At this time of years we inevitably think back to the time when we bought our current home, almost ten years ago now. We were so excited when we found out at Christmas that it had come back on the market . In actual fact it was during our Christmas dinner that someone at the table happened to casually mentioned that the house was back on the market. We thought that the house would suit us down to the ground because the house we were living in at the time was simply too large and we wanted something smaller. We’d been living in a large detached new-build around the corner for four years and knew that buying this house, which needed a lot of work, would enable us to pay off our mortgage. It had been standing empty for two year so much so that the garden to the front and rear of the property was in such a state that we had to hire a excavator to clear it . The interior of the property was not a great deal better. In fact when you stepped inside it was like entering a time warp. The state of the house didn’t stop us and our five-year-old son from moving straight in . It didn’t occur to us to live off site because we were doing almost all the work ourselves. When we reflect on this decision now it does seem just a little bit crazy. We decided to adopt a very strict budget for the renovations. We borrowed a small amount upfront so that we could deal with essential work like upgrading the heating and lighting straight away. The rest we did gradually, as funds allowed. We had to be very realistic about what we could achieve on what budget and by when. What we have achieved is truly amazing. In addition to knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, turning a ramshackle lean-to at the back of the house into a smart utility/cloakroom and study, and building a studio in the garden. We also converted the loft to gain a guest room and chill-out space. To give the house an elegant classic-country look, we’ve used a muted palette of creams, taupes and greys on the walls. We have accessorised with our favourite scented candles by brands like Yankee candles and True Grace candles, which are the perfect compliment for a mix of French country and more modern pieces of furniture, such as the leather sofas in the living room and the streamlined wash-bowl basin in the bathroom.