Project House - The Lounge

October 11, 2016

The lounge was always a show-stopper in this house. On the very first viewing, we fell in love with the huge south-facing bay window and all the character. This part of the house was a Victorian extension. It was huge, almost half of the house. But it needed a little vision, a big room is lovely but you need to be able to use the space well. We joked at how we'd need to buy gigantic sofas to even have a chance of filling it! The layout that the previous owners had felt awkward and cluttered, almost like a nursing home with random armchairs scattered around and a grand piano! We quickly set about thinking what we could do to transform it and it's now our favourite room in the house. Before, allll the during photos/what we did and after photos below. It's a pretty long one but I like having a proper record of it all.



About five minutes after getting the keys, and whilst the removal men were still unloading, Ben being Ben started ripping the carpets up! Bye bye green carpets, hello wooden floor! And cool old newspapers. We were so pleased to find the original boards. As I said with the bathroom and bedroom, we hadn't been able to find out about the original flooring and had hoped the whole time when we were buying the house that we could use them. But with old houses you never know what you'll uncover, good or bad! 

Ben stripped out the built in cabinets either side of the chimney breast, took the radiators off of the walls and we had all the wallpaper stripped. The room felt massive, we joked it was like a ball room!

The walls were a bit patchy so needed some TLC before decorating but on the whole it was mainly the painting that took the biggest amount of time. We had to get a platform in for our decorator {legend Pete again} as the ceilings are so high. It was all an off-whitey yellow colour before that seemed to suck a lot of the light in the room.

As soon as the walls were painted white it changed the whole feel of the room. We chose Little Greene Slaked Lime mid for the walls. I think we've said before that our old house was too cream in the end. We wanted something neutral and light, but not too white and stark. We tried lots of greys which looked too dark, some were too cold. Slaked Limed Mid in the end turned out to be the perfect mix of cream and grey - greige I guess, light whilst still being warm enough for this large room. It looks lovely with the contrast of the white woodwork and above the picture rail too. 

At first we were going to leave painting the windows and doors for a few weeks/months as they didn't actually need repainting, they were just the wrong colour and it would take so much time, and money to decorate them - a fiddly job with all the glass. But the minute the walls were finished they stood out as being a bit too yellow/beige so my Dad and I found a few spare hours and did it ourselves. Just from doing this the whole room was transformed! Crazy how the smallest things can make such a big difference. We used White eggshell.

Likewise for the door and the window seat window above, the minute it was painted white it looked ten million times better.

Thanks Dad!

Next were the floors. Some people say that you should do the floors before you paint walls, but both our decorator and the flooring guy told us to decorate first so you don't have to worry about covering the floor up. We just had to touch up the skirting boards after.

Whilst the boards were in pretty good condition, when sanded back and all smooth you'd really notice any imperfections. We realised that they'd need some TLC so got a company in to sand them, do some repairs to a few boards {plumbers are notorious for cutting through straight lines of floorboards rather than lifting the boards!} and then stain them. Ben had sanded the floors in the bathroom and bedroom himself but this was a much bigger job and it would take forever for us to stain it all over three coats plus we didn't have the materials to match the old boards in easily for any repairs. So we got a company in and while it wasn't that cheap, if we'd laid new floors it would have cost a fortune anyway and it's a large part of the house that would look rubbish if they hadn't been done properly so we decided to prioritise a chunk of the budget on them. It took a team of 5 people 3 days in total.

They looked so weird once sanded back! Virgin boards. You'd actually not believe they were old if you came in and saw them like this.

We then had to choose a stain. We wanted something quite deep, classic and dark to offset the light walls everywhere and light windows. We went for the darkest one in the photo on the far right, it's Mylands Light Fast Stain in walnut which was thinned down by 50%. On top of this they finished it with Bona Traffic in a matt finish. But these stains will come out very differently depending on what kind of floorboards you have and how much oil is in the boards, how old they are, how soft etc etc so it's worth trying stain out on your boards first. The colours also look very different once sealed and dried. It was a tough decision!

