It’s crazy but it has been 3 months since we moved into our new build, a Story Homes Warwick property in the North West of England.
I thought it was probably time to share a little update of how we’re getting on, and what the house looks like now.
(For those who are interested, our house was built by Story Homes and the model is called a “Warwick”)
Our Story Homes Experience (so far)
We moved into our Story Homes Warwick house in late March, which was four weeks after the original planned completion date. As things go, I didn’t think a four week delay was too bad!
I know buying a new build can be fraught with problems. Fingers crossed we haven’t noticed any major issues yet.
The site team from Story Homes is gradually working through our snagging list. I think it’s a definite advantage if you’re buying new build, to buy while the site team is still around, and has some months to go. That way, tradesmen are likely to be on-site regularly, meaning jobs get worked through faster.
I do need to find time to fix all the “nail pops” and cracks that are popping up. I know they’re normal as a new build property dries out. I just need to stock up on sealant and paint, and get started!
I thought today I’d share a little mini house tour of our Story Homes Warwick property. In some rooms, I’m sorely in need of inspiration and recommendations!
If you’re thinking of buying a new property with Story Homes, or considering whether to buy a “Warwick” property, I hope this post will also be helpful.
Side note: my dog now automatically sits and poses if she sees me taking photos, on the off-chance she might get a small piece of cheese.
The Story Homes Warwick: Our First Impressions
When we first viewed the development, one of the things that really sold me the Story Homes Warwick property in particular, was this hallway. There’s a big skylight and open landing, which gives the entry such a spacious, light feel.
Our house faces North, so it’s beautiful in the entrance in the mornings. The morning sun streams straight through the skylight, and floods the front of the house with light. The garden, and kitchen – at the back of the house – get lovely golden light all afternoon. This arrangement works perfectly for us.
This space will probably be the first to get decorated. I’d like to use an accent colour on the left-hand wall going up the staircase, and make it into more of a gallery wall.
For now, we’ve added a cheap console table from Ikea, hung a mirror from Dunelm, and hidden a whole world of shoes and coats in the cupboard under the stairs.
The Warwick lounge is a fairly square shape and I’m struggling at the moment to know quite how to furnish a room that doesn’t have a fireplace.
For now, though, we are settling in and trying to make it feel more homely. Our big sofa was purchased just before we moved, and fits beautifully into the new room. We’ve had some photos printed and framed by Photobox, which sit above the sofa. I’m really pleased with those.
This week, I bought a side table from Ikea, because I was bored of not having somewhere to put a cup of coffee down.
We’re using an old footstool from IKEA as a coffee table type device. I actually bought this a year or two ago, thinking it was a regular footstool size. This is why I shouldn’t allowed to shop on the Internet for furniture.
I’d like to replace this rug with a big, shaggy rug in a neutral shade but not grey. I haven’t found one that I really like yet, though.
We also badly need blinds.
I had two companies in to give us a quote this week. I’m considering Roman blinds because I think they’ll soften up the room a little, in a warm taupe or similar colour. But honestly, they’re horrifyingly expensive so it might be another month or two before we invest in those.
The kitchen is the room where I probably spend most of my time. (side note: can you spot the dog?)
The Karndean limed oak flooring is proving to be really practical. The dining table is an M&S buy, from our old house, and the sofa was a bargain from Made.com bought when we moved in.
The small chair at the far end was a hand-me-down from my parents. The brown rug used to be in Flea’s playroom but eventually I’d like to replace it with something more colourful.
For now, I have bought an end table from Dunelm, which sits alongside the sofa. This is where our Sky TV box sits (the TV is mounted to the wall on the right hand side). My idea for this room is that it gives Flea a space to hang out with her friends while I can relax in the lounge next door.
The only remaining question is what we’ll do with the doors in here. There is a triple bi-fold door and a set of patio doors. They give loads of light, but we will want some privacy in the evenings as winter gets closer.
I’m looking at Perfect Fit blinds which concertina, so you can pull them down as needed, but leave the window totally clear during the day. I’d love to know if anyone uses these and would recommend them?
Warwick Bedroom 2: Flea’s Room
Flea is basically in love with her new bedroom, which is loads bigger than her old room, and so much lighter.
