2016, 17 and who am I kidding 18, have been absorbed by the total renovation of our London maisonette. We fell in love with the property over the room size, and outdoor space; although literally everything else left us wanting. From the condemned boiler and the instruction not to turn on the water for fear of flooding our neighbours downstairs, to the garden hidden beneath the branches of a giant low hanging conifer. We had our work cut out.
We’d always wanted to take on a project that allowed us to customise a property and it felt appropriate to start with something smaller than the dream house. I’m a designer working on a maths and physics degree so creative daydreaming with extreme precision is my nature. Adrian is a project manager with many years of tight budget keeping and attention to detail under his belt; so together we became a complimentary renovation team. We’ve managed to create a stylish and spacious home incorporating unique craftsmanship alongside understated modern technology, but achieving that wasn’t pain free. We’re hoping to share our recent learnings and provide you with useful information in undertaking likeminded projects as this site develops.
We’re a little sad to be leaving such a recently finished venture, but we’re tired of the noisy neighbours and communal spaces that come with London living. We’re hoping the new house can provide the additional internal space we need to run our business from home, an acre of land, minimal structural issues and peace and quiet. I’d love to self build, although I’ve seen enough episodes of Grand Designs to be approaching that dream with extreme caution. We want a mortgage that we have some hope of paying off one day in the future! We’re very prepared (and have all the tools) to renovate again, and even have a few local builder details from contacts in the surrounding area if needed.
We also want to live a more sustainable life. The first items on the installation agenda will be renewable energy sources. The extent of what is possible will depend on the property, but we’ve carried out extensive research into solar (PV and tubes) and ground source heat pumps. The next plan of action will be planting our own produce. In the last 12 months we’ve created a small kitchen garden that we’re now reaping the rewards of. Our produce tastes significantly better than that from the supermarket, costs us a fraction of the money, and has enabled us access to produce we’ve never heard of. We’re hoping to make our Devon land home to a significant vegetable garden and orchard, as well as chickens and bees in the hope of making the first baby steps towards self sufficiency. I’ve done a lot of research into keeping other livestock (even Alpacas), but this will all be dependent on the quantity of land that we find. We’re under no illusion that this is going to be easy, and I’m certain that our recent experiments have barely scratched the surface of exposing the work required. We’re looking forward to giving it a go anyway!