Here’s a little bit more about us – we’re the Popejoy’s and we run a creative agency called Happy Ending Agency. When we tell people the name it’s often received with either a snigger or a “ah how lovely, like a fairy tale.” I think the response can tell you a lot about a person within 1 minute of meeting them.

All about us - The Wooden Hills

Ross is the one seen here with ice-cream all over his beard…he’s 41 years old. My name is Marianna (more commonly known as Maz much to my mothers disappointment). We share a birthday but I am 730 days younger which is significant and worth mentioning I think.

Until 4 years ago I also worked full time at the agency, but after having our son I retrained as a Pilates instructor. We have a little boy called Finn and he’s 3, he’s a professional negotiator and an absolute master at hiding the remote control. Our dog Indy also lets us live with her and occasionally lets us share the sofa with her too.

I am the main culprit behind this blog, having been completely obsessed with interiors from a very early age. My first up-cycling project involved spray mounting an old pine set of draws and covering it with furry leopard print fabric…hey it was the 90s! Ross keeps threatening to make the odd guest appearance on here but without a beard full of ice-cream…so watch this space…

All about us - The Wooden Hills

About us and our home.

We moved into our home in February 2014. We were desperate as we’d been priced out of so many areas around London, we were beginning to give up hope of ever getting anything. It was just at the start of the crazy bidding wars when houses were all selling for well over the asking price and you were expected to go on viewing days with a hundred other people who all looked exactly like you and were equally as desperate just to really ramp up the pressure. We were pretty much offering on everything that we saw and constantly getting outbid.

We’d actually already lost out on our house 6 months previously, and through the loooong journey trying to find a house we managed to develop a really good relationship with the estate agent. As a result he gave us the first call when the sale fell through on one of the houses at the last minute. We managed to put an offer on it there and then and seal the deal before he called anyone else. I’m forever grateful to that man as the sealed bidding process got even more crazy after that. 

The house before the renovation.

It wasn’t awful. Just very magnolia, and very tired as it had been a rental property before we moved in. The bathroom was really bad though, it was downstairs and it had serious drainage issues in the bath that I’m still a bit traumatised by. Oh and lets not forget the kitchen and bathroom floor tiles that had a brown edge to them. BROWN. I’m not sure in which decade this was ever a good look and I often wonder about the person that walked into the tile shop with all of their endless possibilities and chose brown, rimmed tiles. I think we can all agree that brown and rimmed are two words that should never be said in the same sentence.

What we tackled first and why?

We knew we wanted to move the bathroom upstairs and do a side return extension if we could get planning permission so when we moved in we painted everything white just to brighten it up a bit and then the unhealthy obsession with Pinterest began. 

Things we would do differently?

I wouldn’t have chosen the pale, matte, Scandi style wooden flooring that runs throughout the entire house as it’s not very durable and stains really easily. There are so many marks on it now that it’s basically just one big stain. I keep telling myself it adds character. I don’t regret the wood as it’s warm, tactile and cozy to walk on…I would just choose a more hardwearing finish next time.

Oh and obviously crittall, I will forever regret not having crittall doors but the options were limited at the time and very spenny! We just couldn’t justify them.

Favourite bit of our home?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite but I think the kitchen makes me the happiest. The natural materials, exposed beams and floods of light coming in just puts me in a good mood every day. Even when I’m picking Weetabix off that bloody pale Scandi floor.

Who wears the design pants?

We are both very much involved in the design of our home, we have very similar tastes but I would say that Ross loves bright colours more than I do so he pushes me more in that department. I usually make the decisions around the style of a room and 9 times out of 10 he agrees with me but occasionally puts his foot down. For example, I wanted a ballet pump pink bath tub and he wasn’t having any of it. He thought it was too random…now pink bath tubs are everywhere. 

What jobs are still left to do?

This year is the garden’s time to shine. I’m so excited as our ugly fence has been staring at me through our big glass doors for over a year now. It’s going to make such a difference and I’m excited to see the whole outside/ inside space finally come together as one. We’re also going to be doing our bedroom and upstairs landing and then dare I say it, we’ll be done.

Is this the forever home?

No. Definitely not. We’ve got another renovation in us yet or maybe even a self build. Ross’ dream is to live by the sea and I have to say I’m really warming to that idea too.

3 favourite films, books, bands?

Oh God, questions like this give me palpitations. Erm…..I’m actually sweating….what if the other books find out and then feel sad? OK…erm…

Films INPO : 

  • Améle
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Kill Bill

Books INPO : 

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman…actually everything by Neil Gaiman

Bands INPO :

  • Not a band but David Bowie will forever be my favourite ever artist and I listen to at least one of his songs every single day. Ross used to sing Major Tom to my bump when I was pregnant with Finn.
  • Radio Head
  • Massive Attack…basically showing my age here.

Have you ever taught anyone famous pilates?

No, but I did teach the footballer Wayne Bridge the Macerena once in a club in Vegas just before he threw up everywhere. Does that count?

So that’s a little bit more about us, The Woodenhill’s in a nutshell, join us on our voyage through renovation life. It’s not always plain sailing but I’m sure we can all get through it together.

The Woodenhills x

All about us - The Wooden Hills
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