Our Spring Makeover Project: Increasing Liveable Space for Large Families




The problem with having a large family is often the issue of space. It’s not as bad when tiny feet pitter patter but when they start to lollop and stomp and small people begin to grow into strapping, bigger people, you begin to notice available room and space diminishing pretty rapidly.

Growing children do have their advantages. They tend to be much quieter than their pint-sized counterparts whose boundless energy, enthusiasm and, let’s be honest, their sheer propensity to keep their volume above any acceptable level, makes finding somewhere peaceful somewhat difficult.

Between the rapidly sprouting tweens and teens, and the unceasingly cacophonous mini-people, we are presented with the two issues of lack of privacy and lack of peace, both of which have proven to be vitally important when working from home as we do, or attempting to study (I’m currently in my third year of studying for my PPE degree).

Our home was already extended when we bought it. We could potentially extend further upwards but are still undecided on that. We do plan to build a self-contained Shepherd’s Hut which will be fabulous to have for when the older children come home to stay for a few days or for when visitors come over and just want to relax with a glass of wine and a feast for the evening, but that’s further down the line. What we need is some kind of solution right now that won’t cost the earth to do but will be practical, useful and affordable for even a tight budget. Continuing along the idea of maximising the space we have available outside, we took a look at the different options available to us.

We don’t have an awful lot of space in our garden – it’s the smallest one on our Close, it seems, but this is the first step in our plans to completely change its use and style (not difficult, at the moment it’s anything but stylish). For now the children already have a wendy house so we decided to opt for something for us rather than something else for them. After some thought we decided upon a summerhouse that would serve as an office during the day and a quiet room that Mike and I could retreat to during summer evenings for a refreshing glass of wine and flowing conversation – or alternatively, a refreshing conversation and flowing glasses of wine. Either scenario works for us. Either way, it will be great to have a place for us to have a much needed regular ‘date night’ with the opportunity to reconnect in peace without the need for babysitters. All parents need at least that much.

Earlier this week we received the Lechlade Summerhouse which will be where our project begins. Unfortunately, we’re waiting for a break in the weather which will allow us to install ours but here it is as taken from the website. :


summerhouse lechlaid


At 7’x 5′ it is compact enough to sit unassumingly in the spot we have selected without imposing into the available garden space too much, yet it is still large enough for the makeover we have it earmarked for. Longevity is important to us – between our travel plans and budgets we don’t have the time or the money to carry out all our garden plans at once within a short timeframe. We don’t want a summerhouse that will be falling apart before we’ve completed the rest of the work. The Lechlade fits the bill as it is made from high quality pressure treated timber and also comes with an extremely generous 15 year manufacturer’s guarantee against any rot and fungal decay. I love the look of the overlap cladding which fits perfectly with the shabby chic style we’ll be going for and there are two double doors that swing outwards, opening up the indoor space straight to the garden itself. With so many young ones around, safety is imperative, so the styrene glazing in the windows is reassuring with regards to that and also to any over-zealous play nearby. Not having to worry about any damage is a good thing!

At £399.99, we think the Lechlade is excellent value for money and thanks to its design its uses are limitless. We think it would work equally well as a dedicated playroom, a craft room (handy if you want somewhere for messy play for kids or for you to work on craft hobbies), or as a den for older kids to hang out without their younger siblings bothering them. If you are like us and could do with a little extra space, we would strongly recommend taking a look at Buy Sheds Direct for yourself.

We are currently working on planning our design. As stated, it’s the shabby chic look that we’ll be going for so a white backdrop with lots of throws and quilts that I’ll be making. It will be painted externally and we will probably try to source the furniture for as cheaply as possible, creating more makeover projects from them. Furniture-wise, we’re thinking space-saving and adaptable. We want something that will function equally well as a day office but will be comfortable enough for us to rest and relax in of an evening.

So there are our plans for this spring’s makeover. Have we whet your appetite to start your own space-creating project? Work will begin when we return from our travels in mid-May so why not make plans to join us? In the meantime, do you have any ideas to share that might work for our plans? Please do let us know!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.