Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Thanksgiving debate #1

Well Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and the debates are starting up in our house. How many people can we have? Who has to clean the house before? That type of thing.

My general feeling on the holiday is that it's much more about family because day to day I'm very thankful for my friends. I also feel like you can invite as many people as you have supplies for. This doesn't just mean how much food, but how many plates, forks, glasses and more importantly tables and chairs you have. Now we're pretty standard with a dining table for six. Now considering that we normally feed a small army of 13 it's always a bit of a scramble to find enough space without reverting to the camping chairs.

This year I'm determined not to end up using my in-laws rickety card tables that have to be put onto books in order to make them the same height as the main dining table. After all there really isn't a kid's table at ours yet (that is unless you break some of my china which will automatically land you with paper plate and plastic fork). So I've been on the hunt for something that can solve our space problem and stick hide away quite well for the rest of the year when we don't have these massive gatherings.  Even better would be something that we could use as outside furniture when summer comes around in about six months.

The basic list is pretty short: wood, space saving, not too expensive, comes with chairs. Here is what I came up with
PhotoGallery.aspx.jpgJohn Lewis £190

unknown.jpgIkea £89
I also found a table on Debenham's website which is £151 with six chairs.  You can see it here

Although these are all pretty good options knowing us we'll just end up borrowing my brother in law's table and chairs for the day. For a small rental fee in turkey and sides of course.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A throne is just a bench covered in velvet

Now Napolean Bonaparte may have said this (or something close to it in case I have quoted it wrong), but he probably wouldn't have turned his nose up at a lovely pillow or two to cushion that "bench" he sat on while attempting to take over Europe. While looking for throws I came across some great pillows that I would love to buy if I had a home for them in this house. Judging by the fact that House to Home claim scatter cusions as one of the top 10 things men and women fight about I'm just about ready to strap on my armour for these ones.

These are all from John Lewis and range from £18-£45. Now I for one will say that I was very surprised by all of the great pillows they've got. I know that they are the gold standard for quality and I am minorly obsessed with their kitchen and china department, but I never expected all of the great stuff they have. In fact, if I'm honest there is so much I liked I would have to put the entire selection up there and take out a second mortgage. So the above is just a small sampling. Anyone else I should check out?? Let me know!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Fall in with a roar

It is only November 3rd and the weather has taken a surprisingly chilly turn. Now this may seem like a perfectly good time for it to turn autumnal for most of you, but considering I'm still waiting on Summer to show up... This is not to say that I don't enjoy the fall weather. In fact, I really like it and find the changing scenery quite pretty. I'll try to put up some pictures of our local park in all it's pre-winter glory soon.

The cooler weather did see us turn on our lovely gas fire place (see post inspired by a fireplace for pictures) and cuddle up under a blanket on the sofa. Since our blanket is a free fleece one from PayPal I decided to see if I could find something nicer. Here are a few options I came up with.
£59 at John Lewis£90 (on sale) Fabiia
These three images are from what is fast becoming my new "crush" site. It is the Designers Guild and while they can be a quite pricey and I doubt I would be allowed to have these in the living room because of being quite girly I think they are simply stunning.
If you want to check them out yourself you can find them on:

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween my little ghouls and gobblins.

As the house renovations are taking a fairly general pause my life is filled with other exciting projects like cleaning paint off window panes....then again maybe not. So to not let the blog fall into rack and ruin while we save up for the next round of sledgehammers and builders I thought I could expand my remit to cover more general fab house stuff.

Now that I have a working kitchen (and a fab one at that) I am really enjoying digging through my recipe books and seeing what I can come up with. Plus since all three of us are big foodies when Rich suggested we try and make "real" pasta this weekend I thought sure why not I've stained floors and helped refurbish windows how hard can this be? Answer: Not hard, but very sticky.

We followed a basic egg pasta recipe of flour and lots of eggs and then covered in seran wrap and left to sit in the fridge for half and hour thinking about what it had done. After half and hour the true battle began as most of it had stuck itself to the plastic wrap. Most of a bag of flour later we had achieved the following: an incredibly dirty floor, flour masks on both of us and some lovely pasta sheets. So in an effort to use leftovers and for ease we decide to make raviolli using the beef,carrot and celery homemade ragu from the night before. Here's the finished result, not exactly food porn, but I'm hoping they'll taste good tonight while I'm hiding from all the little hooligans who are out to create havoc tonight.

Oh and just another thing, which ever busybody actually thinks this will prevent you from being bothered on Halloween doesn't understand kids. Putting this on your door is an invitation to get pelted by eggs. Just a thought...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Inspired by a fireplace

Well you would think that with the kitchen and bathroom in and well and truly broken in we would be sitting back and enjoying ourselves for a while. How untrue that is. We've just finished having the roof replaced and let me tell you none too soon. Winter seems to be coming on strong here and in celebration we turned on the gas fire today for the first time. There is something very warm and cozy about having a fireplace with a real fire in it (not least because it gives heat). So this got my mind thinking about how we can show off the fireplace when we re-do the front room in the spring.

I think the term that "real" decorators use is feature wall for this type of idea. So I though that since there will be cupboards on both sides (painted white) and we're planning on keeping most of the other stuff in the room neutral a really nice bold bit of wallpaper would look nice. I know I've ranted about wallpaper on here before, but really that's just because it's bad wallpaper. I mean bad taste is painful, but even more so when it's permanently stuck onto your wall forever. Ugh.
So here are a few options we're looking at. I think we are leaning towards the third or last option. Let me know your thoughts:

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Pretty much all there

I know I know I keep saying a) "I will put up more pictures!" and b) "It's almost done!" But seriously now it almost really is. Basically all I have to do is put the door knob back on the back door and EVENTUALLY months down the road do the window, but it is there! Here are the finished pictures of the kitchen and proof we are actually living in our house again.

