Category: Renovations

Exterior x

It was my birthday yesterday – Yippeee me! Meet my presents – Alfie and Bear, the two best dogs ever who now bookend the front door in regal fashion, the finishing touch to the newly painted exterior which finally can get it’s unveiling.

We also have new window boxes, made to size from a great company on Etsy so they sit properly within the window frame.  The black of the boxes contrasts the graphite of the paintwork.

The boxes have been planted with ivy to soften and tumble over edges, heucheras for their colour and cyclamen as they were the only white plant readily available at this time of year.  At some point trailing white geraniums will be added. It will be a pleasure to see the living wave of colour and white expanding and flowing out over the window sill.  I’m even thinking about adding them to the first floor.

 

The painted graphite on the outside of the house has been dramatic.  It has given the whole house a presence, made it feel bigger, added a modern gloss without compromising its history.

 

Very happy.

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Bella’s room x

 


Bella’s bedroom has been painted, but that’s about it.  It means it’s at an ugly transition stage when it’s a hybrid of essential bits from the past and colours from the present are all colliding to create a visual clash of cultures.  There are still big decisions to be made: colours for the blinds, what colour to paint the bed, rugs to source, a new wardrobe.  But in the frantic hell that is the start of the September term, the pull for peace is outweighing all of this…this weekend we’re just going to paint some art for her room.  Together, with music and large cups of tea.  Nothing complicated, but hopefully bold and aiming for beautiful…these are our inspirations.

 

The idea is to hang them over the half wall line: There’s something so appealing when art hangs over a paint line.

No idea why.  But somethings in life you don’t need to question. Like tea and creating.

Laters, Kate x

The dark side x

The exterior of the house has been undergoing it’s dramatic transformation to the dark side…the scaffolding is now down but there’s a still few bits to go before the grand reveal: The front step is being taken back to stone, the letter box is changing to brass and I’ve ordered shiny black window boxes for the ground floor bay to act as a contrast to the dark grey…they’ll work a bit like the new black drainpipe does, drawing the line between black and not – without them I think the eye will register only black.  I’m after bright green trailing foliage and white flowers to balance the drama. Finally all the stone in the front garden needs a good blast to bring out it’s colour…it’s interesting times…

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

 

Front Garden..

Heading to the DIY shop today for wire brushes, sand paper, fillers and primers whilst imagining the perfect front garden:  I have this quiet obsession developing for a statue of a dog to stand sentinel by the door – I’ve already caught myself searching on Ebay so I know it’s serious. It can’t be an expensive one as I’ll never persuade The Husband (hmmmmmmm – mind at work – present for Father’s Day?!, ‘Here Husband, have the concrete dog you’ve always wanted but never knew you did..you love it, don’t you?!’) Besides the chances are it’ll get nicked, but there’s a persuasive voice in my head saying ‘get a faux concrete one and paint it with yoghurt, the resulting green algae will soften, age and add character’…will it be enough to blur the line between kitsch and statement? It’s a risk..

But I can see him there already, proud, endearing, ever present…with a party hat on for birthdays, skeleton mask for halloween and baubles for Christmas: Fun, joy and no poos to clear up.  Win win.

The search for the perfect Fido has meant other garden art has also popped up, some of it sublime.

(All pics Pinterest)

 

Think I’ll need a bigger garden..

Laters, Kate x

Exterior..

Molly the dog will be fifteen next week and we still haven’t made any progress on the front of the house..except try out multiple tester pots..

And cobble below the bay window.

Not great progress in a year. At least the decision has been made on colour…we’re going DARK..

Rad, bad..and let’s hope not sad..Work starts Monday

Laters, Kate x

Handling it..

3857158bf2465882a88b2e1eb792cbda

The designing of the kitchen actually started on Friday – Alleluia! Naturellement it’s not a new kitchen per se but a hotch potch of the old kitchen units (we like recycling) and new additions that somehow all need to be brought together, but this picture represents the inspiration (I only wish I could have that island unit…but sadly it’s the only space for the sink/dishwasher/bin/cutlery so the carcasses need to hit the floor..maybe in another life..) But we’ve been working on how to line up the sight lines, even up the variety of widths and unify the look.

294c9d9891607fce12599986a5324742

Which is never easy..go for industrial raw edge?

684543233de944ba5114e04b27dcb463

Or embrace industrial engineering with these beauties from Buster & Punch?…

f0410248e0115b4bd7dafa6130f03d30

(There’s something very tactile about that surface..)

f61bb2243ebed816197bc95f87d4df94

The potential fly in the soup is the mixing in of an old french glazed bookcase  (a bit like this one) I have to hold my crockery. The thinking goes that to pull them together by using that same handles on at least some of the other units.

616b0999eb5d4ba317eb8bea34ccb915

It helps I like a variety of handles.

8a16e267d3b9b34a7c87c9bb3be96277

But it’s still a matter of balance..too many would just be wrong – so which ones to choose?….lovely brass handles?

f88899bf1b62036b1209fe74bfc9064b

Delicious little catches?..

35079_07.tif

(All pictures Pinterest)

Or just subtle, understated cup handles and little brass knobs?

The thinking cap is on.

Laters, Kate x

Outside x

Small, brave signs of spring are appearing: delicate snowdrops, sturdy crocuses and longer days. Which is maybe why thoughts are turning to the outside and in particular window boxes: Such a simple way to mix lush colour with urban grime.

