Our Flat Renovation | Part One

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e live in a one bedroom garden flat, in a typical terraced house in London. It was built in the 1930s and from what I discovered buried in council records, it was converted into two flats- an upstairs and a downstairs- in the early 1980’s. Last year we refurbished the bathroom (which you can check out here) but this year, well, this is the year of the Big Fat Flat Renovation.

Shortly after we got married, we hired an architect to create some building drawings and paperwork of the property. We did the paperwork, submitted it to the council, and earlier this year, we were given official permission to build an extension.

Look! Jazzy before and after plans!

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 14.46.18Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 14.46.55

(The proposed plan is a little wrong- it should say Bedroom and not Living Room)

We were basically taking the existing layout of our flat and flipping it around and upside down and adding an extra bedroom. A lot more complicated than a straightforward extension to the back of the flat. Complicated is a running theme in my life after all!

A contractor was found and hired, a schedule put in place, everything was good to go and then…

…3 days before work was to start, I had a blazing row with our neighbour.


I can’t even blame it on that quick temper of mine, because the guy just came at me waving papers in my face. He didn’t approve of our extension, I said he had 7 months to have said something about it. I threw my hands up in the air a lot. Eh. Bull. Red Flag. Door shut in face.

To cut a long story short- we paid an eye watering fee because they hired a very expensive surveyor to basically say what I had been trying to tell them on my doorstep. Work had to halt whilst that all went through, which meant, we were 3 weeks behind schedule already.

Of course, 3 weeks ago, the weather was perfect and not the wet thunderstorms we have now. So, rain equals…yeah. More delays.


Every morning, at 8 on the dot, the team rock up and get to work. There’s a ritual tea order (builder’s tea so far, has not meant 3 sugars per mug funnily enough) and then Robin and I get out of their way and head to work.

Footings have been dug, concrete has been poured and as of yesterday, the start of a new wall has been built! I have never been so excited to see a brick wall in my life.

Other buildery stuff to do:

1) Knock down the bedroom wall
2) Install flooring, rooflight, new kitchen, and bifold doors
3) Knock down old kitchen
4) Remove chimney breast in old kitchen
5) Replace old french doors with new fancier doors
6) Remove chimmney breast in current living room
7) Recarpet those two new rooms
8) Building bespoke wardrobe and install new shutter blinds
9) Replace all doors, repaint whole flat
10) Redesign and build new garden space
11) Repaint new courtyard area

I don’t ask for much, right? Putting it in a list makes it sound easy.

The extension will become the new open plan kitchen and living space. To avoid it looking too ‘boxy’ I have it in mind to define the kitchen area from the living area with floor tiles.
Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.30.08Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.35.05Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 10.26.56

The rest of the floor will be herringbone wood tile (or at least an ashy grey wood tile)

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.38.30

Mood Board

There’s the nook outside our bathroom where I want to lay down some Spanish tile…however, Robin and I have very different ideas when it comes to the finishings. He’d love a white minimal box whereas I am all about THE COLOURS (also, TEXTURE and BLACK WALLS)

In the meantime, this is the beauty that awaits me every evening when I get home. No filters, no edits, and not at all Instagram worthy…

Forget Glastonbury, I have a miniature version of it at happening at home.

I’m hoping the weather dries up so the guys can just crack on, but, this is England. June Gloom will become Blustery July.I’m really just looking forward to the structure going up, and the old kitchen being demolished…then I can get stuck into furnishings.

But for now, mini Glasto!


Author: Angela Shek

just a clueless mama in East London

13 thoughts on “Our Flat Renovation | Part One”

  1. How exciting! ….but very stressful. We moved into our house after a renovation that was stressful in different ways (series on the blog)….so I know just how annoying it is when there’s delays and things out of your control 😦

    I love your design ideas though and can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like 🙂

    Ally xx



  2. This is so exciting! We’re having our garden done atm (both front and back) and the back looks EXACTLY like your first photo, complete with the cement mixer! Twinsies haha! I love your ideas and it’s going to look AMAZING.


  3. How exciting! So pleased that work has finally started properly after your Snapchat rants, I feel for you! I love the tiles that graduate into wood flooring. Beautiful idea.
    Charlie, Distracted


  4. i read about it, what a stressy nightmare! it must have been so nice to be in at last though! There’s been a few hiccups here and there- i just wish I could skip onto the next part! (and I’m so over the mud!)


  5. That week we were meant to start work but couldn’t all because of them, argghh! It’s also why I’m glad the wall is being built, it was getting majorly awks looking into the back yard all the time! Finger crossed our budget stays on track and we can get the floor tiles, but I’d be happy with anything at the moment!


  6. Oh that’s beyond exciting, can’t wait to see the finished thing (*cough* who wins the battle of the interior design). We got our planning permission through to extend ours at the start of this year, eeep!
    M x


  7. What an epic tale of delay, drama, and awful British weather! I’m not going to lie, it made for a very entertaining read but I can only imagine how on edge you must feel. Fingers crossed work begins sooner rather than later – I’m so excited to see your vision come to life! x

    Posh, Broke, & Bored


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