Planning our home improvements (and how we’re going to pay for them)

**This is a collaborative post

It’s now over two years since we moved from Scotland to our new house here in Lancashire. I’ve written a few times before about the work we have already done and some of our plans for the future. We are planning on staying in this house for the long term so although we are interested in adding value to the property we are more concerned with making it the house we want to live in.

We know we have already added value to the house by knocking through the kitchen and dining room and having a completely new kitchen. We have also decorated the hall and stairs, and the boys’ bedroom. But even without doing any work our house is now worth more than when moved two years ago – this handy calculator can show how much your house has increased in value since you bought it.

So what’s next on the agenda for us? Well, there are two main areas we will be focussing on in the next six months or so; the garden and one of our bathrooms.

I’ve written about our plans for the garden before, and my dad has already started work by cutting down and clearing a lot of the trees. The next part of the plan is to fill in and raise the bottom of the garden. It turns out one of our new neighbours is a civil engineer and he wants to do the same to his garden which is next to ours (and use our garden for access) so we will likely be sharing the work and the cost of getting it done. Once that is done the usable space in our garden will increase massively and we can start thinking about what we’re going to do next.

Our house that looks like a bungalow from the front

The other area we’re going to be sorting out very soon is our downstairs bathroom. If you’ve watched my house tour you’ll know we have a strange three storey house built on a hill. The living room and kitchen are on the middle floor with bedrooms both upstairs and downstairs. We currently all sleep in the two bedrooms downstairs, and use the bathroom next to our bedrooms a lot.

In its current state though the bathroom is pretty horrible. It has a brown suite, which although isn’t to my taste I could cope with. However, it’s old, the bath handles are rusty, the bath panel is falling off, the taps are manky, the grout is getting mouldy, it has cheap carpet tiles on the floor… I could go on. Basically it just all needs replacing!

Our manky brown bathroom in need of improvement

Our upstairs bathroom is much bigger and has an enormous bath so the plan is to turn the downstairs bathroom into a shower room. My dream is a big walk in shower, with a glass block dividing wall, and then a sink and toilet in a vanity unit (because cleaning round the back of the toilet is one of my least favourite jobs ever!). We will then have a easy to clean vinyl floor, and partly tiled walls. I haven’t decided on a colour scheme yet – I’ll probably stick with white and grey and just bring in some colour with new towels and accessories.

So how are we going to pay for all this? When we bought the house we could only use Barry’s income to get the mortgage which meant we were about on the edge of the bank’s affordability criteria. Since then though I have filed two years of self-employed tax returns and although I don’t earn a huge amount from my blog, it does mean we can now afford to borrow a bit more on our mortgage. We have already been approved for further borrowing but in a few weeks we have a meeting at the bank to get it all finalised. And then hopefully once the money comes through we can get started on the work! I’m very excited and can’t wait to share it with you all once it’s done.

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