Rebekah Killigrew on juggling a renovation with motherhood

This week’s guest is my wonderful friend and former co-Editor, Rebekah Killigrew chatting about starting a renovation project in lockdown alongside looking after her daughter, aka her side-kick, as well.

Bekah has a keen eye for design and cultivates her interest both at work and at home on her blog Texture and Space and her Instagram. She is without a doubt one of the most fashionable and environmentally conscious women I know and she juggles all of this with being a full-time mama, working, blogging and now a full house renovation. She’s basically superwoman.

Here, Bekah offers an insight into moving during lockdown, beginning a large scale renovation and motherhood.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your life.

bekah and lula at home

My name is Rebekah and I live in a lovely little village with my husband Tom, our 2-year-old daughter Lula, and 3-year-old dog Rambo.

I work part-time as a magazine editor and I also have a blog, Texture and Space, where I share my love of creative spaces, places, people and textures. I have always loved writing and over the years I have had several blogs in some form, but my latest creation feels the most comfortable, probably because I am sharing stories other than just my own – I guess I’m treating it like my own magazine, except it has really irregular publication dates ha ha.

Writing aside, I love to go out walking, listening to music, drinking prosecco or coffee, and watching British detective TV series. I’m a middle child (one of four), and have a mixed heritage – my father is from Jamaica, and my mother is English with a bit of Scottish thrown in – and I can be very introverted, which can only be eased by having time alone and ignoring my phone.

You’ve recently bought and moved into a new house! How did you decide between renovating an old build and buying a new one?

We had a look at a range of properties, all different ages and styles, but ultimately in the areas where we were looking, the new builds didn’t offer as much space – mainly garden space – as the older houses did, and one of the main reasons for our move was to have a better connection to a larger garden.

We ended up buying an ex-council mid-century house, which isn’t huge but it feels spacious and it has a large garden and great storage – I’m obsessed with our pantry! If anyone is interested in more of a detailed overview on how we chose our house I have written a blog all about how we chose our house and house hunting advice here. It’s been my most read blog to date!

How is your renovation going so far? Is it a complete or part renovation?

It’s going pretty slow to be honest. We moved in right before lockdown happened, and so of course this meant that we weren’t able to have trades come and do work in the house as soon as we had hoped.

We are picking up a bit of speed now that things have eased, and we are starting to do some fun bits like picking out paint and decor for the bedrooms! We do still have a lot to do – I would say we are a quarter of the way there. 

It is a full renovation, though that’s through choice really. The house was rented out before we bought it, so it was in a liveable condition, it just wasn’t to our taste and we could see that the house had potential to be re-designed into a more suitable layout for us.

Where do you take design inspiration from?

Hotels, bars and restaurants are great for inspo, and I love home TV programmes – anything with George Clarke, and Your Home Made Perfect on BBC2 is one of my current faves.

Obviously as a magazine editor, I believe that design magazines are a great source of inspo – all nicely edited for you so you don’t have to trawl the internet, and you can’t beat a quiet mag ‘n’ coffee moment.

I also really respect architects and interior designers and what they are able to create – I follow quite a few on Instagram to get fresh ideas or just drool over their projects. I get a lot of inspiration on Pinterest too.

As you’re building a new family home, specifically to all of your tastes, has your daughter made any requests? 

Ha ha – yes! Lula requested a pink bedroom, and she actually selected the shade of pink she wanted from the three swatches I tested out on her bedroom  wall. We have just finished painting her room and we all love it! 

How has being a mother changed your life?

renovation snaps of daughter

It’s been the most challenging, beautiful and profound thing I have ever done. It’s made me more confident in my abilities as a human being, and it’s made me more confident in my opinions and in speaking up on topics that matter to me, because now I always have Lula in mind – how can I look her in the eye if I don’t speak up when I see or hear something that’s wrong?

Cheesy as it sounds, all I care about now is contributing to this world as best I can in the hope that I leave it in a better state than it is now, for her.

Also, I’m permanently thinking about when I can go to the toilet on my own or when I can get a full nights sleep – so there’s that change too.

How have you found juggling parenting alongside the beginnings of the renovation (and moving in lockdown!)? 

dancing in renovation

It has been difficult. I have been on furlough, which I am grateful for, however being at home with a toddler amongst the mess of a renovation has an added layer of stress.

There’ve been so many decisions to make and so many jobs to do, but it’s hard to get anything done when you’re trying to stop your toddler from climbing on top of the table and launching herself at the dog!

Tom has still been going to work and then on his days off working on the house, so there’s not been much relief for either of us.

We’ve all been sleeping in one room on a mattress on the floor, which was fun at first, but that soon wore off! It’s getting easier now though, we have a functioning bathroom and soon we will have finished bedrooms.

I guess it’s just about trying to be positive and keep things in perspective given the current pandemic, whilst still allowing yourself to have a bit of a moan (or a prosecco) when you need to.

If you had a piece of advice for anyone about to undertake this sort of project, what would it be?

Budget budget budget! Whatever your budget is, just go ahead and add 25% on that now ha! It’s all the little details that creep up on you, for example, this week I bought curtain poles and I’ve been looking at carpets, and there’s always a style or brand that is a bit nicer and a bit more expensive, and that’s how the budget creeps up.

There can also be unforeseen costs, once you get the trades in for quotes on electrical work, plumbing, plastering etc, they might start pointing out things that you didn’t think of.

However, renovating a house is so satisfying; it gives you the chance to put your own stamp on it and reimagine somewhere old into somewhere new to you!

There’s nothing quite like creating a unique space to call home.

Read more interviews here.

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  • Hannah says:

    As someone who really wants to buy and renovate their own house sometime in the future, it was so interesting reading this interview, although hopefully I will not be doing this in a lock-down like we have had! Thank you for sharing Jess and will definitely be checking out Rebekah’s blog to see all her home renovations. xx

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