Long-time readers will know that we’ve been working on our slow home renovation for the last few years, starting with the bathroom and kitchen. Taking our renovation slower has given us a chance to make more eco-friendly choices, whenever possible, like using reclaimed materials and commissioning bespoke pieces from local makers, it also means we can do the work ourselves in between our various work projects. It is with great joy that I am able to finally share our entrance makeover!
Slow Home Renovation: Before & After
Let there be light…
Before we began working on the entrance, it was very dark and dingy. There was very little natural light as the window above the front door had been boarded up for years. We added a window, which instantly transformed the feel of the entrance. Originally there was no light, so it was dark as you entered the house, so we added a couple of spotlights in the ceiling.
As you can see in the ‘before’ picture below there was a wall that made the space very awkward. This made getting furniture and also welcoming people into the house very difficult. Mr T knocked the wall down and opened up the concrete stairs. To brighten up the stairs we painted them in a matte chalky white Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte paint which is low odor and can be cleaned up with soap and water. We also added a radiator to the space, as it was very cold as you entered our home during the winter months and did not make for a very warm welcome at all.
Bert & May specialise in handmade and reclaimed tiles, we opted for the encaustic (cement) tile which is handmade in Spain. They add crushed marble for strength and a beautiful raw finish, using only natural pigments. We went for the French Grey Hexagon Floor Tile because we loved that it had a matte, chalky finish and felt pretty industrial and the it would be durable for a high traffic area.
Reclaimed Wood Coat Rack
We found the coat hooks on eBay, my Dad found an old piece of wood, that we sanded and varnished, then attached the hooks. It was pretty easy to make and creating it ourselves meant that we could choose the number of hooks and length to fit our (slightly awkward) space.
Air Purifying Houseplants
As we live in the city centre and the air is polluted, I’m always keen to introduce air purifying houseplants whenever possible (that’s my excuse any way and I’m sticking to it). Many houseplant species are known to remove harmful toxins from our air and reduce levels of carbon dioxide. Spending more time at home has made us want to bring the outdoors in even more.
A few of my favourite air purifying houseplants include: Snake Plants otherwise known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is a succulent plant that can grow up to two meters in height. It is a low maintenance plant that is hardy and thrives on neglect (ideal) and will remove toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene and xylene. Devil’s Ivy is an easy to grow indoor houseplant that will fight off most common household toxins. Areca palms are a powerhouse when it comes to eliminating toxins and they are even non-toxic to both dogs and cats. They are known to remove toxins like, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene. Plus, they look beautiful.
Reclaimed Handmade Hand Rail
We commissioned a bespoke handrail to be made to fit the entrance stairs. The floating, chunky style reflects the original hand rail found on the external staircase on the property, so it felt like the right style to fit the entrance. We love the grain of the wood and how chunky and solid it feels to grab onto. My Dad’s friend Alex of Kilner Green Joinery made the handrail, it’s such beautiful quality. Alex specialises in creating bespoke pieces from reclaimed wood, so super eco-friendly and sustainable.
Hopefully you enjoyed a little peek at our snazzy new entrance and it inspires your slow home renovation!