Through the Keyhole is one of Tots 100 most popular series and this month we are looking at Alice’s home. Alice blogs at Life as Alice where she writes about lifestyle, her loves and hates, her family life including parenting a child with Down Syndrome. Travel is a huge part of their life and share their travels around the world. You can also follow Alice on Instagram.
The Family: Me, Hoff – the husband, Rhys – aka Kyd (14), Robin – aka Rocky (4), Dave and Syd the cats, Leonard the dog and Bruce the Tortoise.
The Home: New Build, Semi-Detached.
Top Tip: More an exterior design tip than interior design tip but… GET FAKE GRASS IN YOUR GARDEN! Oh my, this stuff is like the most amazing thing I have ever come across and I mean, better than GIN and I love a good gin! We have a dog, he likes to run in circles, the result of this was a house that looked like the inside of a Glastonbury tent on a daily basis. Mud, mud everywhere! I began to dream of mopping, I knew this was the beginning of the end of my sanity at that point. Vanessa from HMMcQ, she’s a clever bean, mentioned they’d changed theirs to fake grass and loved it, so we got a quote and never looked back. We have no weeds, no mowing to argue about or waste our Sunday’s on. There’s no mess when it rains, you can clean and disinfect it if you have dogs and kids, and it stays green and summer-like even in the cold winters. Oh and they can play on it all year round, no-matter the weather, which means they’re outside in the fresh air and not under your feet. Win-Win.
Best. Decision. Ever.
What was the house like when you moved in?
We moved into this house 7 years ago after a conversation about North vs South house prices made us search a well known house buying site. We hadn’t been looking, we didn’t even live together at the time, I was just trying to prove a point about the North being cheaper. This one popped up on the search as a shared ownership opportunity, we wanted to know more so we rung the estate agent the next day (Friday). We saw it on the Saturday Morning, put in a cheeky offer an hour later, it was ours on the Tuesday, we picked the keys up less than 2 months later. Basically we impulse bought a house… I know, who impulse buys a house, right?! Well, the answer to that question is, us!
Anyway, the house is a new build, we bought it from a lady who had bought it ‘off plan’ 18 months before. The house was beautifully set out but a bit plain as she’d not decorated. The carpets were awful too, dark brown and BRIGHT PINK and don’t get me started on the poor standard of fixtures and fittings. I instantly made a list of things that needed doing, we are still working down that list 7 years later but we are now not in a shared ownership contract as we purchased the other side, so we have an excuse to be running so behind. Owning a house and being a grown up is an expensive business, slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.
Have you done any major work since moving in, and if so, what?
We had our kitchen done last year, the original was falling apart even though it was only a few years old. I love a country kitchen, I used to pin them on Pinterest continuously whilst dreaming and had a very specific style in mind. A sunken farm sink was a must, light blue subway wall tiles, a vintage style patterned floor, wooden worktops and cream cabinets were all on my list. However, my husband poo-pooed the idea of a fancy patterned floor and we had to come to a compromise and agree that I could have one in the bathroom instead; which we are doing this year, hurrah. We had a little help with the design from Vanessa from HPMcQ.com who is a design queen, she took one look, moved a whole load of things and ta daaa, my perfect kitchen. Amanda from The ANA Mum Diary was a great help with the interior design too, it’s a very good thing to have awesome bloggers as friends when doing such big jobs!
Are you a DIY person or do you prefer to get someone in?
I am a DIY’er but I know when I am out of my depth and I’m happy to get people in too. I always use local workmen and I’m very lucky to have a big network of builders as friends, so they get the stuff I can’t do, done, you know, if I flutter my eyelashes and maybe buy them a pint. The solid wood floor throughout my downstairs was fitted by my friend Simon, a local carpenter. My eldest (then 11) helped him fit the hallway floor after school and decided that is what he wanted to do as a career. Since then he has started going to Simon’s workshop and learning the trade; his future plans were made by my beautiful floor, how amazing is that?
What’s your favourite space in your home and why?
My favourite space, at the moment, is my bedroom. We have just re-decorated and re-furnished it and again Pinterest has been my best friend throughout. I saw it, I pinned it, I wanted it so badly for ages, I re-created it and I love it; luckily so does my husband. I love natural wood and so we opted for solid oak wardrobes but added contrasting solid, but painted in a contrasting colour, drawers. We used sets of drawers instead of bedside tables for storage and space reasons, I think they are more practical like this. I only ever fill my bedside tables with broken make up and the remains of the tooth fairy’s visits anyway, so we’ve eliminated that as now they have my pants and socks in, 2 birds, 1 set of beautifully crafted drawers.
Where do you blog?
In the Hoffice or the living room. I didn’t photograph the Hoffice because it looks like a paperwork factory blew up as I was doing our taxes.
What do you love most about your home?
I love that I have managed to make a home that is comfortable for our family and mini zoo but also easily transformed to my ever changing style and obsessions. I love that it has colour too, I do love a beautifully styled picture of a white home, but I would never be able to keep that clean enough for it to stay that way, so I’ll just leave those style houses to my fellow bloggers and instagrammers. I also love the coffee corner in my kitchen, it is like a little coffee shop that I don’t have to share with people.
If you would like to be featured on Through the Keyhole do drop Emma a message firstname.lastname@example.org as we are looking for more homes to focus. We are a nosy bunch and love to see how you have personalised your home. You will need to have some pretty good photos and features that people will be interested in.