Category: Renovations

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..

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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It helps I like a variety of handles.

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

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Delicious little catches?..

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(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

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