Putting Character Into a New Build

When we relocated from London to Bristol, I never envisaged living in a new build; in fact we visited the development we ended up moving into in order to categorically rule out new builds.  Clearly I changed my mind…

What did I have against new builds? In London we lived in a modern flat and I found the lack of character hard to punctuate with any design other than modern which really isn’t my aesthetic. Thanks to crazy property price hikes in London, we were in a position to move to a house (an actual house with stairs and everything!) I was pining for some original features; a restored fireplace, some original cornicing, some kind of exposed beam or some of those Victorian tiles in the porch… anything pretty much that could anchor design choices in the house.

So what changed my mind…? We visited the David Wilson Homes development just outside of Bristol and I totally fell in love and with not a period feature in sight. No one was more shocked than I was, except possibly Mr P.H.D (PHD being Mr Project Home Design, not a Doctor) who by this point may have been withering.

Firstly, the layout. Every new build property in their books was incredibly flexible and designed perfectly for modern living. We chose The Chelworth design (eventually, Mr PHD really wanted The Emerson, but that’s another story) and I loved the fact all four bedrooms were double, the study or dining room could become a playroom, the kitchen and family room could become a kitchen and dining room; there were so many possibilities and I could see the house would suit us as we started a family and as our family grew up

Secondly, the running cost. How dull, but how true. New build homes follow a strict energy efficiency building standard, which was set to save us a lot of money in both heating bills and jumpers. All money I could put into cushions and throws! I loathe having to spend more of our income than is absolutely necessary on bills or interest, so this huge benefit couldn’t go unnoticed.

Finally, its brand new! Notice when I listed the potential period features I was looking for, at no point was I suggesting that I would be willing to restore a fireplace or uncover some beams myself. It was great, although at times stressful but that is possibly a whole separate discussion, being able to pick everything from scratch and then it all being installed and ready to go on moving day. I still, a year on, take great comfort in the fact so much is covered by warrantees. How middle aged I have become!


So move in we did (after a long process, again another post required for that!) The downsides are still there and its been a lot of work to get to the point where our home “doesn’t feel like a new build”; do stick around to see how we got there room by room!

So I hope you’ll enjoy this blog. I have no idea what I am doing with it and am certainly no expert in interiors. I do however love to talk about paint and cushions and needed an outlet other than inflicting more discussion of this nature onto my loved ones. Expect to see lots of honesty, colour clashing, a fair few mistakes, ill thought out ideas, plenty of overshare all set with a tone of sarcasm blended with excitement; a play ground for those looking to do something different with their properties… and my goodness will there be colour!


8 thoughts on “Putting Character Into a New Build

  1. Love the blog! It makes a refreshing change as most of house bloggers I follow have period houses with tall ceilings, fabulous fireplaces and loads of character. I’ve been living in my ‘new build’ Barrat house for over twenty years now and have always felt that I’m always fighting the style of the house I’ve actually got with the style of house that I’ve always wanted and moving isn’t an option. I’ve lately started to throw out the rule book and do my own thing but it will take time! You’re already inspiring me! X


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