Real Homes: Before and After – Suzanne and Mike’s 250 Year Old Cottage Renovation, The Living Room

Author: Boho

Real Homes

Today I have another wonderful room renovation to share with you. A couple of weeks ago Suzanne showed us round her gorgeous kitchen and today it is the turn of her living room! I do love a room renovation when there is such a huge change and it is clear by the before and after picture below that her and her husband went to great lengths to completly change this room around! Great work and an outstanding outcome! 

living room before and after

A bit of background about the house itself

We moved into our stone built cottage in Thwaites Brow in November 2013. It’s tucked away in a collection of houses called ‘Hog Holes’ after the sheep (or hoggets) that used to live in the fields.
There are five rooms in total, each with their individual charms and challenges. As we renovate we are aiming to preserve or uncover the features of the house while modernising and creating some storage. We don’t have a lot of cash to splash so we are doing all the labour ourselves and making things rather than buying them.
I’m a Designer and Mike is a Joiner so between us, with lots of elbow grease and a little help from our friends we are putting our own slant on our little but lovely cottage.


The Living Room

The living room was definitely a labour of love. It was spotlessly clean when we moved in but didn’t stay that way for long as we began to tear up carpet, sand the floor, smash bricks to return the fireplace to it’s former glory and lay a parquet floor -a project Mike has always wanted to do in his own house.

living room before and after

living room before and after

The parquet floor is reclaimed so every single piece had to have the tar from where it had been laid previously chipped off by hand. This was a long and messy process but worth it in the end for the look, which we much prefer to new parquet. The floor underneath was slightly uneven and rather than use a screed we kept these slight undulations which feel lovely under foot.

parquet floor

The old gas fireplace was taken out to reveal another surprise coal fireplace behind it. This was also taken out then the bricks were removed and the original hearth opened up. The stone surround; which had been painted white, had the paint chipped away using a scutch hammer to reveal the original stone. Two large stone slabs and a new stove later we had a beautiful fireplace to cosy up next to (albeit on our camping chairs).

living room before and after - fireplace

living room before and after - fireplace
The black painted beams were sanded back to their original condition before the huge clean up could be done, skirting boards fitted and painting could begin. The furniture, which was all aquired from eBay was moved in and a huge sigh of relief breathed, particularly because I was nine months pregnant by this point and had been beginning to wonder whether we were doing the right thing. Luckily it all fell into place two weeks before my due date.


There are a few jobs still outstanding due to the arrival of our little one: we will be making bright coloured blinds and designing our own laser cut wooden light shades (I make laser cut gifts for a living), the doors need to be stripped and a few more bits of furniture need to be found or made by Mike. We are drawing or painting the majority of our wall art ourselves (see the owl) so we need to frame and hang these and then we can relax… or maybe after the last room is finished!


Suzanne will be back in a few weeks to show us her bedroom renovation.



  • I’d love to feature your home on the blog, if you have a restoration project or a new room you would like to show off then please email me [email protected]



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