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
It’s the very first day without our builders today – I waved them off yesterday to a fanfare of thank you’s for doing such an amazing job. I’ve been through four big builds now and know how rare it is to finish a project and still have a smile, but Pavel and Jack were exceptional from beginning to end: They knocked down walls, dug out the cellar, laid the parquet, created our kitchen..and even managed to hang some pictures for me. They are the only builders I’ve ever known to bring their own sponge for the bathroom to a job…and use it. Bravo to them!
…Not that they’ve gone far..they’re at my parents now!
So now it’s down to me..and whilst the building works look spectacular (pictures will follow soon – I’m just missing a table!), the rest of the house resembles a bomb site covered in a thick layer of multicoloured dust with nothing in it’s right place: Many of the rooms need painting and the whole house needs unpacking. And the kids break up on Friday for Easter..what fun! But first job is to get our dining room table up and running just so I can take those god-damn pictures – and have a proper meal at it. Because of various water stains we sanded it down a few weeks ago (don’t worry – it wasn’t an antique!)…
And it looked absolutely stunning..
But there were a few white marks where the bubbling of the water stains had cause the veneer to raise up which meant it got sanded to the wood below.
So the plan has been to re-stain them and add darker tones to merge everything together. It’s now ready for it’s final sealing coat.
My Aunt – a very knowledgable lady! Gave me some wonderful tips regarding what oils to use. In view of possible nut allergies with guests I’m opting for olive oil..could be interesting. After that the legs need painting…
Along with most of the rest of the house! Where’s my paintbrush??
Laters, Kate x
The profit and loss columns of my house-slash-life are not looking great…the last few days have been the tornado before the storm – clearing out the cellar, sitting room and kitchen in preparation for our building works. The affect has been dramatic: The holiday washing is now ingeniously mixed in with boxes of electrical cables, stuff for charity and remnants of bubble wrap. After working all day alongside the movers, I sat on the kitchen step with my head in my hands hardly able to look at the horror..everything we need to live with for the next few months has been
artfully arranged shoved into our back sitting room so that it now contains 3 sofas, 2 coffee tables, 10 chairs of various descriptions, 2 tables, 2 bookcases, a fridge and a freezer. Every spare surface has been filled with coats, school bags, shoes, boxes of papers, iceskating stuff, hoovers, brooms, footballs, picnic blankets and anything else I thought in my lunacy we might need this summer..and if it’s not there, it’s been thrown into another room of the house.
The garden’s not looking too hot either – I had grand plans of emptying the shed and turning it into a creative art room-hashtag-place of sanctuary for
me the kids..everything is now out of the shed, exposing a gaping hole in the roof..a trip to the DIY shop for some cut-to-size marine ply has been unhappily added to the weekends list, whilst the sheds rotting innards lie in attractive piles (about as attractive as piles) around the garden, all needing re-homing or throwing..this building lark’s turned into a gigantic game of musical stuff..and I’m losing.
It will get sorted – it’s that inevitable drive through a foggy night on an unknown road..and then the sun comes out again. But it does make you think about the amount of crud we accumulate and lug around. For this clear out, I’ve really tried hard to be ruthless, inspired by the epiphany I had on holiday; At one point, when we were on a remote part of the Peloponnese, we really thought Mr B, due to work pressures, would have to fly home early. We gave notice on our hotel, re-packed all the bags so that he had 90% of our luggage to drive back to Athens in the hire car, leaving us with only had the bare necessities that I knew could manage travelling by myself with two children. As it was, we drove half way back, to the bit of mainland opposite the island of Spetses, left the car there for a quick gettaway if it was needed, and returned to the sanctuary of my parent’s house/working internet with the husband still with us in body, if not in mind and an exit route ready if required…he stayed, but remained on the phone throughout the holiday, poor luv. But we totally managed with what we had and it focused the mind on how much easier it is to live with less..decisions are halved, space is freed up..life is simpler.
I now dream of a simpler life: Call it builders blues, mid-life crisis, a feeling of rebellion caused by the husband’s work-overload against both the expectations and pace of modern life, but I just have the niggling sense I want to get off the middle class merry-go-round…instead, I fear, I’ve just pressed the button to make it all go faster.
Laters, Kate x