Thursday 27 May 2021

Fences, Sheds and Sticky Backed Plastic


Yesterday the fencing guys came, and in the space of one day almost completed the fence in the back garden, quite a feat considering that they had to jack-hammer out the concrete blobs that had held the last fence in place.  

Our neighbours have been brilliant in letting us remove one of the fence panels from the old fence during all the works, which enabled us to take everything we needed to the back of the house and remove everything we didn't need via their driveway and back garden.  Having the annexe attached to the house means that we have no access to our back garden from the front ... which is great from a security point of view but a bit of a hindrance when you are completely renovating both a house and a garden.

So to thank them for this we are paying for the new fence at the back and they are just sharing the cost of a matching but lower fence at the front.  Very fortunately, and completely coincidentally they have been away all this week, so when they get back tomorrow all the fencing will be finished.  The guys have been very careful not to disturb any of their garden on the other side ... which is mostly grey stones anyway, but it is nice to see how carefully they peeled back the membrane leaving the stones ready to be raked back into position once that final panel is in.

The old fence panels are not being wasted at all as they are going to form the back and sides of my new tiny shed ... and Dave our handyman has been steadily acquiring used pallets to form the front.  I really wanted it to look rustic after finding this photo online ...

... so hopefully it should look a little bit like this once it is done, minus the side window and the raised front porch.

While all this was going on yesterday and Alan was busy working in the office I spent an hour lining the drawers of my bedside cabinet.  I used the Radio Times to make a template so I didn't risk wasting any of my precious wallpaper.

It turned out quite well, and once the paper was cut to size it was covered in clear sticky back plastic that I had found in the charity shop at just £1.50 for a whole roll, just to give it a little bit of longevity and make it wipeable.

It's the little touches that make a home feel complete isn't it ... even if it isn't quite complete yet!! 😄

Sue xx

Sunday 23 May 2021

Wallpaper Up, and Boxes Cleared


The wallpaper in my new bedroom is up and I love it.  

The decorator has done a brilliant job, you can't see or feel any of the joins and the match is perfect.  The colour soothes my soul ... exactly what you want in a bedroom ... and it and the kitchen cupboard doors will be the accents for the whole annexe.

The tape on the floor was there to see if I could fit a double bed and two bedside cabinet in, now that plans have changed the tape has been pulled up. There will be just the one bedside set of drawers and a small double bed to give some more space at the other side.

Talking of bedside drawers ... the hall back at the flat is looking very cluttered, so yesterday we took three of the biggest boxes to the annexe to start getting things up. 

Two of the boxes contained these.

I was originally going to have a chandelier in each of the two rooms, but I just couldn't find any that I loved enough so I changed tack and found these lightshades instead.  I'm thrilled with them.

And while Alan put new fittings and cables up for them yesterday, 

I oiled the bedroom door.

Just look at the difference one coat of the Linseed Oil makes, it brings out the beauty of the wood wonderfully.  A very satisfying job even if it was a bit too much for my poor old back 😢

With the tape gone off the floor and the light shade up the bedroom is starting to come together nicely.

Door finished, and the living room light fitting also installed by my very handy hubby.

While he had the ladders here and was getting used to working at full stretch he decided to take down the bathroom light fitting and add a much longer cable for me, so while he did that I gave the lightshade a really good wash.  It turned out it was cream coloured not the dirty mustard colour we thought it was!!

Once that was done we put up the new mirrored bathroom cabinet, which at the moment is the only storage in there.  Luckily it has three good shelves with lots of space for toiletries.

A good few hours work and it's coming together with the simplicity that I love and that I had hoped for, but I'm paying the price today.  Time for a rest on the comfy upright chair, a few cups of coffee and a good film methinks.  

Sue xx

Friday 21 May 2021

When Centimetres Matter


Seriously addicted to ... Ercol  💖

I was browsing the Vinterior website again looking at possible options for bedroom furniture when I found this little beauty.  My initial plan, as I think I mentioned a while ago, was to treat myself to new bedroom furniture, just one wardrobe with a drawer and a couple of bedside tables in oak to match the new bedroom door.   Indeed I had placed my chosen pieces in my Shopping Basket at furniture 123 but before I pressed that order button. I wanted to check out other alternatives ... and I'm so glad I did.  I found this little beauty that is by the same designer and made in the same year as my new to me Ercol sideboard.

In my basket at Furniture 123 were two of these and a wardrobe, but I was debating just buying just one as I only need one and I have a plan that might work out for the other side of the bed.  I noted down the measurements, then discovered that they were very similar to the bedside tables we already have and that Alan will be having in his bedroom in the house ... they match the oak bed perfectly so this was always the plan.

