Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from project squat!

It is with bleary eyes that I greet you on day 3 of the New Year's hangover, slowly emerging from the Christmas relaxation bubble which I happily spent with my good friends red wine and Stilton. I hope you all had a wonderful festive period and have avoided the onset of gout (maybe it's not just a hangover...!).

In keeping with this glorious time of reflection and resolutions for positive thinking I thought this the perfect opportunity to look back at the achievements of 2011, to focus on what has been done rather than what is still to do. So, folks, here are my top 10 highlights from the dust bowl (in no particular order).

1. The Live-able Living Room: Re-energised from a lovely holiday a week was devoted to getting the living room ship shape. Books shelved (colour coded of course), cushions retrieved, pictures hung. Let's casually over-look the 25 year old sofas, which are still yet to be replaced. The result was a welcoming, elegant room finally worth relaxing in.

2. The Arrival Of The Prodigal Lights: Yes it was a foolish idea in the first place, yes I was an idiot to give my credit card details to a random teenager with an American accent over Skype, yes it was a lot of hassle fighting to get them out of customs. But, when love strikes....After months of no communication from the seller, weeks in customs, days in a delivery depot and finally my local post office the arrival of the infamous Etsy lights was well worth the pain (even if they came with non usable American bulbs!)

3. Project Garden: An achievement for which I can take little/ no credit except for a quick, non thought through sweep round a garden centre. The transformation of the wasteland of a garden was a sight to behold. From barren home of barbed wire to urban paradise it has proceeded to bring much joy to BBQ lovers and smokers throughout the year.

4. There's Only One Down-Pipe: By hook or by crook down-pipe was going to get a mention. It continued to delight me with its restorative powers on two occasions. The near disaster that was 'black gloss gate' on the fireplace and the re-decoration of the slightly unloved spare room. Both episodes proved once again that this is the king of paints.

5. Loo loo Skip To My Loo: The downstairs loo had always been something of a let down, the un-even walls highlighted by the wishy washy grey and mistake of a window. A room to be avoided at all costs. UNTIL intervention came in the beautiful form of House Of Hackney wall-paper and matching dark blue wood panelling. A stroke, if I may say so myself, of genius!

6. Wine, Women (and men) And Song: Of course a house isn't a home unless you can share it with your friends. Many of ours braved it in the tough times and it has been a real pleasure to invite them back for many less dusty occasions. Despite my continual screams of 'don't touch the walls', the only damage has been inflicted by myself and an unfortunate incident involving red wine and a white wall.

7. Money, Money, Money: Enough sentimental rubbish, let's face it, what we really care about is the cash. Would we make some? well the confirmation was so gratifying I had it valued 5 times, crassness aside it was re-assuring to know it had been worth the effort.

8. Street Smart: Oh happy day it was when the curiously painted red brick 'accessories' that adorned our upstairs windows were painted over. Re-modelled wall and painting of rendering soon had the dust bowl looking like the smartest house in the street.

9. Shabby Chic: After something of a - buying, collecting, stripping, waiting a month for their return, scrubbing, sealing, lifting, floor destroying - toil we finally replaced the final two radiators. We are now happily Victorian stylee shabby throughout.

10. Heart Home: Of course one highlight shines brighter than the rest. Our appearance in Heart Home was an honour and a joy. Much fun and inspiration on the shoot and so much satisfaction seeing the results, it is from there that I take these photos. To check it out in full visit http://hearthomemag.co.uk/

That's all folks (for now). Here's to 2012 and all the carpet it may bring.

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