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Through the Blogger Keyhole: Win £100 John Lewis Vouchers!


Over the past several months we've been busying ourselves renovating our new home. We've planned, prepped, got dirty, had a few little DIY mishaps and pushed through to the other side where a room has now become a place we can use and enjoy. It certainly hasn't been easy but it's most definitely been worth it!

So I'm taking you through the keyhole to see just what it takes to make a room a room in our house.

When we moved just over a year ago, the house had been empty for some time and the bathroom had developed a weird potent sickly sweet stale smell. It was bad. A new bathroom was on the top of our priority list and whilst renovations were underway we were able to take use of the equally depressing  (and mouldy!) downstairs shower room instead. This is what our bathroom looked like upon arriving on moving day:


Budgets & Planning


We made a thorough plan of what we wanted to achieve in this room - the plan, was to create an elegant modern bathroom with strong traditional victorian elements throughout. One of the main things I knew I wanted was a roll top bath, which has always been a must for my dream bathroom. A firm budget wasn't set out for the entire renovation but we set smaller budgets for things like the cost of the new bath, shower enclosure and the cost of tiles. Everything else was done as cheaply as possible but generally came at a set cost, as copper pipes for plumbing and plasterboard for the new ceiling really don't vary much in price. As our renovations are 95% DIY-based it was hard to set out a proper timescale for the job and it was mostly just a matter of working as and when possible, although I did have some seriously unrealistic ideas that it would only take "a couple of months" - Ah, I wish!

Ups and Downs


Renovating this room was a huge up and down process - One thing I've learnt through renovating your home is that the room has to look much worse before it begins to look better. Living with this as a room in your house is pretty daunting to say the very least!


This photo was taken right after we pulled down the old lath and plaster ceiling. The dust was inescapable! It spread like wildfire, no matter how hard we tried to contain it. Even the landing and bedrooms had a small layer of dust upon them. Living in such dirty living conditions can definitely get you down a little. For one thing, you absolutely do not want anyone to come round and visit. Our house became an 'out-of-bounds' guest house, for sure! Another down part to renovating is the amount of time it takes to complete certain jobs. Things are often far more complex than imaginable and we often came across small hurdles that slowed things down. As we took on the job of re-routing the waste pipes and installing new water pipes we realised we even had to cut a hole in the ceiling of the downstairs extension (kitchen) to get access to some of the pipework. This was a much more time-consuming job than we had anticipated and it also meant we had to spend a few days without water.. Not ideal!



Even waiting for plaster to dry was another month out of renovations. A very slow and tedious month out, I might add! I was dying to get that room painted.



Was it Worth it?


We had a few mishaps along the way, one of the most rememberable being when my boyfriend Grant, accidentally put a nail through the water pipe after our three-day plumbing extravaganza. We actually managed to see the funny side to it rather than the daunting realisation we had yet more work to do. But these little set-backs often bring disappointment and impatience. However, as soon as the room begins to take shape, all those down feelings turn to excitement and you can truly begin to envision the room as once imagined. This stage makes all the down days so worth it. Even a lick of paint and adding some tiles makes the world of difference in this room:



Knowing all the hard work that went into this room and the satisfaction from doing it all ourselves is so rewarding. I'm so proud of what this room has become and having an almost-finished room brings back that little bit of house-proudness I've been missing for the last several months. One of the things in this room I'm most proud of is the ceiling which I plastered myself with zero previous plastering experience. It's not quite perfect, but it saved us HEAPS of money and I really don't think the imperfections are very noticeable at all! Once a dark gloomy grubby mess, this room is no more! Just a couple of weeks on from these two pictures above and we now have a beautifully elegant bath tub in place, surrounded by the sophisticated panelling and stunning character floorboards. It's my idea of a perfect bathroom.




I love everything about this room, but mostly I love the roll top bath! It was always a bit of a far-reaching dream to be able to have one of these in a bathroom and we were pretty lucky with this house's big rooms to be able to have one! I'm thrilled to finally be able to walk past this room daily and see that bath in pride of place. We still have a little way to go before we're completely finished in this room, the shower enclosure is the main thing that needs finishing - but it's most definitely already my all-time favourite room and I'm not sure any other room in the house, even when renovated, will be able to top this room!

