Weekend Bits & Bobs…

We’ve had a weekend of finishing little jobs in the kitchen. Ronnie has been moaning that I’ve been posting too much ‘girly stuff’ so we’ll start with some manly grouting, grrrr!

We chose Marrakech tiles from Tons of Tiles (whose image I’ve borrowed) for our kitchen splash back.

2015/01/img_5006.jpgThe tiling was done a while ago, but we’d not got round to doing the grouting, mainly because the tiles are made to look like nine small individual tiles, as there is terracotta ‘grout’ between the tiles, we needed a similar colour to avoid the actual grout looking screamingly obvious. We only needed a really small amount of coloured grout so sourced some powder pigment to mix with standard grout.
2015/01/img_50021.jpgOnce I’d mixed in the pigment the grout was more atomic orange than terracotta, I added acrylic paint until i reached a near perfect match, does that make the man-job girly?

2015/01/img_50041.jpg I tried a couple of different sized spatulas to get the grout in, but found it was best to bite the bullet and get my hands in there.

2015/01/img_50071.jpg Once done, we were able to replace the socket cover. Ta da!

2015/01/img_5034.jpgWe also put the new new blackboard up. Annoyingly, I’ve not taken any photographs of this project, but as I was unable to find a vintage looking blackboard at a reasonable price, I decided to make one.

2015/01/img_5019.jpgI’d found an old pin board in the attic when we first moved in and it was about the right size, we took the board from the frame and used it as a template to have a sheet of steel cut to size, we then covered it in blackboard vinyl and popped into the frame. So we now have a magnetic blackboard for just a few pounds. I’ve since found a local company Chalkboards UK that does a similar thing which I may well have used if I’d known they were there! Perhaps I’ll get them to make me something for the Craft Room.

On a roll with blackboards, I hung this dinky Ebay unit on the inside of the pantry door, it’s really just for the shopping list etc. but quite handy with it’s little pocket and hooks.

2015/01/img_5026.jpgWe put a couple of hooks under the new shelves to hold our new mugs, in an attempt to reduce washing up we’ve both got an initial mug, and it’s against Lansdowne law to use anything else!

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I’ve also finally got the fabric sorted for the kitchen sofa and bench seat, so we can now get on with making those! The heather linen will be for the seat pads, the rest will be for cushions and chair seat pads. The Harris tweed cushion was bought on our pre-Christmas visit to Edinburgh, I could do with getting a bit of this fabric to tie in elsewhere.

2015/01/img_5023.jpg We also fitted the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, the whole house now has ceilings, oh the luxury!

2015/01/img_5028.jpg Lastly for this weekend, we attempted to fill a hairline crack in the craft room, guess what…the plaster fell off. I’d hoped those days were behind us but seems not, on the plus side, it’s interesting to see where the old and new parts of the house meet.

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Pairs Of Chairs & Total Despair…

Once upon a time, after a little too much Pinterest, it seemed a good idea to have a mismatch of chairs around kitchen the table. Easy & cheap right? Nope. We wanted a mix of half a dozen vintage school / industrial kinda chairs which you would think would be easy enough to curate, though turns out it’s really difficult to get a mix that are different, but have something in common. We decided we’d aim for three pairs rather than singles as these tend to sit together a little easier. The first chair we picked up was this French school chair from Malvern antiques fair, I think we gave about £35 for it which seems about the going rate.

2015/01/img_2549.jpgI found a partner for it on Ebay this week, for just £10. Bargain #smugface. Arrived, and erm…yeah…it’s not the same #goddamnit. I’m now on the search for an actual partner, if I’m successful, I’ll sell on the new one, it can stay a while in the meantime.

2015/01/img_4963.jpgSort of following the school chair theme, the second chair we bought was a teachers chair, when we went to collect it I wasn’t overly keen, but after a bit of time, stripping and polishing it’s grown on us. It also occurred to me it could essentially be a carver type chair, so another would be nice, and then they could reside at either end of the table…

2015/01/img_2591.jpgUnexpectedly, after a bit of shameless Tweeting I tracked down a partner for him, so I’m now the proud owner of two teachers chairs.

2015/01/img_4946.jpg The one on the right is still in Wales, minor detail hey. Both of these cost £15, they need upholstering once fabric is decided, but that’s a whole other post. So that’s four (three technically, but I’m on it) down and two to go…Next I tried a chapel chair in the mix.

