As an interior designer, the idea of moving into a new house and redecorating a space to your own taste sounds perfect. I know that moving house can be a stressful time, but it also presents opportunities for new beginnings.
My husband and I moved to Edinburgh five years ago and renting was our only viable option. For me, finding the right place to live isn’t just about the space or location but finding the right landlord, too. So it was a real struggle to find our first home, especially since we lived in Dundee at the time – an hour and a half away from Edinburgh. We made many train trips back and forth and after about three weeks of intensive searching, we finally found our home. It was a two-bedroom flat with an amazing view. We lived there for three and a half years and created a great relationship with our landlord. Unfortunately, he had to sell the place but was kind enough to give us six months to find a new home.
It took us four months to find the place we live in now. Again, we wanted somewhere that ticked a lot of our boxes. I was frantically searching for properties and decided to use Rightmove as it’s always been one of my favourite websites. I was looking at least twice a day, refreshing the page, waiting for new listings to appear. That’s how I found this flat – I was the first to make an appointment.
When I went to view the place, it was a real eyesore: red Victorian carpet, outdated wallpaper, purple kitchen. It was exactly what I wanted, though, because it was something I could completely redo. My first question to the agent was, can I decorate? To my excitement she said I could do whatever I wanted. It was a happy day.
The flat has two bedrooms and a boxroom. We also have a decent size living room, kitchen and bathroom. We chose the location for its great schools and were so lucky to find somewhere. The price – £750 per month – is unheard of in this area but because of the condition of the flat when we moved in, and because we were happy to redecorate with our own money, we got it. My son Adam was too young to be sad when we left our old place but I was, because it was his first home. He had lots of firsts in that flat but we have created many new memories here.
We got the keys and within a couple of hours we were in the flat, ripping out the wallpaper. We painted most of the rooms before we moved in but we had to live with the red carpet for a while, and it took us a few days to adjust to it. They promised us that they would replace the carpet within a few months, which luckily they did, and what a big difference it made.
I get a lot of questions about why I am wasting my money and time on redecorating. I believe that it's important for me and my family to live in an environment that we feel at home in – a place that represents us and makes us happy and which we are proud of. In a beautiful environment comes innovation. This is very important for our personal and professional lives.
I’ve really been enjoying redecorating my home. Living in an old tenement, you have a beautiful foundation to work from: the old features are full of character and create a wonderful mix when combined with modern furniture. One of my favourite rooms that I’ve decorated is my bedroom. I’ve loved experimenting with different styles and trends. My latest addition has been panelling, which I’ve added to the bottom half of the walls. I’m most proud of it as I did it myself. We also have gallery walls as a feature in many rooms; I love them because they instantly add so much character to a space. They also help as I can never make up my mind and choose just one print!
We brought a lot of our furniture from our old place and have been slowly replacing it. As an interior designer I am used to working with a client on a budget and within a timeframe. I wish I could do that with my own home but alas, I never have the time and the budget at once so for the past year and a half, we have been redoing each room slowly. The more I add our personality to our home, the more I love it. I can’t imagine moving any time soon because we are truly happy in our home. It’s not perfect and of course there are drawbacks, like no private parking and having to walk up a lot of stairs – which is never fun when you're lugging your shopping and a toddler at the same time! But we love it because when we open the door, we feel at home.