The Bones Of Your Home - Part I


So, every now and then I run a specialist workshop on how to run your own home and make sure that it lives up to its potential.

But many of you were unable to attend so I thought I’d just post the details here so everyone can have a go.

I call it the ‘bones of your home’ as these are simple, basic ideas that can dramatically change your home and the way in which you live there.

I hope you enjoy it and please do leave any comments you may have, good or bad - eek!

The Bones of your Home – Part I

Ultimately this is just a story of how I do things. You all have experience running your own homes, a love of interiors and entertaining, so please do throw in your ideas in the comments section.

I wanted this to be creative rather than a ‘course’ which feels less daunting to me and you and I want it to leave you inspired to go home and do at least one thing in each room that’s new, or lots.

I have this theory that whatever your budget, whatever your style, if your home has good bones then it will always feel balanced, easy to live in and the additions whether small or large will bring it to life and make you and your family happy.

The aim of this post is that you come away with 2 or 3 things that you feel you’ll definitely be able to do, and a couple of “I would have never of thought of that” moments!

Now make sure you have a pen and paper as you should create a snagging schedule so that you can get all the jobs that need doing written down.

Then the idea is to clear your desk, do the filing/bin it and any other jobs pending on your desk.

Then book in the trades you want to get in, over a period of a week, with a party/ dinner/ school holidays as a goal and then suddenly it’s done! This is how I generally work it. Today was my goal.

When your home is all working, mostly organised and there are no nagging elements, it will already feel better. Then adding the finishing touches will be even more fun.

And by this, I mean in the present, not the extensions planned in your mind for the future!!

Walking Through your Home:

If you had called me in to refresh/restyle and complete snagging in your home, this is what would be going through my mind as I walked around…..

The Approach:

Lighting -

  • Security lighting, on a dusk sensor and a timer, so it goes off after the latest person gets home or midnight, plus a movement sensor for the hours from midnight to dawn. £££

  • If there is a covered area and lighting is short, add a pair of wall candle holders, securely fastened to the wall, and it must have a glass cover for the candle - this is lovely for parties etc. ££ These can be filled with battery LED flicker candles or short candles.

  • Or feed trailing lights from a plug (13 amp - LED) £ on a timer.

Practically -

  • Bins to be covered…

  • Bespoke by carpenter and painted in your house or door colour, or leave to silver. Use Pinterest for design direction. £££

  • Shop bought cupboards and painted in the house colour or a Cuprinol Stain (medium - expensive ££

  • Screen off with shop bought trellis/ fencing with hinged opening and paint/stain and you could add a finial ball or two - least expensive, still covers, good stop gap for selling or until you can spend more. £

  • Clean windows - they say every 8 weeks but it’s a lot of money - 4 times a year or just...

  • Spring and Autumn, inside and out including all woodwork… it's so uplifting

  • Window sills, paths need to be kept clean and weeded. So it never gets dire…pick a weed a week or spray carefully

Styling -

  • Refresh pots with inexpensive bedding plants, if you have a bay tree or similar it will protect them from the heat and the frost.

  • When painting or staining woods try and match to the front door or choose colours of the same tone. You can even paint your welly rack in the colour of the house

  • Think about introducing candlelight:

  • Lanterns on steps, tea lights in pots or in rows along walls that are walked past

  • Petunias and trailing geraniums hang and fill a pot quickly. Alyssum and herbs do too small, scented ground cover)

  • Use flowerpots as ashtrays for smokers

  • If you have a welly issue, think about how you can fit in a welly rack in a safe or unused spot in a porch or protected area. Think somewhere easy and dry to change shoes. Beware sun damage….

  • Internal approach - in flats there will no doubt be communal lighting, but it’s lovely to make your door your own. Permission for extra lighting may be required but worth asking for. Otherwise, the fairy light option is a great one, plugged into a nearby 13 amp plug - on a timer if you can


Lighting -

  • Need 2/3 levels of lighting. You can get cordless table lights if no plug! (Wayfair and Amazon)

  • Practical which can come from all or just one of these...ceiling, wall and table lamps.

  • Atmosphere comes from dimmed lights and candles.

  • Add into this that all switches should/could be on dimmers and then if you are short of lighting add candles in hurricane lamps, a pair or 1 large is just as lovely.

  • If space is at a premium, think wall candle sconces again with glass to protect and secured firmly to the wall.

  • Keep wicks short… just break off the top section of the blackened wick, that gives you the optimum burning height. This gives a steady small flame that doesn’t create black smoke that marks the glass and wall/ceiling around.

  • Your candles last longer too - putting in the freezer slows the burning - see top tips

  • Don’t buy candles too big for a glass holder, think half way up max.

  • Can’t fit a candle, go for a 10-hour tea light! (supermarket or online)

Practically -

  • Everything needs its place.

  • Keys in drawers, or little hooks hidden away from view (burglars!)

  • Coat hooks for the coats currently in use if there is no cupboard or back hall - High hooks and low hooks.

  • But equally useful for guests and their clobber at visits/dinner parties….

  • Prams/Bikes… put away as much as possible - tricky i know - but folding prams can fold and go up on a hook. Baby prams are used for such a small period of time so don’t worry

  • Bikes outside in secure bike stands or rings for chains drilled into the wall, or if you are making a bin cupboard, incorporate these in here if there is space - undercover prolongs their good looks too!

  • Recycling boxes can go up on a shelf within the bins

  • If you are in a flat, there are very good hanging systems for bikes (see glossary)

  • So keep it clear, warm and welcoming and that means a lovely smell too…

Styling -

  • Keep scented candles fresh and clean, same for diffuser sticks….if flies get caught in either, dig or sieve them out. Keep glass clean - baby wipes in a basket in the kitchen (see glossary or mine)

  • A pair of table lights on a console with a mirror or painting is the aim. But a mirror over any sort of surface is essential in addition to the lighting - a thick radiator shelf with nice brackets is good value and if space is tight.

  • Whilst fresh flowers are lovely, plants last longer and hit the pocket less.

  • Making it feel like a hallway, not a corridor.

  • Pick greenery to add to shop bought flowers from your walk on the common on or in the woods.

  • Adding faux flowers to an arrangement is also hugely effective... bulks it up and almost no one will notice - see seasons sheet for inspiration

  • Umbrellas in a waterproof base or outside on the welly rack perhaps... if secure.

  • In short - think day and evening use - parties, keep it tidy and good smells

And so, this is where we start (and end for this segment) …

I hope this has given you an idea of what’s in store and inspired you to take a closer look at your house and make some little changes that I hope will enhance your home.

Until next month…. 

Ali x