What to Do While Waiting on the Keys

If you put an offer in on a house and it is accepted, you just want to begin planning immediately. You’ve got mood boards, saved folders on Pinterest and you might even pick up some samples from your local DIY store. It’s easy to get carried away and you hear stories about house sales falling through all of the time. Therefore, you need to be careful about what you buy and what you plan.

The original house
This is the estate agent’s photo

We were in quite a good/unique position as our house was a probate sale and we were first time buyers. So therefore, the only way that our sale would fall through was if we pulled out. It did, however, mean that we had absolutely no information on the house. Therefore, we opted for a full Building Survey and guess what, the list was long! That didn’t stop us though, nor did it come as a surprise, – we knew the house would need a lot of work.

The Planning

We knew that we would have to move into our renovation house pretty quickly. There was no way that we would be able to rent, pay a mortgage and renovate a house. So we gave ourselves the goal of getting the big messy stuff down within 6 weeks (one electrician we told this to, laughed in our faces but the joke was on him because we did it! We also didn’t hire him).

Estate Agent’s photo

Firstly, we knew that we would have to get a full rewire completed on the house and that would involve actually knowing where all the new plug sockets would go. We had a fairly good idea where they would go throughout the house, but the big problem was the kitchen. We knew we would be ripping out the kitchen and knocking down the partition wall between the original galley kitchen and the dining room, but where would all the electrics go? This lead to our first plan – to sort the kitchen plans.

The Kitchen Plans

We had a number of kitchen plans before deciding on our current layout. It’s something we are asked quite frequently -. How did we come up with the layout? How did we know it would work? When did we know we had the right plan? Etc. My best advice is really play around with the space. It’s great that you can download software from this type of thing and plan straight from home. Alternatively, if you don’t feel IT/home design confident, you can book an appointment and go into a store. All the places we looked at plan free of charge. You can find a link to the IKEA planning platform below. Even if you don’t get an Ikea kitchen, it’s worth playing around with it from the comfort of your sofa!


We wanted to maximise as much space as possible, as we knew it would be a while before we would be able to get an extension. Therefore we knew we wanted to remove the door entrance into the original kitchen. I’ve seen a lot of homes that brick this doorway up and then they can utilise this space. It’s a great idea if you can afford an extension straight away. By opening this space, we knew that we would have to move the kitchen to where the old dining room was. This is where the fun really began!

This was our first kitchen design; ironically our kitchen ended up nothing like this. I loved the idea of having the sink under the window – it feels like the natural place to put it. We were 100% set on having the cooker in the old chimney breast and actually, this is something that stayed the same in all of our plans.

The problem with this plan is that it would limit our extension plans in the future so as much as we loved it, we decided it wasn’t for us. Looking back on it, I think it would also be too much. It’s quite an imposing kitchen for the space and what we ended up going with feels a lot more minimalist.

Our Final Kitchen Plans

Our Final Kitchen Plan

Our final kitchen plan worked best for us. When we decide to extend eventually, we won’t have to change a thing. It also utilises the space that’s currently there. Overall, it’s a really good size and most importantly, we knew exactly where all of electrical sockets would need to be for the rewire. When we told people we were planning our kitchen before having the keys, we were met with some negative comments. Some people thought we were jumping the gun and we were planning too far ahead. But we knew, to get the work done quickly, we had to be organised. Without this key organisation, then we wouldn’t have been able to move in within 6 weeks. We also didn’t buy our kitchen until we had exchanged contracts and got the keys, just in case that very unlikely scenario of the sale falling through happened.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is plan ahead as much as possible. It will help you in the long term.

5 replies on “What to Do While Waiting on the Keys”

Hey Clara and Nick! I’ve been following your Instagram page and soon as I discovered you had a blog I had to check it out. Like the rest of your followers I’ve loved your journey from purchase to where you are now.
I’m currently renting and saving to purchase. Reading your blog has really opened my eyes. I’m so naive to believe you save up, pick your house and bam!! Start the renovations.
I love how you go through your whole process and I’ll definitely be coming to you for advice and handy tips you’ve discovered along the way.
Your step by step guide is really what those like myself need to know. I can’t wait to see what you post next and look forward to more advice how much to save for deposits, for renovations, decor and extensions etc.
Keep it up guys what your doing works and I love it!!


Thank you for such a lovely message. It’s fab to know that we’re able to help other people! Renovating is so daunting when you don’t have any previous experience. I hope you find the rest of the blogs helpful and please feel free to drop us a message if you need any help.

Good luck!

Dust and Bricks

Such great advice here! Wish I could’ve read this when we were planning our renovation last year!

Thank you! I know, when we were doing our renovations, I wish there had have been more advice out there! At least I can help new renovators.

Hi Clara, Just wanted to drop you a mail to let you know how inspirational your blog has been for me while doing my own renovation work at home. I just love how creative you’ve been with your design and furnishing. I’ve fallen in love with your kitchen and use of bold accent colours. Lots of hints and tips that I find both practical and useful. Keep it up guys!

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