Category: Renovations

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

Smallest Room Part 2

The wallpaper we made over the holidays? 

Despite just using the basics: Lining paper, leftover emulsion paint and cut up sponges – has worked a treat.

(Even though it meant embracing chaos)

This was the before state of the downstairs toilet. A mini dumping ground of DIY and general clutter.

First step was a deep clean of the tiles.  Vinegar, though powerful on the nostrils did the job.  A little bit of re-grouting was needed – and then I was going to dye the grout a dark grey, but I was concerned the new grout was of a different consistency –  less chalky, more rubbery so would they dye the same colour? It was an easier decision to not risk it. Besides the new pristine white of the tiles was impressive. Finally, paint – white on the ceiling and the Little Greene Paint Company’s French Grey Dark on the woodwork which is a soft, pinky grey that seems to blend with any thing.  A continual stream of Radio 4 plays on the ipad helped the process along..

The wallpaper went up easily: The lining paper was one of the thickest available and was aided by both pasting the wall and paper, and leaving the paper for a few minutes to fully soak up the wallpaper paste.

The randomness of the print meant there was no problem on the join – second piece went up where it went up.  Bliss.

The finished job.

Except there’s always one thing left to do…a fitted mirror over the sink. Sigh.

Better get ordering.

Laters, Kate x

The Smallest Room x

We’ve been printing.

Very simply with Sainsbury’s basic sponges bought for 20p a packet, onto lining paper and using left over paint from the kitchen renovations. Cheap as chips.

This is all part of the great downstairs toilet upgrade project, which after 10 years of abuse is sorely needed.

The idea is to paint the woodwork a mid-grey, homemade wallpaper above the dado (why not?!) and dye the grout (more on that in another post) between the metro tiles a charcoal grey.

(A bit like this)

The marbling was part of the experimenting plan for diy wallpaper for the toilet..except the problem was we could only make it in small sizes which gave a patchwork effect.  With printing we can make the runs as long as we need.  Brucie bonus to control within the chaos.

The inspiration for the print came from the above picture…

And the general sense of informal uniformity from pictures like these.

Embracing the idea that symmetry can just be too damn predictable.

What is working so well is the straight lines versus the diagonal against the curves of fingertips pushing the sponge into the paper.  I think I’m in love.

 Shame the next few days will be spent doing all the boring bits like filling and sanding.

But watch this space.

Laters, Kate x

Brickwork x

So I’ve found this App called ‘Paint my place’ – it’s not the most intuitive app and there’s no point in going for the free version, it’s £2.99 or nothing.  But it has allowed me to take a picture of the front of our house and play around with different colours on the brick work.

This is off-black from Farrow and Ball. Probably a bit too gothic..

Pic no.2  – I was curious to see what a really dark blue would look like as an exterior paint. Not my favourite. What I learnt is not to go for the colours you know, but choose via the sample square on the app, that way you can see if you like the potential colour rather than the specific colour.

The version using Farrow and Ball downpipe. The softer dark is better.

Neutrals – this is Skimming Stone by Farrow and Ball – which probably proves the point of colour distortion: Don’t rely on what it says if you’re going to buy paint based on this app.

And finally – Elephant’s breath, Farrow and Ball.

It’s been interesting and fun to to have a genuine chance to experiment. I think it has proved previous posts conclusions: Downpipe is an easy choice because it will work.  To find the right neutral will be much harder, but I’m surprised how much I like the neutrals.

My admiration for Hockney and his skill with ipad art has now shot sky high.

Laters, Kate x

Front door x

After 14 years of council-style reinforced glass the front door finally got it’s makeover on Friday.

The before picture! Complete with piece of paper stuck on with door number scribbled on it.  Attractive.

The finished design by Nikki  (click for her details) was beautifully based on the doors we have between the kitchen/diner and the sitting room.

 

The result is a delight, especially when the sun pours through and creates rainbows on the walls.

Above we’ve gone for simplicity of plain glass and the number to let in as much light as possible.

The added bonus was that Keith-the-amazing-stained-glass-man turned up in his pre-war Singer car! How supper cool?

A charming success in every way!

Laters, Kate x

Pod x

The quote is back for the garden office: this could actually be happening! The basic design is based on the shape above with the high point of the roof at the front, it’s a bit of an optical illusion that makes the rest of the roof disappear. As above, there will be one long bench desk across the window leaving the majority of the floor space clear for the kids to potentially camp out as and when. The entrance will be down the left side (just out of sight in the picture). Ours will be slightly bigger than this with a little add on room on the right where the roof dips down, to provide extra storage for gardening equipment etc to make use of our irregular shaped garden which only pretends to be a rectangle.

Inside will be a cunning mixture of plywood…

pallet wood….

And white.

Lights will either be black, adjustable wall light/s.

Or possibly, depending on height/position a lamp like this one from Ikea at £29 hung against the ceiling.  Why not?

And of course there needs to be a bright splash of colour with a vintage desk lamp.

(All pics Pinterest)

Heating will be a stove in the corner.

Bliss. When can I move in?

Laters, Kate x

Home Truths x

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I suspect there’s a scientific correlation between the life cycle of say, the lower house mouse and renovation works.  A year after the kitchen was finished thoughts have turned to the family bathroom and an office pod in the garden.  But bathrooms first.

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Unlike this pic, our main problem is the floor which is tiled.  The tiles haven’t stood the test of time – after 10 years they’re cracked and ragged.  It could be that they were badly laid, or it might be that tiles are never great in old houses that move on wooden joists.

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So the plan now is to replace the tiles with wood.  We’ve got wood in both our laundry room and kitchen, and they’ve been the best floors ever – warm, characterful and flexible.  I’m not sure why we didn’t use it as a first choice in the bathroom – I suspect it’s a gremlin in our minds that whispers wood plus water equals problems.  Now stop…and think of boats…

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This is the inspiration for the floor: Dark, herringbone parquet. Just the right side of decadent.

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(All pics Pinterest)

It’s going to be fun…

Laters, Kate x

Black Doors..

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Have you noticed how black and green compliment each other? The black seduces whilst the green just pops.

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It’s why we decided to replace our dying doors with a simple, chic, metal alternative – this was the before picture.

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This the after – it’s made a huge difference – the whole space feels bigger, more grounded..the garden now beckons.

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And the black frames now link through with the crittall doors in the kitchen.

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Using the following pics as inspiration, we’d like to paint the areas around the doors black as well…

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Can’t wait.

Laters, Kate x

Christmas x

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The chandelier is decorated. Tick.

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New mirror inserted. Tick.

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Large star in kitchen? Tick.

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Christmas tree? Done. Finally got the damn lights to work.

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Elves? Here. Every day. When we remember..normally in bed at midnight..

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Christmas to do list? Still long – buy presents, wrap presents, hunt holly, find mistletoe, find stockings, clean chimneys, make gingerbread houses, ice cake, plant carrots.  It’s still reading like something the sorcerer would leave for his apprentice except without the hope of any magic.  So what am I going to do today?  I’m going to add a bright pink trim to the side of our kilim stair carpet.

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Just because I can.

Laters, Kate x

Grounded x

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Headboard (still undecided), side tables (sort of there) and now thoughts for a rug:  Since the advent of wall to wall carpets the rug has shrunk in popularity yet it’s design prowess can’t be denied.  It adds warmth, colour, texture and interest like the tail feathers of a particularly beautiful bird of paradise. A rug, like the one above, can pull together two different pieces of furniture by linking them together on a shared bit of floor.

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(All pictures Pinterest)

Judging by these pictures, pink tones is the subconscious way to go…

Laters, Kate x