Upstairs floor

The plan had been to lay parquet floor upstairs too, as we had loads of it, but unfortunately it wasn't quite right.

For a start it cost us a lot more (money and time) to adhere, sand and varnish the downstairs floors than we had projected.

Secondly it would be an absolute pain to take up again should anything need rewiring/replumbing. So we decided to go with laminate.

Well actually we were donated some laminate.

It's really nice though. Here's the close up:

You can't really see how deep the colour is, but it's lush.

I should probably wait until we've laid it all and show you the photos, but here is the beginning.

I know it's dark, but that's the hallway going through to the smallest bedroom.

It's got a gorgeous, almost red, sheen to it, and it's textured so it looks like proper wood (as oppose to the laminate that it really is).

It is going down really fast, thanks to the expertise of our friend Richard (who also donated half of it from his rental property).

Can't believe how easy this is compared to the parquet...

- Kj


I spent this morning in the garden and I can barely move now!!

That was really hard work. Our entire fence looked like this

And when I pulled all that ivy off inside there was this

Which is a really nasty thorny tree.

Still the hack saw made light work of most of it. I would have taken it all out except I found a birds nest

And it seemed mean to destroy it.

There's so much more light in the kitchen now. It's made an amazing difference. I no longer have to have the lights on in the day!

The fence does look a bit bare, but once I've cleared all the bed at the bottom I will plant something more productive there. I was planning to have a grape vine, but as Elisha is allergic to them, that seems a bit dangerous.

I'm thinking some kind of espalier. Cherry or pear maybe?


Bronze to emerald

Some of you know I had this amazing idea of taking the downstairs WC and painting it bronze. In actual fact, in my mind, it was supposed to look like hammered copper. It was going to look beautiful next to the sapphire coloured tiles.

Problem is, I've spent quite a lot of money and time on various metallic paints, and it still looks rubbish.

Not what I had in mind.

So I have given up, and instead got the people at Homebase to mix me up some emerald green bathroom paint. They have a dulux scanner which can mix you any colour you ask for in any type of paint. It's awesome.

The best part is that if they take more than two minutes to come and serve you (and they did) you get to have a 10% discount on your order.

So now the bathroom looks like this

Much better. This is a second coat. The first coat didn't go on smoothly at all. I can't decide whether that's because it was on top of a metallic paint, or whether it's because bathroom paints are more 'latexy' than standard emulsion in an attempt to water proof them.

Just waiting for the paint to dry so I can remove all the masking tape.

- Kj

Red Walls

As if the orange dining room and turquoise bathroom weren't enough, I started sanding some bitumen off the living room wall only to find another rather eccentric colour choice - blood red!!

I kid you not. As I checked a few other spots around the room it became obvious that the whole room used to be this colour.

There's no accounting for taste...


Bathroom beginnings...

The hideous turquoise in the bathroom just had to go. No amount of encouragement from family could convince me to keep it.

The first thing I did in there was to buy a lovely mushroomy coloured paint (taupe kitchen and bathroom by dulux) from wilkinsons.

I know, I know - painting before taking a wall out was silly, but I so desperately wanted to see a difference in that room. I'm all about instant gratification!

So the first thing I did was paint the walls. Next we took up the tiles on the floor. They were cheap vinyl that hadn't been laid properly and all the gaps had gone orange where the water had leaked in.

They were incredibly well stuck down though, and my attempts to lever them off with screw drivers and knives resulted in shattered bits everywhere.

In the end the best thing for the job was a wall paper scraper. Use an old one though, it blunts them very quickly!

We managed to get tiles for the bathroom and downstairs WC for free as my mum had left overs from having her kitchen re-modeled, and Matts mum kindly bought us a builder to lay them as a birthday present for Matt.

We only had to buy tiles for the wall around the bath and shower. It turned out to be a total nightmare though, with the company we had ordered from dispatching 12 day late and then sending a mixed batch of tiles that were completely unusable!

Fortunately there are loads of tile shops in Bedford, so we managed to get some nice ones fairly cheaply and then bought travertine for the border.

We actually bought large sheets of mosaic tiles and cut them into strips for the border (much cheaper than buying border tiles) but I hadn't realised when I bought them that travertine needs to be sealed before you get it wet.

Luckily we could scavenge some sealer from family, as it turns out that is pretty expensive too!

I'm pleased with the results so far. Next jobs are to grout, fit new taps, new toilet seat and rain shower!!

- Kj
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