This week I wanted to write about food and share one of my favourite recipes with you but it will have to wait as I have changed my mind. It will be about our renovation… We have just started month 4 of the refurbishment of The Old Parsonage and my feelings are mixed and up and down all the time. You know when you watch Grand Designs and you admire the people who are building these amazing houses, you thinking WOW I would love to do that one day? So after a few months of our renovation I think people who build their own houses, convert old stables, barns, mills and had anything to do with building or renovation on a limited budget are my heroes!

We knew we would change a lot and try to bring some old charm to our 160 year old house. When we moved in our plan was to renovate the house bit by bit without rushing… but as we all know sometimes reality doesn’t go to plan. So after our first season we thought lets renovate all five rooms and then we decided to add the hall and staircase which has 6 flights of stairs. The decision was simply because we wanted to make The Old Parsonage our place and make sure our future guests will have the best stay we can offer them.

The beginning was easy, I started collecting wallpaper samples, thought about inspiration, chose the colour scheme for each room, got some fabric samples! A dream for me! We already knew what worked in the rooms and what wasn’t necessary.

Then we got the team in place and set the date to start at the beginning of November 2016. The plan had two stages – The first 6 weeks to renovate the rooms on the 1st floor and then get ready for Christmas. Second stage was to start on the 3rd of January 2017 – the rooms on the ground floor and mezzanine level. Oh how wrong we were  when we started checking the electrics in the house it become clear that we had to rewire the rooms. The beautiful original floor boards were hidden under the old carpets but we decided the floor boards alone would be too noisy for the B&B so we lifted a few, sanded and stained them and created window benches, window sills in the bedrooms and bookshelves in the dining room. Then we sound proofed the interior walls and floors, and plastered the walls. I remember after 5 weeks living in a mess and dust when the first wallpaper went on the wall in room 2 – I had butterflies in my tummy and even had a little tear in my eye because I thought we would never get to this point. Two days before our familes arrived for Christmas we were putting new carpets, we were short of beds because the delivery was delayed, the fabric for the curtains had gone missing and the blinds just simply disappeared like our plumber. But the Christmas tree was up, the fridge was full of delicious food and presents were wrapped and ready to be delivered on Christmas day. Our family is very relaxed so the missing items and unfinished rooms didn’t ruin our first Christmas in The Old Parsonage and it was actually a good learning curve. Christmas finished too quickly like always and our family decided to help us to take down the dreaded woodchip wallpaper off the staircase walls. A good team effort!

I thought ok the second stage of the renovation would be much easier! And again how wrong was I! Very quickly we realized that if we wanted to get rid of the Saniflow toilet in room 1 we would have to move a wall which meant a new bathroom – the budget had already gone out of the window so it wasn’t great news but on the upside we will eventually have a beautiful Moroccan inspired bathroom with a dash of Victorian style. Right now we are still living in mess, plasterboards in the hallway, the staircase yet to be plastered and decorated, the Victorian tiles are going down in hallway during half term plus the remaining carpets. Room 1 and 5 are work in progress and I’m sure they will be finished by end of February…. I pray!!

Soon I will be sharing with you pictures of our beautiful rooms but for now I have to brace myself and carry on looking for beautiful furniture and accessories for our B&B.

I will keep you updated on our progress but I think after this experience I will be a Pro and if I ever want to change my career then I can start renovating houses! It has been bitter sweet all the way through especially with little kids who are going each day to preschool covered in white dust!

Living the dream indeed!!

Big love,

Iza, Tim and the Monsters