Your chateau

Make Do and Mend Project Q&A: The Story of Bringing a Sash Window Back to Life

Kate and Erik (@resinn_) appeared on the latest series of Escape to The Chateau: Make Do and Mend where Dick and Angel helped them bring their Victorian sash window back to life and we got to talk to them all about their experience…

“We have watched Dick and Angel since the beginning of their Chateau renovation and it was hugely inspiring to us.”

- Kate & Erik

Can you tell us a bit about you, Erik and your beautiful home?

Myself and Erik met in London 12 years ago and decided to move to Sweden for work in 2014 where our little girl Lilli was born in 2017. We then moved back to the UK in 2019 to be close to family and friends. After years and years of renting apartments we never ever thought we would be able to afford a home of our own let alone buy our dream home. The first time we viewed this house we knew it could be an incredible home for our little family. We have always loved old buildings and this place felt almost like a Victorian museum of original features with layers and layers of history.

It needed a lot of work to bring it back to life and we knew early on we couldn’t afford to pay professionals to come in and do all the work. So, we started to watch lots of online tutorials and spoke to professionals about the best approach for such an old building. We were determined to transform it back into a family home after it had been used for student accommodation for decades.

The house is a four storey town house built in 1874 and we are two years into the renovation. We have completed the top two floors of the house and the basement floor. We are about to tackle the hallway and the two ground floor rooms, which are all filled with beautiful Victorian details. We are very excited to peel back the layers and showcase the original craftsmanship.

What made you want to be a part of Escape to The Chateau: Make Do and Mend?

We have watched Dick and Angel since the beginning of their Chateau renovation and it was hugely inspiring to us. We used to binge watch Escape to The Chateau when we were visiting from Sweden, we never thought we would get to tackle our own home renovation project but we immediately went back to watch their journey again when we purchased our home. Noting down what they did and in what order, but most of all taking their ‘can do’ mind set on board. To see them just have a go at something no matter how intimidating the project, was a huge influence on us.

What skills did you both initially have and did you build upon these during the project?

When we bought the house we knew nothing at all about DIY or renovating, we owned some screw drivers and a basic drill and that was it. We had been renovating the house for just over a year by the time we applied for Escape to The Chateau: Make Do and Mend. In that time we had installed a modest bathroom, a basic kitchen and learnt how to plaster.

We had also learnt how to tile and some basic carpentry through YouTube tutorials and learning from family and friends. Despite all this, we had zero experience in restoring a sash window, we were actually scared to go near it in case we took it apart and couldn’t put it back together. During the project we learnt so much about how to restore woodwork, glazing, the sash mechanism and many other skills that all helped us bring this beautiful window back to life.

What was the trickiest part of the process?

To be honest the anticipation of starting the project was the hardest, that’s when you feel most overwhelmed at the unknown and you talk yourself out of doing it. As soon as Dick and Angel talked us through how to start and what to look out for we felt much more confident. Knowing they were there to ask for guidance throughout the process was invaluable.

Of course, living in the house you are renovating with small children is super tricky, but again Dick and Angel could relate to our struggle. They were extremely understanding and were always so generous in sharing their experience and what they did to work through each hurdle.

What was the best piece of advice Dick and Angel gave you?

I mean everything they said to us was so helpful and inspiring, there’s nothing they haven’t had a go at themselves so it often felt like they were our mentors. When it came to the styling and furnishing of the landing Angel had said to not over think it, to just play around and see what sticks. You can always add or take away elements as you build up the area.

Is the space now everything you wanted it to be?

It’s so much more than we imagined it would be because it feels extra special to have Dick and Angel help restore and design it. To have so many discussions with them about our home and what we wanted to achieve makes it very personal and we have made the most amazing memories from the experience with them.

Do you feel confident to tackle more DIY projects in the future? If so, what’s the next project in the pipeline?

Absolutely, now that we have restored this sash window we have a list of windows to restore in the house. We now feel like we are capable of doing it ourselves, rather than paying for somebody else to bring them back to life therefore we can invest that money elsewhere in the house.

Our next project is a large bay window at the back of the house, It’s an over hanging bay window, with a large wooden frame. It’s partly rotten, the paint is peeling off in sheets and the windows are also painted shut. We want to save it from more damage so it’s a top priority for us because the window is original. It has so much history that we want to restore & preserve for another 150 years.

If you want to follow Kate and Erik’s renovation journey, you can follow them on Instagram @resinn_ and you can watch their episode of Escape to The Chateau: Make Do and Mend, here.