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  • Writer's pictureHOTHR

Visualising the Space.

For me, viewing a property always involved an element of fantasy; that romantic notion of what life would look like in this potential new home and how it would contribute to your quality of life and the life of your family. In fact, the physical pile of bricks was almost secondary to that. It's a funny thing though really, buying a house. You invest your time, energy and money on a building that, in most cases you only get to view 3 or 4 times (if you're lucky) before you can turn the key to the front door and call it yours. And yet in you jump head first, crossing your fingers that it's everything you dreamed of. Letting myself into HOTHR on Boxing Day morning was like walking through my imagination. 'My son could play his drums in here', 'What view would be best to look out on as we eat our dinner?'. It goes on. I toured the rooms, tracing out our future, looking beyond the leaks and the cracks and seeing only the life we'd be living. My husband thinks I'm mad, but one of the first things that entered my head when we were viewing HOTHR was where we would put the Christmas tree. Now the house is ours, the position of the tree guides me to answer the more practical issues, such as where the plug points are, where the radiators need to be and what way the doors need to open. But practicalities aside, the fundamental importance is still to turn the image of my kids gathered round that tree into a reality.

This is the beautiful thing about buying a renovation project. You get to reimagine a home based purely on how you want it to work for you. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly see the appeal of buying a newer house. You pick your furniture up, you put it down and you start living. However, spending 14 years in a house that's 'done' has been incredibly stifling at times, the most irritating part being having to live with the previous owners style choices. But most of the time you simply can't justify paying to redecorate a room there's nothing wrong with for no other reason than you don't like the tiles. Or worse, you can't put your Christmas tree where you want it because there's no plug points for the lights!

The complete freedom and frivolity a renovation allows is so liberating. You're afforded the opportunity to let yourself visualise your life and configure that space to make it truly your own. You don't think the kitchen is big enough? Move it to a different room. Got a box room that serves no purpose? Knock a wall out and make a walk-in wardrobe. This frivolity overlaps with the practical elements of your space too however. It has to, because lets be honest, day to day life isn't all dinner parties and reading nooks. The washing has to be done, kids will still leave a trail of bags and coats as they walk through the front door and you still need to find a hiding place for the hoover. Renovating a house means you get the opportunity to create spaces to manage these day to day things, and have a tremendous amount of fun while your'e doing it. Buying a 'ready to move in' property will always mean that you have to follow in the wake of how someone else organised their space. A prime of example of how fun and practicality come together can be seen in my next post about the utility come boot room or 'Bootility' (as it's now been dubbed). This room didn't actually exist when we bought HOTHR, but creating it was crucial in my plans of how we wanted a more organised, stress-free flow of living.

The downside of this freedom comes in the fact that literally anything is possible when you've got what I call 'YES' builders. The 'NO' builders suck the air in between their teeth, scratch their heads and put the blockers on anything you suggest that's marginally inconvenient. For the 'YES' builders, nothing is beyond their reach and they relish the challenge. Luckily ours are the former. But...the renovation demands immediate answers and action. Once those workmen are in the door you're expected to know exactly where you want everything, from the radiators to the light switches. All of a sudden you're on a time limit with no room for indecision, but an infinite number of possibilities. Having a clear vision is really helpful in this instance. I had already mapped out how we'd be using the rooms before we even owned it and so I've managed to be quite decisive on where I want things and why. The important message here is don't underestimate how long you spend day dreaming about your potential new home. It might be the difference between the builders being there an extra month or not. And when time is money, those fantasies could save you a fortune! Definitely not to be underestimated.

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