When we were house hunting we saw a variety of ‘do’er uppers’. We also saw some pristine properties. Our house fell in-between a full scale ‘renovators delight’ and a place that looked amazing but had someone else’s tastes all over it. Quite honestly, we get the reno-fidgets anyway. The only cure, of course, is having somewhere we can put our own touch on.

What has struck me, 8 months into life in our new house, is that magnolia paint does indeed magically hide the fact that a house has not been touched in a very, very long time. The bathrooms are also a good 40 years old. Luckily, they were tiled in more becoming shades of 1970’s yellow and brown, if that’s at all possible. The kitchen, while roughly 2 decades younger, is showing real signs of wear and tear.

I talked here about the high-level renovation phases, and now it’s time to drill down into Phase 1. With a preliminary renovation fund, I’ve come up with some initial plans to drag the house in all its dated glory into the second decade of the 21st century. Here are the first steps I’ll be taking:

Whiten up the whites and inject some colour

There’s a lot to be said for painting an entire house off-white when selling it. It makes it immediately liveable and it’s like giving a blank canvas to the lucky new dwellers. That being said, it’s about as interesting as watching said paint dry.

Sharp, cool whites do it for me in my main living spaces. And, maybe it’s my English heritage (all that cloud cover), but I can’t be without some dark moody walls somewhere in the house. For me our master bedroom and the separate living room lend themselves to colour just marvellously.

I’m looking at you, moody blue. Image from the book Nordic Colour by Antonia Af Petersens.

Have I told you lately how much I hate my current lighting?

The current ceiling lights may well have been fashionable at some stage in the past, but they are definitely decidedly daggy now. Henceforth they need replacing, immediately.

The current ‘stunners’. Say no more.

My lighting goals include glass, brass and rattan finishes, with blacks, whites and metallics as a neutral counterpoint to more vibrant colours on walls and furnishings.

But, as is sometimes the case with an older house, there’s a caveat before proceeding – namely the electric board for the house needs urgently updating before we (or rather a qualified electrician) can install said lovely lighting. Joy.

The potential line-up. From left to right: The Atollo 239 table lamp by Vico Magistretti; The Kute 305 pendant by Atmosphere D’ailleurs; Jasper Morrison’s Glo-Ball for Flos; The wicker hanging lamp by HK Living; The Michael Anastassiades IC Lights Suspension 2 for Flos

Pattern play

The quickest, easiest way to update a tired ‘ole space. Grab yourself some amazing fabric, take your upholsterer by the hand and….ok, less of the line dancing and more of the personality injection that adding pattern will instantly create. If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be perusing some Christopher Farr, Penny Morrison and Kvadrat fabric while being thoroughly inspired by Kit Kemp and her perfect pattern clashes. I’m coming for you bedrooms and living rooms.

Colour, pattern, texture all the way.