I'm really pleased with how they've come out though. With the floors and walls finished, next were the finishing off and decorative bits:

The lounge didn't have a fireplace on this main chimney breast despite there being one the other side into the dining room. There's a log burner and weird marble {with unfavourable Greek looking pillars} fireplace at the other end of the room but it's not where we want to have the sofas so have decided to use this as the main fireplace. At the time we couldn't open the chimney breast up to install a log burner until we got permission for amending a listed building. So until then we found this flat fireplace on eBay that gives the room and walls a focal point but without actually eating into the wall at all. It was two pieces, we bought the cast iron hearth separately to the pine mantel. Ben's amazing on eBay, I wouldn't know where to start with trying to find two separate pieces that fit together! We primed the pine using this primer {the best primer ever} and then painted using white eggshell paint before fixing to the wall in front of the skirting boards.

We ripped out all of the old radiators, wanting column radiators instead which are a bit more in keeping with the style of the house. We had originally wanted old proper reclaimed cast iron radiators but it would have cost a fortune and been a lot of work to track enough down that were the right size and condition etc. So in the end we went for these which are all new, efficient but still look prettier than your standard radiators. We bought them online here, using an online calculator to work out the BTUs and heating requirements for the size of the room. There are these 5 super cute ones which sit under the window and then a larger one on a back wall which should keep us nice and toasty in the winter along with a fireplace.

8 weeks after we ordered the sofas, they arrived! Which was funny as when we ordered we thought we'd have the lounge all finished and we'd be waiting for the sofas but in the end the renovations took longer than we thought so they beat us to it. They're the Lynden range from Laura Ashley {with a sale on top of a sale and found an extra 10% discount code online} with a footstool from Loaf. It took us a while to decide on the layout. I originally thought they'd be facing each other either side of the fireplace but then it hides the bay window and the cute little rads! So the L shape won but we may change it all around at some point if we need to.

After the floors were finished the decorator came back to finish the skirting boards off and finished the window seat and windowsill.

We fitted shelves in the alcove next to the fireplace, they're Homebase floating shelves which annoyingly are now discontinued. They're great as you don't need to have brackets on show, we did use a couple of extra little angle brackets to help give extra support and keep them level but these are hidden by our picture frames/books etc. Homebase has been taken over by an Australian firm and it's really changed since. We cut the shelves down to size and then primed and painted them wall colour.

It was then time to start unpacking. We packed our old house up in such a rush and stupidly without labelling very well. I mean, we knew which rooms they were for but if we'd have had more time I would have boxed things up much more systematically. It was chaos unpacking with bubble wrap and paper everywhere for a couple of days. I was selective about what we actually wanted in the lounge. Until we have the dining room sorted we have so many books, cushions, candles etc but only one lounge. So I've boxed a lot of it back up again now I've decided what I want to keep out in here for now. It was SO good to be reunited with our things!

We had a window seat made by a local upholsterer and I love it! It's an awkward shape bay so going bespoke was the only option. I used this fabric and then got these cushions to decorate it with. Without realising it, our bedroom, bathroom and lounge are all pink white and grey so far. Interior fail. I blame the shops, blogs and magazines for making it so on trend right now and subconsciously sending me that way... But what I love about this room is that apart from the slight hint of grey in the curtains, this room is neutral enough to change it around as trends come and go. We can change the cushions if we want to make it feel like a new room again.

We looked everywhere for a console table but couldn't find one suitable or the right size so Ben being Ben adapted two different tables. We bought one from eBay for the nice legs on castors which we stained down and then cut a different table {again sourced on eBay} down the middle to the size we wanted and stained it to match the legs. It now looks like one proper table. 

Reunited with my Diptyque collection!! Out of sheer luck it was in the first box I opened!

We put up walnut curtain poles {from Dunelm} across the back door and Ben had to cut down and adjust three poles for the bay window. We've got Ikea grey curtains which cost a fraction of the price of the quotes I got from local upholsterers. Just £35 each! Steal and they were the exact colour I was looking for.

The curtains are just dress curtains in the bay window. Because of the size of it, the amount of fabric needed to close across all of it would mean blocking a whole window each side of gathered fabric when they'd be open. Too bulky, we'd lose light and heat from the radiators. So they look nice and soften the window/room without actually closing. We bought the off white roller blinds from the previous owners who had had them made for the windows. They're simple and hidden enough when you want them up but equally give privacy and make it feel cosy at night when we pull them. I had originally wanted plantation shutters but the framework would block so much light and detract too much from the beautiful windows. The curtains draw across the back door and we need to get a blind sorted for the window seat.

