One of the occasions we enjoy the most at Trend & Thomas is catching up with clients to see how they turn the Flats and Houses they buy through us into Homes #HousetoHome being one of our favourite hashtags.
Recently we hung out – socially distanced – with past clients Jay & Kathryn. These two both work in highly creative industries and it is reflected in the gorgeous home they have curated beautifully together here. The before and afters paint quite a picture.
Rickmansworth Semi-detached home – purchased November 2016
How long did it take you to decide to buy this house – was it love at first sight or a slow burn?
We made up our minds almost immediately after walking in to the property, so didn’t take us long to decide we wanted it at all. We had, however, been looking for a property along the road for some time and for one reason or another, other properties didn’t fit.
What feature did you love when you first viewed it?
For Jay how light it felt and that the front door didn’t open directly in to the living room. For me, it just had a really lovely feel and because it wasn’t being lived in 100%, it was a blank canvas.
Anything you hated at first sight?
For Jay it was the kitchen and the windows but for me, everything was dated so could only see the potential.
How easy or hard was the buying process – any curve balls?
The buying process was so easy but that was mainly due to Trend & Thomas (ah we love these guys! 😉). We dealt with Neil, the owner, and he was just so upfront with us throughout the whole process. We also had a mortgage broker recommended to us through Trend & Thomas and he was also just great. Very simple process from start to finish.
How long did it take you to decide on the renovations you planned? Did you live in the house a while or did you rip it out and do it up before you moved in?
As we had looked at so many properties, we had an idea of the renovations we had wanted to achieve and could picture them right away when we viewed the property. We were lucky enough to be renting in the same road, so had all of our works done before we moved in to the house. We needed to start from scratch really; new windows, rewiring, re-plumbing, a bit of remodelling, new radiators, as well as stairs put in to get up to the loft space. We still haven’t finished our renovations, but have planning permission for a bathroom and bedroom on the top floor and a side extension for a toilet, utility room and extension of dining space in the kitchen downstairs.
How challenging were the renovations? Any advice on what to do or not to do?
The advice would be use professionals as much as you can!! Renting down the same road we bought in, meant we could see the progress our builders were making every day, so if you can, don’t live in the house whilst you’re doing it up! Budgets can go very quickly though, so we did end up doing a lot of decorating ourselves as we neared the end of our renovation pot. We also took down the garage ourselves to make room for a parking space (very handy in the town centre), small shed space and office space in the rear garden. I swear, one step to the left and one of us would have been killed by a spring from the garage door as it came off. The grease on the spring left tread marks on my t-shirt it was that close!
What do you love the most about your refurbished home?
Both of us love our new kitchen space, even though it’s not finished. It’s where we spend most of our time with friends and family and has become the hub of our house. A fab, but decadent buy, was the boiling water tap. Absolutely love it. We get cold water from the fridge tap. We also love our living room, but don’t entertain in it very much. We had a fireplace put in so we can enjoy a real fire during those horrid winter nights. We also had shutters made for the whole house and love them. Not having curtains makes the rooms look bigger.
Anything you’d do differently now you have lived in it a bit?
Overall, we’re happy with the choices we made with our initial renovation, we’d just like to be able to get the downstairs extension done first, then worry about the loft another time. We would only do the work if we knew that once finished, we’d be able to get our money back on the works completed on the house. Given what we’ve done to it and the standard the fixtures and fittings are, we’re confident we will. We’re not going anywhere for the time being anyway…(Errr – not what an Estate Agent wants to hear 😉 )
Any great tips for suppliers you used to refurb and dress your home?
We’d definitely recommend the place we got our radiators from Column Rads Column Rads – great value for money and made to measure. Lots of colour choices, but we went for gunmetal grey. For light fittings, we loved Industville – again great value for money, but really nice looking fixtures if you look hard enough. We had the shutters made from Hillarys, but think there are so many companies out there doing similar products, it’s worth a look around. We love antique pieces and our house is dotted with the odd gem from flea markets, vintage shops and eBay. Our kitchen is from Wren. They were shocking to deal with, but we got sucked in to the ‘sale ends soon’ spiel from the salesperson. I’d steer clear, but again, there are so many options of places to buy from so would look around.
Who lives here in this gorgeous space now?
Three of us live in the property – Jay, Kathryn and Grace, but we often have visitors come to stay – especially Jay’s kids who can stay for weeks at a time. It’s lovely.
Which room do you use the most – is it the same as before Coronavirus!?
We’re using the living room more during Coronavirus due to really bad telly watching habits that have been established since lockdown, and the garden more due to the change in weather.
Favourite tunes heard in your home?
Favourite tunes in the home… so many different tastes, but they vary from The Wombles to Courteeners to Ariana Grande. However, post pub Crystal Gayle tends to get a good share of air play.
Favourite meals shared?
A good old Sunday roast in the winter and anything on the barbecue in the summer. Love a rotisserie chicken cooked on the BBQ!
Favourite piece of art/furniture in your home?
Rita is our favourite buy for sure. She’s a fat bottomed, small headed statue from a Cardiff nightclub in the 70’s called Tito’s. We found her in an antique shop and had to give her a home. She’s called Rita after the lady who sold her to us.
How has your use of your home changed due to the Coronavirus Lockdown?
Due to CV, the kitchen has turned in to the hub/office/classroom and craft room, so we don’t tend to sit at the table for meals at the moment.
If you could have one change/improvement to your home to get you through lockdown – what would it be?
I’d say nothing, Jay would say another loo!!
Thanks Kathryn & Jay – love the home you’ve created with the bones you bought through us.