was being renovated. It was therefore a key factor in our decision to buy the house.
After we moved in.
This room became ‘command central’. It was our kitchen, dining room, living room, cat bedroom, my study and the building site office all rolled into one. It was a stressful time for us – Mark was in a new job and we were living in a new city, I was dealing with a hopeless architect and slowly coming to the realisation that we probably should have had twice the budget we actually did have for all the work that needed to be done. Later there was noise and dust, and a great personal loss that I have never blogged about here. Even day to day tasks were a challenge. The hotplates on the little electric cooker would turn off when they got too hot (!!), the drains blocked, we had a tiny little fridge, no proper heating for much of the time, and at one stage the windows were boarded up for several weeks. And no dishwasher! But we did have cable TV and wifi so it wasn’t all bad, and in fact we look back at that time with a certain fondness. We had everything we really needed in that small space, it was cosy and the cats adored having us and all their sleeping and eating places in close proximity.
The bookcase was my pantry, the toaster was next to the armchair, and I still pity the poor moving men who had to heave that leather recliner up two flights of stairs (it was only about three months ago that we discovered it pulled apart into four separate pieces). Cat tree to the right.
Rose in the top of the cat tree, whilst Ruby surveys the scene from the other bookcase, which held glasses and crockery, knives, oils and vinegars.
Oliver and Ruby looking relaxed, probably despite massive construction work taking place on the floor below. Note the blocked up fireplace behind them.
This is how that same corner looks now.
Still plenty of cat beds though, if you look closely. I took these shots at dusk on a cloudy day, but in the afternoon this west-facing room gets masses of sunlight.
What have we done in this room? Not a great deal compared to the rest of the house. A new radiator was installed, the casement window was remade, the floors were stripped, sanded and polished. We redecorated of course – new blind, light fitting and wall colour (Farrow and Ball’s London Stone).
We had considered ripping out the kitchenette but then thought better of it. The little electric hot water tank under the sink might come in handy one day if ever the gas boiler breaks down – it supplies hot water to this sink and also the sink in the bathroom on the other side of the wall. The kitchenette is also handy for Mark as it means he doesn’t have to go down two flights of stairs to make himself a cup of coffee. It would also be useful in the future if someone wanted to turn this room into a guest room, or give a family member a certain degree of independence. There’s also a very convenient wine fridge under the counter…
This is also Mark’s den and library. Last weekend he finally unpacked his books, which had been in archive boxes for two years.
The units are from Ikea and our relationship even survived their construction!
Oliver, Ruby and Rose on the first day of building work, April 2014. To them, this will always be their room.