Renovation tour - a 1930s remodel creates the perfect home

When we came across @theottohouse on Instagram, it immediately caught our eye as something a bit different. The decor is finished in the most beautiful pastel colours and looks to us like the brightest and most welcoming family home.

We chat to the owners and find out more about their renovation journey. We particularly like their tips on how to save money whilst creating the perfect home. We also love the fact that they want it to be a fun home and are not precious about it being perfect, they just want family and friends to enjoy the space! Thanks to @theottohouse for sharing their advice and lovely photos.

We adore the fireplace and tiles



Can you tell us about your home and renovation project?

We live in a 1930s semi-detached home with three bedrooms and a relatively large but unruly garden! 

We moved here one year ago and since then have updated the electrics, installed a new boiler, removed all the woodchip, replastered and decorated throughout, knocked a wall down, opened up two fireplaces, installed bespoke storage in the bedrooms, removed all the carpet and sanded the original floorboards and turned the front garden into a driveway. We’ve also turned the garden shed into a playhouse!

The fabulous lounge area - we love the pink painted rails that you can see peaking in the hallway


What was the most challenging part of the renovation?

We did everything so quickly that we had no respite in between. We had different tradesmen here back to back for about six months which felt very intrusive after a while. 

We have two small children so moved out for the worst parts but it did feel like we were coming and going all the time and forever moving furniture from one room to another so that work could continue. We also had the house replastered in November which meant we had all the windows open and due to a fault with the old boiler, no working heating for two months over Christmas! It felt very cold!

We had a lot of late nights stripping wallpaper, ripping out old cupboards, building new furniture and using power tools after the kids had gone to bed! 

Lovely bedroom with the pops of colour which flows from the hallway


Did you have a budget and can you tell us how your stuck to it (or not!)? 

We had money left over from the sale of our old home (also a project!) which was our budget for the work on this one. 

We did go a bit over budget but mainly due to last minute decisions like replacing all the sockets and switches for beautiful tarnished copper ones, which was something we hadn’t considered initially but we don’t regret at all now. We love them! 

We also had to replace the boiler which was an unwelcome surprise as the original boiler was only a few years old.

I kept costs down by purchasing a lot of the larger items in the Black Friday sale (I had a spreadsheet and everything!) and shopping around for vintage items on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. 

I have also done a lot of upcycling of items that were already here, from replacing the slats for rattan on the cupboard in the bathroom, to using tile stickers in the kitchen, or painting our uPVC door. 

I also chose very expensive paint colours but had nearly all the colours matched by Valspar which saved us a lot of money on paint.

The kitchen units have been painted in a strong blue and the fabulous tiles


Where is your favourite place in your home now?

I love all of it (apart from the bathroom which we are yet to finish!) so this was hard for me to answer. I love the girls’ room as its so fun and the pinks in there are gorgeous. I also love the utility room as we didn’t have one in our old house and they are just so useful! Plus it has a beautiful view of the garden and it's filled with plants which make me very happy – when I can keep them alive, that is! 

My absolute favourite is probably the hallway though, I love the colour of the door combined with two of my favourite pieces of furniture – the peg shelf which we brought from our old home and I cut down to fit in this one, and the yellow chest of drawers which we use for shoes. For some reason I just knew I wanted something yellow in that corner and I searched and searched and came very close to giving up. However, I finally came across this one from Maisons Du Monde which fits the space perfectly and was the best birthday present!

The original 1930s front door has been repainted in this gorgeous dusky pink


What is your biggest piece of advice for somebody about to start a renovation project?

Get quotes from at least 3-5 tradesmen for every job. This may seem excessive but we found at least two wouldn’t even get back to us with prices and it’s always good to shop around so you can go with someone at a good price, but also who you feel comfortable having in your home, working away whilst you are looking after the kids.

It is also best to get them booked as soon as you can because all of the good tradesmen have long lead times. We had a renovation calendar in which we popped everything into too so we could stay organised. Though I must say, for a month or so at the beginning, we had so many people coming over to give us quotes for various jobs that it did get to the point where I’d answer the door and have to ask them what their name was and what job they’d come to look at because I had absolutely no idea.

I’d also say to be kind to yourself. Look back at old ‘before’ photos and feel proud of how far you’ve come so far. Use food prep services like Hello Fresh or Gousto so you can still eat nourishing meals but don’t have to think so much about food shopping or prep. We also ate too many takeaways and frozen ready meals by COOK but it was only for a season and we knew something had to give!

How gorgeous is the girls room - we love the beds!


What do friends and family say about your home?

I think they like it?! Some of my style is quite particular (and quite pink!) and not for everybody so I really wouldn’t mind if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea! It’s a much more sociable home now that we have knocked the wall down to make the two reception rooms into a larger one. 

We love hosting play dates and parties and don’t mind at all when it gets trashed by kids or grown ups alike! Whilst we have put a lot of work into making it look nice, that would all be pointless if people didn’t feel welcome and relaxed here – so we are not precious about any of it!

We needed to share the fab playhouse

Published: October 13, 2019

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