So I had a closer look at ours with a tape measure in hand.  

The overall piece of furniture is almost the same size as the Ercol one but the drawers are so much smaller, and when you are living in a small space all potential storage space matters.

The drawers in ours, and therefore potentially in the new one,  all measured 24cm x 29cm internally which equals 696  Multiply that by three drawers and it is of storage space.

As the drawers on the Ercol bedside table went right to the edge of the cabinet I knew they would be bigger.  And now that it is here I can show you just how right I was.  They each measure 38cm x 37cm, which equals multiplied by three and it is  

So I have more than twice the storage space in my new bedside table than I would have gotten in my chosen new one and I also have another piece of furniture that has lasted 60 years already and will no doubt do at least the same again.

When you are about to live in 336 square foot of home an extra of storage matters 😃

Today's nice little sit down job for me is to line the drawers with the left over bedroom wallpaper, not a vitally necessary job as they are in perfect condition, but it will make me smile when I pull them open and there's that little bit of colourful co-ordination.

Sue xx

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Colin, the Painters and No Blotches


As requested here is an update on Colin.

He almost took another tumble the other day, so I decided to re-pot him into a much larger and heaver pot.  Obviously here at the flat I don't have any plant pots, and as there's no more raiding the polytunnel every time I need something for a houseplant I carefully removed some almost hibernating Snowdrops into a plastic pot where they can await their transplanting into our new garden, and gave Colin the nice heavy terracotta pot that they had been in.  He seems to have settled in well to life in my kitchen with his new friends.

With Alan driving I managed to get to the annexe last night to see how the painter had gotten on.  The whole place is painted now with a matt finish on the ceilings and an acrylic on the walls for longevity.  They had left everywhere nice and neat with just a little collection of pots by the door ready to be picked up by the boss who is wallpapering the bedroom wall himself one day this week.

I dreamt the other night that the wallpaper had shredded as they tried to put it up and they presented me with a bucket of wallpaper coloured papier mache ... fingers crossed this doesn't come to pass 😄

Alan had tried out the Linseed Oil on one of the doors, and it looks beautiful.  He did the edges of both doors before they were hung and then carried on to do the whole of the bathroom door.  

I will do the edges of the bathroom door again as it will be in a steamy environment and then finish off the bedroom door once my back is a bit less painful, but in the meantime I can admire them now that they are in situ.

This is the now whiter than white bedroom, and do you notice  something missing from all these photos?  Well I've been photographing white things over and over to check it out but my new to me camera does not have the blotches my old one had stuck on the lens.

I have held off for years buying a new camera, I liked mine as it was just a simple point and shoot type with settings that I rarely changed and it really did the job, was nice and small and light to carry out for days away and well it was just a good camera ... apart from the blotches it developed a few years ago.  Which seemingly are a known fault with this model.

Then the other day after photographing white walls with their dark spots and realising that I was sick of explaining, mostly here on the blog, that the blotches were the cameras fault and not on the wall or door etc I decided to bite the bullet and see about getting myself a new camera.  I looked for a new similar model and the cost ... well WOW!!  I might be splashing the cash on my new home but over £400 for a little camera seemed a bit steep.  Then I decided to look on Amazon for my exact model and found a couple for sale secondhand.  One day and £99 later and I have exactly what I needed, and I will hang on to my old one for spares.  Apart from not having the blotches it makes me happy that it's one less thing going to landfill and I am making good use of something that has been reconditioned for reuse.

Sue xx

Friday 14 May 2021

So I fell in love with an Ercol sideboard.

I knew I needed some storage in the living room of my new small home, something that would hold the television and hide a multitude of sins to keep the place looking less cluttered  and a low sideboard seemed like a really good idea.  So I started looking around online and found this ... be still my beating heart you are a thing of beauty 💖

This is this years model and a snip at just £3,165.

And this is mine 💖

 I might be splashing the cash a bit at the moment while I'm furnishing my lovely new place, but you all know me and if I can get something just as good and maybe even a little bit more me for a lower price I will, so I visited Vinterior for a browse.   And the photograph above from the website is my new-to-me sideboard a 1960's model ... just like me ... and a snip at just £566.

Here she is lurking in the gloomy light of my hallway here at the flat.

She has been refurbished wonderfully.  

Every bit of wood gleams where it has been cleaned and nourished, and that slide-out and lift-out cutlery tray is going to be so useful for all the bits and pieces that I have been storing in my bureau here at the flat.

