Shit they don’t tell you: Renovating a house

On television it takes no time at all to renovate a family home, Kirstie Allsop swishes through rooms in a brightly coloured wrap dress babbling on about moving walls, a few British Gas adverts later and bingo it’s all done. In real life it takes fucking ages and most of that time is spent thinking about all the fun stuff you be doing if only you had bought a house with walls in the right place.

Here’s the lowdown on buying a doer upper, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. There is a lot of boring crap to talk about

Take a good look around the room you are in. Now imagine discussing every single fucking feature for hours on end until you know more about skirting board than any normal person should.

The flooring, the architrave, the door, the door handles, the windows, the window furniture (which I didn’t even know was even a thing until 6 months ago), even a seemingly empty room is filled with endless interminably dull things to discuss. One day you will find yourself correctly identifying the classic 12mm Ogee skirt and you will know that you are dead inside.


2. You will fall out

The person you are buying the property with – how much do you actually like them? Because in six months time you are probably going to want to beat them to death with a Screwfix catalogue.

If your house buying partner is the slightest bit annoying it might be worth having a complete rethink. Often people who are a bit annoying can become really, really annoying when you are sleeping on a camp bed in a building site eating dust covered toast for dinner every night.


3. Interiors magazines are full of posh people talking utter bollocks

’I always have fresh cut flowers in the house’ or ‘This Edwardian display cabinet is perfect for showing off the trinkets we’ve collected on our travels’ and ‘The virgin wool rug adds texture and a splash of colour to the living room’

Fuck Off.

Meanwhile back in the real world the rest of us have radiators for displaying a selection of the families clean kecks and rugs from Ikea to cover up the red wine stain from  the time your sister demonstrated twerking on your elderly neighbour.

There’s a reason normal people aren’t featured in interiors magazines it’s because our houses are shit tips and we don’t spend our weekends ‘picking up’ artefacts. We just go shopping for stuff to hide our other stuff in.


4. You will become an interiors bore

After several months spunking huge wads of cash on expensive magazines filled with pictures of £3k taps you will find yourself using some ridiculous phrases yourself or as I like to call them: lies


‘We picked the shelves up at a Flea Market.’

Means: I bought them on ebay when I was drunk, I thought I was bidding on a pair of shoes.

‘It belonged to my Grandmother.’

Means: If he ever finds out how much I paid for that vintage silk kimono I am dead.

‘They were a surprise birthday present.’

Means: I wanted a dress but he bought me a set of expensive copper pans. I cried for three hours.


‘They’re from an online specialist.’


‘I’ve had the rug for years.’

Means: I nicked it from an ex boyfriend’s flat after I caught him having sex with a nail technician, they now live together in a new build.



5. Putting your own stamp on a place is exhausting

When you look around a house that needs work it’s useful to try to visualise the place as it could be – stuffed full of sweaty tradesmen eating pot noodles.

Maybe just decide that ‘your own stamp’ is going involve painting the whole house boring, plain white. Brilliant white is a fantastic style statement, it says ‘we do not want to spend six months arguing about colour schemes and spending all our life savings on tester pots of Farrow & Ball paint.’


6. No one likes your feature wall

A feature wall is a wall covered in something unusual which you think looks amazing but everyone else thinks looks shit.

Wallpaper with gold swans, an arrangement of wacky plates, a selection of dead animal heads wearing costume jewellery. Basically any part of a home that looks like a 4 year old might have decorated it after eating a giant bag of Haribo can be a feature.


7. The previous owners had weird ideas

The first six months in any new property are spent asking ‘Why would anyone do that?’  There is always at least one random feature in every house that simply does not make sense.  In our home it’s a guest suite with a toilet behind a clear glass door. Why would anyone want to lie in bed and watch someone else take a dump? Those are some fucked up house guests.


8. Pinterest Baby!

Pinterest allows you to create an online scrapbook of nice looking shit you can’t afford. As if clicking on pictures of houses that are way better than yours will somehow make your downstairs loo tiled with shimmering brown peacocks look better. It won’t but that won’t stop you.


9. It costs a lot of money

I mean like loads of money and most of it goes on really boring shizzle like plastering and having the electricity rewired. Urgh how tedious. I just want to buy nice lampshades and a fancy sofa to sit on but no, we have to spend money making sure guests don’t get electrocuted when they switch on the lights in the spare bedroom.

Actually I think lots of people might be aware that doing up property costs money but it’s still monumentally depressing.

I hope that’s cheered you up. I’m off to have a wee in the guest suite while no one is watching.

Don’t forget to follow my Facebook page and find me on Twitter and Instagram @eehbahmum tweeting about gardening and biscuits.

Happy House buying!

Home Etc

8 thoughts on “Shit they don’t tell you: Renovating a house

  1. Kirsty i wish Will shakespeare was around to read your whip smart and impassioned posts. Thats what we miss out on by dying see. God, the bloody door hinge discussion and shall we put the light switches here or 2mm to the left so the painting that neither of us quite admits to not liking (mine) can be crammed between them? Yes, lets all set ourselves up in our own pads then dear partners can visit and/or remove offspring and not aggravate the hell out of us with their questions, answers and general disagreeableness. As you may sense, your post has touched deep wounds still not healed from the tarpaulin and dust days of our post-‘honeymoon’ period. Think i’ll go and google : renovation therapists – should be lots of them in the small adds at the back of Interiors.
    Jo x

  2. Ha ha! YES! Spot on. We have done up two houses now and they almost broke us. That was pre-kids! We are in a nice shiny new-build now with no hassle. WIN! Thanks for sharing – love this! Jess x #HomeEtc

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  4. Hahaha!! Aaaah Kirsty — I do love you. I read this and laughed all the way through because renovations are EXACTLY like that. We’ve done 4 of the 5 houses we’ve lived in and they’ve all been a ball-ache. SO worth it at the end — when the dust (and the builders) has gone — but a living HELL when you’re in the midst of it!!! Thanks for sharing chickie — and making me laugh 😉 Thanks so much for linking up 🙂 Caro xx #HomeEtc

  5. Bahahahahha *laughs maniacally* we’re two weeks in to a huge Victorian project just before Christmas, with an 11 month old baby, limited budget and having to undo a ’70s renovation job that includes false floors to create a split level reception room, miles of woodchip and random lightswitches that don’t do anything or turn lights on in different rooms. Piece of piss no?

  6. I know this is old but omg how I’ve laughed (after six months repairing after a leak where there were certainly tears! And far far too many decisions on minute details)

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