Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Our First House

Well I thought it was about time we did an update on how the house is coming along. I tend to show lots of images of inspirational interiors on this blog but wanted to share how I am trying to put those influences into practise (even though I do get it wrong a lot of the time!).

So first of is the hallway. When we moved in the original pine floorboards were bare but after years of neglect had turned a horrible sludgy orange colour. The walls all along the hallway, stairs and upstairs landing were covered in woodchip paper which had then been painted with a glossy magnolia paint. (Nooooo I hear you cry). For the life of me I don't know why anyone would choose woodchip wallpaper. But then when we started to peel it back we realised why they had used it, the plaster underneath was pitted and uneven and basically needed re-skimming. So we got a quote which was really expensive and way out of our meagre budget so we set about filling and sanding it all ourselves.

Tom sanded the floorboards with a view to eventually painting or oiling them. We took up the hideous carpet on the stairs and are sanding and priming all the woodwork in readiness for new carpets being put in in a weeks time. 

So generally the hallway looks a lot brighter but still needs quite a lot of work. Also the slightly nautical looking light fitting will be replaced with something more contemporary.

Moving onto the living room. The first two images show the room as it was on our first viewing, dark, dingy with a strange green colour on the walls, a faux fireplace and another hideous cheap carpet. (not that I've got anything against cheap carpet, but it was that mottled man made fibre type of carpet). The proportions of the room were great and the bay window was a plus, but it just needed updating and brightening.

Tom and I are pretty much novices when it comes to DIY and decorating so this room took the longest. We decided to strip all the woodwork as it had layers upon layers of paint, since doing this we've decided it's definitely not worth all the time, effort and burns from the heat gun so all the other areas in the house are just being sanded and then painted. 

So as you can see we stripped out the carpets and hired a sander and waxed the floors with a mix of linseed oil and beeswax to return the floor to its original glory, it's a bit rough and ready and needs a another coat of wax but looks much better. The walls are painted in Welcome Pale by The Little Greene Paint Company and all the woodwork is painted in brilliant white eggshell by Crown

My mum is making some new blinds in Lorton Ebony fabric by Villa Nova which hopefully will look lovely and in keeping with the overall mid century look.

We removed the faux pine mantelpiece, couldn't quite believe it was only attached to the wall with two tiny screws. We're not sure whether to eventually get a new fireplace and hearth put in or maybe just a slate hearth. What do you think, any suggestions?

We still need a piece of furniture for the TV to hide all the wires and DVD player, at the moment its taking up my precious Ercol pebble table. I do love that I now have space to show off the Ercol chairmakers rocking chair in the bay window.

Now for the dining room, as you can see the tenant had crammed it full of large pieces of furniture, which I swore I would try not to do. Again, the same hideous carpet, magnolia walls and a picture rail that was hanging off the wall.

This was when we were practically living in the dining room while the living room was being finished. What did I just say about not filling it with stuff!

So even though we haven't decorated this room yet (it's next on the list after upstairs). We've sanded the floorboards, stripped out the naff picture rail and installed a new blind (courtesy of mum). 

Eventually this room will be white, as will the pine built in dresser and we will have a new desk for the Mac. see this earlier post for my ideas. Tom's Newgate Brixton Clock takes pride of place on the wall and eventually there will be prints galore adorning the walls as well as a large Blackboard on the right hand side wall.

The kitchen, even though a good size is very dark and overcrowded. 

We can't really afford to do much so we started with getting rid of the artex on the ceiling (artex is up there with woodchip as my top decorating no no's). 

You probably can't see from the pics but the ceiling looks so much better already and once all the walls are painted will hopefully bounce more light into the room.

We are considering get rid of all the wall cupboards as these seem to add to the cluttered dark look. The plan is to then add some floating open shelving to display my collection of pots and bowls, and paint the remaining lower cabinets, off white, to add light. Any suggestions or ideas welcome

At the rear of the house from the kitchen we have a small hallway area for coat and shoe storage. We will have to come up with some nifty and smart storage solution here but still working on that. 

This is the cupboard used for the boiler and washing machine. The whole thing definitely needs tidying up and reorganising but it serves a purpose at the moment.

As with a lot of Victorian terraces the bathroom is at the back of the ground floor. It's generally in a good state, but not to our taste.

From the mini hall area you have the back door, again this is old and in need of some TLC but we've got all summer to do that (as well as caring for a newborn so maybe not that much time).

The back door leads onto the side return which in general is pretty untidy looking but we've got plenty of time to decide what to do here. Maybe we'll soften it up with some planters and climbers. Might be good place for some herbs.

Onto the garden this was it looked on our first viewing. Sunny, long and south facing with lovely walnut and silver birch trees at the back.

We spent the very first weekend we moved into trimming back and removing a lot of the shrubs that were taking up precious space. We haven't really done anything else since apart from lay some grass seed, but we have big plans for this garden over the coming months. Watch this space!

Now for the upstairs. As before the landing was covered in woodchip, old carpet, magnolia paint everywhere and a wobbly banister. So after a lots of sanding and filling, the walls look much better, the banister has be reinforced and the whole thing will be painted white and a new carpet laid. The last push to get it all decorated will be taking place this Easter weekend so fingers crossed!

From landing we head to the main bedroom. The image below is how it looked when we first viewed it. Again dark and in need of some love, with a not very useful narrow built-in wardrobe on the left of the chimney breast.

So after a lot of time and effort, mainly on Tom's part as I was feeling quite tired during the early part of my pregnancy, the results are below. The walls are painted in Welcome Pale and the woodwork in white. We haven't touched the doors yet, as we wanted to wait for better weather so we can sand and paint them outside and get them rehung properly. 

Mum kindly made the mink velvet curtains, which I love. The Manhattan bed in Pebble is from Feather and Blacks and is possible the comfiest bed ever. The lampshade and Bloomsbury Duvet cover are by Habitat and we have used Kartell Componibili storage units as bed side tables. Everything else has either been inherited or bought at antique fairs, so a complete mix of old and new, which is how I like it.

We had new fitted wardrobes installed which are so much more useful and a great use of what would have been a bit of a redundant space. You wouldn't even know there was a chimney breast in there. To top it all off I now have a place to display all my deco mirrors, I always knew there was a reason why I've bought so many over the years,Yay!

The second bedroom will be the main task for this weekend. This is how it was used by the previous occupier. 

So where do I start, the carpet is being replaced, all walls and ceiling need sanding down and painting as does all the woodwork including the built in cupboard you can see on the left. This is a lovely sunny room as it's south facing and more than big enough for a double bed, so this is going to be the guest room.

As you can see it's pretty much been used as storage room thus far, but after this weekend it will be transformed. Is that yet another deco mirror you see, I'm afraid it is, it's an obsession of mine!

And finally onto the what will be the nursery. Its petite but perfect as again it's a sunny room and a baby doesn't need much space to begin with, so I'm told. Tom and I are currently at loggerheads about which fabric to pick for the curtains in here. He wants Harlequin Distant Shores, I would like Harlequin What a Hoot. The distant shores is unisex where as What a hoot is pretty and girly, so we'll just have to decide when the bump arrives.

In here the carpet is being replaced, walls and woodwork painted in white for a neutral blank canvas so we can add colour later. I'd like to replace the light fittings but we'll have to see how the budget goes.

So that's our house from top to bottom, front to back. We've done a lot already but there is still loads more to do. I think I truly underestimated how long it takes to decorate a house but it will be well worth it in the end. I hope you enjoyed my mammoth post and I will try to keep you updated on our progress and anything useful we learn along the way.

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