Sorry about this strange photo, but as you can see in the sideboard photo this little shelf unit is lying on it's side on top, and with my very sore back I can't pick up anything that weighs more than a feather, so that's how I had to photograph it and then turn the photo instead!!

 I knew I didn't want to furnish my new place with all new furniture so I have had my eyes open for quite a while on Facebook Marketplace looking for suitable bargains and when this little beauty popped up on Saturday for just £35 I knew it had to be mine.

Luckily Alan had time to go and pick it up for me before he left to go down South for work this week.  Steven the guy I bought it from had had this for years, seemingly it was his Great Grandma's and he wanted it to go to a good home ... so it will be going in my kitchen once it is all installed and I have repaired the little bit of damage to the top.

And in other expensive news ... I have now ordered my bed, headboard and mattress and also that gorgeous purple sofa that I showed you a few weeks ago.  It's going to be like waiting for Father Christmas as they all have long lead up times, six weeks for the bedroom stuff and thirteen for the sofa ... gulp!!

Sue xx

Wednesday 12 May 2021

White, White, White and Green


The turquoise on the kitchen wall has gone, almost hidden under two coats of white paint.  

Everywhere else had just had the first coat of white done when I took these photos on Monday night.  But I've not been able to get back to the annexe since as I am currently completely out of action with a bad back.  Struggling to get in the car on Monday to go and see the start of the decorating was a bad idea as Alan had to make an emergency stop at one of the roundabouts on the way to the house and the resulting jolt has put me back by about two days ... OUCH!!

Oh, and the blue of the bedroom had also had two coats and was very well hidden.  

It was good to go and see it all, and I can't wait to get back when I am able to because by tonight all the painting should be done.

And they might even have my bedroom feature wall wallpapered.

It took a lot of choosing to finally get to this Laura Ashley design, but I'm happy with my final choice, and luckily with my ceiling being so low and the room so small I only needed two rolls.  One of which will hardly be used so I have lots of ideas for the remainder of it.  😃

Debby asked about the oil recommended by our joiner and it turned out it was Linseed Oil that he recommended for the raw wood of the new doors.

As you can see from this test strip that Alan did on the edge of the door it darkens the wood slightly and also brings out the grain nicely, as well as protecting it from fingerprints and minor stains.  It should also help the doors fit in more with my lovely old pieces of furniture that will be at the annexe in the very near future.

And talking of old pieces ... I have two lovely pieces of furniture currently cluttering up the hallway here at the flat, one large and one small.  I'll try and get a photo of them and give you a little peak at my bargains of the year.  I love them  💖

Sue xx

Friday 7 May 2021

Doors That Make a Difference


The only two interior doors that are in the annexe were bi-fold doors when I bought it. 

 I can understand why the previous owner might have thought they were a good idea.  At first glance they seem space saving, but in reality they are very rickety, liable to jam on the runners which you need to keep them in place and to my mind normal doors were just going to be a much better and sturdier option.

With nearly all the walls, ceilings and woodwork going to be a nice bright white I thought a touch of wood would help warm things up and go nicely with both my new furniture and the older pieces of furniture that I have brought with me. 

I do love the look of them and any marks you see are on my camera lens not the doors 😄

Dave the handyman had a shock when he stripped the wallpaper off this wall in the bedroom ... it's dark blue ... and much darker in real life than it appears in this photo.  The annexe is so bright during the day because of the full length glass doors and windows that colours seem to fade out and not show true on photos.  I see another couple of coats of white for the painters to have to slap on.

The door to the left is the one to the bathroom and the only other interior door in my place.

Again, so much better now that it's a  proper wooden door.

And from the inside.

Oh, and look who lives in the bath ... it's Colin the Cactus who is somehow still alive and seems to be thriving.  

With all the comings and goings over the last couple of weeks I thought he would be safer in here, and  now he has a friend.  Syd the Spider also currently lives in the bathroom, although he will have to be relocated to the great outdoors (if it's warm enough) before the decorators arrive.

Thinking about it I might move Colin to Alan's house while the painters are in, I don't want him covered with white spots after all he's already been through. 🌵

Sue xx 

Thursday 6 May 2021

The Littlest Things

 I'm pouring my heart and soul into this new home for myself, as it's possibly the first home I will have that is just for me.  The first house I owned in my own right was after my divorce, and was bought with myself and my younger son in mind.  He had always wanted a large room to himself and lots of privacy, so when we found a house with an attic bedroom up it's own little staircase with a door at the bottom I knew I just had to go for that one.  Between us we painted Jason's room a bright shade of red, with the red winged insignia of his favourite ice hockey team picked out in white above his bed.