2015/01/img_3477.jpg I renovated this and love it, but it’s not right at all, it’s too dinky and delicate. It’s destined for a bedroom I think. I’ve also got two of these wiggly back chairs that were my Grandma’s.

2015/01/img_4962.jpg My Grandma had them painted white, I’ve stripped off the paint but I’ve still to polish them. They also need recovering, but it will take a good while to strip off all Grandma’s layers of coverings…she was indecisive too. I’ll see what they look like once they are done, but not looking like these will take a part in the line up…oh well, there will be plenty of places to sit in the bedrooms.

Slightly Magic Carpet…

So it turns out the Magic Carpet is a little bit magic, but we’ll both be going to work on Monday morning. We had it appraised via Value My Stuff, it’s a really simple online service allowing you to upload images and whatever information you have available on your item, within two days you’ll receive a little history on your item and of course, a valuation. Here’s ours…

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Weekend Roundup…

As Christmas draws to a close and the decorations are packed away for another year, we thought we’d squeeze in a last holiday day out, before back to work proper on Monday. We decided we’d head over to Wye Valley Reclamation & Warehouse 701 near Hereford. We started with a rummage outside through their varied salvage, but was a bit cold and miserable to mooch for too long…

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I loved these stones, but not sure what we’d ever do with them, they deserve better than being abandoned in our garden.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4888.jpg Indoors (an old bomb factory of all things) they have an amazing selection of home products, both old and new. We saw a ‘community centre’ style notice board which we thought would be great in the hall displaying bits and bobs, but decided that we can make our own superior version from the Victorian glazed doors we found in the attic – great, I need another project! Amazingly, we only left with this mirror, I love the vaguely heraldic shape…it’s destined for the cloakroom.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4887.jpg I must get around to posting the Stokholm inspired cloakroom plans one of these days, in the meantime the mirror is ditched upstairs.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4909.jpgWe bobbed into another antique store on the way home where I picked up this copper pot, think maybe it’s an old fish kettle??

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Well, not anymore, it’s a hyacinth planter for my kitchen – Perfect!
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Finally this week, I’ve been trying to find wallpaper for the little boot room at the end of the kitchen, how hard can it be?! The room isn’t really big enough for it’s own design scheme, so we’ve run floor and paint through from the kitchen. I ordered a few samples from Wallpaper Direct who have a great selection. I’d first thought we’d have a log design paper as I’ve seen these in various magazines, but once the samples arrived they just don’t look right somehow.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4904.jpg I then started thinking about black and white, to compliment the grey of the kitchen…love some of these, but not sure I’ve found ‘the one’ just yet!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4905.jpg It feels like a million years ago since we were stripping all the old wallpaper off the walls, I’m certainly much more in my element browsing replacements than wielding a steamer.

Craft Room…

Father Christmas kindly bought me lots of lovely things for my craft room including a new sewing machine, books, some lovely accessories from Kate Spade and these amazing Party Ring coasters!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4832.jpg I really need to start thinking about sorting out the craft room so that I have somewhere to work on some projects! Today I have got as far clearing out some trash so that I can start measuring up for shelves etc. The floor is now visible, which is major progress in my book. The craft room is a really dinky space, so needs to be well planned to work for my needs.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4854.jpg I need to keep the two sets of Bisley drawers as they house my many beads, buttons and the like, in a slightly OCD manner maybe.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4859.jpg I’ve looked at getting the drawers powder coated as they look great when coloured, but it’s incredibly expensive, so I’m going to see what I can do with some spray paint. I’m then planning to get a bench made to span across the drawers, and some shelves fitted above. Image on the right is from Pinterest.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4863.jpg I’m going to set myself a budget of £250 to get this room completed, and, looking something like this…Optimistic?! Maybe. Images all courtesy of Pinterest.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2015/01/img_4845.jpg The Kate Spade storage boxes I have, check! I have also picked up some gold polka dot decals for the wall from Ebay, check! I have a mini stags head from which to hang bits and bobs, though he needs painting, half a check! I The top right image is an amazing palette, I have a truffle coloured silk blind which I bought from my old house which has been adjusted to fit the craft room, so I’ll be mixing this with nude pinks, golds and coppers…lush!

