Tagged: Renovations

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

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

Home Truths x


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.


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.


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…


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

Head Space x


The spare room has definitely been unquestionably subservient to the rest of the house.  Not surprising as it’s the least used space.  But I’m starting to think it needs to be finished with it’s own injection of glamour.

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It needs four elements to complete it – a headboard as the focal point, a rug to ground it, a wardrobe for storage and 2 bedside tables for practicality.

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Which way to go? Dramatic contrast? quiet luxury? or boho bliss?

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Spoilt for choice..

Laters, Kate x

Staircarpet and Cellar x


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.

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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



Well..the Crittall glass is finally in..and has completely changed the room.  Hard to describe how – it feels very, very grown up.

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Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing, because unless I’m secretly Harry Potter I shouldn’t be able to do this.  They need another trip to replace a section of glass that got broken..and another that was defective.  Third time lucky hey…


Laters, Kate x



So the sissal carpet was successfully laid in the cellar, meaning the big rug currently residing in our bedroom and all the furniture scattered around the house could go down.  Except I couldn’t do the manual work by myself which meant waiting till late last night when the husband got in (poor husband)..and the big rug had 6 months of builders dust ingrained into it (attractive)(it was sitting on the floorboards where the wall was taken down)…so the only sensible option was to man-handle it down to the kitchen, move everything out of the way there and steam clean it..


Then it went down into the cellar…I love big rugs..but they are buggers to manoeuvre..


Next the sofas were dismantled.


And reassembled..with new covers.


Which was great..


Except my house now looked like a bomb had hit it.


(Molly saying piss off and let me sleep)

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(Even our bedroom at midnight last night looked like a scrap yard)

Tomorrow is Charlie’s seventh birthday and I’m hosting 13 children for a Harry Potter party.  Why??

Laters, Kate x

Kilims on my mind..


You can’t beat a good rug. (Except of course you can..)


They work with anything, anywhere, quietly bringing soul and drama to a room.


Traditional or modern. It doesn’t matter.


I’ve been trying to source some as runners for our main stairs and cellar stairs.  It hasn’t been easy: No runner is long enough and narrow enough to fit a complete flight, so it’s about finding combinations that work together, fit together in size….and still make the heart sing.


The pair for the cellar have just arrived, prompting a nostalgic glance back at the cellar stair’s upwards progression…from this..


To this.


The kilims still need to be fitted properly…but I think that’s best done once the floor is down (May 3) and possibly after all the furniture is down.


But it’s progress….and I love it.

Laters, Kate x

Progress 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

The kitchen: The Reveal


Before: The original kitchen, in a separate room.


Open to the back.


The front sitting room.


The works (basically knocking down the dividing wall and fitting a two storey eight frame)


The result.

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Laters, Kate x