Showing posts with label messy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label messy. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Evolving Interior Design; The dining room

Or maybe I should call it the slightly-more-than-two-year-saga-of-removing-a-fireplace... Yes folks, that is honestly how long it took! I know because of the wonder and sometimes sadness that is timehop.

Do I feel ashamed? A little. Does my husband feel ashamed. No, speed doesn't matter to him at all and the fact that I'm always after INSTANT GRATIFICATION does drive him a little bit mad. Same for all the people I know really, I don't get it. Why not want things done yesterday now!

The dining room was pretty much the worst in the whole house. It's hard to remember exactly how grim it was, but looking at this picture I'm sure the point comes across.
The wallpaper was hanging off, and an ugly used-to-be-green-but-is-now-nicotine-yellow. The carpet was one of those exceptionally good quality yet exceptionally ugly patterns. The curtains were filthy and disgusting. Although, after a wash, they now are exceptionally good painting cloths so every cloud...

The fireplace. Oh, the fireplace. Strange stone, exposed and ugly-shade-of-beige concrete, painted black bricks, random gold fire-hood-type-thing, a semi-decent fire surround and then a gap above the fireplace with a strange and badly fixed strip of wood across it.

On a side note though - look at that original pantry cupboard. Stunning! We even found some left over crystal glasses in it, surely from the days of glamour and before anyone installed the monstrosity to the right.

Here is a more recent picture. Just so you know, I kept the beautiful pantry and managed to uncover a gem! That is the best thing about old houses (ours is around 110- 125 years old).

Back to the beginning. We had to live with it for a while. This must have been a very early picture as I took the curtains down very quickly indeed. (Wearing gloves). I love the way I've photographed a feather duster on the table, as if, yeah I dust regularly! (I don't.)

After much persuading, I convinced the chap to tackle removing the bricks to see what was underneath. I had a good feeling, but even I was surprised by how good it turned out to be.
Above you can see husband in the act of removing concrete and a close up of that strange fire hood thing.

After about two hours.
Doubts and feelings-of-omg-how-long-is-this-going-to-take started here.

A mere 4 billion hours later we were here. Ok, it might have been more like 15, but it felt a lot looonger.

And then another 4 billion later we got to this. I stopped taking pictures of the bits in between due to the general despondency and tiredness.
It's hard to get a sense of scale but the bottom of the lintel rests on my shoulder. It's about 5 foot high. The removal of bricks was just neverending. But look at the lintel. It's mahoosive and sandy-coloured-stone and just overall gorgeous!
We saved all the good bricks though, for the garden. The fire surround was painted matt black and put to good use too. Waste not, want not and all.
But then, we didn't really know what to do.

We lived with the whole room like this for a long time. I stripped the wallpaper and painted the whole room white.
As you can probably tell from the pictures the light in this room is wonderful and it's also very private. Nobody overlooks this space.
I cleaned and repainted the pantry cupboard too and sprayed the handles black.
Then very little happened.

We looked into the soot blackened hole every day and stopped noticing it.
We had had the chimney swept so it wasn't a dirt or soot problem. It was just ugly.

I restored a beautiful 1950's kitchen cupboard to match the gap where presumably a second pantry cupboard would have been. On this piece of furniture I cleaned it and sanded it and replaced the handles and sprayed them black. It had these stunning three vents though, so I painted them purple so they stood out slightly more. It was one of those serendipitous moments as it fitted so perfectly.
Then we finally hired a plasterer, the lovely Steve, who is a friend of ours and also supremely talented and he made it look amazing.
There was a lot of cleaning prior to that, but, you know, cleaning isn't the most exciting thing to discuss. Basically hot water, spray bleach, wire brush, repeat ad infinitum!

Here was the first moment I started to love this room. I knew it had potential and could be beautiful but at this point I sort of fell for it.
The window is huge and looks out over my garden, it isn't overlooked and the light is fantastic. I started spending a lot of time in here.
It's the room where I blog, where I journal and where I talk to my friends and where I read.
Recently I also got rid of the carpet and my brother-in-law and husband fitted some beading around the wood floor. I sanded and then painted the floor and it's now a lovely space.

And after all that, I think that concludes the saga of removing a fireplace.
It was worth it.
Yes, I wish it had been quicker.
Honestly, it's just the way things happened. I've moved on from ashamed to proud! Happy days.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

How to find balance in your life?


