Making a space a home – Tom and Katherine’s royal transformation part one
Our guardians, Tom and Katherine, moved to Royal Victoria and made a sterling go at converting their property into a wonderful home. Check out their blog below for part one of their journey and the space transformation.
Moving back to London
We had been eager to move back to London after a spending a year away with work. However, we were dreading returning to the sky-high rents that had stopped us saving in the past. But property guardianship was to come to our rescue – Dot Dot Dot found us a two-bed, ground floor maisonette in Canning Town. It was next to Custom House station and with a bus stop right outside. Its transport links made up for the fact it was a bit further east than we had been before.
Canning Town, and the Docklands in general, are undergoing massive regeneration, and our block is to be soon part of that. We’re just across the road from the Excel, and a few minutes walk from large apartment complexes that overlook Victoria Dock and the O2. It’s an interesting, and for some, problematic divide – plush, new buildings on one side of the DLR, and older housing on the other. We are happy to be in the latter – there’s a strong sense of community. We got to know more of our neighbours in our first weekend as we did in two years when we lived in an apartment block before. We immediately felt at home.
The regeneration of the Docklands provides lots to do. We regularly walk around Victoria Dock, which takes on a serene beauty at night. The sparkling lights of the city and the ethereal glow of the O2 forms a stunning backdrop. The Emirates Airline takes us over the Thames (relatively cheaply with an Oyster card) and into the heart of Greenwich – perfect for restaurants, bars and the cinema. And we’re only one DLR stop from Canning Town, a gateway to the rest of London thanks to the Jubilee Line. Go 15 minutes in other direction and you hit the Greenway – a traffic-free path to Stratford. Newham also boasts a wide range of gyms, which can all be accessed under one membership (and at affordable rates, too).
Before we got started
Our first impressions of our maisonette was of opportunity: it was solidly built, with everything in working order, and just needed a good intensive clean and decoration. Some rooms needed quite a facelift – two types of floral wallpaper adorned the master bedroom, and a rather garish pink in the smaller room. Not so much was needed downstairs, but we still had big plans.
Always start with the bedroom
We instantly pulled up the laminate flooring in the bedroom to reveal good-quality floorboards. The fact they were green and purple didn’t put us off – it added quirkiness! We decided that the smaller room would be our bedroom, and the larger one to be the office. There’s a general sense that the bigger a bedroom, the better. In reality, we feel there’s no real need. As long as there’s room to fit a bed and hang clothes up, it might be better to use a larger room as an office or a shared space.
We made the bedroom a priority, as having somewhere clean, cosy and comfortable to rest our heads was most important. Having pulled up the laminate, we cleaned everything, floor to ceiling, with Sugar Scrub. It’s really important to have clean walls before you paint. We then painted the room white. Our Recommendation: go for good quality paint, despite the cost. After realising our pot of budget paint had the thickness of diluted squash, we used Dulux Trade SuperMatt and only needed a couple of coats to completely hide the pink. We also bought Dulux Brilliant White Woodpaint for the doors and doorframes (though we probably didn’t need to do the woodwork). As soon as the paint was up and dry, we put our furniture together, put up some paper blackout blinds, and hey presto – we had our bedroom!
Excellent homemaking from Tom and Katherine and some great DIY tips if you don’t know where to start making over a property. Check back for the next installment soon!