It was a womb-like room, and with all his possessions around him no doubt brought a lot of comfort to a sixteen year old lad that had just gone through watching his parents divorce and was trying desperately to keep some sort of relationship alive with a Dad he didn't really want to see.  But it jarred with me, and I would deliver freshly washed and ironed clothes in a neat pile up the little staircase and leave them on the end of his bed, once a week I would quickly drag the hoover around any floor space visible and see how much of the pile of clothes had been worn and discarded back onto the floor ... this was of course Jason's training ground ready for student life  😄

But it was his space and his sanctuary and I loved it for that.

By the way the rest of the house was creams, whites and shades of wood and books, lots of books, with everything except the kitchen, the beds and the sofa bought on a very tight budget, mostly from the charity shop that I managed.

And in a way this annexe ... soon to be renamed officially I promise ... is my sanctuary and my space to be myself and grow even more as a person.  Because if we stop growing, we stop living and I want to live in a space of my own creation with only those things around me that have earned their place.  

So although you are seeing lots of new things pop up at the moment, in the background there will be things that have been with me for years, little things like the two teaspoons taken from home when I moved out to set up home with my first husband, the little glass chicken paperweight bought for me by my older son when I gave him 50p to spend at a car boot sale, and the toy car he bought for 40p left him with enough change to treat his Mum.  The steamer stack bought for me by my Mum when she read about aluminium pans being bad for your health and realised that both her and my pans were all this dreadful substance 😀

It's the littlest things that can make a home and it's the littlest things that will fit so beautifully and easily into my new tiny home.

Sue xx

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Kitchen Progress ... and a Sneak Peek

This is my kitchen as it is right now.

 Dave our brilliant handyman did the final jobs in there yesterday, he took off the tiles and then carefully removed the old cupboard carcass that was still around the boiler.  

The guy that bought the units off me didn't want to risk taking the larder style cupboard that the boiler and consumer unit were in apart as the central heating room thermostat had been attached to the outside of the cupboard, and anyway the shelves and back of the cupboard had been hacked about so much to go around the pipes it wasn't in very good condition at all.

It seemed like it was such a good kitchen at first didn't it, but behind closed doors this six year old kitchen had taken somewhat of a battering and I am pleased that it's all gone now.

Now we are all clear and ready for the decorators, who are moving in armed with brushes and rollers on Monday of next week.  Everything in the annexe will be given a fresh coat of white paint, silk on the walls, matt on the ceilings and satin wood paint on all the woodwork.  It's going to be all sparkly white and fresh as a daisy.  Just in time for me to sit in it and dream of my new kitchen which has just been finalised with the kitchen designer.

We have taken the design this way and that, complicated things and then took them right back to basics.  It is a small space and no matter what I do there will not be much storage space, although with the new and finalised design I will have a decent amount of worktop space for baking and cooking.

Would you like a sneak peek ...

... would you?

This is a computer generated image of the kitchen.

And at last I have all the plans, measurements and quotes filed away, and now this morning it is all being ordered.  Although it's hard to tell from these images the cupboard doors are all a nice muted Sage Green and the worktop ... which is also being used as a splashback ... is a pale oak effect.

Looking at it from the other angle.

The Smeg fridge-freezer will now sit at the righthand side as you stand in front of the kitchen, putting it at the left as was the original plan, lost me over 10cm of kitchen space due to the deep doors needing space to open fully so you can slide out the drawers and shelves.  This complete redesign has given me more worktop space and room for a set of three drawers.

My Welsh Bread and Cheese Cupboard more commonly known by us as the Jam Cupboard, will now be on the opposite wall next to a radiator cover which will have a small curved table top on it, ideal for a morning coffee or an hour blogging at my laptop.

So that's the plan and the sneak peek that I promised you would get.

Today's exciting development is the installation of new oak internal doors to replace the rickety bi-fold doors that led to the bathroom and bedroom.  I'll take a photo of them tonight and show you tomorrow, it's going to make such a difference to the look of the place. 

It's nice to see all the things we have both planned starting to happen, getting the tradesmen in and organised has been the hardest part but we are so grateful that our brilliant handyman has been working along steadily for the last month getting everything ready so that now the trades are finally becoming available they have all the prep work already taken care of.

And finally, thanks for all the great toast comments yesterday, it would seem that we are all a bunch of toast addicts  😁

Sue xx