Five more sleeps till Santa hopefully comes down my chimney! Who’s ready? Very much hoping a vacuum or a security system isn’t in his sack this year, ouch! What a crazy year it’s been! 2021 has been a year that we certainly will all remember, although some of us may want to forget it as quickly as possible. It’s not all been bad though. One of the things that has come out of it for me is the lesson to treasure every moment. None of us ever know what is around the corner. Wishing away time never makes sense in my book. Finding a little slice of joy in every day is so important. I know it’s hard though. I thought I’d give a little round up of what 2021 meant to us, both in real life and on JP’s Life and Loves. I’ve also listed some exciting plans for the year ahead.
Our year began with a continuation of the property search, which started when we sold our home back in September 2020. We moved into a small rented house in Emsworth, Hampshire, while we waited for the perfect home. If you’re interested in why we moved and how the first lockdown changed our lives forever, then click here.
We saw so many properties and were under offer on two before the Christmas lockdown. The first one would not have been right at all, even though it would have helped our budget enormously. The second was a pretty period home with expansive views of the harbour, but it needed total renovation and was grade II listed. After much consideration, we decided it was too much to take on, particularly with the deckhouse renovations starting at the same time. We pulled out of that purchase just after Christmas.
A month or so later, we thought we’d found the right one again. It would be a house that we would transform into a New England style weatherboard home. However, we ended up being gazumped (when someone steals a sale from you after contracts have been agreed) on the day of exchange of contracts. We were back to square one by February and also just about to start the renovations at our holiday home @theharbourdeckhouse
The Victorian House
In late February we went to view a Victorian Gothic house, slightly further out of the village than we wanted to be. It had the best architectural bones of all the houses we had seen, incredible stained glass windows, original marble fireplaces, huge ceilings and the all important perfect place for a Christmas tree! It also boasted a large walled garden and faced west south west, so perfect for a gardener like me.
The house needed a lot of work, but essentially didn’t need to be extended or transformed into something else. The work would mainly consist of moving door openings, changing room roles, replacing a conservatory, redecorating and then fitting a new kitchen and bathrooms. The garden would require a complete overhaul and re-design too.
We completed on the purchase of the house in June of 2021 when we were about three quarters of the way through the renovations at the deckhouse. We moved from our rental property on the same day that the new balcony was being added to the deckhouse. It was an incredibly stressful time. So much so that we didn’t actually move in to our new home until the very end of July.
The Deckhouse and a Summer of DIY
The race was on to get everything ready at our holiday home to be able to rent it out to our first guests who were arriving on 2nd August. We just about managed it! The plan was that I would run the place and be everything from chambermaid, cleaner, marketing team and finance director. It was so much more work than I could have possibly imagined and now that we are closed for Christmas, I can’t tell you how much we need the break!
Other than the day to day running of the deckhouse, the summer was supposed to be spent recuperating. However, there was a huge amount of work that needed to be done immediately at our new home. One of the downsides of working with brands on Instagram (there are many upsides and believe me, I’m grateful) is that they have deadlines. So, more often than not, work needs to be done in your home when they want it, rather than when you can fit it in. The living room, the main guest bedroom and the entrance hall all needed to be redecorated asap. On the other hand though, having those deadlines does give you the impetus to get the job done faster than you usually would.
Unfortunately, we were let down by our builders. So, the structural work that needed to be done before redecorating didn’t happen. This means that in 2022 a lot of the decorating I did will have to be redone once those works are finally carried out. What can you do?
Awards for JP’s Life and Loves
During all of this, Mr C still managed a very full time job and I still wrote a blog post almost every Sunday and posted practically every day on Instagram. My reward came in September when I won Best Written Blog and the Blogger’s Choice Award at the Amara Living Interior Blog Awards 2021. It was truly the highlight of my year and actually made me very emotional. I had never won anything in my life other than the egg and spoon race at school.
As 2021 draws to a close with as much uncertainty as 2020 did, I for one am seriously hoping that the new year will bring some clarity. Hopefully, the world can get a grip on coronavirus and we can all start to hope and dream and live our lives they way we want to again. I’m excited about the new year as we plan to get as much done as we possibly can at the Victorian house. The idea is that by 2023 we can just enjoy living in the house and garden, without having to constantly think about jobs that need doing. Life is short, right?
Plans for Next Year
Plans for next year include:
- Creating a French door entrance to the living room from the entrance hall and blocking up the old door.
- Blocking up a door to the dining room and then a new entrance into what will become a large kitchen/diner. This will create a view from the front door, through the kitchen to the garden beyond.
- Building a new kitchen in the room that is currently off the dining room.
- Re-designing and re-building the conservatory.
- Turning the current kitchen into a study at the end, plus a downstairs toilet/boot room and a utility/prep area.
- Creating a new doorway from the master bedroom to a smaller bedroom next to it.
- Turning that smaller bedroom into an en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe.
- Renovating the two guest bathrooms.
- Replacing all the gutters and sanding and repainting all the barge boards, soffits and facias.
- Re-designing the garden, adding a summerhouse, deck area and flower borders and trees. I’m secretly hoping for another splash pool!
- Panelling the staircase, redecorating and adding a stair runner.
- Insulating the loft spaces and then adding weatherboards on the ceilings instead of plastering.
- Give the front drive some curb appeal – plans to be revealed!
So, as you can see, there is quite a lot to do! Will we get it all done? Who knows? But, we are certainly going to try! I think 2022 just might end up being busier than 2021. That leaves me with one last thing to say. Thank you all for being so incredibly supportive, for clicking that link every Sunday and bothering to read my musings and interior and garden shenanigans. You are all the absolute best! Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a healthy and hopeful new year. Love Jp xxx