Tag Archives: workmen

As if we were ever going to have a boring utility room…

Apologies for such a long radio silence, it’s not been a good few weeks due to never-ending lurgy and the sad loss of a good friend, so blogging has slipped down the list of priorities. But, hello – how are you doing?

I haven’t forgotten I promised more info on items in the sitting room or that I still have room reveals to do. They will come eventually, I promise.

Meanwhile we have been turning our attention – amongst other things – to what will be the utility room. It was the old kitchen:

Old Kitchen

It is now currently a dumping ground that is too disgraceful right now to share pics of. It’s a pretty good size for a utility room and, honestly, we’ve struggled a bit with ideas of what to do with it. Home gym? Bar? Games room? Sauna? But in the end, what we want and need is a utility room/storage so that’s what it shall be. It is also where The Humph will reside at night and is home to the cat tunnel.

But who said utility rooms have to be dull? Admittedly we need to keep the costs down so are turning to good old Ikea for plain white units and worktops and we’ve also selected a wood effect laminate instead of real wood floor. That’s allowed me to squeeze the budget enough to go slightly crazy with other things!

So, how about Farrow and Ball’s Pelt for a wall paint colour – a deliciously dark purple which will look great contrasted with the white units, no?

Farrow and Ball Pelt

Farrow and Ball Pelt

And the feature wall (yes, that’s right, our utility room will have a feature wall, obviously) will be this stunning beauty which is SunBird by Matthew Williamson. We only need a couple of rolls, so totally justifiable, right?

Matthew Williamson Sunbird wallpaper

Matthew Williamson Sunbird wallpaper – stunning copper background

Whilst I’ve reluctantly accepted we will just have plain white Ikea units (and Oly even won the common sense/financial argument against high gloss) we did want something a little more ‘us’ than an Ikea handle so I finally found these bad boys:

Chinese style handles

Chinese style handles

And all that coppery brassy goodness is just crying out for light fittings that I’ve been eyeing up for a long time and am delighted to finally find a home for. Hello Plumen gorgeousness!

Plumen Drop Cap in Copper

Plumen Drop Cap in Copper

And to top off all this excitement, we’re getting a new stunning top-of-the range washing machine and dryer from my new and totally bestest friends at Samsung. Who knew a washing machine could be sexy? But yeah, I know, isn’t it? And it has it’s own app. Yep.

Samsung ecobubble washing machine

Samsung ecobubble washing machine

So, we’re off to Ikea tomorrow to order the units and our favourite tradesman is due to start in a couple of weeks. We have until then to sort all the crap, decant and paint the walls.

Do you like our choices? Too crazy for a utility room – or would you expect nothing less?!

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Lots of grain, lots of pain

We’ve not really been blogging much recently. Sorry, have you missed us?!

“What’s been stopping you entertaining us with your witty musings” I hear you cry. In a word, dear reader? SANDING.

The sanding box of doom. The sight of it makes my heart sink.

The sanding box of doom. Just the sight of it makes my heart sink.

Now, I am the Queen of Underestimating at the best of times but this time, woah, holy moly, that’s some serious work. Every single bit of wood in this house (except the ‘we’ll do it next year’ study and bathroom) has been lovingly rubbed, smoothing the way for a more elegant future.

I don’t think we realised just how much wood there was in this house or how fiddly sanding it all would be.

Original architraving and skirting is certainly stunning but the nooks and crannies hide varnished crimes that stubbornly refuse to be shifted.

We also never realised just how evil the sticky reddy brown varnish would be to get off. We were originally quite joyful at the lack of gloss in this house and yet half way through would have given anything for some simple gloss to go at!

We’ve spent weeks covered in icky red dust. Weeks covered in a film of skank. Weeks wheezing and puffing our way through misty clouds that gets EVERYWHERE! And don’t even get me started on the state of our poor hands.

Of course, we had an added problem – our plasterer. I’m not sure its possible to have found a tradesman who was messier or more inconsiderate. There were dribbles and lumps of plaster everywhere – we would frequently disappear behind clouds of plaster dust only to emerge angry and swearing.

He had also managed to get PVA all over the woodwork, and that stuff clogs up a sander faster than drunk chavs in Maccie Ds on a Friday night.

So, the plasterer has become He Who Must Not Be Named because of the extra mess and time he has cost us. Throughout our sanding ordeal Oly has very nearly needed anger management because of Him.

