You've waited for the FINAL REVEAL of all the work done in our flat, and HERE IT IS!
We've been up here for a few months now, and things are settling down. Routines are gelling, habits are forming, and most things have a proper place (a place for everything....). I love the process of getting in a home and watching it arrange and rearrange till the space finally fits your needs. (That sounds passive, like the house rearranges itself. Really, it's me rearranging things during the day which confuses and boggles the spouse when he comes home!)
So, let me take you on a little tour of our home, at least as it is now. Though, as my dear husband knows, it's never really done. It's always a work in progress. (You can blame my mom for that one!)
To make it to our flat, you have to climb to the third floor (called the second floor here, as they count it ground, first, then second floors). You start in our entryway, which is generally a good place to enter. Apparently, the little steps to the doorway make a great kids corner, especially when filled with pillows and blankets.
From this entryway, you are facing the doorways to the guest room, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. Yes- it's a lot of doorways. Yes, they each have a door. English homes have every room separated to save on heating (or so I've heard). Open concept living is admired, but considered energy inefficient.
At the top of the stairs, you first look into our living room. I love the sunshine that pours through our massive windows each mornings! My reading spot moves throughout the day, following the suns rays across our home. Yes- I'm like a cat.
(Do you remember the blue carpet that was there before? What a change laminate floors make!)
To the side of the living room (behind the fireplace) is our bedroom. Look at the massive chest of drawers that is my bedside table! I found it on Freecycle, and couldn't believe my luck! It's not in perfect condition, but I think that kind of lends to its charm!
Going back out to our entryway, to one side is our guest room, which was previous the kids room- remember the blue carpet and yellow walls? It also serves as a kids play room when friends come over. The pallet futon is pretty kid-sized, though my hubby has been known to nap on it occasionally.
Next to the living room is the dining room: arguably the most important room in our house! (Remember the built-ins that they added during the remodel?!) I never thought I'd like a formal dining room, but as we love having company, the ability to seat ten people and not spill into the rest of house is such a wonderful blessing! And I love our mdf tabletop. We took a (used) Ikea table/base and added a sheet of mdf on top. In answer to your DIY questions: No, we didn't seal it, though we put a few coats of mineral oil on to deepen the tone. Yes, it gets water stains, hot pad marks, and dents and scratches. We like to think of it as a 'patina'. Besides, at £20, it's not too hard to replace if it wears out.
Since we don't often use the dining room when it's just the two of us, we make it do double-duty by adding a writing desk and piano to the other side of the room.
And to the other side of the dining room is our kitchen! I am SOOO happy with the kitchen! Lots of storage and counter space, gas hob (stove), and my pot rack! It's a good thing too, since we do a lot of cooking! Isn't the space so light and airy?!
Yay for reusing jam jars and coffee tins (covered in burlap, of course)! And featuring our stovetop kettle... which my husband insists on keeping, rather than an electric kettle. He thinks its cooler. Though its quaint boiling whistle quickly escalates to an ear-splitting scream if left to boil 12 seconds longer than it should.
Ok, so here is my best kitchen trick: get a magnetic knife rack. I know- profound right? But seriously- you don't have to dig dangerously in a drawer, knives stay sharper than in a block (since they aren't laying on their edge), you keep your counter space, it's still out of kids reach, and you can see them all at once- instead of randomly pulling handles from a knife block.
*Bonus tip*- don't go to Williams Sonoma (or Amazon) and pay $30 for a fancy magnetic knife rack. Just go to your local home improvement shop and get a magnetic tool bar. If it's sturdy enough to hold a hammer, it can hold a knife. (We got ours at Lowes, and brought it to the UK.) Mount it in the wall if you can. If you have tile, like we do- use a couple Command heavy-duty picture strips. Works great!
Oh- and always have a stash of cute aprons. It makes you feel domestic
And... to finish our house tour... here's a little guy I drew for our Brazil party. The hubs liked him and asked to keep him around.
We're so grateful for all the work that was put into this flat to make it what it is today. We realise how blessed we are, and we don't take it for granted! God is always good, but he's been abundantly gracious with where he has us now!