What I wish I’d known

Apologies for my absence recently. After hitting the ground running with this blogging business, it turns out that there is only so much one human can do. My job, the renovation and having more kids than the old woman who lived in a shoe all seem to have got in the way. Seriously though, WHAT a shoe this old woman has now though. I won’t lie, it’s not been easy, I have walked very close to the edge on a number of occasions. I have cried, tossed, turned and gone fully bat shit mental at people I shouldn’t have but now the dust has settled (hmmmmm, I’ll get to that later) I can honestly say it was totally worth it. We entered into the renovation with an actual spring in our step, here we are now limping and hobbling somewhat, wiser, poorer and far less naive than we were a year ago and it got me thinking. What did I really wish I knew those 12 short months ago?
There will be dust.

Obvious right? Yes, but no one warns you about the ever appearing dust, the dust that you find down your bra at the end of the day weeks after the builders have gone. Dust really is the gift that just keeps on giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love a present as much as the next person but I’d choose any scented candle or bunch of flowers (even garage carnations) over dust bogies and perpetual grimy surfaces. I’m pretty sure there is no cure for this problem just be prepared for its onslaught!

You need to start at the end.
So, you tell yourself not to get carried away. There are more important things than soft furnishings, lighting and furniture right? WRONG, you couldn’t be more wrong. I was told by Mr Peach not to get too excited, to stop designing every room but the first fix of the electrics happens way sooner than you think and I found myself making big decisions in a rush. I never realised that at first fix you have to make final choices on the position of every socket, light fitting and for us, radiators. This means you need to have planned where your furniture will be positioned, where you will keep your small appliances in the kitchen and where your lamps will go. Think about whether you would like wall lights, once walls are plastered it’s pretty hard to then add them. At first fix for our bathroom wall lights, our electrician asked for the mirror that was going between the two lights so he could position the cables correctly. Obviously I hadn’t chosen a mirror, or the lights, or the basin at that point so felt like a right wally
You will likely want to punch your spouse in the face.

Or divorce, or dismember them and bury them in the foundations. Ok, I only thought about that once but seriously, this has been a whole other level of stress and pressure. Over the last six months despite having a really solid relationship we have always been ten seconds away from a row. Looking back now it was entirely ‘build related aggression’ or B.R.A. Finances, lack of quality time together, stress of choices and just the general strain of dealing with problems all contribute. This lead to a typical conversation about what we wanted for tea easily spiralling into I want to rip your limbs off and feed them to the dog. Ok, I’m exaggerating but you get the point. B.R.A. is the bad friend on your shoulder always pushing you toward that argument, be aware of it before you find yourself needing to dig a hole under the patio.
If it’s less than a grand you’ll think it’s a bargain.

I’m trying to remember that point at which my concept of value changed, the point at which I felt relief at something ‘only’ costing £900. Even if you don’t have expensive tastes, the costs of renovating is eye watering. Everything seems to be ‘about a grand’. Now I’m not being all ‘I remember the good old days when a curly wurly was 11p’ but seriously, when did stuff get so expensive? Which leads me to my next point…………..
You will consider selling an organ (or a child).
You know the feeling, you open up a copy of living etc and immediately covet every gorgeous piece on the page. I used to get a similar feeling about babies when we were first married. I’d see a newborn and my ovaries would immediately start clanging. Now it’s an internal interiors bell that goes off when I see something that I know would look great. Some of those extras will make your home but if buying them means an argument or any other sacrifice then wait. I wrote a (long) wish list with my most lusted at the top. I’ve only ticked a few off but you can’t have everything. Besides, I’m unlikely to get much for my gin pickled kidneys and grubby kids anyway!
You need to LOVE your builders

I have spent more time with our builders recently than I’ve spent with my friends, family and maybe even my kids. It’s no good just getting a recommendation, when you meet them you need to really like them. You will need to have difficult conversations with them, you’ll need to ask favours of them and you’ll need them to be on your side when dealing with other tradesmen. All of this is really tough unless you have a great relationship to start with. We totally lucked out with our builders, so much so that I genuinely felt sad the day they finished, hell, they even came to Mr Peach’s 40th party. Just choose wisely or you’ll be digging a bigger hole under that patio!