The decision of which colour to paint the exterior woodwork of the house is also edging ever closer:  Soon the weather won’t be an excuse. Go dark?

Or go neutral?

Put the two decisions together and it’s an interesting conundrum: Which combination looks better zinc, black or terracotta for the window box against the neutral?

Or the grey?

Why is it so hard? Damn.

Laters, Kate x

Bella’s room x

There’s a promise I need to keep and that’s redecorating Bella’s room:  Never an easy thing when they want identity and you’re spending the hard cash.  So in the knowledge of generational divide and the spirit of finding the grey area she’s been pinning her inspiration.

(All pics Pinterest)

 

I don’t think I need to worry. Hashtag my girl is growing up. Fast.

Laters, Kate x

Happy New Year!

What a difference a year makes! The renovation of the study and bathroom are finished.  It all came together just before Christmas but various things – like dropping the computer and full on festivities has put life on hold for a bit. No bad thing.

This is the best before photo – taken a little late, when the room has already been partially cleared, but it gives a sense of the layout.  On the left, slightly blocking the photo is a big, black glass fronted bookcase that held an enormous amount of precious crap.  The idea was to open up the room by moving it to the right hand corner by the desk, allowing in more light.  This meant that both the shelves had to move and we finally had to sort out the pipes and tiles left by the ghost of a sink: When we first bought the house, this room was our kitchen.  It’s next incarnation was nursery and finally study.  The sink was from the days of nappy changing and bloody useful it was too.  The carpet was the first we ever laid in the house – just a week before Bella was born to celebrate it’s transition to nursery.  Unfortunately when I went into labour and disappeared to hospital, Molly the dog had the raging squits all over it and it never quite recovered…in truth it was a joy to rip it up and take the room back to bare floorboards.  The fireplace surround, leaning against the wall was going to go where the bookcase was, with a mirror on top to bounce light..important as this room was going DARK!

The other problem in the room was this cupboard – the only original cupboard left from when we bought the house nearly 15 years ago.  Originally part of the kitchen (although you can still see the wardrobe rail from it’s days as part of a nursery)  We now use it as a present cupboard, to store printer inks, paper and the printer.  Except the the space is terrible for storage and printer didn’t fit so the door was permanently open…

First step of the renovation: pulling up carpet and fixing the new fireplace surround, bought for a very pocket pleasing 99p on Ebay.

To solve the problem of the cupboard we cut down the two main doors and filled the internal space with shelves.  To update them we had beading fitted on all the doors and drawers. Very simple, very effective.

The inspiration for the room was Victoriana meets Spitalfields, and whats more Victoriana than an ornate ceiling rose?

Over the other side of the room, the shelving was re-imagined.

And now for colour…shit brown with a hint of green! Interestingly it comes out more green in the photos.  I will confess it was scary painting it on for the first time, particularly with memories of this paint in mind – and it’s the first time I’ve painted a ceiling dark…terrifying…I really didn’t want to have to paint that white again!

More beading was added to the fireplace and above the pathetic skirting we had to create the optical illusion of more…this whole room is an optical illusion of more..

We also took the beading up to the ceiling, creating a rectangle around the lights and rose.

Then everything – and I mean everything, was painted.  Recognise the inlay on the fireplace? Came from the tiles on the wall from the ghost sink…all cunningly recycled.

Floors varnished and furniture moved back in.  Even the chair was given a new seat cover made from a bit of kilim.  The light was recycled from Bella’s room where she didn’t appreciate it’s vintage charm – she now has the boring Ikea one that was in here.  Looping it so it hangs over the desk makes a great visual statement.  The rug has made it back – there was thoughts of dying it but it’s just the wrong type of material and it compliments the room well.  Maybe when there’s some more dosh in the pot it will change to a battered kilim. The colour has been a revelation – it creates such a calm, centred environment that pulls you in – it’s an oasis of peace in a busy house.

The mirror was our Christmas present, bought on Ebay for a bit of a bargain and I love it.  The handles on the cupboards are just cheapy wooden ones painted to match.  Now I can sit in my chair and imagine I’m silk merchant from the eighteenth century.  The printer now sits happily and the storage in the cupboard works.

On the other side of the room, the shelving is much better positioned and the sofa bed is back in:  The blue sits very happily with the shit brown.  Not only is it a great place to read a book, it gives the room a double function if we ever have extra guests coming to stay.

And this one has been properly organised.

A great success was the window treatment.  Originally we had a striped roman blind that covered a portion of the window.  We’ve replaced it with a roller blind (approx £40 made to size) that’s been hidden in this specially made window box.  The wooden decoration was originally intended to go over a door as a pediment, but had never been fitted.  It now has a new life! Now the window is a true statement and is the first thing you see when you walk into the room.

When the blind is up, it’s invisible, when it is down, it’s a simple, tasteful white.

 

All in all, it couldn’t have been more successful!

Laters, Kate x

Jamb x

If money were no object and unicorns were real, the choice of light for the study wouldn’t be which light, but which light from Jamb.

There’s a meticulous attention to detail that sums up the English historic aesthetic.

All these lights are reproductions. Except you wouldn’t know it, from looks or price.

(All pics Jamb)

Sigh. Dream. Lust.

 

At least it’s the first of December and Christmas can finally be mentioned. Now where did I put those pesky elves?

 

Laters, Kate x