£100 John Lewis Voucher Giveaway


Buying a home renovation project can be so rewarding and I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who's up for a challenge, financially and emotionally. If there's one thing I've learnt from buying our two homes, it's that you should definitely make sure not to go out of your depth if you're renovating DIY style, like ourselves. For one thing, mortgage companies will withhold money (a mortgage retention) if there's any serious renovations required, such as structural work or serious damp issues. So if you are heading for major renovations (or suspect serious problems) it's always best to make sure you've accounted for this financially as well, as you will be expected to pay upfront to get these issues resolved. We've also learnt that there is virtually no such thing as a perfect home survey either (unless perhaps you're buying a new build) and this is also true even if you're not buying a renovation project. Homes will always need a bit of work here and there, particularly as they age. Sometimes surveys can sound quite scary, listing all kinds of issues and potential problems; this is great to know, but don't let it frighten you or put you off unless those problems really are serious. Remember things are always fixable, a damp corner or a chimney that needs re-pointing can all be easily fixed and sometimes aren't a matter of urgency. Plus, if some of the issues are quite costly you can use this information to re-negotiate the price on the property to account for those repairs.

If you want any further information on buying your next home, be sure to check out Principality Building Society's website here for a range of useful and informative information to help you plan your way.

To Enter:

As part of this post, Principality Building Society are also offering the chance for one reader to win £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers! To enter, all you need to do is:

- Tweet or Instagram a before and after photo of your own home renovation projects with a little detail about the project and why you're so proud of it.
- Make sure to the hashtag #bloggerkeyhole or your entry won't count.

Don't forget to tag and follow me on whichever platform you use, so that I can contact you if you're the lucky winner!
Twitter: @Kezzabeth
Instagram: @Kezzabeth_blog

Competition ends on Friday 30th October and full T&Cs can be viewed at the bottom of this post.

I can't wait to see your home renovation photos!


*This post is in association with Principality Building Society





Through The Blogger Keyhole Terms and Conditions

1. ELIGIBILITY;
‘Through The Blogger Keyhole’ Competition (the ‘Competition’) is open to customers and non-customers aged 18 or over who are UK residents. The Competition is not open to employees of Principality Building Society (the ‘Promoter’), NetBooster UK (the ‘Administrator’), Kerry Allen (Kezzabeth) (the ‘Competition host’) or their families or anyone associated with the Competition. 
Photographs do not constitute payment.  
2. AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES;
Participation in the Competition constitutes your full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Official Rules and the decision of the Promoter, which are final and binding.
Winning a Prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
3. PRIZE;
The winner of the Competition will receive £100 John Lewis vouchers.
No cash alternatives will be substituted for the prize. The Promoter reserves the right to offer alternative items/activities of a greater or equivalent value should unforeseen circumstances require it.
Only one winner will be selected (see How to Enter for further details).
The winner will be announced via Kerry Allen’s (Kezzabeth) (Competition host) Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Instagram account no later than Friday 30th October.
Kerry Allen (Kezzabeth) (Competition host) will notify the winner by Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Instagram direct message, or email, within 3 [three] days of the announcement.
If the prize remains unclaimed after reasonable efforts have been made to contact the winner, after 7 [seven] days the Promoter will be entitled to dispose of the prize as it sees fit without any liability to the winner for having done so.
4. ENTRY PERIOD;
The Competition runs from Thursday 1st October until 11:59 PM Friday 30th October (the ‘Entry Period’).
Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible.
5. CONDITIONS OF ENTRY;
Any entries attempted through the use of agencies or robotic, repetitive, programmed, or similar methods will be void.
The Promoter does not accept responsibility for network, computer, hardware or software failures of any kind, which may restrict or delay the sending or receipt of your entry.  Entries must not be sent through agents or third parties.
6. HOW TO ENTER;
To enter, entrants must, using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or all 3 platforms, post in reply to the host bloggers initial post, the following:
  • Good quality before and after photographs of their own home renovations, with a few details about the renovation and why they are proud of it.
To enter, posts need to be followed by the Competition hashtag #bloggerkeyhole.
Any entries not including the Competition hashtag #bloggerkeyhole will not be taken into account.
Photographs not communicated to the Promoter via the entry method will not be considered as Competition entries. 
No payment is required to enter the Competition.
Entrant’s Photographs and likeness as well as personal data do not constitute a payment. 
At the end of the entry period, a panel within the Marketing department and employees of the Promoter will consider all eligible entries and select a winner based on criteria including creativity. The Promoter’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
7. WINNER PUBLICITY;
Entrants accept that, if they win the prize in this Competition the Promoter will have the right, without additional payment or permission, to use the entrant’s name, Twitter entry and Twitter ID for related promotional purposes.
8. CANCELLATION OR POSTPONEMENT; 
The Promoter reserves the right to cancel or postpone the Competition.
9,. THE PROMOTER;
Principality Building Society, Principality Buildings, Queen Street, Cardiff CF10 1UA.  Principal Building Society is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority, reference number 155998.
10. PRIVACY POLICY;

