+44 7879 440170 helen@unlikelygenius.com
This is not a sentiment I think I ever understood before.

That is not a slight on my wonderful family home I have grown up in or my previous house. I have just finally twigged how you make your house a home. How you do this for yourself. It isn’t something that will just magically happen because you inhabit a certain space. And find the right space to inhabit.

​It takes work to establish a home.

Old vs New

I loved my previous house, and it will always hold a place in my heart as it was the first house I bought. It was a great first house and I had some lovely times in the quaint 100 year old cottage style terrace.

But we outgrew it.

We wanted more peace, to live further out in the countryside.

I desperately needed to reduce my commute that I was doing at the time.

The house got to the point of desperately needing a lot of work doing to it.

We wanted to be able to sit in or home without wearing 7 layers, a heated blanket and thermal socks, whilst watching the vapour of our breath. Christ it was a drafty, old house.

And by jove! G was finally ready to buy a house together and part with some of those monies he’d been furiously squirrelling away.

Bring on the brand spanking shiny new warm house

Two and a half years ago we bought a brand spanking new build house off-plan. After saying we would not buy new build — we wanted some of that ‘character’ stuff — we ‘accidentally’ visited a new build estate after a rather failed attempt at viewing some houses around our chosen area. Not expecting to be able to afford a house on here, we were just visiting to be nosy really.

But then we stepped into the show home — and that, as they say, was that.

We watched our house grow from foundations and a few bricks to our big, beautiful home. Despite some initial, and significant, snags (the shower emptying all its water through the ceiling two hours after moving in for a start) we immediately fell in love with the house.

And the estate.

The space.

The warmth.

The blank canvas to make my own rather than spending years trying to cover up other people’s dodgy decor choices (A magenta kitchen? What was she thinking. It took 4 coats of paint to cover that bad boy).

We no longer have to fight for parking. Or get our cars scratched by passers by.

There’s no traffic endlessly going past the house with people staring in the front room from the upper deck of buses waiting in the traffic.

We are no longer so cold that we risk frostbite if we sit still for more than 30 seconds.

And, (now this is going to sound very middle-aged), I have a drive! And a garage! Both of those were so fantastically exciting after 10 years of living with everything stored in the house.

Add to this that we have the best plot on the estate (we think so anyway) and have deer, pheasants and owls appearing daily; racing down the banking at the side of our house or hooting away from the trees.

We have a place where we are comfortable, content and can call a ‘home’. To be able to step out of the house and have stunning open views, a lovely walk along the viaduct our estate is named after or a trundle in Haworth or Saltaire, this is heaven.

A work in progress

Everything was a blank canvas to put our own stamp on. And luckily Graham and I have very similar tastes in what we wanted. Mostly. (I had to veto a few things he pointed out. And I am now banned from any more animal related decor).

We have created a cosy, country style in the rooms that are complete so far. We still have some to do but we are in no rush to do it all at once. I like having a project, and an excuse to spend hours on Pinterest. And any excuse to wander around interior stores and stroke fluffy blankets.

Rooms have evolved too as we have settled in and life has changed. What was once just a bit of an empty shell and a sort of exercise room is now my office. Our little library has had some of the imposing bookshelves taken away to be put into my office, and we are creating a little chill out nest with some lovely fancy chairs, ideal for reading or watching a dvd under a blanket. It finally feels like we are using all the rooms, and have given each their own purpose. 

It has taken us some time to get used to having so much space – and to remember to use it all. 

There is no way I could have worked from home in the previous house, I would have either been climbing the walls with cabin fever or have turned into a snowman. It’s debatable which would have been first. But now this house is a place with room to roam, it is calming and quiet, and timing has worked out wonderfully to now establish my business from here.

Welcome to the community

When we moved here we didn’t really know anyone in this area at all. But we have made some great friends on the estate.

As it is a large new build estate in a small village, most people are new to the village and obviously everyone is new to the estate. Many have moved here from surrounding areas, or even further afield and so there was immediately quite a social atmosphere, with us all linking on our FB page, and organising book clubs, Prosecco trains, street parties, curry nights, and more. Some of these have dwindled off as we have all settled into our smaller groups and the estate has become huge, but we have kept a great network in our little corner.

And it’s not just the social aspect; need a babysitter in a crisis? A specific Allen key or set of pliers? Need to let someone know their house alarm going off, but you’ve been round and checked and everything is fine? Need to borrow a baby’s Infacol for your bloated rabbit?

We’ve got you covered.

Someone is always there to help with supplies or support. We all look out for and help each other. — and defend ourselves from the army that is the village that took exception to the development. Barracades up!

I never had this in the previous house — I lived there just short of 10 years, and only ever saw or talked to the neighbours a handful of times. Including one fun episode where a crazy lady hit my car with her broom — the same crazy woman that also screamed at me that I better not be calling the police the night my car was written off whilst parked outside the house by a drug driver. But I digress. These were not people I felt a part of or inclined to socialise with.

It makes such a huge difference to be surrounded with like minded, friendly people (the ladies love the gin and ‘secco), even to the anti-social man in my life.

Until we retire to a converted barn in the North Yorkshire countryside, this will certainly do.

And of course, no house is a home without bunnies.


Write 52: Week 14
​Theme: A few of my favourite things