Escape to Serenity

Round & About

Cinch self storage

A useful guide to renovating your dream countryside home

The Dream

You can’t help but feel a sense of peace and contentment when you take in the beauty of the countryside. Here, amidst its rolling hills and lush green fields, you know you’re exactly what you’re meant to be; home.

Your imagination runs wild; you can just picture it – a cosy cottage surrounded by mighty oak, a rambling garden filled with vibrant wildflowers and a charming organic vegetable patch. You’ll wake up to the soothing melody of birdsong before stepping outside, coffee in hand, to take in the serene calm of the countryside. In the summer, you’ll bask in the warm sun and gaze upon the tranquil water of the pond, marvelling at the beauty of the dancing dragonflies. When winter arrives, you’ll press your steaming cup of tea against your rosy, frost-kissed cheeks.

As your thoughts return to the present, you may feel a sense of doubt creeping in as you face the sheer magnitude of work required to create the home of your dreams. Taking on a renovation project while balancing work and family life may seem overwhelming, and the “what-ifs” take centre stage. But worry not; with the following advice and a good deal of preparation, you can turn your vision into a reality.

Finding the right property

To begin, first consider whether you wish to take on a new property or if you could instead rejuvenate your home. With a little imagination, your existing property may make for the perfect canvas to actualise your dreams.

If you decide a new property is in order, start by researching different homes available in the area. You can explore online listings, connect with local real estate agents, and attend open house auctions. Take the time to research each property thoroughly and create a list of those that stand out to you. Once you’ve narrowed your list, it’s time to visit each property in person. Spend some time wandering around the area, taking note of the surroundings and the feel of the community. You can also speak with locals to learn more about the area, which may help you to identify any challenges you may encounter during your renovation process.

When considering your budget, keep in mind your renovation goals and financial situation. You want to be realistic about what you can afford, but don’t let this discourage you from envisioning your dream home. With careful budget planning, some creativity, and a willingness to be flexible, you’ll be able to create a home that meets all your needs.

While viewing homes, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and overlook potential faults or niggles with the property. To prevent this, in addition to eliciting the help of a structural surveyor, it would be prudent to bring along a qualified builder to assess the property’s condition and provide a realistic estimate of the cost of any refurbishment work required. This will enable you to set a 10-20% contingency plan for the works and ensure you don’t underestimate the costs involved in making the property habitable. It’s worth noting that you can often negotiate remedial work off the sale price, further reducing your overall costs.

The logistics of searching for a property can be difficult to navigate, particularly if you’re simultaneously selling and buying. If during the home renovation process, you decide to rent or stay with family while searching for your new home or find yourself stuck in a chain, Cinch Self Storage can securely store your belongings for you.

As you move forward with your search, be patient, persistent and optimistic. Remember, this journey may take some time, but it is worth it to find the perfect property. Stay motivated and keep your vision in mind.

Planning your reno

Once you’ve found the perfect canvas, it’s time to plan.

When envisioning your dream home, take the time to think carefully about your needs. You may wish to create two lists: one for your must-haves and one for your nice-to-haves. Draw inspiration from past living experiences to determine what works best for you, and use these insights to fuel your creativity.

You can save time by reviewing floor plans of nearby homes and researching any necessary permits. Take the time to get to know your local community and officials to establish positive relationships, which may help you to achieve your goals. Be sure to submit planning applications well in advance and seek guidance from qualified professionals who have extensive knowledge of the area and previous approvals for similar properties.

If Grand Designs has taught us anything, it’s the importance of finding reliable and trustworthy professionals. We’ve all seen it; ambitious projects are ground to a halt by faulty foundations and contractors who fail to deliver. To avoid finding yourself in the same boat, take your time with your research.

Consider working with vetted local professionals who are likely to have an intimate understanding of the unique requirements and regulations of building in the countryside, especially when it comes to renovating listed homes. Additionally, they may be able to source culturally or historically significant materials from the region, while putting funds back into your local economy.

While it may be tempting to rush the renovation, doing so may lead to unnecessary issues and burnout. By staggering your renovation, you can take the time to plan and execute each project with care and attention to detail.

Creating your blank canvas

Armed with your vision and your plan, you can now prepare your canvas.

Take stock of your belongings and consider each item, noting whether it falls into one of two categories: sentimental or practical. If you can envision yourself using or loving the item in your new home, it’s good to go, otherwise consider donating it to your local charity shop. This is a great time to reflect on what brings value to your life and whether it fits your vision.

Before packing, ensure all items are clean and dry to prevent mould growth. This is especially important if you’re storing items for an extended period. To further protect against moisture, consider using desiccators, such as silica gel bags. Of course, be careful to keep these out of reach of children and pets.

To streamline your moving process, consider keeping an inventory of items in each box by labelling them accordingly. Taking the extra time to label your boxes can help you keep track of your belongings and ensure that nothing gets lost during the move, as well as making the process of unpacking a breeze.

