Sunday, 30 October 2011

Praise You

Slightly veering away from the normal theme of my own renovation project I can't help but comment on this beauty! I have wandered past this house many times (in a slighty more selubrious part of the hood)and gazed longingly at its majesty from the outside. Now I get to see inside I am even more awe-struck, possibly the mother of all renovations! See the rest here

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Painter Man, Painter Man

OK, so here it is, please appreciate how difficult it is for me to say this, I can't even believe it myself, I mean this never happens to me, never, NEVER, I'm still a little bit in shock. Here goes, gulp .....I ... Made... A.... Mistake!

Wow, there it is. It's out there. Not just any mistake either, a mistake with colour, paint colour and paint colour is my thing! But I am a strong woman and I feel it only fair to share the error of my ways so that others may avoid the terrible situation I faced when after a weekend of relentless, tiring painting, I stood back and felt with such overwhelming certainty that I exclaimed out loud "I HATE it!".

I think the first error was abandonning grey, I know where I am with grey, we trust each other, we work well together. My foray into green (all be it grey green) was a risky strategy and I knew it. But after a number of weeks and trialling many many samples, I was sure I had found the perfect shade, a calming, olivey, muted hue that would surely induce the perfect nights sleep (we were painting the bedroom). As we started painting it felt good, not great, but good, so I thought best to perservere.

I had decided in advance that the chimney breast would be a different colour, to add depth, interest and a point of focus. This, my friends, is where it all started to crumble. I have recently become a fan of gloss paints, a wonderful light reflective, interesting, contemporary alternative to matt. I have seen many fine examples and it worked brilliantly in the downstairs loo. I love black, off-black even more and have often considered a room painted entirely in black, which I think is stunning. Similarly I've seen it work brilliantly on chimney breasts, mostly when paired with white.

Put two and two together and before you know it I have a black gloss chimney breast. Don't get me wrong, in theory I LOVE this. Moody, textured, reflective a statement of an accent. In practise, all wrong, wrong, wrong. The green looked yellow, the furniture (such as it is) went from grey to blue, Victorian somehow became 80's bachelor pad. The horror!

Clearly something had to be done and fast. There was only one thing that could save us now. After barely giving it enough time to dry out came the Downpipe (there is always a handy supply in stock). Sure enough the first coat brought an audible sigh of relief, the greens became more grey than yellow and the furniture its rightful shade, the room seemed to work harmoniously rather than having some kind of internal conflict. Once again praise be to Downpipe, the king of paint shades!

My pride won't let me post photos of 'black-gate' in full, but a few before and afters.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Hard Days Night

Ouch! That would be paint in my eye then. I have decided it can wait no longer, I am attacking the staircase - with gusto.

So hideous is this job that my builder refused to do it, for any amount of money. This leaves no choice, I must man up, don my favourite building outfit and get the hell on with it.

I have been advised that what is required is sanding, lots and lots of sanding, by hand (to get into all the intricate shapes of the spindles). However approximately 5 minutes in, it is apparent that if I follow this advise, I will still be here, 30 years on, sanding away, with little but callouses to show for it. Clearly this is a stair case which has not been stripped back, ever.. there is layer upon layer of paint. It's like when you are too lazy to remove your nail varnish so you just paint over the top (when I say you, I mean you, clearly I would never do that) like that but times a million!

Sanding, frankly my dear Mariusz oh wise builder, is not going to do it!

What I need here is a state of the art paint removing implement, the Viacal of paint stripping. A blunt kitchen knife and some bleach?

Hazardous paint chips are flying everywhere, there is dust in my hair and bleach down my arms. It sure as hell is glamorous work.

I would love to show you smug little photos of my progress, but frankly after 3 hours of graft there is little to notice. So instead, I will show you photos of stair cases I admire... so the question is grey or white? To carpet or not to carpet....?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Lazy Days

I was warned about the dreaded renovation epidemic that hinders many an otherwise successful project, it's commonly know as loosing momentum. 6 months in, 8 months, a year even I was totally immune, impervious to it's powers. A year and a half, it's a whole different story, I realised recently that I haven't really done anything to the house since.. well.... February?

Is it because it's all finished? - No way, do I not have time? - On the contrary, do I just not care anymore? How very dare you! It boils down to the simple fact that I lost momentum. Plus nothing is quite as urgent, yes the bedroom needs decorating, the back-door varnishing, numerous handles need fixing and no the stairs don't have carpet but, well that's all very easy to live with ignore.

So in an attempt to regain momentum and get through these final tasks I have turned to my friend and motivator - EBay! I had, briefly forgotten it's addictive powers, but I'm back in the game and I fear somewhat overly click happy with my bidnapper friend behind me. In the last 2 weeks I have become the proud owner of:

3 new (old) skanky looking radiators - I only actually need two and already have one to sell, I also didn't realise they would need sand-blasting and testing.
A moderately ugly metal storage chest - it's way to big for the required location and function
1 pair of .... wait for it....this is a good one....... anglepoise lamps... for the bedroom. Ooo now there's a buy, well yes, except I failed to notice that these lamps were for renovation/ parts and will therefore no doubt need thousands spending on them, or in fact will never work at all.
1 bedroom fireplace - so far this one actually seems to be pretty perfect, the right size and everything.

Of course none of these items are in place, they are mostly littering the back half of the living room where I imagine they will stay for some time. Not the fireplace though, that is actually in the bedroom - in position, sort of, well it's leaning against the wall where it will eventually live (is that not how they work?).

I am hoping that by writing about my new found laziness it might actually spur me into action.

One thing that has been achieved (Not by me of course) is a mini blog to advertise the house for Olympic Rental, please please pass it on to friends, relatives from abroad/ pop it on work intranets etc and let's see if someone else can bask in the glory of the squat whilst we escape the Olympic madness: