Oxfordshire has many many good things – excellent schools, an amazing hospital, maternity units, green rolling hills, good transport links into London and up to the North, market towns and villages that are chocolate box pretty, incredible, close-knit, supportive communities, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, one of the world’s most beautiful historic cities packed full of art, museums, architecture and history – the plus points could fill a whole blog post of its own. There is one, rather damning negative though: the cost of living.
Houses here rival some of the London suburbs in price. Despite both of us working (admittedly me only part time and self employed) we live in a smallish two-bedroom house. It’s a fabulous area, everything in walking distance and the village school is Offsted rated ‘outstanding’, but we’re a family of four living in a two-bedroom house – and, in this situation, four into two doesn’t really go. After all, we have a boy and a girl – at some point we’re either going to have to move or extend.
I’ve considered the pros and cons of both options, but the long and short of it is that I don’t really want to move. Not only is the location of our house incredible, but I love our neighbours, the school, the community, my voluntary work, my routine and even the house itself, despite it being tiny, and the cost of moving makes me wince even if we did find something bigger we could actually afford, so instead I dream of extending what we have.
When I was at junior school my best friend, Kate, had an attic bedroom with a little round porthole type window by her bed and big top-hung rooflights on each side. I loved the feeling of seclusion up there, the small room made to feel bright and airy with the big expanses of glass, plus you could lie on the floor and look up at the sky like you were sleeping outside. Perhaps the best bit, though, was climbing out of the Velux rooflight and going to sit on the roof together, looking out over the skyline of the London suburbs and watching the world go by from our secret vantage point. Please don’t attempt this at home. As a parent now I shudder at the thought of my kids doing something like this, but as a child it was just magical.
The roof on our house is high and we have a decent loft space, so in my dreams we would convert the loft – something amazing for me and The Man, with a small study nook, an ensuite shower, and lots and lots of windows and light. One of The Man’s biggest problems with me is that I’m an eternal optimist and a bit of a dreamer ad the internet is a dangerous tool sometimes. I can lose hours researching something that’s so far in the future it may never happen, so I may or may not have been Googling for loft conversions, furniture etc. Tum ti tum. It’s years and years away (unless some heretofore unknown rich relation dies and leaves us everything) but I already have a mental image of what it would look like in our peaceful, child-free bedroom, I’ve even mentally solved little niggles like where the stairs would go and that we could move the airing cupboard door so it faced onto the (new) landing instead of into The Boy’s bedroom.
I hate dingy rooms and, unfortunately, the front of our house is North facing and can get a little gloomy. The main problem with this would probably be the fact that, conversely, the back of our house is South facing so whilst making a bright and airy space wouldn’t be an issue, our new bedroom turning into a sauna-style hellhole during the summer may well be. I know there are blinds, but the whole point of having big rooflights is to enjoy the view and the light but apparently you can get these awesome Velux blinds that provide heat protection without blocking the view and light out. And automated solar powered functionality so you can set the blinds up to do their thing when you’re not even there. As if I wasn’t lusting after a loft conversion and associated goodies already, now I find I can have remote operated stuff. It’s like they want me to persuade my geeky husband to agree!
There’d be no clutter, lots of built-in storage (I’ve even researched a local cabinet-maker. Premature much? But no more dressing table horrors to contend with!), large expanses of white walls (not that I’m thinking of my blog photography opportunities here or anything), everything enclosed and hidden away and, top of the list after a lock on the door so I don’t get anybody leaving toy dinosaurs in my bed, our own ensuite bathroom, because one day my terrible toddlers who pull everything out of the bathroom cupboards will turn into even more terrible teens who fill up my bathroom cupboards and hog the bathroom and I need to be prepared!
If we had the space I would love a sewing space up there too. Study-cum-craftroom perhaps? I just ache for the chance to be able to leave works-in-progress out on the table for longer than the time between meals – and floor-to-ceiling fabric and yarn storage. Stick a few rooflights in the ceiling to make sure there’s enough natural light. Job’s a good ‘un.
And maybe a conservatory dining room downstairs. With a cat flap so we don’t get woken at silly o’clock by Proper Cat howling to come in and/or Needy Cat scratching to go out. Living the dream, me.
Now to win the lottery! Oh well, a girl can dream.
Disclosure: this post was sponsored