Protecting your belongings

Now that your belongings are packed, you’ll need to find a secure place to store them during your renovation. You may be tempted to store them in a garage or garden shed but be aware that doing so makes them susceptible to damage caused by dampness and wildlife. Critters such as mice can cause significant damage, often seeming to favour family heirlooms, and they are notorious for finding their way through the tiniest of gaps. Thankfully, this issue can be mitigated. Cinch Self Storage Bicester can protect your belongings from the elements with their clean, dry and 24/7 CCTV-monitored storage. No need to worry about pesky critters, dampness or mould.

Laying the foundation

With your blank canvas and belongings safely stored, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and begin the renovation process.

When embarking on a home renovation project, start with the structural foundation to ensure it is safe and can withstand wear and tear. You should assess the overall condition of the home’s foundation and ensure that it’s structurally sound. Be sure to remedy any issues that arise, however small, during this stage. Don’t be tempted to brush potential issues under the carpet as it may result in costly repairs later down the line, forcing you to undo your hard work.

Once the foundation is secure, it’s time to focus on the plumbing and wiring. This includes checking for leaks or damage in the plumbing system and ensuring the electrical wiring is up to code. Upgrading these systems to be more energy-efficient and sustainable can also be a great way to reduce your home’s environmental impact and lower your utility bills.

Choosing your materials

When decorating, consider using sustainable and non-toxic materials. Many commercial paints emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to your health. Choosing eco-friendly paints that are low in VOCs can make a massive difference to the health of your home and family.

Following the instructions provided on each product, as well as by professionals, can help avoid costly mistakes and ensure the renovation is safe and successful. With careful planning and the use of sustainable materials, home renovation can be a rewarding process that enhances the overall beauty, functionality, and sustainability of your home.

During the renovation

Throughout the renovation process, stay organised and communicate with your contractor. This means keeping track of progress, deadlines, and any changes that need to be made to the original plan. Regular communication with your contractor can help ensure that the project stays on track and that any issues are addressed promptly.

Taking regular progress photos can help you to track the progress of your renovation, allowing you to see what you’ve achieved and what needs to be actioned. It may offer some protection if legal matters arise. You may even wish to frame your photographs in your new home as a pleasant reminder of your accomplishments.

Be sure to account for the many logistical challenges which can arise during the renovation process, such as running into issues with the delivery and receipt of supplies. The last thing you want is to have to rush home from work to accept delivery of your furniture, only for them to leave it outside, exposed to the elements. Cinch Self Storage are happy to accept deliveries on your behalf, helping you to plan and organise your renovation project around your existing responsibilities.

Once the renovation is complete, have your property inspected to ensure that it meets safety and building code standards. This can help identify any issues that may need to be addressed before the property can be used. If unexpected issues do arise during the final stages of the renovation, stay calm and work with your contractor to find a solution. Remember that unexpected issues can be a part of any renovation process and handling them with a positive attitude and a willingness to find a solution will ensure a successful outcome.

A little elbow grease

By this point of your renovation journey, you’re likely overly eager to jump into the exciting task of making it home, but before doing so, you’ll need to put in a little more elbow grease to ensure that your canvas is clean and safe. It’s crucial to air out your home to reduce indoor air pollution caused by dust, chemicals and paint fumes. Using a HEPA filter can help capture and remove any remaining pollutants, ensuring that your home is clean and healthy for you and your family.

As you clean, pay special attention to areas where debris tends to accumulate, such as corners and baseboards. Use a damp cloth to wipe down any hard surfaces, and don’t forget to vacuum any carpets or rugs thoroughly.

While never a pleasant task, taking the time to deep clean will ensure that your home is free of any debris or harmful particles left over from the renovation, and prevent damage to your belongings that you’ve thus far taken such great care to protect.

Making it a home

When envisioning the style of your home, first, consider the story you wish for it to tell. Do you want your home to be warm, rich and eclectic? Or perhaps light, soft and minimal? How will your home convey your history, passions and values?

Keeping this in mind will help you to look past the fashionable and instead create a home that is a timeless reflection of your personality. It will also make the process of sourcing and curating pieces all that much more enjoyable.

Whether you’re after a contemporary lampshade or an antique apothecary table, consider sourcing pieces locally. Charity shops and antique stores or markets are ideal places to look for characterful, rare and high-quality pieces.

If you’re looking for something new or contemporary, turn to your local artisans. There are bound to be highly talented upholsterers, textile artists, painters or sculptors in your area who would be all too happy to create a bespoke piece for you.

Keep in mind that the right piece will find its way to you. You may have to wait a while but it’s worth it to create a high-quality home that will stand the test of time.

Home, at last

With the renovation behind you, it’s time to collect your belongings and move home.

This may seem like a small logistical step but take pause, as this signifies a fresh start and a new chapter in your life. As you carefully unpack each box and find a place for every item, you are reminded of the dreams and determination that led you to this moment. Go slowly and be present, as this moment of reuniting with your belongings is one you’ll cherish for years to come.

Renovating? Cinch Self Storage are here to help. For more information, please visit Cinch Storage Bicester