I finally grasped my courage with both hands and, bored of lifting boxes, fitted the stair carpet down to the new cellar.
Taking things seriously, I invested £40 in a heavy duty staple and nail gun (I’m hoping there will be options for more uses…like the main stairs). It worked really well – you have to use two hands which just means reduced chance of accidents. The only downside was I initially bought the wrong staples – even if the packaging/name looks the same, read the small numbers on the staple box carefully, otherwise it’s a return journey to the DIY shop to buy the right ones. I used 12 mm staples.
I also ordered some carpet grip from Ebay (the sort of stuff you lay under rugs to stop them from slipping). The thought process was that I wasn’t worried about slippage from laying the pile in the wrong way, as there was no pile, but I was aware that kilim is a thinner type of rug and wanted to give it some support regarding pulling from the staples and feet.
Then it was the simple matter of laying a piece of underlay with carpet grip and stapling it into place.
For the carpet, I pencilled off on each stair where the carpet should run centrally (7 cm on each side for me). Then the lines in the design were a big bonus, helping to keep everything straight and on track.
Finally it was the simple matter of stapling under the nose of the riser, in the middle and at either end. And again where the step meets the riser and working down. The last bit of kilim was folded up, tucked under and stapled away. Job done.
The cellar itself has changed considerably as boxes have been unpacked.
It’s now probably one of the most relaxing places in the house..time takes on a new dimension here..if only I could hide it away from the kids…
Laters, Kate x
It’s the painful part of the cellar renovation…painting all the bookcases. Probably more so than usual because they started off black…and they’re going..off black. The reason is the shelving is an Ikea Billy hack – using basic Ikea units to look more than the sum of their parts – and that requires a layer of camouflage paint.
At least I have the TV to keep me company.
But it’s still slow progress.
The hunt has been on for the perfect pink for the stair wall.
And I think I’ve found it via the felt our tap came wrapped in.
Now to get it colour matched..
Laters, Kate x
As the kitchen has been progressing, so has the cellar..the bookcases are finished and the faux fireplace/black-box-storage-facility now has fancy detailing..
(We bought these terracotta plaques nearly fifteen years ago on a very memorable trip to Sicily involving climbing volcanos, exploding boats and great friends)
They’ve been waiting all this time for the perfect place to shine…and now they will forever make me smile.
The carpentry on all the storage cupboards is also complete.
And the stairs are done – it just all needs a lick of paint now…and will be the next room to be decorated. Time to re-cap on the inspiration shots..and start buying paint samples.
Laters, Kate x
Yesterdays fascinator experiment went well..I was thinking of you Julie (hattitude) as we marshalled in the sinamay into shape! Could’ve done with your skill!!
No real finished ones to reveal yet..(the first official creative coffee is on Wednesday) but I think we’re a bit more prepared..
(It’s great stuff just to let loose and play with..I recommend it.)
On the house front, there’s no longer a broken neck risk checking out the cellar…we now have stairs!..
Upstairs…could that actually be a sink in the kitchen??!
To the unknowing eye, this all just looks like mismatched piles of wood..
To me, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel..(even knowing, once it’s made it’s coming out (sob!) to be painted (and so the floor can go down))..but this is pure progress. We may even have a working bin soon – the excitement, the luxury!
Laters, Kate x
The building work is moving up a gear now, particularly in the cellar. The digging is finished, insulation and underfloor heating is laid and it was all screeded and left to dry over the festivities. Now we’re onto the first fix and finalising plans for the second fix.
It’s an interesting space in terms of design – it’s predominantly a cinema/games room that needs to swallow a lot of ugly storage. But what doesn’t help is that I have a fundamental problem with the general concept of cinema rooms: It seems that the moment the word ‘technology’ is associated with a space it becomes infused with this need for everything cold, chrome, clean and clinical – like the ‘cutting edge technology’ needs to be supported and highlighted by it’s super-duper space-ship-like surroundings..which will probably be out of date in a year. The truth is I’ve yet to find a cinema room on Pinterest I like or want to lounge, Roman-senator-style in.
So it was back to the drawing board and writing a list from all these pictures of the things that actually make a room cosy: A fire, books, rugs, lamplight, dark colours..fluffy dog.
And that’s when the inspiration struck – why not create a false chimney breast for the TV to go on, with a fireplace where the DVD player/set top box/general crap/ can be hidden in the cleverly made fireplace surround? We can’t have a proper fire..
But there are some amazing electric cast iron stoves around..and in the summer it means you can have the glow without the heat!
