Start of renovation. The supreme confidence of home renovators. Yeh, no sweat, we’ve got this. Totally gonna smash it on time, on budget and thoroughly detailtastic.
End of renovation. Where’d those grey hairs come from? Where’d all our money go? Why’s the builder scarpered without creating all that bespoke joinery that’s been in our heads for six months?
And perched on a catamaran sailing through all this? Greta Thunberg. Reminding us that not only do we need to be mindful of time, money and design, we also need to be mindful of the planet. No pressure then Grets, cheers for that 😉
Here at Moregeous Mansions we know how tough it is to renovate and decorate houses. We’ve walked your walk. We’re still walking it. We also know full well the challenges of achieving the end goal affordably, without feeling shackled to an unachievable deadline and most of all, beautifully. But you can, you know. You can do all of those things and be mindful of this incredible planet and your footsteps on it. And we’re here to show you how…
Taaaadaaaaaaaa – introducing The Treasure Tingle Workshops!!
First things first, we’re not magicians. We can’t conjure up more days in the week or hours in the day, however if you are renovating or looking for design inspiration, this brand new for 2020 workshop will definitely help you chill out about taking time to layer in detail. Equally as importantly, it’ll help both save you money and create unique, individual designs and schemes, both indoors and out.
When Mr M & I started the build here at Moregeous Mansions five years ago, we’d no fixed plan of how long it’d all take. One of those organic type builds, like on Grand Designs when the couples’ kids grow up, they get divorced and remarried and the house isn’t even finished. Luckily we’ve managed to avoid the reno divorce. Just.
We told everyone it’d be done in a couple of years and to be fair, if we’d used simple bricks, new tiles, regular shop bought materials and straightforward licks of paint, it might have been. But of course, we didn’t, as you already know from Instagram. The ‘luxury’ of living on site throughout the whole process also resulted in us adding bits, changing bits and upgrading bits, partly because we weren’t under pressure to get back in as we never left and partly because living in carnage became our new normal. Throw in on top of that the countless and inevitable challenges of a 120 yr old house. And talking of throwing in, add to the mix several hiatuses to allow us to work / drum up the cash to carry on. Plus, we ain’t 20 somethings anymore and need far more breather moments these days. So here we are, five years in, still no kitchen, one extra cat and 80% finished.
Along our reno road, there’s been one unwavering constant: the determination to use a whole truck load of treasure. Maybe not a truck, more like a cellar, garage, attic and several boxes. Treasure I’d had for years (yew mantel piece), treasure I’d bought on a whim (8 timber block planes), treasure I’d bought without actually knowing where it was going (two massive antique Chinese doors), treasure pre-exisiting in the original house (every single floorboard) and treasure which didn’t seem remotely akin to treasure (16 sheets of 1909 Anaglypta wallpaper removed carefully from the bedroom ceiling).
There have been so very many fun ways we’ve used salvage and reclamation treasure here, far too many to list and each of them has been a learning curve we want to share. Using treasure to add soul and style to our home is something which genuinely makes us happy. There’s something magical about finding a piece which is waiting to be restored, upcycled or re-imagined and creating a special place for it in your home. Every time you see or touch it, you’re reminded of its story, how you found it, where you found it, who you were with and how it made you feel. It’s so much more rewarding than simply clicking a Paypal button, walking out of a shop with another bag of newness or buying that trend-led item which everyone else has too.
I guess the essence of the workshop, our aim, is to show guests how to see old stuff with new eyes, to see the beauty in dust covered treasure which is just hanging around, sitting, waiting patiently to be found and made to sparkle again. Whenever we do something to our homes or to a building, we’re using energy, or creating waste, or deepening our carbon footprint. If we can find beauty in ‘old’ materials and potential waste or landfill, that can surely only be a good thing right?
On a practical level, as well as helping the planet and the sheer joy such treasure can give, switching your mindset to incorporate it helps with the three things people often find challenging – the race to complete, the budget and making a home both personal & stylish.
- Layering in soul to a home by using treasure is, for me, much more important than the race to completely finish. I’m not saying here that build and occupation deadlines aren’t important – you can’t live with the mother-in-law or in rented accommodation indefinitely. But what sometimes gets forgotten is that the most beautiful interiors and exteriors take time to layer to perfection. Those elements of unique individual style can’t just be bought in a job lot and shipped in overnight. That’s why show homes look like show homes, or rich people’s homes often look characterless, with copied and pasted style.
- Treasure can be bought at bargain prices, found in skips or salvage yards, and can often even be free! Re-using all the materials from our demolition and rip out meant we bought less materials to build and design. Things like reclaiming the bricks, re-using the roof slates and saving all the timber floorboards, joists and purlins. Shopping around for treasure on Ebay, at salvage yards and vintage fairs has yielded some incredible bargains. Yes, there’s a cost in labour or sweat or effort…. but all the best things take a bit of work don’t they?
- Our finds have ensured that we’ve created a personalised period home with a very individual character. The unique nature of salvage and reclamation treasure gives it soul. Texture, patina, imperfections, the depth of character which comes with age. The memories imbued into treasure which you’ve sweated over, cleaned, sanded, protected and finally designed into your home give a sense of satisfaction that no till receipt can ever compare to.
If all of this interests you, get booking onto a Treasure Tingle Workshop HERE and we’ll see you at Moregeous Mansions!
Full details on Eventbrite. 10am-5pm. Lunch and refreshments included. Regular clothes for the house tour / walking workshop for the first half of the day, and we have aprons for the practical session in the afternoon (paint & power tools!). Feel free to bring photos of any treasure you’ve found or already have for advice, or if the items are small enough, do bring them along.
Group / corporate bookings taken. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific date in mind.
Thanks for showing an interest in these new workshops days. I honestly can’t wait to start them, Sian x