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It all started with
The Malthouse...

In 2019, I started my journey on the property ladder when I bought a top-floor flat at The Malthouse in Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire.

After viewing the property just once, and for a grand total of 15 minutes, I knew it was perfect, so went ahead and put in my offer.  It was accepted just a few hours later. 

I'm a sucker for places with character.  After doing a bit of research, I found out The Malthouse formerly belonged to Wilson Allsopp Breweries, until it was renovated in 2006 and turned into apartments.  Thankfully, they left in the exposed brickwork, the rustic beams, and a large vaulted ceiling in the living room. 

After what felt like forever, I finally got the keys on 20th December 2019, deciding to move in straight away.  I had no furniture, no cleaning supplies, very little food, and no idea of how to run a house...

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It was within the first week of living in the flat - through a cold winter - that my rush to move in had felt like a mistake.  The old storage heaters throughout the property barely worked (some didn't work at all).  The immersion tank that heated the water had a broken pump, so I had no hot water.  The carpets were old and really dirty.  It would be a few weeks until I could get internet.  I felt very unprepared.

I'd make a start on a few things, like trying to clean the carpets, and ringing round for trades to do work for me, but most were fully booked for months.

Then Coronavirus happened.

Being stuck at home was different and challenging for a lot of people, but I still had no heating and no hot water, especially as tradespeople could no longer work.  After about a week wallowing in self-pity, I decided to wake up, pull my finger out, and start learning new things to get the job done myself.

I was extremely lucky to get my first sofa and armchair delivered just before lockdown started, so I could give the camping chairs back to Mum and finally relax on the couch. 

The shop over the road stayed open as an 'essential shop', so while grabbing general survival supplies, I could also grab some cheap furniture, like coffee tables and cushions. 

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My primary bedroom got a very black makeover, something I would regret two years later while trying to paint the walls white...

 

Ripping up the carpet, I was hoping and praying for some original floorboards...  Alas, during the renovation in 2006, they'd just used cheap MDF floor panels.  So, making the best of a bad situation, I sanded them down and painted them glossy white.

The sofa made a temporary move to the guest bedroom, which had been turned into a very cute micro-cinema, complete with sweets trolley!

I loved the room is this configuration.  Being the smallest room, it was also the easiest to heat with a portable radiator.  I couldn't tell you how many times I fell asleep on that sofa watching movies and eating popcorn!

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With Christmas right around the corner and lockdown restrictions easing, it was time to get into gear with some proper refurbishment.

But before that, I celebrated a lovely Christmas, with some friends and family coming to visit my makeshift living room.  I had to move the sofa from the micro-cinema back into the big room.

When 2021 arrived, I started ripping out the storage heaters, the rest of the old dirty carpets came up, the immersion tank had a new pump fitted, and I realised that spending a bit more money on paint produced much nicer results. 

With Christmas right around the corner and lockdown restrictions easing, it was time to get into gear with some proper refurbishment.

But before that, I celebrated a lovely Christmas, with some friends and family coming to visit my makeshift living room.  I had to move the sofa from the micro-cinema back into the big room.

When 2021 arrived, I started ripping out the storage heaters, the rest of the old dirty carpets came up, the immersion tank had a new pump fitted, and I realised that spending a bit more money on paint produced much nicer results. 

With Christmas right around the corner and lockdown restrictions easing, it was time to get into gear with some proper refurbishment.

But before that, I celebrated a lovely Christmas, with some friends and family coming to visit my makeshift living room.  I had to move the sofa from the micro-cinema back into the big room.

When 2021 arrived, I started ripping out the storage heaters, the rest of the old dirty carpets came up, the immersion tank had a new pump fitted, and I realised that spending a bit more money on paint produced much nicer results. 

With Christmas right around the corner and lockdown restrictions easing, it was time to get into gear with some proper refurbishment.

But before that, I celebrated a lovely Christmas, with some friends and family coming to visit my makeshift living room.  I had to move the sofa from the micro-cinema back into the big room.

When 2021 arrived, I started ripping out the storage heaters, the rest of the old dirty carpets came up, the immersion tank had a new pump fitted, and I realised that spending a bit more money on paint produced much nicer results. 

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The black primary bedroom became the white primary bedroom...  After seven coats of paint.

The bedside tables were made by my Stepdad, while the decorations and sheets were all from IKEA.

Decorating the bedroom like this made it feel so tranquil and peaceful, I loved going to bed every night!

While I had originally wanted to replace the kitchen, I also didn't like the idea of throwing out something that could just be upgraded. 

So, with the help of some good quality paint, I gave all the cupboards a new colour and a glow up with new knobs.  I then had some new appliances installed (after the old glass hob smashed and the washing machine gave up the ghost), put up some shelving, and dressed the room.

A few months later, I had the lovely new luxury vinyl flooring fitted, which I was over the moon with. 

The boring yellow bathroom also got a makeover.  The walls were painted a gorgeous green (COAT Paint), I hung some Dorma frames with some strange photography prints I'd found online, and I added lots of plants to amp up the feeling of being in nature. 

Finally, the big room with the vaulted ceiling.

Being the largest room, it was always the coldest.  That was until I had new energy-efficient panel heaters fitted, the new flooring put down, and the grey sofa upgraded to this gorgeous olive green velvet sofa with chaise.

I thrifted the dining chairs (they came from a village community hall), made the dining table myself, and threw some photos on the wall.

My Stepdad once again came to the rescue with my awesome pallet wood coffee table, and with that, the flat was completed. 

Once everything had been completed, I had no intention of moving.  My original plan was to stay at The Malthouse for at least five years before even considering a move. 

But then my friend sent me a listing for an old schoolhouse conversion that was up for sale in a neighbouring village...

That was it.  I wanted a new project.  While the schoolhouse sold the next day, I was then on a mission to find something new that I could love and bring back to life.

I started looking in nearby towns, then moved a bit further afield, looking at villages around the Peak District.

Then, I remembered I work from home... I can live anywhere.

 

North Wales has always been a firm favourite destination of mine, and as my parents plan on retiring there, I thought "why not?".

I found a gorgeous little cottage in the rural village of Trawsfynydd, which very quickly became my dream home.  

Let's see how the story continues...!

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