The title sounds like I'm going to write a tutorial on how to be perfect doesn't it? A bit Martha-Stewart-esque! Or whoever the British equivalent may be - Delia Smith? Kirstie Allsop? I actually have no idea.

I'm not.

I really haven't cracked it.

You see... I get a bit lost without a project in my life.

If things are going too well, I tend not to do so well. It's strange really but obviously I thrive on chaos.

Instead, I take on far too many things, don't always finish them all and end up spending an inordinate amount of time looking around me at all the started, almost-started, just-piles-of-stuff-and-not-started-at-all things and not knowing where to begin.

For example at this very moment in time I am surrounded by the following things...

  1. A pile of fabric, a second hand easel and a hook which combined do have the potential to make a wonderful large rug for my front room.
  2. Six dining room chairs which are in need of painting and recovering and the foam to do this with and the fabric. I have painted three of them. So I have started this, but not finished. Sigh.
  3. A tote bag full of scrapbook pages from a trip I took which need making into a book. I watched a tutorial on how to sew pages together, bought the stuff and then... Nothing. Nada. Shame.
  4. Two prototypes of my boxes/fancy shelves/ help-me-I-need-a-name-for-them which need crochet adding and painting to be finished.
  5. Three half done cushion covers.
  6. A wonderful large circular rocking chair which needs a new coat of paint as it is a hideous dark green.
  7. A fabulous planter-bottom-type-thing which was the bottom of a beautiful garden cloche which was stolen out of my front garden and which I have hoarded kept for three years as I just knew something could be done with it. I'd like to paint it and maybe add some paper and tape to it and use it on my bedroom chest of drawers to try and corrall all the products that I should use-more-often-but-am-so-tired-I-usually-forget.

Hmmm. Where to even start. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 17 April 2015

My severe lack of laser beam focus


I like reading blog posts. I know, shocking really! I guess no major surprises there. However I read one recently that really resonated with me. It was by Amber Dusick who is the comic genius behind Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. She posted a link to an old blog, here, all about her lack of focus. I could not stop thinking about this. I even woke up in the night with this statement on my mind.

I have a severe-lack-of-laser-beam-focus. I just can't do it. I like too many things, and all at once. I am your classic Jack of all trades yet master of none. I really like Malcolm Gladwell's books and he talked about needing 10,000 hours practice to become an expert at anything. That's 10 hours a week of something for almost 20 years. Or, should you want to nail it in just 5 years, it's more than 38 hours a week.

On the one hand, that means after being a project manager for 12 years, as I have, I am now an expert. I am pretty good at it actually. But there is nothing else I've been so consistent at, except sleeping and I don't even think I'm that good at that.

I posted on facebook around 3am one day saying I was wide awake listening to my husband sleep, again. Also that at that moment I hate him. Not my nicest moment I have to admit. However, sleep deprived, frustrated and just generally cross&angry does not put me at my best. He's not on fb so had no idea too. But one of my friends, a woman who has been happily married for 20 years told me she was shocked, as we've only been married a year and that we should still be in the honeymoon period. I felt a bit bad then. So there is a little tale to explain how bad I am at sleeping!

I'm not really sure I'm currently painting myself in the best light here. Yet, it's honest and that matters to me. I'll keep being honest on here and sharing what I do badly alongside bits I am proud of.

I'm just like anyone else, I reckon.

There is some good: I get excited easily, I'm willing to have a go at things, I'm interested in almost everything, I love learning, I'm not afraid to fail and I'm a good Mum, an honest and kind person, an avid reader and there would be more. I'm British though and that's enough big-head-ed-ness for one day.

There is also some bad: I hate cooking and am not very good at it unless you like burnt food, I need time alone and can be quite unsociable sometimes, possibly I am too honest and my life might be simpler with a few white lies (see above admission re facebook posts in the middle of the night), I'm often unfocused and I am the messiest person you could ever meet.

I really do mean it about the messy bit. I saw an instagram post from Holly offa Decor8 not so long ago and she had talked about being messy and styling shoots and ignoring corners which are messy. I kid-you-not there were maybe three papers and some tape on a table. Now, I admire Holly a lot, (I actually took her Blogging Your Way course for work last year and thought it was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone - you can see more about her courses here), but we obviously have vastly different definitions of mess. I'm sure that to Holly it was messy. Not to me though.

All this led me to a quite profound thought... As I get older I realise I need to embrace who I am and not try to be someone else.

Thanks for reading,