On a trip to Kempton with my Mum in the summer, I fell in love with these shutters so they're now sitting at the side of the fire place. Such a great feature, nearly everyone comments on them when they come in the room.

We hung some vintage mirrors, full post on that here.

We kept the sofas covered for as long as we could, dust gets everywhere!

It was all coming together and then finally time to move in properly!


Shutters from vintage market, mirror from car boot sale a few years back, Hare cushion Habitat, grey pom pom throw M&S. 

Cosy throws ready for snuggling. This pom pom throw is from M&S here - back in stock soon.

Stag lamp from M&S here. Photo frames various, mainly TK Maxx. Barn star from vintage market. 

So that's where we've got to for now! We're hoping to have the log burner fitted in our favoured position, central in the room where the sofas are in the next few weeks. It's going to be a messy job opening up the chimney breast to create an opening. The builder will then have to fit a lintel and install a hearth and some kind of beam/mantle - we haven't decided which yet. But for now we're using the original log burner. Once we've moved it, we'll probably remove this marble fireplace. It just doesn't go with our style. I like the flowers, it's just those pillars! I think it will look better as an opening filled with logs and then maybe get a couple of arm chairs either side. That left hand window will be blocked up once we build the extension. 

I'm so pleased with it all so far. Perfect for sunlit days and cosy nights. I'm sure it will be our sanctuary once the extension starts and all chaos descends! More on that and the rest of the house soon.

Feel free to ask any questions, there's been so many photos and writing that I probably haven't covered everything properly so just ask.

R <3 xx 

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  1. Oh wow Rebecca, this really is such a beautiful room and you guys have done such a remarkable job of it! It did look like a waiting room/nursing before didn't it! hahah! I guess that's the trouble with such big rooms. But honestly, you guys really have nailed it and it looks absolutely incredible. Love the paint colours you've gone for, and the stain on the floor is just right. It looks very cosy for such a large space, which is no mean feat, and I love how much light it gets. And that window seat is just so so cute! I'd spend all afternoon reading on there! haha!

    Absolutely love it, really fantastic job. I love reading your blog!


  2. As always your house is breathtaking - my favourite Instagrammer & home! Can't wait to see what you do with the unseen rooms eeek
    Love Charlotte from xx

  3. What a transformation Rebecca! I think you've absolutely nailed the layout and the room really makes sense this way. It will be even better once you move the log burner. You're doing such a great job and I love following along.

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  5. Rebecca! This room is gorgeous... Along with the rest you've done! I know you've posted about the shelves but I was just wondering what brackets/fittings you used to make the shelves "float" Ive been to homebase along with many others building/decorating shops and none do the "fittings" :( xx

    1. This was a floating shelf kit which unfortunately has now been discontinued since Homebase got taken over by an Australian company. You could always try small brackets and hide them with picture frames/books?x

    2. Booo to homebase!! I never realised it would be so difficult to find floating shelves other than ikea which are too chunky and shiny!! Will have to re think on shelf plan... Thank you though :) xx

    3. Hello! I found your blog when I was googling about what stain for scaffold boards (I've made similar shelves to your kitchen ones in an alcove).

      If you are making the shelves in an alcove, I recommend going to a metal-worker and getting them to make up 15cm long bits of metal with two holes for countersunk screws. I got 12 brackets (enough for 6 shelves) for £25 from a local guy.

      I found a picture of something similar here:

      You fit them to the wall with the countersunks, and the shelf rests on them. It works for corners and alcoves (but i don't think you'd get the support on a flat wall.


  6. Hello Rebecca!
    Can you please let us know where where to purchase your lovely 'HOME' scrabble picture with description text.
    A small gift for friends.
    I have my own architectural business from home in Scotland, can't wait to see your new extension design! :o)
    Kindest regards

    1. Hi Lorraine, yes sure it's by East of India. Online here xx

  7. Gorgeous sofas! What shade are they? X

  8. Hi Rebecca, Could you tell me where the lovely wooden heart with a floral pattern on your mantelpiece (next to the Roberts radio) is from. Many thanks, Mary p.s. I love following your blog. You have made a fantastic job of your home with so many stylish touches. Carry on the good work.


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