House update

I'm back after a very long absence - I have been missing blogging but just not finding any time to do it! This is the third attempt to write this blog before tiredness takes over and I end up shutting the computer and falling asleep! Work is busy and every weekend for what feels like forever has been taken up decorating the new house. Slow, back-breaking labour is the name of the game at the moment. We are desperately trying to get it into a livable-in state. One day soon I hope.....

I thought I would share a few pictures of what things are looking like and what we've been getting up to.

We now have a loft! (this is extremely exciting for a hoarder like me). When our builder knocked down the wall in the kitchen it created an enormous amount of dust so as soon as the loft was boarded I set about cleaning everything and storing it away safely so it stays spick and span (well, that's the plan anyway). The loft was just a squalid little hole when we bought the house and was strangely full of clothes. I mean bags and bags full of clothes. Creepy. Now it's a lovely warm useful space for filling with junk treasures. Yay!

Can't wait to get our pictures up on the walls. I've been missing them!

While the builders were in doing the kitchen we turned our attention to our little plot of land and set about knocking it into shape. We hired a rotivator to churn up all the scraggy bits of lawn and weeds and then created a gravelled seating area and planned out a new area for the lawn. 

We painted our fence and built a new path that winds up through the garden. Somehow we managed to choose the hottest weekend to do all the heavy lifting and digging. So as our neighbours sat around having barbeques and enjoying the sunshine, we were hauling wheelbarrows of earth around and cursing ourselves for not buying a little flat with a nice neat square metre of balcony. 

We bought ourselves a new (old) bench. It's a bit rickety but I like the shape and the fact that it's nice and compact, perfect for a little city garden. I'm looking forward to sitting down on it with a G&T after work one day, maybe in about 2 years time....

Our plants are looking a bit happier too. I treated myself to a couple of Scabius plants. I love them so much - they're so messy and happy looking. And I had them in my wedding bouquet so they always make me think of that!

I'm really pleased with the gravel we chose. It's called something like Lomond, and is meant to look a bit like pebbles from beaches on the South East coast (I was obviously totally won over by that!). I chose it because it's got lots of grey and yellow in it so it blends in well with the London stock in the house. 

Meanwhile, inside things have been hotting up too. Our kitchen, which before was a horrible mish-mash of cobbled together cupboards, rotten doors and very dodgy plumbing, is now something resembling a kitchen! Yay again!

It's still not quite finished but we do have....

A floor! Woohoo!

And a sink!

And some kitchen worktops and an extractor fan! Yippee!

Elsewhere in the house we have been on a decorating mission. When we stripped off the wallpaper the walls were ok but a bit patchy and not exactly smooth. It would have taken us about a million years to sand them down and patch them up ourselves so we got a plasterer in to put a skim on the worst walls. Then it was just a matter of painting painting painting. 

Looking glamorous!

While I got on with the painting R did lots of banging, sawing and general mess-making. He managed to replace lots of floorboards - I was very proud of him! It was not easy!

We have had some nice sunny lunches in the garden. We are always absolutely starving by the time we get to lunchtime and sometimes we forget to eat until about 4pm. Oh dear...

Last weekend we hired.... the sanding machines. Duh duh duuuuuh!

The sanding machines. One giant one and one smaller one for the edges of the room. We were both a bit apprehensive about how hard and messy it was going to be, but actually it was alot easier than we were expecting. And the machines manage to keep the dust to a minimum too. We put a damp cloth over the doorway to the room too which caught alot of the dust (although made it a hot dust chamber inside!)

R took on the sanding while I spent about 6 hours scraping about six layers of manky old paint from the banisters and skirting. I listened to an obscene amount of radio 4. Unfortunately I missed alot of what was said though as the sanding machines were so loud! (Sorry, neighbours). 

This little patch of banister took me about an hour. Dear Lord. So far, the best method we've found is heat gun and scraper but I'm not sure I'm going to have the patience to do all of the spindles. If anyone has any other recommendations/ ideas LET ME KNOW.

I also put down some a first coat of undercoat on our newly sanded floor. This was an exciting moment I can tell you! We are still undecided about the colour we're going to paint them but we're keen on Ammonite from Farrow and Ball. It's a sort of soft grey that I think will look good with the white walls.

Trying to work out what colour we like best.... (Ammonite is the second one from the left). Just the small matter of skirting to sort out in here....

And finally, at the end of a brute of a weekend we have two sanded and painted bedrooms and we are a large step closer to moving in. 

We felt pretty damn proud of ourselves. And very happy with our lovely floorboards! Monday morning was pretty hellish though. Next weekend, painting and varnishing the floors. Our builder is hard at work on the bathroom at the moment so I will post another update soon! xx