Finally!!! We have finished our breakfast room restoration!! I’m not normally an over-user of exclamation marks! But in this instance, I think they are well deserved. After all, it’s taken us a long time to get to this point!
Technically the room has been finished for a few months now but I’ve only just had the opportunity to edit my photos and the headspace to write this post.
Good job we have been quite relaxed about the whole restoration process, as it’s taken us a couple of years to pull this room together. I can’t imagine completing a room start to finish in a short space of time. Maybe if you’re not living in the house whilst your renovating it, don’t have children, and not working on other projects so it’s your full time focus, otherwise, life just seems to get in the way. I wrote this post about our slow home restoration and whether slow decorating is a thing back in 2015, and experience tells me it most definitely is.
One of the things about restoring a home slowly is that you have to have a lot of patience – not something I am particularly known for, but something I have had a lot of practice in over the last few years. We always said that we would wait for the right pieces of furniture to come a long, however, practically, that can make things challenging. For example, it meant we were without a dresser for 8 months and had to walk into another room to get mugs every time we wanted to make a cup of tea. After such a long walk for a simple tea cup it was a very happy day when the mugs finally relocated nearer to the kettle.
Even three plus years into our slow home restoration I still think that waiting for a home to come together slowly and organically is really rewarding. There are some things you just can’t rush, and making a house into a home is one of them.
If you speed through it all, you’re robbing yourself of the process and an opportunity to learn about how you live in the space and what you need from your home.
Here’s what was involved in the restoration….
- Restored the original wooden floor: Pulled up the old carpet and vinyl floor, spent hours getting a sticky residue off the floor left from the glue from the vinyl. Then sanded and painted the floor. You can read more about the floor restoration here.
- Restored the original sash window: The window in this room wouldn’t open and one of the sash cords was broken. We took the whole window apart and put in new cords. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if my folks hadn’t helped. They have fixed up lots of the sash windows in their victorian home so were able to show me what to do. We spent the best part of a week doing the job and then all the woodwork needed repainting.
- Paint work: Painted the walls, ceiling and all the woodwork.
- Handmade boiler cupboard: The husband cleverly made cupboard doors to hide our boiler, which I then painted white so they would disappear in the room. These replaced the saloon-style boiler cupboard doors that were there before.
- Restored the doors: Dipped the original doors to strip the many layers of paint off. Then hand sanded and treated with a clear natural wax.
- Light fitting: Replaced the strip light that cast everything in the room with an orange glow and buzzed every time the light was on with a cord light fitting that now hangs over the table.
- Dresser restoration: Found and restored this old dresser. Originally this dresser didn’t have a back. We asked our friend Tony from Back to the Grain (who dips all our doors) if they could make us a back from recycled pieces of wood.
- Handmade curtain: There was leftover fabric from making the curtain in our kitchen so I made a sheer linen curtain that dresses the window.
- Laid tiles: You can’t see these in any of the pictures (will show them in stories later), but in front of the boiler cupboard there were old cracked tiles that were hidden under the carpet. I had to pull these up and then cut and lay new tiles.
- Linen cushion: I was planning to make a cushion from foam for the top of our bench to make it more comfy. I had the foam cut ages ago but could never find time to make the cover. In the end we had someone make it. It’s good to learn which bits of the house restoration to get help with.
Most of the other pieces of furniture in the room are hand-me-downs and inherited. The bureau (pictured above) belonged to my Great Grandmother. The church chairs, which we had dipped, were from a good friend, Sarah-Lou, and the ercol chair (pictured below) belonged to my husband’s Great Grandma.
The dresser doesn’t always look this picture perfect, and there is quite often a little pile on the corner of bits and pieces of paperwork, things that a home collects throughout the week; post, drawings from Bailey and school admin. With most homes, paperwork clutter can accumulate quickly. We have a folder for all of the letters and notifications that come home from school, and I find it really helps me keep on top of the paperwork. We also now have a little art line for Bailey’s art work too.
Eventually, I would like to replace the table. We have had this one for about 15 years and although it ‘works’ perfectly well and there is nothing wrong with it, I would love a paler one with a floor board top. I am on the look out and will undoubtedly find one eventually… until then I am happy to wait.
Some of my favourite things about the room are the wreath next to the bureau, which we can change and decorate seasonally. It’s a simple pussy willow base, that I can add to and then strip down again if necessary. I’m also really pleased with the colour of the wood work and will use this colour elsewhere in the house; it’s shaded white by Farrow and Ball.
Since the space has come together slowly and organically, simple things like finally framing and hanging a picture, that we have had for years, and hanging the cups on the dresser have given me so much pleasure.
It feels so good to finally have the room restoration finished and it’s easy to quickly forget all the hard work we had to do to get it to this point. For someone who takes as many photos as I do I don’t have any photos of the breakfast room before we did the work. Apart from this one from the agent when we viewed the house, it gives you a bit of an idea of the transformation and how different the room looks now. I also have lots of little videos of the room so will share a few of them in stories too.
I might even do a tour of the space on Instagram stories this week at some point so keep a look out for that.