Category: DIY

Update x

Interesting fact: Six different tiles have been used in the making. It adds a certain charm. The marble tiles were from Topps tiles and were cursed for being of different thicknesses – it’s taken longer to get them up and they are darker than they look on the website, but as they actually match well with the wallpaper it’s been a win. And the price point – £49.93 precisely a sqm made them the obvious choice: A compromise on pushing the budget on a smaller area where the hit is less but the effect is more.  Now work is starting on the floor.

The study has moved from this……

To this: The beading is nearly up in the study and is fab – These cupboards are actually the only thing that remains of the house from the time that we bought it 14 years ago when this study was originally a kitchen. During it’s following incarnation the room was a nursery for Bella then Charlie and this cupboard became their wardrobe. Now the wardrobe rail has finally gone, the space filled with shelving and the doors have now been trimmed down to accommodate our printer which was too big for the doors to close –   I think the cupboard deserves and is loving its makeover.


The 99p fireplace from Ebay is being given a bit of love: a box of beading is going to be added to the middle section to balance out the proportions, also Victorian style tiles recycled from the bathroom are going to line the inside: waste not want not.

As the room is going to be painted darker, the window is having a subtle treatment – the blind is going upstairs to replace the one in Bella’s room and being replaced with a cream rollerblind (approx £46) which will be hidden in a pelmet box above the window, freeing up all the glass to maximum light. It means we will still be able to use the room as an extra spare room as and when, but the emphasis will be on the window and light rather than fussy dressings.

Work has also started on the floorboards in the upstairs hall: I love our original floorboards, but they did have big gaps and a few dodgy bits.  No longer. new life is being breathed into them.

 

It’s happening.

Laters, Kate x

The details..

Sometimes it’s the big things that lift a room from the regular: glowing parquet floor, high ceilings, large windows and stunning plasterwork. The oversized mirror ticks the boxes too.


But sometimes it’s the little things like subtle panelling that just catch the eye and jog the memory that can also be tasty.

It’s this train of thought that has influenced plans to elevate the study-renovations-on-a budget: Adding a layer of trim above the skirting boards to suggest height and grandeur, a rectangle of trim on the ceiling to imply cornicing and plasterwork where there is none, simple beading on cupboard doors to give them a sense of age and a box of trim on the wall above my 99p fireplace from Ebay (I jest not) to infer wealth and affluence.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Because until you can’t make it. Fake it.

Laters, Kate x

The builders are here..

We’re in a little bit of chaos.  Our lovely builders who did our kitchen texted on Monday to say ‘we have a slot free starting tomorrow, so would you like us to do all those other little jobs you’ve made a list of?’ Which is great in one way, because we were just about to decorate the study (although we were in that phwoo phwee stage of ‘should we do this just before a Christmas that we’re hosting? It’s going to be tight and I’m not sure if we should lose the present cupboard just yet’)…Except they will help make the study really special by fitting the fireplace, making new shelves and giving us the kick up the backside to get started.  It was panic stations yesterday.

It’s all cleared now.  And the spare room looks like a reclamation yard again.  Which is a shame…

Because that’s where we’ll be sleeping for a while as the family bathroom suite is now in our bedroom…another one of those ‘little’ jobs on the list is to replace the bathroom floor.  We converted the bathroom from a bedroom eleven years ago and whilst most of it has stood the test of time – I still love the Cole & Son wallpaper –  the floor hasn’t.  It looks tired and because the house is old, tiles have cracked so it’s farewell horrible floor, you’ll not be missed.  And hello wooden floor when you come! Yup, as a huge fan of my wooden floor in the kitchen – best decision EVER. We’ve made the potentially impractical decision of having similar herringbone parquet but on a smaller scale in the bathroom.  Except the kids are now older and to be honest…and boats are made of wood…..and the joy of wood is a) it doesn’t show the dirt and b) it’s flexible. Win bloody win.

We also made the mistake of scrimping on the taps and shower and ordering from Bathstore. Never again.  They need to be replaced as well. Sigh. Most of the tiles will remain, although the ones around the bath will go.

I’m hoping to keep the Victorian style tiles to the left of the bath, whilst the rest will be replaced with white/grey marble.

The final job on the list is to plaster and skim the backdoors into place that were retrofitted on the ground floor.

 

There’s not a space untouched..

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Natural Harmony x

Choosing a colour for the study is a bit like tweaking a tiger’s tail – dangerous but thrilling, mainly because The Husband is going to hate it.  Until the room is finished that is, and then naturally I’m banking on the opposite reaction.