And yet, triumphantly we have now finished the sanding. Woohoo!! It honestly feels like a bit of a turning point.

Clearly sanding isn’t all we’ve been up to but it has totally dominated – we reckon we’ve done about 60 hours each.

We’ve actually just had a week of leave and are now absolutely exhausted, not having stopped work till about 10pm each night. We’ve really just returned to work for a break (Oly even started a new job today!)

There are however more exciting things we can blog about and will do soon. For now, we’re just giddy to see the back of the sanding.

So the next time you have a friend or family member embarking on any type of renovation, don’t offer to give them a hand with the painting, do some emulsioning for them or even suggest a paint party* – just help them out with a bit of sanding, they’ll love you forever.

purvs corner Haworth*We did consider telling our friends we’d get the pizza and beers in if they’d come to our Rub-Down Party.

Decided against it in the end, sounded a touch pervy.

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Filth

Getting tired of looking at this

We don’t seem to have much luck with plasterers. The first one we tried to contract broke his leg just after leaving our house.

The second kept cancelling and eventually we had to sack him off.

The third got started around 10 days ago. When we say ‘got started’ that’s probably being generous. It’s taken him days to really get started. He’ll turn up, do a bit and then either have to go and tax his car, get fitted for a suit for his brother’s wedding, smoke a fag or or run some other mysterious errand.

We’ve discovered several key facts about our plasterer since he’s been (occasionally) in our house:

  • He works at a slow pace. Treacle would give him a run for his money
  • He’s a bit stupid (sorry, but it’s true) so needs to be told the same thing on several occasions
  • His bucket has a leak in it and it will flood into your new kitchen diner from above, through the light fitting (no lasting harm done thankfully)
  • He can eat his own body weight in biscuits
  • And above all? He’s really really really messy.

Admittedly, we always knew the plastering stage would be a touch messy given the state of the walls and the artex ceilings but  he gets it EVERYWHERE.

We won't be having overnight guests any time soon

We won’t be having overnight guests any time soon

We now feel like we’re living in a bit of a building site and, I’m ashamed to say, we’re not even attempting to clean it up each day. I’m too ashamed to even share the photographic evidence. We are living like pigs, surrounded by plaster filth and detritus.

That damn carpet is holding up better than we are

That damn carpet is holding up better than we are

So, all in, we are finding our patience is exceedingly stretched and we’re not really getting anywhere fast. Still, he’s an honest lad, desperate to do a good job. We had been hopeful it would all be completed within the 3 week timescale he originally gave us but that is looking more and more unlikely – particularly as he ended up in A&E last week with chest pains……turns out he’s torn a muscle in his chest, right by his heart. How? Stretching to do our ceilings. Ooops. So, now there’ll be a few days off whilst he recovers from that.

Will we ever get rid of the artex that plagues us?! Even the cat is getting stroppy.

Meanwhile, we are limping towards the finish line with our kitchen diner. All will be revealed soon – promise! – but it’s looking, quite frankly,  incredible and is the one thing maintaining our sanity. Just.

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A 32 hour lesson

We both work in corporate communications. A large part of our day is spent clarifying messages, aiding understanding and making sure everyone knows the score. Clearly, we can’t be arsed to do that outside of work or the disaster that was last weekend would never have occurred.

A major misunderstanding with Kitchen Guy went something like:

“Just checking, you are doing all the painting in the kitchen diner, right?”
“Erm, no.”
“But we thought that was what we’d agreed – you do everything, we don’t need to touch any of it.”
“Except the decorating. I don’t do painting.”
“But you did the painting on the job you did for our friends, you did everything for them whilst they were on holiday.”
“No, they paid for a decorator to do the painting, I just organised it.”
“Ah. So, can we add it on to the job now?”
“No chance. That’s 2 weeks of a professional decorator’s time.”
“Ah.”

Head in Hands

Dawning realisation

So, it kind of explained our bemusement at the order of work thus far. We did wonder why they put spotlights into the ceiling before painting them and radiators onto bare plastered walls etc. Just kept putting it down to “Ooooo, I guess that’s how professionals do it. Isn’t it fascinating?”

We also wondered why Kitchen Guy gave an ‘am I meant to care?’ look when we told him the paint had been delivered and was stacked in the hallway.

