We're moving house!

Oak parquet floor | Design Hunter

So if you follow me on Instagram you might have already heard our big news - we're moving! We put our house on the market recently and have agreed a sale. And yes, we've found somewhere to move to as well... but more on that in a minute. 

First of all, a little about why we're moving. I really enjoyed this post that Kimberly at Swoonworthy wrote recently about how she and her partner chose a new home. A lot of it really resonated with our own experience of choosing somewhere to live and so I wanted to to share a little of our journey with you.

We also don't have children and we're both self employed so we found ourselves in a position where we could choose to move pretty much anywhere. While it's always great to have different options sometimes having too much choice can feel a bit overwhelming. Unconstrained by the need to buy a house within a particular school catchment area or within a set commuting radius we initially found ourselves quite daunted by the enormity of the task.

Over the past few months we've thought long and hard about where we want to live next and explored a lot of different options, from self building to rural life in the Cotswolds and even moving to Somerset, but in the end we decided to stay here in Leamington Spa. We've lived here for a number of years now and really love the town. It's a friendly place full of interesting people and with good transport connections to London and Birmingham. It also has beautiful parks and green spaces and lots of great independent shops and cafés, so it was no surprise to us that Rightmove recently voted it the UK's happiest place to live.

Of course the downside of living in such a popular town is that lots of other people want to live here too, and that combined with good local employment opportunities means that property prices here are much higher than they are in many other parts of the UK. We love our current home - a 60s mews style property close to the town centre with a south facing garden - but because we both work from home for much of the time we could really do with a little more space. We also felt ready for a project and somewhere new that we could put our stamp on. So we were ready for a change, and when we started looking for a new home we eventually realised that what we really wanted was something with character and original period details.

Many people are drawn to Leamington because of its beautiful Regency architecture but an elegant Regency townhouse in the town centre can easily set you back over a million, so that's not an option for us! At the other end of the market it's possible to pick up more affordable flats and new build homes in some parts of town, but there's a real shortage of good quality period properties and they always seem to get snapped up very quickly. Although I love the character of Victorian and Edwardian properties most of them are located on busy congested streets with no driveway.  We all have at least one non negotiable when it comes to looking for a home and for us it was off road parking, so that pretty much ruled out Victorian and Edwardian properties... which left us with homes built in the 1930s.

Oddly neither Graham or I had ever really considered buying a 1930s style property, but once we'd looked at a few we quickly realised just how much they have to offer. They are usually on generous plots with off road parking and often offer lots of flexibility when it comes to extending or remodelling, but they have character too if you're lucky enough to find one in near original condition (or one that's been sensitively updated).

Eventually we found a three bedroom semi detached house we liked. It still has some of its original features intact like a lovely tile hung bay window and even the original 1930s fireplace.  It's a little smaller than we would ideally have liked but we hope to be able to add the extra space we need with an extension. It's a complete fixer upper and needs a lot of work so it will definitely keep us busy over the next year or so, but we can't wait to move in and get started. 

It will be a big change from our current home (and my previous home before this one). The last two homes I've owned have both been modern contemporary style properties and my taste in interiors over the past few years has definitely been shaped by the homes I've lived in. I love contemporary open plan living but after spending so many years in a modern property I'm ready for a change.

Whenever anyone asks me for my advice on interiors my first tip is always to work with the existing style of your home rather than against it, and already it's clear to me that my interior style is likely to evolve and change in response to the character of our new home. What worked in a boxy 60s modernist house isn't going to work in a 1930s house with round bay windows. So I've been creating moodboards on Pinterest, obsessing over Crittall style windows, Plantation shutters, Shaker Style kitchens and finding the right taps for the bathroom, as well as lusting over the beautiful oak parquet from Woodpecker that I featured last year. I still have a sample box in the studio and would love to fit this in our new home. 

Want to see more of my plans for #projectmove?  Here's a peek at my moodboard.

Have you ever renovated a 1930s home? If so I'd love to hear about your experience. What are the pitfalls of 1930s properties and what do you love about them?


Image: by Design Hunter