It’s a work in progress, but the plan is to have significant 75 cm depth mega cupboards with sliding doors across the back with the boiler and water tank under the stairs. As you come down the stairs, the first cupboard you see will be low level holding games and a vintage dollshouse. Then there will be full height open bookcases either side of the chimney breast and all the way to the end of the wall. The chimney breast will come out 40 cm and hide all the cabling from the TV. The fireplace will be slightly lower than normal to help with eyelines to the screen, and the DVD etc will be housed in the central section of the surround under a fretwork door – which should mean we can use the remote without having to have the door always open (fingers crossed) . The stove will be quietly tucked inside to add ambience, all topped off with a tiled hearth.
May the magic begin!
Laters, Kate x
But before we get to the fun bits (we’re still shovelling soil), the room layout has to be nailed (literally). It’s not the easiest room – there’s got to be lots of multi-functionality but I’ve found a brilliant site – The Make Room – which is the easiest, most practical room planner I’ve ever played with.
You can pull in furniture..and alter their sizes to represent yours..or what’s on the dream list.
Save different layouts. Add in measurements to ensure there’s enough walk space..(Top tip: As a base line the site uses feet and inches, to change – look to the right and click on ‘add all buttons’ then, look to the left, find ‘view’ click and change to centimetres)
At the end – oh the joy! – it gives you a list of the sizes of all the furniture you’ve used..is that not heaven on a page?
Then just print off..and hand to nearest Bank Manager…
Laters, Kate x
Do you believe in serendipity? The digging out of our basement has been put on hold as we’ve taken the expensive decision to expand the works slightly. It was going to be L-shaped with this bit of the ‘L’ being the boiler room, but now the front wall’s been taken down to make way for the steels, it’s easy to see it would be possible to square the room off and gain an extra 2 metres in depth. Except this means more money..and going through Party Wall again as we’ve moved the goal posts. No pain, no gain. But..
Guess what the builders found?
A bag of Smallholder And Home Gardener newspapers, dated from WW2..which although interesting, wouldn’t be gold to the average person on the Clapham omnibus..
Except Mrs Smallholder, who wrote for the paper was a relative! Well, I say relative..Auntie Ethel (Mrs Samllholder) was the wife of Uncle George, who was the brother of one of the two midwives that adopted my Grandmother, Beryl Archer when she was born, and became her father-figure. The story of my Grandmother’s adoption has always been a family mystery. After her death, I found an article she’d written for a magazine about Norfolk, it read: ‘Beryl Maccafrey Archer was the fourth child of a hospital matron and an administrator. As a baby she was ‘adopted’ by two middle-aged nurses during the First World War, though to this day she has no idea why ‘I can only assume it was for safe-keeping during the east coast bombardment,’ she says now. Later she came to know her two older sisters and a brother, who all continued to live at home with their parents in Devon whilst she continued living with her ‘Aunts’ in Great Yarmouth. Effectively Mopsie (her family nickname) was brought up independently by 4 loving, caring adults who never had children of their own and adored her – she always said she had a far better life with them then her siblings ever did at ‘home’. I still have all the evocative, timeless stories Mopsie wrote about her childhood, written with love, clarity and humour about a time now long gone…before my children came along I started putting them together to turn them into a book..maybe it’s a project I’ll have to return to..serendipity…
Laters, Kate x
The meeting with the builder went well..looks like we could have a start date at the end of July. It means the month of August will be frantic, but if I’m going to be without my kitchen I’d prefer it to be in the summer months when salads are picnics are staple requirements – hopefully it will be a glorious sunshine and we can spend the days outside..at least there won’t be the horrors of the morning clash, trying to sort builders and attempting to get kids out the door for school. Shame about any lie-ins…
We’re also renovating our cellar at the same time…the intention was just to add more electrics, some clever storage, a TV and a sofa to turn it into a den. But the builder took one look and suggested we dropped the floor by 20 centimetres…it would make all the difference, but hits all my fear points – our cellar is bone dry and I’d hate to mess with that..but he seems to think it’ll be easy..so I’m going to see what the damage is in terms of cost. I know there won’t be any natural light, so for decor it’s dark and moody all the way..like an exclusive gentleman’s club..
Looking for inspiration I came across this picture and was struck by the ceiling..how nice to have that flash of blue, space and air..
I started looking at wallpapers..but the problem is the repeat..clouds become to regular when the beauty is they aren’t.
There’s this option..Nuvole by Cole &Son..but at quite a cost! And like beans, it still repeats..
Better is the option of wall murals from places like Surface View – this one is a reproduction of Constable’s clouds..you can order them to any size you want. Again, not a cheap option..
Then I found Pixersize which has one of the biggest ranges I have ever seen and very good value. Their sky range is enormous..the skycapes dramatic..
(But I secretly preferred the softness of the painted skies..)
Not to worry..they had that too..
(All pictures pinterest)
With so many options I think it’ll take me till August to decide which one…(but I think the last one has my heart…)…Wallpapering the ceiling..who would’ve thought..
Laters, Kate x