As we marvelled at our incredible stupidity our choices loomed sharply into focus.

1) Pay for a pro when the job is complete. (Meaning the kitchen diner wouldn’t be finished for another few weeks and it would cost a fair whack, which we don’t really have left for this room.)

2) Do the painting ourselves when the kitchen was installed – being incredibly careful not to get paint on our new cupboards, floor, appliances, granite etc etc (Note: We are not incredibly careful people and masking up a job of that size would take FOREVER.)

3) Stop whining, refuse to believe it’s 2 weeks work for a professional decorator and that it’s totally beyond a pair of amateurs and get the f***on with it. It’s only painting after all.

Yes, dear readers, we went for option 3. Because we are stupid and stubborn.

So, in one weekend we:

      • Mist coated 2 ceilings (watered down emulsion to seal the bare plaster)
      • Mist coated all the walls
      • Sanded, undercoated and two 2 coats on the coving
      • Slapped 2 coats on the walls


At this point it seems only fair to remind you that the space we are working in is pretty big and the ceiling is about 3 metres from the ground. And, we had no light as the electrics aren’t yet wired up. Impressed yet? You bloody should be.

All in, this took us 32 hours. Each.

So, 64 hours – yep, Kitchen Guy was right: 2 weeks work for a pro.

IMG_2647

Cornforth White, All White and Great White

Did we do a great job? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t bad considering. We didn’t sand down nicks on the walls in between coats, we didn’t have time but, all in, we were pretty proud – especially when, this week, we were complimented on our finish by a very experienced tradesman. We still have woodwork to finish off but that’ll be much easier to tackle, even with everything installed.

Farrow and Ball greys

There was a lot of surface to cover

What we learnt:

      • Clarify exactly what is included when you hire any tradesman (yeah, yeah, basic principle, we know, we shouldn’t have had to learn this the hard way, blah blah blah)
      • 32 hours is a serious amount of hours to put into one weekend and it is not recommended, however keen you think you are. 
      • Painting on that level can make you hurt in places you had no idea could hurt that doesn’t subside for days and inexplicable bruising will appear
      • When rollering, small specks of paint make you look like you have the pox and will alarm the local shop keeper when popping out for a pint of milk
      • Painting high ceilings is undoubtedly the most evil job ever (especially when you’re only 5’3’’)
      • Farrow and Ball paint is worth every last goddamn penny as it goes on like a dream and the finish is amazing – we ain’t never looking back
      • A sense of humour, and a little whisky, can get you through just about anything
Downpipe cabinet

We’re really pleased with the colours

There’s also a slight satisfaction that whilst Kitchen Guy is doing an amazing job and we were quite happy to hand the whole lot over (and indeed thought we had) there’s something quite satisfying about knowing our own blood, sweat and tears are in that room now.

Above all, our 32 hour lesson has taught us that, if we put our mind to it, we can do it. So the rest of the house feels a tiny bit less daunting now.

Bring it on.

His n hers

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Kitchen diner day 1

Our biggest project has started! Having returned from a much-needed break in Corfu we set about clearing the utility room:

And then the lounge, which looked immediately better as soon as the dark red carpet was ripped up (and duly freecycled!):

We then took the opportunity in the empty room to measure up for the dining table we’re having made.

Why use a tape measure when a 6'2'' Oliver will do?

Why use a tape measure when a 6’2” Oliver will do?

The next day, it was all change as the (already false) wall came down pretty quickly:

Out came the mouldings and the fire surround:

Now, it’s no exaggeration to say that when this was all done and tidied up for the day, we just stood in the space and repeatedly exclaimed, in a soap opera stylee:  “Oh. My. God.” (and some choice expletives).

We really hadn’t been able to visualise how it could look and just how huge and cavernous it feels, let alone how lovely and light it would be.

Looking towards what will be the dining area

Looking towards what will be the dining area

Looking towards what will be the kitchen end

Looking towards what will be the kitchen end

So, that’s what 14 by 30 feet looks like. Who knew?!

We suspect the changes over the next few days will not be as dramatic, but can’t wait to find out.

We’re now incredibly excited about realising our dream space, a tiny bit apprehensive that what we’ve chosen will all come together but, above all else, very pleased with ourselves that we were able to spot this potential. (We’re just not thinking about the cost………..)

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