I want to find a very specific brown..it’s chocolate with a bit of green swamp. To be really brutal it’s probably closest to the colour of a newborn babies poo when they’re transitioning from black tar to yellow.  Which is partly why The Husband will look at me with unreserved horror.

It’s hard to put into words why I’m pulled to it – there’s a strange, earthy beauty and a nod to the seventies and early eighties (my parents had a brown bedroom..complete with geometric gold frieze and black leather egg chair)

But there is a serenity and a richness and a sense of calm focus.  Attributes needed for waking up the brain cells.

(All pics Pinterest)

I think this colour is pretty close: The truth is you get a feeling in your gut and when that happens, nothing else will do.  And you sort of know, if that happens, just go with the flow, even if it is shit brown.

 

A sort of reflection on life really.

Laters, Kate x

One, two, three, floor..

The study is need of a serious makeover and has been for some time – it’s been a kitchen, a nursery and now a dumping room, though not in the Australian sense. But there’s only a limited budget in the pot, which challenges the learnt mantra of do it once, do it well.

But it’s an interesting dilemma – does cheap cheapen? Or does it actually require greater planning, imagination and inventiveness? I would plump for the latter everytime.

Except the carpet in the room desperately needs replacing. Natural sissal would my covering of choice, topped with a vintage rug like in the first picture.  Sigh.  Just not possible.

So it has to be painted floorboards – black? white? or maybe like this – painted the same colour as the walls..

(All pics Pinterest)

As for the rug…the one at present is a rather sad generic black and white number from Ikea.  But what if one could dye it? Now that could be fun…watch this space…

 

Laters, Kate x

Hard style x

It’s hot here in London. Silly hot – sun fat dying insects hot where the air is a physical wall of heat rising up from the baking pavements and stumbling off buildings and glass.

So why am I thinking a bit of hard landscaping is in order? Mad.  But it’s not something for today but to be chewed over, slowly.

We have a pinch point in the garden just where the table is.  If the flowerbed there was taken back a couple of feet it would make much spatial sense.

Besides, who does’t love a bit of cobbling? Chosen carefully it can transform the mundane and put heaven in a backyard.

 

Laters, Kate x

Trayed x

If less is more than the more has to speak volumes.  Which doesn’t apply to our current tea tray.  It’s the only one we have – round, crudely painted with white undercoat that literally laughs at me with it’s many stains and unclassable imperfections, too gritty to even rank as boho.

It was bought from Ikea many years ago as a DIY project. But I think I’ve always known that there were better painted trays available than I could ever produce.

(All pics Pinterest)

And so it has languished, used but unloved.  The butterfly moment is never going to happen. Time to love a replacement and move on..

 

Laters, Kate x

Project concrete x

There was a project this half term – to make fairy light stands for the garden, just like these ones.

The aim was to have pure concrete at the bottom rather than a container of any sort.  I found these 7 litre tubs in the pound shop and hoped the flex on the sides would mean the hardened concrete would pull out easily.  The easiest way to mix the concrete was separately, in each tub.  Tip of the day: mix it in layers rather than all at once – put a bit in, add water, mix…add a bit more, otherwise it hard work..and there’s always a bit you’ve missed..otherwise, I didn’t know how easy concrete playing was. Like play doh for grown ups..

The concrete was nothing posh.  Bog standard from DIY store.

I had six foot metal poles from homebase (£4.75 each) to go in the middle, held in place with duct tape till they were hardened.

It was surprisingly easy to pull the finished bases out. Ta-dah!

I bought s-hooks from Amazon.  The shape of this particular hook was appealing with it’s straight side to fit in the pole and the curvy end to hold the lights.

In position..pic taken today as the rain streams down…the hooks are held in position with window putty. Simple.

The final thing will be to paint them all black – when the weather improves.  And then photograph them with their lights. Maybe then I’ll do a post on finished projects because the mirror has finally gone up in the downstairs toilet too….

 

Laters, Kate x

Lighten the mood x

The plan for the garden light poles is well under way.  The pound shop proved to be a rich source of materials, as did our local DIY store.  So far I have £1 trugs for the bases, £4 two metre black poles, 2 bags of cement and some ‘s’ hooks ordered online (I’m hoping they’ll be the perfect shape for one end to sit in the pole, the other to hold the lights.  We’ll see).  The powers that be have promised summer will return this week, so hopefully it will be a gentle evenings activity putting it all together. Until then, enjoy these interior nods to summer where light and natural wood evoke thoughts of sunbeams and curled cats.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Laters, Kate x