New Years Resolution…

Anyone doing a house renovation will have experienced those little niggling jobs, those little jobs that you just keep putting off.

For every room that you declare as ‘finished’ there is always something that is not quite perfect, not quite complete. But in your mind you have already skipped happily onto the next project, relieved to have ticked another room off your list.

Housenumber59 had a few such jobs.

Bathroom

David, very skilfully, made two cupboards in the bathroom, one to house the boiler and another to keep all our bathroom stuff in – towels, spare toothpaste etc.

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In order to make the doors for the bathroom cupboards David wanted a router, an expensive tool that we could not justifying buying. So the cupboards stayed doorless for a while, until I had enough and paid a carpenter to make them for us. Then they remained unpainted, for a really long time.

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We could not end 2014 with the bathroom still not officially finished. So one weekend, I got the paintbrushes out. There is something psychologically difficult about having to do work on a room you have already declared complete – something about taking a step back. But once I got started it was fine. Almost therapeutic.

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We decided to only have doors on the boiler cupboard and not on the bathroom cupboard. We pretty much dip in and out of it whenever we are in the bathroom and the doors just would have been open all the time. Although having everything on show does mean we have to keep it tidy!

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Bedrooms

We also had quite a bit of ‘touching up’ to do in both bedrooms. Again a job we had been putting off for ages, but we wanted to start the year by ticking them off our to-do list.

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Before

When the old windows leaked it was typical that it was the guest bedroom, which we had just painted, that suffered the most. Since replacing the windows we no longer have any leaks but were left with water stains on the wall. In order to paint over the water stains we first had to use a special blocking primer and then paint over that with Polished Pebble.

In the master bedroom we had a few water stains on the ceiling from where the roof leaked (said though gritted teeth). Again we used the blocking primer first, followed by Brilliant White emulsion.

The final job was to fill and paint a small patch under the bay window in the master bedroom. When we had the windows replaced the fitters did such an amazing job of protecting the rooms we had already decorated. Fortunately this was the only casualty and it was nothing a bit of polyfilla and paint could not fix.

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After

It was great to get these little niggling jobs complete and off our to-do list.

*Smug sigh of relief*

C x

Guest bedroom – The linen cupboard…

When it came to buying furniture for the guest bedroom we didn’t quite have the same budget as we did with the master bedroom so we planned on reusing furniture from our old bedroom. We did however decide to treat the guest bedroom to a new wardrobe.

Generally speaking I don’t like built-in wardrobes. They don’t allow any flexibility if you want to change the room around, you can’t take them with you if you move house, they can make the room feel smaller than it actually is and by building them in alcoves you can lose some of the character of the room.

So once again I started trawling through eBay to find a bargain wardrobe that had a long list of requirements. I wanted it to look traditional, I wanted it to have shelves, I wanted the shelves to be removable so it could be used as a hanging wardrobe at a later date, it needed to be narrow to fit in the alcove and it needed to be beautiful.

I could hardly contain my delight when I came across these guys Sonnet Interiors. Their wardrobes were perfect! I sent an email to Wayne and Ben to see if they could make one to fit our narrow alcove, they promptly replied to say that they would be delighted to make our bespoke wardrobe. Yay! Wayne and Ben were super helpful and when the wardrobe was delivered it was every bit as beautiful in the flesh as it was in the pictures.

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I like to think that this wardrobe will be in our family for years to come and that it will be used for many different things, but right now I plan to use it as a linen cupboard. This may sound really sad, but I was really excited at the thought of having a linen cupboard and was something I had wanted for a long time. Again I think this is the perfectionist in me coming out, but I just love the idea of crisp white linens all neatly folded in one place. Sad eh?

C x

Guest bedroom – Painting…

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I do genuinely really enjoying painting I appreciate that I may not be saying this in years to come, when we finally finish the house and realise that the bedroom we decorated years ago needs repainting – the never ending cycle that is house renovation.

I am not denying that painting is hard work and often after the first couple rolls of colour the excitement somewhat diminishes, but I just love how painting a room can completely transform the space. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, and trust me I am a perfectionist when it comes to painting, but I just find the whole process really satisfying.

Like the master bedroom, we wanted a colour that was light and calming, neutral but still a definite colour.  I liked the idea of Farrow and Ball Cabbage White, but David wanted something that had more grey in it, so we chose Dulux Polished Pebble. I was happy to admit that he was right and the colour looked great.

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Cabbage White, Farrow and Ball
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Polished Pebble, Dulux

C x

Guest bedroom – the plastering…

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I love the plastering stage, it is always such a turning point for a room.

We got our pals, Earl and Elvis, back to install new cornicing and a ceiling rose. We chose the same the cornice as the master bedroom, but went for a slightly smaller ceiling rose to suit the size of the room. This instantly added some much needed Victorian charm.

Whilst we love the fireplace in the master bedroom we decided not to reinstate one in the guest bedroom. The room is not small, but it is not exactly large either and having a fireplace can restrict you in terms of space and furniture arrangements. We will however install a vent to ensure that the room has adequate ventilation.

Me and David got the spread sheet back out and fitted the picture rail (we were now like a well-oiled machine) and David and his Dad fitted the new skirting board. None of the walls were straight or level so our next job involved a large tub of polyfilla…

C x

Guest bedroom – wallpaper stripping…

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I had been dying to strip the wallpaper in this room since day one. The room had an overpowering smell of men’s aftershave which was so ingrained in the walls that no amount of airing would get rid of it.

It appeared that the cause of the mould was purely down to a lack of ventilation rather than a leak or damp. Phew! I imagine where the wardrobe obstructed the window, the window was never opened. Also the original fireplace had been blocked off but no vent put in place to allow the room to breathe causing a build-up of condensation.

Whilst it didn’t look very nice it was easily fixable and on the plus side it made stripping the wallpaper really easy – in some places it just came off in one long strip!

On the wall next to the window, where the condensation build-up was really bad, great lumps of plaster came away with the wallpaper. So on that wall we had to take all the plaster off and go back to brick.

One last thing we did before the plasterer got started was to remove the skirting board. We are not sure if the decorative bit had been taken off or if it had just been replaced altogether with a plainer style wood, but either way we wanted to replace it with a more decorative wood, matching the original skirting in the master bedroom.

C x

The guest bedroom…

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Our next project was the guest bedroom. This room was in quite bad shape, but using the master bedroom as a template we were confident it could be restored to its former glory.

The two main issues with this room were the built in wardrobes, which were far too big for the size of the room and blocked a third of the window, and the mould/damp on one of the walls.

We decided to tackle the built in wardrobes during the first couple of weeks of owning the house. This was one of those stress relieving exercises where you can just really go for it with a crowbar.

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With the window uncovered the room felt so much brighter and more spacious.

Our next job was to strip off all the wallpaper and assess how bad the mould/damp problem was…

C x