Any personal data provided will only be used for the purposes of this competition and otherwise stated in our Privacy and Security policy http://www.principality.co.uk/en/privacy-and-security.aspx


9 comments

  1. what a beautiful bathroom im looking to change mine now x

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    1. Aw, thanks! I think it's definitely worth it.. even though it's a bit of a headache at the time ;) Hope yours goes well! X

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  2. Hey Kezzabeth! I stumbled across your blog the other day whilst checking out the #bloggerkeyhole competition - I didn't realise there was more than one of you running the competition at the same time :) Well, I've really enjoyed reading lots of your posts over the couple of days and I've enjoyed reading about someone in the same boat as me, seeing that you have had similar trials and tribulations as well. I'm probably about a year behind you in the blogging world though, having only just started to blog more seriously over @ http://www.yellowhousetales.co.uk/
    Also, living in Nottingham for 8 years now I've always been keen to go to Newark Antiques Fair but never made it yet - now I've read your post I'll definitely be going to the next one :)
    p.s. loving the bathroom - that bath is to die for. If I had had space for bath and a separate shower I totally would have gone for something like that - it's gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Kayleigh! Thanks so much for commenting! I'm so glad you've shared your blog with me, I love finding and reading other home renovation/DIY blogs, but there just aren't enough out there! I don't know why... Renovating your own home isn't hard work at aaaalllll. I only want to give up on the project every other month ;)

      I definitely can't recommend the antiques fair enough... I don't think we've been yet and not found something worth buying. I'm addicted to it! I'll have to look out for you next time you go ;) X

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    2. Haha, totally agree!
      Awesome :) I've had a look at their website and the next one is in December. In your experience does the cold weather put stall holders off, or is it just as good in the winter as it is in the summer? Eek, can't wait! Will have to start saving my pennies now :)

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    3. There's definitely less stall holders in the colder months for sure... But this place is HUGE, so there's still an insane amount of stalls to look at! I definitely prefer to go in the warmer months since pretty much the whole event is outside (and it's so big!)... It can get preeeeettty darn cold! I don't think we've actually been to a December one yet actually.. But I remember speeding around one February visit, desperate to get warm.

      As a side note, I recommend checking out AmazonLocal for pre-purchase tickets! They're not always on there - but when they are, the tickets are half-price! Bargain. Also make sure to get there early - The first time we went, we arrived midday and by 2pm stall holders began packing up and jetting off!

      I think I may brave the cold this year, it's been a couple of months since we last went. I need my antique fix ;) X

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  3. oh for a bathroom that looks that pristine and tidy!!!, renovations look grand
    thanks Carole Eaves

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  4. Hi, who won the vouchers? thanks

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    1. Winner was announced both on Twitter & Instagram: @ssherriff321 via Twitter was the winner :)

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