About Me

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Master Bedroom

Eep.  Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right?!  The paint has come off in the pattern of the wallpaper on top.  We're going to try sanding and slapping some white emulsion on where the radiator will go, to see how that looks, and if it looks terrible we'll have to consider getting the walls skimmed.

Interestingly, I have discovered that not only were the walls in here pink once (evident from the layers of paint on top of the wallpaper), but so was the woodwork.  Classy.

Apologies for terrible night-time photography!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Lights! Curtains! Action!

Apologies for cheesy title ;)

Yesterday was a great day - whilst I was at work, Ian stayed at home with the electricians, and I came home to a new fuseboard (yay for not having to replace actual huge fuses if something trips!), new plug sockets, no more dimmer switches, new dining chairs (which Ian built), new curtains, my 2013 Photobook, and our lovely new wall/ceiling light fittings!

These light fittings are something of a miracle as we were finding it hard to agree on something we both liked, until I spotted these in John Lewis... in their Value range!  They were an absolute bargain and we both liked them - result!

Apparently I once again failed to take any "before" photos of the old light fittings (probably because I was avoiding looking at the light fittings) so here they are sitting on our living room floor ready to be chucked at the weekend (scuse the mess):

And now for the "after" photos, which also feature the new curtains!  So exciting!  Curtains that cover the windows!  (They're all a tad long, actually, because Laura Ashley had a sale on readymade curtains that made these about £500 cheaper than if we'd had them made to measure through LA.  We will use the Mother/Mother-in-Law curtain making service at some point but wanted these asap!  We'll take them up at some point)

I haven't managed to get any daylight photos yet so here we have with and without flash, neither of which is quite representative (scuse the mess again, and please note the lovely new dining chairs):

Dining Room end without flash

Dining Room end with flash

Sofa end without flash

Sofa end with flash

And here endeth the excitement of lights and curtains for now... now to decide what on earth to do re. fireplaces (replace with new and potentially never use it, or decide we don't need a fire, rip out, and plaster over?)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Living Room paint swatches

So we think we might have chosen our paint for the living room...

February Sunshine

Today, the sun shone.  I took the opportunity and spent a good few hours in the garden - I anticipate having achey muscles tomorrow - gardening is definitely exercise!

I started clearing the weeds from the gravel by the patio, and ended up discovering the lawn is an oval shape with brick edging.  I also discovered a LOT of weedproof membrane (two layers in places), which has decomposed to the extent that all it is doing now is providing a nice medium for the weeds to grow in, which is not quite the point.  It goes under some of the path paving stones as well, so pulling it up is hard, but I think it needs to come up completely because it's sticking up in random spots all over the place.

I also solved the mystery of where the hose pipe goes after it goes underground at the edge of the patio - to a Hozelock connector at the back of the lawn.  Odd.


This was the lawn back in the summer when we viewed the house again after our offer was accepted:

 Uncovering the edging...

Weedproof membrane everywhere...

Progress by the time I had to stop today, you can see the back line of where the lawn should stop.

Mysterious hose...

 Emerges here:

 Lovely Hebe:

Friday, 21 February 2014

Boring expenditure

I'm updating this in the interests of including everything!  Two rather boring but necessary purchases...

A replacement bath/shower mixer tap after the existing one died a death and we could only bath - and the hot water tank would only let us run a bath if we ran the hot OR the cold water, not both at the same time.  This was a bit of a pain as we'll be replacing the entire bathroom at some stage, so now I'm wondering if we should keep the tap when we re-do everything as it will still be nearly new!

Here is an ugly photo of the shiny new fully-functioning tap:

The second purchase was slightly more exciting; a new loft hatch and fixed loft ladder.  This is pretty essential as our new boiler will go in the loft, and whilst we'll have a control panel downstairs, for purposes of servicing and (god forbid!) any problems, we need good reliable access to the loft.  I left the hatch closed for the purposes of this photo - you'll have to believe me that there's a lovely ladder with a handrail inside :)

The hatch needs PVA-ing and painting.  Next week we'll have electricity put up in the loft too!  (At the moment there is a strip bulb with a longggggg cable that you chuck down to the landing and plug in to the only socket it'll reach.  Mmm, safe.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Wallpaper patterns

Whilst I'm talking about wallpaper, I thought I ought to record for posterity the varying textures that are displayed around the house.  This picture is a bit misleading as it shows them being different colours but I think that's the variety in tungsten/energy-saving/fluorescent bulbs between rooms.  Most of the rooms are beige/magnolia/pale yellow in reality.

Middle row on the right is in the utility room and is Artex rather than wallpaper.  I think we will have that one skimmed!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Let the stripping begin...

As I said in my previous post, re-doing the downstairs bathroom has moved up the list of our priorities, so it seemed sensible to make this our first room to strip the wallpaper from.

We had researched hiring a wallpaper stripper and HSS for example charge £45 a week.  In comparison you can buy an Earlex wallpaper stripper from B&Q for £30 - and given it is going to take considerably more than a week to strip the entire house (!!), we figured it was economically sensible to buy instead of hire.  Plus, y'know, gadgets make us happy.

We purchased this at the weekend and I've been itching to try it out ever since, and tonight was the night!

I forgot to take a "before" photo so here is one I took during our second view of the house before we bought it:

(The curtains and net curtain came down pretty rapidly once we moved in!)

This was after the first tank of water (3.5 litres) had been used up.  We started by the door and moved left.

You can see the score marks on the left, the layers of wallpaper (only three, we think!) and the smooth painted layer underneath on the right.


This is where we had got to by the end of the second tank of water tonight.  It was then 10pm so we decided to stop for the night.  We're about halfway through the room!  The weird patch on the right hand wall is where there was originally a medicine cabinet which our vendor took with him when he moved.  It must have been put up very early on in the house's life as it's a slightly different paint level to the rest of the room.  We will put a mirror up here in time so it doesn't bother us too much.

We're trying to decide what colour to paint this room - brilliant white will be going on the ceiling but we're not sure what to go for on the walls.  Any suggestions? (The suite will be replaced with a white one!)


(Don't read on if you're eating...!)

For a few days last week I was complaining to Ian that sometimes in the morning the bathrooms smelt "a bit drains-y".  He couldn't smell anything and we ignored it, but then on Sunday the water in the downstairs loo had a greasy layer of scum on top of it, and when I flushed it, the water level rose to the top of the bowl, thankfully not quite overflowing.

So on Monday morning Ian called an emergency drains plumber out.  He climbed into the sewer in the road just in front of our driveway and pulled out... this monstrosity.

Disgusting, huh!  It's several years' worth of hair, rags (?!), Q-tips, and general filth and human waste from our house and the two either side.  You can see how big it is compared to the feet around it!

There was a second blockage on our property which Ian didn't take a photo of since it was entirely made up of compacted poo, so I think we can all be grateful for the lack of documentation of that one!

It wasn't really what I envisaged spending £85 on within 3 weeks of moving into the house but hopefully this has fixed that element of our plumbing woes at least and fingers crossed we won't have to call this guy back out again any time soon.

Onwards onto more exciting ways to spend money now, I think... we are going to move the downstairs bathroom up the priority list since the water had backed up the sink when the loo was blocked and the sink waste pipe leaked a bit into the carpet.  Bleurgh!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Video tour - February 2014

We've been in the house for two weeks now and haven't done any work to it yet - beyond hanging a new bright (un-mouldy) shower curtain and fitting a new kitchen tap as the old one leaked/sprayed water out the side, so here is a video of the house for posterity in its "before" state.  Hopefully over the next few months we'll add new tours so you can see the changes we've made to the place :)