Happy renovating everyone

And so it begins…………

It’s been a while since my last post, possibly because I am so densely covered with dust that it’s difficult to move or perhaps its because I’m too busy looking for my sanity that seems to have been mislaid under a pile of rubble somewhere. Either way, Ive got approximately 4 free seconds so here i am, dust and all.
It has begun and by IT, I mean the epic project that is seeing our lovely house pretty much being beaten up. If houses could talk it would be weeping right now, only thing keeping me going is knowing that in a few months it would be saying thank you. Branco, Aleks and their team from actually started externally in early December. They started with a bang and so far they are still banging. Plenty of bodies on site every day including weekends and much to the delight of the 3 blue mini peaches a vast array of machinery. Being December the diggers were met with excited squeals of ‘look what Santa bought us for Christmas’ Erm, manage your expectations lads, Santa’s skint this year!

First job was knocking the pebbledashed garage down and building the foundations for the extension and new integral garage.

And yep, it happened THAT quickly. I literally just went to work, came back and it was like they’d been at it for weeks. Short break for Christmas (the ‘break’ for us actually meant packing up our entire house and shrink wrapping everything in sight) and then back on it at the beginning of Jan. At this point we admitted defeat and got the heck out of there. Besides, the builders were costing us a fortune in sugar, 4 spoons, really?

Within what seemed like minutes after we moved out, the peach was being extracted from the inside. Along with the peach came plaster, ceilings, the news of a re-wire and any sniff of a contingency fund we thought we had. At our last visit Mr Peach and I were trying to hide the worried looks from the kids as it dawned on us just how big a project it actually is. No wall floor or ceiling has been left untouched. Couldn’t worry about it for too long though, too busy stopping the kids from falling through the floorboards to the kitchen below. No need to call social services though, crisis averted and we’ve decided the Peach Palace is no longer child friendly and shan’t be bringing them back until it’s done. Besides, don’t think the twins share the vision as us. When asked what they thought of it Felix’ exact words were ‘they’ve basically trashed it’

So where are we now? I am mainly doing an average job multitasking the heck out of life.  Imagine kid feeding, bum wiping, story reading, teeth drilling, bathroom choosing, nappy changing, tile selecting, budget managing and all of this whilst I’m simultaneously fishing down the back of the sofa in the hope I’ll find enough spare change to fund this project. Basically I’m the frazzled looking one you’ll see at Sainsbury’s with too many kids, often with a snot smear on my shoulder, always with bags under my eyes. Mr Peach is the one with a furrowed brow constantly with his head in the finance spreadsheet. You’ll hear him muttering the word budget a lot alongside lots of head shaking. But hey, this is fun right? Right? At least we can finally say goodbye to the 50 shades of peach. I’ll leave you with a little Peach tribute while I go and make myself a nice cuppa. With no sugars!

What’s the big idea?

Why hello, Queen Peach here. I had wanted to be wowing you all with before and after photos of the peach lounge transformation. Instead I’m sat here eating revels trying to convince Mr Peach to put up our new curtains for the final photos, he is pretending not to feel my eyes boring into the side of his head. If I could crunch these revels harder to get his attention I would but I keep getting blasted coffe ones! I give up, instead let me share our ideas.

Although we well and truly love our new house, deciding to buy the Peach Palace wasn’t a simple decision. The financial commitment was huge and it would take us further from our beloved Chapel Allerton and the space although vast just doesn’t work for a growing family. Add into the mix three cheeky littlies on the outside and one on the inside desperate to make her appearance. The upshot was a serious case of mum brain rendering me incapable of making any kind of decision. Luckily help was at hand in the form of a man with a plan. In swoops Ed Park from who totally made us feel that anything and everything was possible. SOLD

The plans started instantly and rapidly evolved to us not being able to think about anything else. We knew we wanted to create an open plan kitchen living are at the back but also totally rearrange the space upstairs also.The house was built in 1901 when the requirements of a growing family were somewhat different to ours now so knew that extracting what we need from the house whilst retaining its core was going to be tough. This is what we started with.

There were a few decisions that came pretty easily. The garage at the back of the garden needed to be demolished before it demolished itself on someone’s small head, so it made sense to re site a new garage integral to our house.

And for the ground floor simple, knock down the honky conservatory and create a light bright kitchen diner with a new door providing direct access to the playroom. Convert the pantry into an office and add a boot room/utility and new shower room at the back of the garage to hose down the dirty kids and muddy woofer. Simples!

Ed has convinced us to pretty much go large or go home and designed us something with 10m x 2.8 m of glass doors and a pretty blummin cool grass roof to go on top. We are crossing our fingers and hoping that after such a financial commitment the said home will still belong to us and not be in the greasy hands of the bank! You gotta take risks right?

