Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

Another week, another incomprehendable quantity of dust. It is impossible to imagine quite how this much dust can be created each day. Dust of all kinds – coal, plaster, general builder…. I sometimes wonder if they literally apply a layer each day just to make themselves look busy! With each layer comes another cleaning attempt, seriously, just give up!

Still mustn’t complain, progress is a happening. The living rooms is coming on great guns. All paper (and vast majority of existing plaster) has been removed, existing fireplaces ripped out and taken back to the brick, new plaster board in place, layer of plaster applied over that and dried, new ceiling boards and plaster in place… we are not just about ready for painting.

As you may have gathered by now, decisions are not my strong point. I know exactly what I don’t like about other people’s interiors but starting from a totally blank canvas is a whole different ball game. Obviously we exist within certain restraints – space, money, style of the house but in all honesty the choices are endless.

This week’s decisions have been:
Skirting board – easy, simple and cheap please, fireplace one or 2 – 1, much cheaper option and the room really isn’t big enough for 2, shelving – to have or not, if so in which alcoves, what thickness, what materials, paint, paint, oh paint – I DON”T KNOW, architrave – same as before please but not rotten, and coving….

Coving it seems is more tricky than you would imagine. We knew we would need it at some point but as ever buider notice applies – we need it first thing on Monday (it is currently 3pm on Saturday). Hence the hottest day of the year was spent cruising builder’s yards in an attempt to find the perfect coving, well once we discovered that there is weeks ordering period, perfect coving soon descended to any coving and even then we struggled. So, it is, the coving, as with many other elements is something of a compromise. I don’t love it, it isn’t nearly as good as it could have been, but with options of nil it will simply have to do.

This week’s eBay delight - the new fireplace. Bought on eBay (Obviously!) required a day trip to Brighton (amore driving with no air con – joy!), as nerve wracking as ever. But the gamble paid off it is lovely and looks perfectly at home alongside the new bare plaster walls.

Paint decision to follow and then, lord help me, I have to figure out lighting! We could be some time!

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Project living room has commenced, I am in no way prepared for it, definitely can't afford it, could could easily and relatively comfortably live without it but I just can't help myself, I want it done damn it! (picture stamping of foot). Dust HQ (a small promotion from ' The Squat' is a constant source of learning, about DIY - what is the best method of plastering for totally rotten walls, about different cultures - I have learned no end of interesting tit bits about life in Poland, but mainly about yourself, and I, it seems, have literally no patience. When I want something done, I want it done now and pity any poor fool who tries to stand in my way. 

Whilst cracking on with the living room brings me immense pleasure, it is, as ever, tainted with anguish... so many decisions... so much room for error, so much desire to make it as perfect as I can within my financial constraints. 

 Current hot topics of debate are:
Which exact shade(s) of grey will I paint the walls this time and what to do with the fireplaces.

I am grateful at least that my grey obsession narrows my choices somewhat. I have had the odd moment of madness and considered white (I actually rather like white) but fear not, no sooner has it entered my head I see another shade of grey and I know, in my heart of hearts, I cannot deviate, I am eternally loyal to the dreary shade. 

As demonstrated in project bathroom I have long been a fan of very dark tones and am constantly delighted that I chose Downpipe for the 2 non tiled walls. One serious consideration is going the whole hog and painting the entire living room in a similar dark hue. Having seen it done by people such as Abigail Ahern, I really really do love its warmth and elegance - see below. 

Atelier Abigail <span class=
However, I then get the fear. Maybe it needs the grand high ceilings, which I don't really have, beautiful furniture which I definitely don't have (YET) and abundance of natural light, in typical Victorian terrace stylee rooms can tend to be dark. 

An alternative option is a lighter shade, strong enough to add impact but light enough to avoid feeling like you live in permanent winter .... thoughts? 

As for fireplaces - minefield! 
One thing is clear anything will be an improvement on the existing offering  - 2 50's style, block tile monstrosities which take up half the room with their resplendent ugliness (Kat, I am sorry but it's true). The alternatives alas are endless.  1 fireplace  or 2? The room isn't massive so 2 seems excessive, we could have one in the main living space and block one up - but will that just look weirdly non-symmetrical. We could knock them both through, have the bare brick exposed with no surround (definitely a look I like). Or block one up and make a statement with the other- source magnificent tiled Victorian fireplace, or compromise, go for a surround on both with no actual fire insert.... 

Oh the options, the options, the minutes, hours, days I have spent thinking and researching this and I literally change my mind every few hours. (as well as being impatient I have never been terribly decisive!)

I haven't event got to lighting yet... !

In the meantime the ''snagging' continues  - downstairs loo tick, (amazing what a new toilet seat, flush, bucket load of bleach and a shade of Pavillion Gray can do), painting the ugly extension - tick (a Dulux dark great exterior paint) very pleasing results. 

So we continue... all wall paper now removed with industrial stripper, loose plaster exposed and removed, new ceiling applied. Next step, new plasterboard throughout, skim plastering, new skirting, coving and architrave, electrics, painting, floors, fires, lights..... aghhhhh! 

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Change Is Gonna Come

I've changed! I didn't want to, but I have and I blame the house, I know this through two slightly disturbing occurences.

1. On this weekend's delightful trip to B&Q I actually recognised another shopper from previous visits there. Seriously... is this my social circle these days?

2. In the constant dust containment battle it became apparent that the existing vacuum really wasn't cutting it... tiny little machine which sucks for approx 30 seconds and then requires emptying. If there is to be any hope of erradicating the ever expanding dust mountain we need serious suction . So it was that I decided to invest some of my hard earned cash on a decent machine. Now in my previous life the idea of spending MY money on something so frighteningly mundane would have filled me with the fear that my life was doomed to domestic drudgery. I have often lived with twice handed down, 20 year old hoovers, or none at all, occasionally borrowing a neighbours.

Not any more, oh no. I was actively keen to go vacuum shopping. Positively enjoyed the retail experience (all credit to you Currys, you know your produce and up-sell very applomb), furthermore was genuinely excited to get the new Dyson home and try the bad boy out, let me tell you, vaccuming don't get much slicker than this!

I am now convinced I am descending from young(ish) woman about town (kind of), existing in a bubble of responsibility free bliss (well sort of), who follows fashion and contemporary culture (to a degree). To one of those people, those people you see, but prefer not to notice, the kind of people who do go to their local retail park on a weekly basis, pick up a few essentials at B&Q and do a mammoth weekly shop at Asda. They are generally in couples and quite clearly wish they weren't, they drive estate cars and are not unlikely to be seen with a st George's flag adorning their car, house, self.

This weekend, I went to my local retail park (Leyton Mills to be precise), I went to B&Q and did a large shop at Asda where I revelled in the bargains..... oh, my, dear, lord... somebody drag to Waitrose via Selfridges for a new frock, buy me a cocktail at Shoreditch House, help me before it is too late and you find my adorning the flag of St George!

Oh God it's too late... the boy just said he is going to buy a hose! Aghhhhhh!