Magic Carpet…?

When we first moved into Lansdowne we found all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, but as we’ve pulled down walls and pulled up floors we’re slowly reaching the last of the finds. The lounge had not one, but three layered carpets…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4824.jpg When we peeled back the carpets we found this rug…

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It’s in surprisingly good condition with quite vibrant colours remaining, I know nothing at all about carpets or rugs, I’m guessing it might be 1920s as it’s slightly larger than the shadow of an earlier Victorian rug.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4822.jpgThere is a dark stained border around the perimeter of the room which would have been done in 1901 as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Victoria. That will be fun when we strip the floor…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4827.jpg I’ve sent a few images of the rug out to see what I can find out about it, if there’s no updates for a while, assume we’ve hit the big time and gone to Monte Carlo!

Kitchen Projects…

It’s been all go the last few weeks to get the kitchen finished before Christmas and all but a bit of snagging, we’re there. I’ll post before and afters in the next couple of weeks once the dregs are done, but in the meantime, I wanted to post a few ‘mini projects’ that we’ve done in the kitchen.

First up, the cubby hole in the kitchen has two beautiful carved sections, they are Victorian and I like to think original to the house, though clearly not in their current position. I toyed with the idea of stripping them, but they are so intricate it would have taken forever and I was fearful would they have an air of (very) Shabby Chic, heaven forbid, so I decided to gild them, the result had a definite feel of ‘Bollywood prop cupboard’ I panicked I’d wrecked them and ran some brown paint over them, then some dark varnish and finally attacked them with wire wool… I’m pleased with the result, though not at all what I set out to achieve.

Before & After…

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And both sections shown together, one with flowers and one with fruits…perhaps telling the story of the seasons?
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4750.jpg It’s difficult to show the positioning of the cubby, this is about the best I can do…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4752.jpg Pretty pleased given that a year ago it was a cold, damp and useless area at the top of the hall…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4753.jpgWe needed a couple of shelves for cookery books etc. Wherever possible we’re trying to avoid off the shelf products, (except the Ikea kitchen #budget) so I sourced natural edged, made to measure shelves from the very helpful Ben Loughrill
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4551.jpg These had a couple of coats of Danish oil, which, never fails to amaze me how much it improves the look of timber. I then set about marking out the wall for the brackets, easier said than done as each hole seemed to hit a different substrate, including the metal casing of the electrics, oops.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4547.jpg We then cut segments out of the wood to accommodate the column and finally screwed into place.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4760.jpg The little hand-forged hooks, like the brackets, and most other things in this house, are from Ebay. Since putting up the shelves for our books, I’ve decided I prefer to display a random selection of tat on the shelves, and said books, cause of all this fuss, have been relegated to the pantry.

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The last little project was door handles for the pantry and boiler cupboard, I searched and searched for some pewter handles that had a bit of a vintage feel, without being ‘antique’ style…it proved pretty hard on a sensible budget. I eventually ended up with these, from, you guessed it, Ebay, they were £12 for two pairs. When they arrived they were in Homebase packaging, I assume someone bought them and didn’t like them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4764.jpg I also got this little collection of old keys for just £3.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4414.jpgWe fitted the new handles, painted the door black underneath the keyhole, drilled a hole, sawed the business end off the keys and glued them into the holes.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4331.jpgThey look great but visitors DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT turn the keys, they will fall out, and there may be tears.

A Merry Christmas…

I’ve loved reading blog posts of my fellow renovators displaying beautiful Christmas decor over the last couple of weeks, I’d hoped to do a similar post entitled ‘It’s Begining To Look A Lot Like Christmas’, truth is, it IS Christmas and still looks a lot like a building site, with a tree and bunch of mistletoe thrown in for good measure. Top Tip: The florist advised yesterday that after Christmas I should hand the mistletoe in the attic and it will bring good luck to the house…who knew?! Frankly, I’m willing to try anything!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4742.jpgAfter the door was stripped, we have an amazing entrance to the house (granted one needs to avert one’s eyes from the weeds and abandoned boxes in the front garden and perhaps clamber over a slab here and there…) but putting up the bauble wreath at the very least, was essential.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/180/57909570/files/2014/12/img_4743.jpgI bought this beauty in Anthropologie in NYC maybe 10 years ago now… It must be an age as it was $68, which might buy you a lip balm in there these days! It was a nightmare to get home…a colleague had once advised me that whenever you see something travelling that you really want, you should take it, as the expense and inconvenience will be outweighed by the long-lasting regret of not having it. True that, and I therefore have ridiculous objects from all over the world. The wreath has hung in a variety of unsuitable places over the last decade but this is the first year it’s actually made pride of place on a front door. I love that the baubles pick out the window colours…I’ve always loved it, I just needed to find it the home it deserved. Tick!