Upstairs we have deliberated for a longer than necessary amount of time about what to do and settled with the entirely selfish plan of treating Mr & Mrs Peach to a particularly indulgent master suite. Pretty much stealing the bathroom and a spare bedroom for our space. I like to think that it would be a kid free zone. Yeh, who am I kidding? Reality means that as a sub 7 year old human the favourite room to pee all over the floor in is the one closest to your ma & pa hence our coffin sized ensuite, we all know what the future holds but hey, a girl can dream right? So here we are, claiming back the upstairs.

Easy. Said no one EVER when dealing with Leeds City Council planning department. I shan’t bore you with the intricacies of our application, just rest assured that the battle to obtain planning has been a tough one but here we are six months later with a piece of paper giving us the green light, yay! I shall celebrate with some chocolate. Damn another coffee one!

Living with the living room.

Team Peach have been residing in what feels like the local vicarage for six months now and it’s just about sinking in that we own it. We always knew this was a long term project but after a few weeks of missing our perfectly finished semi I knew I had to put my stamp on a small corner of our new home. We have big plans for the PP, plans which leave no room untouched, plans which are now mercilessly in the hands of the local council (don’t even get me started on that one) and quite simply I just couldn’t wait. So, I decided to take on our lounge (the original dining room) in all its peach glory. I envisaged myself launching myself at the swags and tails, tackling them to the ground, effortlessly splashing the perfect palate of farrow and ball paint around. But, the reality actually consisted of me gazing around the room, scratching my head, drowning in colour swatches and wondering where the heck to start.Let’s start with the windows, those beautiful 115 year old massive windows which flood the room with light. Unfortunately they also flood the room with an arctic tundra whenever the wind changes but let’s gloss over that. With the demise of the swags, do the windows let in enough beautiful light for me to dare to go dark. I’ve never been as bold before but you’ve gotta take chances right?

Check out the light fittings

I was incredibly lucky to be introduced to the lovely Catherine from May Skies Interiors. She has sat patiently over copious amounts of hot brown drinks (in the later stages wine) and listened to me bang on about what I like, what I hate and what I can’t afford. She has been incredibly polite in steering me away from potential disasters and has made me want to take risks. In addition she has educated me in the delights of buying vintage. Cue hours of trawling eBay in the middle of the night when up with a baby. She has gone above and beyond what I initially asked her to help me with and I’m sure she’s pretty glad I only asked for her help with this one room. The upshot is I’ve been given loads of great ideas (and discounts) but more importantly gained a great friend. This isn’t the final decision on everything but just a little teaser of what we are going for.

Just to add to the budget and to combat the aforementioned arctic tundra we have decided to install a fireplace. Pretty frustrating really considering the hall, play room and kitchen all have working fireplaces but after an eye watering quote to secondary glaze the living room window, this seemed like a better idea.

Work starts on the 2nd Nov, watch this space.

Ps if anyone’s in the market for some swags and tails…………………

Come on in and have a look around. Don’t forget your peach tinted glasses.

When we first walked up the path of the PP Mr Peach and I gave each other a nervous smile. Having seen the internal pictures we knew how much work was required, enough to make us want to hate it, to run a mile in fact but walking up to that front door we knew, we just knew. 
We were greeted by Mr Smith, a delightful, immaculately presented man who had enjoyed over 30 years here with his family. His house was equally immaculate as his get up. I’ve never stepped foot in a cleaner more organised home, this gent literally repelled dust. I reckon if he rocked up here now and experienced the chaos of our four bin lids and hairy woofer he’d have a hernia. Although, I’m secretly hoping he’d get a warm fuzzy feeling from the house being used like it used to be.

Unfortunately, although the whole place was gleaming it only made the peach shine brighter. Hey, who gives a monkeys though when you walk into this space!

The peach vibe continues through the house 


Lounge and dining room

So Mr Peach and I did it, excited and terrified in equal measures we refused to discuss the windows that blew a gale through them, the gallons of paint we would need or the kitchen with a postage stamp sized worktop and WE BOUGHT IT.
Reckon that’s enough peach for anyone to handle right now, upstairs to follow.


Queen Peach 🍑

I blame the hormones 

So, we bought this house……………..

I was 39 weeks pregnant with baby number 4 so clearly we thought life wasn’t complicated enough already.

We had a house, we had a lovely house. We had a house that was warm and welcoming, one that held a million happy memories. More importantly, that house was done yet, we bought this house…………

So here we are, now as a family of 6, sitting surrounded by swags and tails, peach paint and draughty windows wondering what the heck we have done.

And so begins the epic project that is the peach palace renovations.