Sunday, 21 September 2014

First appearances...

During one of the hottest weeks in August (relatively speaking - this is the UK after all), I had a week of annual leave so I could be at home while the roofers were here repairing the chimneys. This was a requirement of my mortgage company and the work had to be completed by October. Essentially they needed to do some re-pointing and waterproofing to the chimney stacks and to cap the disused chimneys to prevent rain entering and causing damp.

 The scaffolding in place

The new chimney pots ready to be installed

Given that I had to be at home, I decided to use the time (and fine weather) to undertake some work at the front of my home.

On first appearances, things didn't look so bad...
...whilst the bright blue front door and the ugly house number plaque weren't to my taste (not to mention the straggly garden planting), things seemed relatively well kept.

However, if you took a closer look, this is what you would see...
 Peeling paint on the masonry and painted brick work

 Peeling and cracking around the door architrave

 Ditto above the door (complete with spider webs and ugly porch light)

 Cracked and peeling paint on the eaves/soffits

Even the door step left a lot to be desired

My concern was that if I left this for another winter, then some more permanent damage would occur to the building (particularly the woodwork). I can't admit to enjoying this at all (it was simply very hard work), but I got stuck in and managed to:
  • Strip the woodwork and repaint
  • Sand down the painted masonry and repainted
  • Stripped and re-painted the door step
  • Repainted the front door
  • Replaced the house number plaque
Later in the year, I'm having a landscape gardener come and re-work the front garden for me. This will involve lifting all of the stones and re-establishing some more formal garden beds along the fence and underneath the bay window. I wasn't going to touch the front garden until the gardener undertook the main work. However, it was looking in such poor condition after I had spent the better part of a week trampling over it, I decided to also remove all of the existing shrubs. I've done a little replanting in the areas that will align with the new garden beds...the remainder of the planting will need to wait until he removes the hard landscaping.

Anyway, here is the finished product...
 Note the new shutters at the bedroom window - more on this in a future post...

 Some new lavender bushes and a standard myrtle are now gracing the garden. There is a second myrtle to plant on the other side of the bay window, but I need to wait for the landscaper to did out some concrete. I had always planned to use myrtles here (something a bit different to standard bays), but was delighted to find such a good deal at the Crocus open day on 6 Sept when they were reduced from £40 to £10 each.

The ugly porch light is still to be replaced with a more traditional lantern when I can get the electrician back... but a bit of dove grey paint, a simple slate house number, and a much more altogether calm and elegant welcoming entrance to my home...well I like to think so anyway!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The kitchen refresh...

As you will recall from my last post, I decided that a mini-makeover was in order for my kitchen. The longer term plan is to extend the kitchen and have french doors leading on to the garden. But, I decided that I couldn't live with the pink walls and bright mosaics for the several years it will be until I undertake the extension.

Here is a reminder of where I started:

The plan of work included:

  • paint the walls a shade of greige
  • remove the tile and replace with white subway tile
  • paint all of the pine woodwork white
  • paint the cream cupboards white
  • replace the black sink (and probably the tap as well)
  • make a new roman blind for the window
It took several weeks, but is almost complete - I need to wait for the builder to replace the sink and tap for me (that is a diy step too far for this novice), but all else is done.

Work in progress...
Glass mosaic tiles  and wall shelves removed

Undercoat on walls, woodwork painted, cupboard painting and tiling in progress

And the finished product...
 The walls are a very pale grey - I probably could have gone a shade darker given the light in this room, but am still very happy with it. It is Shadows (223) from Little Greene in intelligent eggshell.

 I made the lined roman shade using this tutorial 

 My originally cream clock also had a mini-makeover with Annie Sloan Paris Grey paint.
The print is an RHS botanical archive print.

A close up of my first (and quite possibly last) attempt at tiling.

All in all, it is so much more pleasant spending time in this room now. 

Work has also been progressing elsewhere inside and outside of the house - updates coming!