A Merry Christmas to one and all!

A Year In The Life…

A year (and possibly a fortnight, y’all know how it is) after we got the keys for Lansdowne I thought I’d show progress room by room compared with the estate agents photos. Some rooms are much better, some much, much worse…

LOUNGE…

Agents Photo…

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It Got Worse…

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And Now…

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We’ve stripped millions of layers of paper, chipped off plaster, had DPC fitted and replastered. Skirtings have all been removed, repaired or replaced. Ceiling has been sanded and filled (x 5). Room has been rewired and had central heating fitted. Fire surround has been stripped. Fireplace has been opened out and had liner fitted. We’ve done first coats on all walls.

Still to do…

Floorboards to be stripped. Fire to be fitted. Final decoration. Window repairs booked for Spring…followed by blinds and curtains. Lighting to be fitted.

LIBRARY…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4431.JPG And Now…

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Prob best we gloss over this one! In here, we’ve had Helifix supports on outer wall, DPC internally, taken out THREE fireplaces, stripped ceiling rose…and then filled the room full of crap! This room will be replastered once aforementioned crap is dispersed to the relevant rooms.

KITCHEN…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4430.JPGAnd Now…

IMG_4642.JPGWe’ve knocked down a few walls, exposed a brick wall, put DPC in some walls, windows in others, replastered and painted. We’ve had new windows, taken down, insulated and renewed the ceiling, rewired, fitted (arguably too much) lighting, fitted floor, heating, shelves, oh and fitted a kitchen!

Still to do…

Grouting and sealing of floor, replacing socket covers, paint snagging , door fitting (I have more Ebaying to confess to…) a MASSIVE clean up operation and then, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have a room finished! Yes that’s right, finished! I’ll do a game show worthy reveal post in the next couple of weeks.

BREAKFAST ROOM…

Agents Photo…

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And Now…

IMG_4647.JPGThe breakfast room is no more… It’s now part of the kitchen diner, as is the funny little atrium that used to be at the top of the hall. The cupboard door is the same, but everything around it has changed. We’ll be fitting a wood burner where Dottie cat is sitting after Christmas.

GUEST BEDROOM…

Agents Photo…

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And Now…

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We’ve taken off plaster, retired, replastered, fitted heating and knocked out the fireplace.

Still to do…

Fit new fireplace, sand floor, repair the ceiling, decorate and disperse junk.

GARDEN…

Agents Photo…

IMG_4426-0.JPGAnd Now…

IMG_4465-0.JPGWe’ve nuked the weeds three times, each time they came back with avengance. Finally we laid black polythene down for 6 months, which we have on excellent authority, will kill the weeds, dead. We also had the huge holly tree taken down. The garden will be fully landscaped, hopefully, though rather optimistically for next Summer.

Oh Deer!

Yes, there’s been much more activity on Ebay… Buying, not selling.

In no particular order…

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Montgomory the deer. Given the choice, I’d probably have had a real one, (stuffed, not as a pet you understand) but apparently it’s not PC. Monty is cool though, and will be dressed throughout the year with suitably camp, seasonal accessories.

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Keys, for a door handle project I’m contemplating…

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A fireplace, for the guest room. We bought on the off-chance it was a good one, as the sellers photo was crap. Turned out it had previously lived a few doors away from my old house, so feels meant to be. Because we got it for a great price, I didn’t moan about the big piece missing from the side that really should have been mentioned. Who knew, that for £15, you can have a fireplace sandblasted? I didn’t, but I do now! #smugface

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Finally, a fabric haul, from Martin Day’s amazing store in Nottingham.

IMG_4416.JPG I adore the future lounge curtaining – yellow stripe, and even more I adored paying £6.99 a meter for it. I don’t know how he can offer such beautiful fabrics at such incredible prices, and quite frankly, I don’t care!