Tagged: Renovations

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.

186df1c9f2cee11ab572cbb8cbc11e8d 00665603116a55378d226af5ef8cb670 a81efe289c40655399ec2f675e26adcc b77e857d028eea766c7e8dc6cc4a929e

(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.

6be71ae9cbb11d8abe6e942dd02f630e 8d65af2d5f3e7a82d4062b68257c45f7

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.

18d21c189a12770e73667966c8294c11 9187d33df2abce16814e53deaef674d3 37474a370b847433bf47d4cde1f81a19

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

359915b1143aaf8d65a91babefa73f94 024824056d0301b73b943198ab8eaffc a684445caf7b5b19a278a1a3a318fd36 b7682a425d75847fc1eb8e7bd31edbcf dbbf1d59276affabe44d2b005466bb6d e6b5975bed1c75f6ee5d99117bb446d6 efa2fd1d2fc4a94cd878a04ab2679df2 f0ac96f37e6ab9b54a080862be897472

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.

IMG_8786 IMG_8787

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.

IMG_8760 IMG_8761 IMG_8762 IMG_8764 IMG_8765 IMG_8766

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)

IMG_8711 IMG_8715

(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.

IMG_1473 IMG_1477 IMG_1476 IMG_1479 IMG_1481 IMG_1482 IMG_1483 IMG_1486 IMG_1485 IMG_1487 IMG_1496 IMG_1494 IMG_1493 IMG_1495 IMG_1492

Laters, Kate x

The Kitchen..


Hard to believe..but the kitchen is actually in!! We have a fully functioning oven, sink, taps, hot water tap and fridge-freezer!!!…having said that, it’s still needs it’s handles (they’ve been in various solutions to age them over the weekend and are due to go on today – until they do, there’s no way to open the dishwasher which has sat there, tantalising us…) There’s also the painting of the skirting boards, splash back to be fitted, removal of builders equipment, the addition of a table….and then there’s unpacking the old kitchen. But ignoring all of this – it’s a triumph!! Proper pictures will be taken  rather than this sneak peak – but doing a reveal now feels like sending out an opera singer to Covent Garden in just her underwear…chances are it’s been done..but would you want it to be done??!


But all the lights are up and deserve closer scrutiny – this is the brass chandelier as talked about here, now hanging low over what will be the dining room table, opposite the fireplace/mirror.  It’s on a dimmable switch which really brings out the details of the edison style light bulbs when they’re dimmed down. I like the austerity of it’s shape with the bonus that if you want to add glass droplets – or ivy at Christmas, you can.

This ornate number is in the hall. The idea is that the intricate ironwork relates to the black of the crittal glass doors arriving soon, but softens the harsher straight lines.


This is one of a pair of wall lights above the fireplace and either side of a large mirror. The design is very simple but the shadows if gives are beautiful.  Again, it’s on a dimmable switch which turns the glow to almost candlelight for cosy, shadow dancing evenings.


And these are my unique and gorgeous babies – I commissioned them from the highly talented  master canal artist Terence Edgar, they’re proper, original milk churns that the builder’s have cunningly adapted into pendants by removing the bottoms and putting a hole for the flex in the lid, and then hung with brass chandelier chain. I am a huge fan of folk art and feel very privileged to have these stunning examples of canal art as the focal point to the kitchen.


The light they give is magical – like beams of sunlight on the work surface below.


Though they all have similar features, each one is subtly different: On one side is a word..


On the other is a typical canal art scene.


And the three are hung so that ‘love’ and ‘live’ face out..


But laugh always belongs to the cook..

Laters, Kate x

Catch Yee Monkey x


This week has been a matter of smoothing the road whilst riding the battle bus: Lots of things happening, too much juggling and not enough time for writing – something had to give.  But we’re definitely on the acceleration towards the end.


Well – sort of end – there’ll still be the decorating to finish, and given my ability to blow the budget, it’ll all be down to me to climbing ladders and wielding paint brushes.  Not that I really mind – I like the sense of ownership…and at least when the colours polymorph it’s not a double whammy of paying for new paint and decorators to put right.  But I’ve reached the stage I just want it finished…to see everything back in the rooms..pictures on the walls..the spaces given their kiss of life.


Upstairs we have a whole room jammed to the ceiling with bulging boxes and bits.  It’s going to be interesting to see what makes it back – what one needs (we’ve managed with very little for the last six months ) versus what one wants (I’ve missed cookery books, wedding photos and vases) versus essentials: a running tap, a sink, a dishwasher…a fridge door that opens all the way..an oven! How have we managed without a kitchen for 6 months??


Today the tap is going in – the oven is in the house rather than in the shed.  The lovely French cabinet is also in – but I think photos can wait till all the handles are on. Hehe.

c8c13ce2cace77ecd942c005eee6ba87 IMG_8376

(All pics Pinterest)

At the moment I’m just removing all the lacquer from the brass with nail varnish remover and elbow grease so they can all age disgracefully and develop their own patina. One’s own patina…A life’s essential don’t you think?


Laters, Kate x