She has a king size bed (bought from DFS before we moved) and a ridiculous number of blankets, and twinkly lights.
Her desk is from Ikea, as is the pin board above. Our handyman fitted the shelves, which all came from B&Q. The under-desk chair is from Pottery Barn Teen, and was shipped from America. We call him Boris.
We actually want to add a few more shelves in here, and then of course we need blinds at the window. When we moved in there was nobody living to the back, because it was a new build property. But the houses behind us will be completed next month, so we need blinds quite urgently.
Warwick Bedroom 3: Spare Room
One thing I’ve definitely noticed about new build properties is that there isn’t always masses of storage. In the Story Homes Warwick design, there is a large under-stairs cupboard but that’s about it.
For the past couple of months, the spare bedroom has mostly held piles of boxes, but this week the handyman came and built us two Ikea wardrobes. We now have proper storage. The wardrobe on the left holds all of Flea’s clothes (especially bulky things like CCF kit and sportswear), while the wardrobe on the right holds general linens and household items.
For now, this room is also home to the famous TWILIGHT CANDLE STICKS!
I’d like to get baskets to put on top of the wardrobes to give us some extra storage for household items, but that’s not an emergency. I have also asked a local timber merchant to cut me some additional shelves from MDF so we can add more storage inside the wardrobe we won’t be using for hanging clothes.
Oh and yes, we need blinds here, too.
Warwick Bedroom 4: Home Office
My plan was to use the fourth bedroom as a home office, originally.
When we moved in, I quickly realised that the Story Homes Warwick fourth bedroom was big enough to also hold a bed. So now this room is a combo office + guest bedroom.
I love the amount of light my desk gets, and the outlook is over fields. It’s lovely and peaceful if you don’t count the cows!
This allowed us to turn the third bedroom into a dressing room. Overall, I think that will work better for us. Teen girls have a LOT of clothes.
We don’t have any major plans for changes in this bedroom, apart from adding a blind to the window.
The Ikea Kallax shelving is hiding ALL SORTS of chaos, just in case you were impressed by the illusion of tidiness. There’s camera kit, paperwork, hardware, books and all sorts of paraphernalia shoved in those baskets, let me tell you.
Warwick Bedroom 1: My Room
Of all the rooms in the house, my room has remained pretty untouched and unthought about.
This probably shouldn’t be a surprise. One side of the room – just out of shot – is still stacked with boxes, and apart from unpacking my bed and bedside table, I haven’t done much else in here. Honestly, it looks a bit sad and semi-derelict.
I should have two bedside tables – I bought them as a pair from Heals nearly 20 years ago. Unfortunately one got lost in the move, so I might use it as an excuse to update them.
I plan to keep my bed, it’s from Laura Ashley, and it’s only a couple of years old. The quilt on the bed is ancient and I think I bought it from M&S, about 12 years ago. Maybe longer.
This is why I’ll never be an interiors blogger.
We have neighbours across the road at the front of the house. For this reason, we added curtains right away to my bedroom, but they’re just an old pair of cheap Ikea curtains that my Mum cut down to size for me.
Ultimately, I’d like to have a proper colour scheme in my room with blinds and a rug, and pretty bedding.
But I’m also the sort of person who, when thinking if I’d rather have a new wardrobe or a holiday, will always, always choose the holiday. So who knows when this room will change?
Buying a New Build from Story Homes: Top Tips
Overall, we’re really happy with our Story Homes house. The Warwick is a great size and the design works really well for our family. But we have definitely picked up a few tips.
- You can’t paint a new build house for a year, so anything you buy will need to work with the initial white box design, and with whatever colour you choose later
- Bear in mind that the Story Homes Warwick (and new builds in general) won’t have as much storage as older houses. Considering doing a big purge before you move. It’s much easier than doing it later!
- Because of this, it’s worth using cheap basic curtains to start with – or no curtains at all. Take time to see how the light works in your house at different times of day before starting to think about colours
- It’s best to unpack slowly and tackle one room at a time. Buying a new build is the only time you have to choose floors, carpets and colours for a whole house at once and it can be overwhelming. So when it comes to decorating, take it slow.