Firstly, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all of the love and kindness that I have received for my first ever blog post.

It is safe to say that I was pretty blumming scared before I pressed ‘publish’, but the support has been truly amazing. T H A N K  Y O U  S O  M U C H.

So, here we go again…

For today’s action, I thought I would share the story of our home with you.

Like all renovation stories, its been a hell of a ride, so maybe grab a brew (or if you’re like me a gin) and we can get through this one together.




Doug and I bought our home back in May 2014, which actually feels like an eternity ago now.

We aren’t the most decisive people in the world… so right up until the exchange date we were back and forth, weighing up pros and cons, still trying to decide if it was the ‘right’ move for us…

Needless to say, we talked ourselves into it, exchanged, completed and like kids in a playground, we picked up the keys.




We were moving from our beloved ‘first’ home, which without question had stolen our hearts.

We could have stayed there forever but unfortunately it was a case of having to move as we had quite simply ‘outgrown’ our lovely home and we needed more space.

Actually, I will rephrase that… it was a case of ‘Dougie and his numerous drum kits’ had outgrown our lovely home and THEY needed more space… I know you feel my pain!!

The move was tough, emotional and long.

That said, after a few cries and numerous glasses of champagne… you will be relieved to know that I had forgotten all about house number 1 and was totally in love and ready to rip apart house number 2.



Our house is in a picturesque little village called Hale, which is just outside of Manchester. It’s a very traditional Victorian terrace and came with everything you would expect from a Victorian 2 up, 2 down… damp, damp and guess what… some more damp!!

In fact from head to toe it was generally just pretty run down, tired and unloved… picture yellow walls, bodge job kitchen, stained brown carpets, mouldy bathroom… the list goes on.

It had previously been tenanted, so admittedly it was in live-able condition, but there was no chance that I would have actually slept a night in it as it was.

I really wish I was one of these people that could just sleep anywhere, but what can I say, I have never been a camper or one to ‘slum’ it. It’s one of the many things Dougie has had to learn to love about me… I’m a ‘diva’.



Over the next 6 months we took apart our home and pieced her back together bit by bit.

We did a lot of the work ourselves and at the time we were both still working in the corporate world… so it was tough. Really tough.

We left the office at 6pm, came straight to the house, changed into our ‘scruffs’ and spent the rest of our evenings covered in dust. It was a case of work, eat, renovate, sleep, repeat.

There was hardly anything that we didn’t renew or change, we literally gutted the whole house and started again.

To cut a very long story short, the job sheet looked a bit like this… new kitchen, new bathroom, creating an open plan living space on the ground floor, new windows, new external doors, plastering, decorating, flooring, tiling, cellar conversion, electrics, new boiler, damp proofing, roof repairs, new internal doors and changing fireplaces.



There was quite literally blood, sweat and many many tears (all from me). We were lucky in that the build itself did go pretty smoothly, the worst part of the whole process by far was the one thing I know we all hold dear to our hearts…. woodchip.

We had 6 layers of the stuff. This is where the tears came in.

It took us 3 weeks of solid wallpaper stripping to be rid of the wattle and daube that was lining our walls. Those 3 weeks have left me permanently scarred and I will never be the same again.

But here is the best bit…

Once the woodchip came off… the walls fell down.

Yup. You got that right, the walls, they quite literally fell down. It would appear that the wallpaper was in fact glueing the walls together and quite literally holding everything in place. BAD BAD BAD times.




It was so bad that I really can’t dwell on that extremely painful memory for too long.

So, I will take us on to happier times…

In September, on Dougie’s Birthday, we spent our first night in our new home. What an amazing moment that was. There were times when we didn’t think we would make it, but we did. To say I was proud of us would be an understatement.




That said, the house was far from finished… We had put a lot of our furniture in storage, well when I say storage, I mean my Nana’s garage. Needless to say, it got wet and damaged and ultimately it was only destined for the tip.

On one hand, I was gutted, we lost a lot of furniture we loved, but on the other, it meant I got to go house shopping. WINNER.

Dwell, Ikea, Homesense, John Lewis… you name it, I was there. Like every interior lover, I didn’t need telling twice!!




Typically, I’m an impatient soul and I like to jump straight in things. Once I am on a mission, I am like a bull in a china shop. Nothing can stop me.

Nothing except from perhaps not having any money left to actually buy anything… or so I was being told by my trusted bank manager… (also known as Dougie).

Surprisingly, I acted very maturely and I took the news of the lack of remaining budget quite well.

I actually embraced and enjoyed the time that I had and I used it to really get to understand the house and how we utilised the space.

Or thats what I told myself anyway. Every cloud and all that.




Over the next 6-9 months I designed every inch of how I wanted the space to look in terms of furnishings and slowly we started to make the vision I had in my head a reality.

Truth be told I am actually really glad that I didn’t run in all guns blazing like I normally would. If I had, I’m fairly certain that the house would probably look quite different to how it looks today.


IMG_5549 2


They say that you should always reflect on your actions and learn from everything you do.

So drum roll please…

My single biggest take away from the renovation of our house is to not to make rash decisions and to really understand how I intend to utilise space before running out to buy everything and anything.

Lets hope I remember that for next time!!




So there you have it, the painful but extremely rewarding story of our home and her restoration to glory. What a journey it was and it is one that we will never ever forget.

I suppose we have Dougie’s drum kits to thank…

All my love


P.S. I hope you enjoyed your gin… or 5!!


2 thoughts on “HOME…

  1. OurPrettyHome says:

    Loved reading your post, I’m sorry to admit that I laughed out loud when you said the walls were glued together by the wallpaper 😂
    I work in Manchester and am always driving through Hale – the houses round there are stunning!! You have a lovely home!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • athomewithgem says:

      Thank you so so much, that’s so lovely for you and means a lot. Ha ha ha…. luckily we can kinda laugh about it too now, but at the time my life, it was rough!!!! Ah really… it’s such a small world hey!!! X


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