Out having our celebratory beer on the river with the lovely view.

Thank GOD this stage is to replacing the roof, finishing the cupboards in our bedroom, renovating two windows, designing our new staircase....well as you can see the list goes on. But at least the major chaos is over for the moment...phew.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The most beautiful bargain EVER

Ok now everyone is a complete sucker for a deal, but some deals are real deals and some are those evil tempt you into spending more than you mean to on stuff you don't really want/like deals. Now this is definitely NOT the second type. I'm in utter completely and total love with this deal of an item and what is it....a light fixture.

I'm already dreaming of it (while awake at work mind you..they have some funny problem with people napping on the job) hanging over my dining room table. Is it too big for the room? Possibly. Will it light up the room like an airport runway? Defninitely. Has my life sunk to a new low now that I'm lusting after a light fixture? Doubt it cause this is pretty lovely and it's only .99p. Yup that's right less than £1. How good is that?! You'd love it to if you found it for that price. Got to love if only Dom would love it as much as me. Now just to convince him it's a goer.

Ps. The kitchen is basically done and more pics soon.

Monday, 13 July 2009

It's almost kind of sort of maybe by next weekend coming together

Well I'm sure you gathered from the subject of the post things are dddddrrrraaaaggggging out a bit. After waiting weeks for the kitchen and starting to install it and the bathroom almost being finished we aren't moving forward very quickly. The old adage of the last 10% of the work taking 90% of the time is very true! Here's a few pics of our progress one Sunday. As you can see several hours of work didn't get us very far, but at least the sink is in.

Despite all hard work the living room is still looking just as crowded as always. We hopefully will soon be able to reclaim our living room. Plus it doesn't help when the weather does this to you with one hour long monster rainstorm (see pic 2 below).

So all in all it's not been moving too fast and despite our best attempts to prevent it the kitchen plumbing still likes to leak on us, but we're slowly, but surely getting there. One or two more posts about this and we should be done I think!! Then I can write about pretty stuff...not a manky flooded road. Honestly I've never been more sick of something in my entire life, but I know I'll love it when it's over!

Friday, 10 July 2009

The beginnings of a kitchen

Well at long last Ikea have finally decided to show up with our kitchen...slight problem they delivered two. Now I'm all for a bit of good karma, and this is definitely good by the amount of stuff we screwed up, but really why does karma have to fill up my living room and hallway? Anyways here is our lovely patch on our dining room ceiling...not sure which looked better before or after.The bathroom is pretty much the same, but during our third round of major trash disposal I couldn't face the remenants of hideous red carpet anymore. Not only was it just plan ugly, but it was also filthy now. Since it was not worth wasting a good clean we just ripped it out and our stairs now look like this (and will probably remain this way for some time).

I would love to say the some part of it is original but I don't think MDF was around in the 1820s....

Now onto the main event: downstairs. As I said earlier IKEA gave us two kitchens and if you wondered what 190 boxes and bits from IKEA looks like here you go:

You can't see my couch, but you can see our nicely finished kitchen floors here. I think they turned out really well despite the fact I think I pinched a nerve during the 9 hours it took to do the first coat of stain. Beauty is painful. And after a days painful labor this is what we got. That's our new microwave (yay hot food) and our espresso maker. Boys must have their toys...

Luckily the kitchen has continued to go in, but god it took a lot of pain, swearing, effort and grumpy moods to get where we are today. Will put more photos up soon so you can see how it looks now.

Ps. Note to IKEA since you don't really seem all that bothered about getting your stuff back I hope you don't mind if EBAY has it. I think you owe me.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Good News and Bad News

Well kiddies we've got some good news and bad news. Good bathroom now looks like this (I know it's only a day later, but I'm a bit behind on the post SORRY!)

I have to say that despite black tiles being very difficult to clean and our builder basically threatening to charge us £6,000 per tile if we ever use make him do another bathroom with them I do think they look the best. Plus look at that amazing shower. The two shelves inside are fab, though I haven't been allowed to put anything on them yet. I just hope Dom used my bottle of Pantene Pro V as a minimum height because as I've told him more than once that shower is all mine (despite the fact that it is big enough to house half of Eastern Europe). I've been allowing him to use it because frankly after a couple of days he gets a bit whiffy and the tub has been used more for storage and less for bathing. We've still go lots of finishing touches to do in here, but I think it's looking pretty snazzy.

More good news we've got some progress downstairs as well!! Here's what it looks like. We've got a real floor down and started to do the painting as well. We decided to go for a wood floor because it stays a lot warmer in the winter than tile and frankly I get cold enough without having to stand on a floor that is basically ice coated pottery. Ick!

Here's another view of the kitchen while my lovely hubby yelling at Ikea for not delivering our kitchen the first time (I've never dealt with a bigger group of idiots). But on a good note I'm very happy by how bright it is in the kitchen.

Now despite the fact that it all looks light and lovely with these floors we are not going for Scandinavian chic so the floors will be stained DARK brown. So guess who because of a past experience with the flat gets to job of doing this. ME! Not that I care because I would be backseat staining if Dom did it. Sad, but true. I'm way too nosy to accept that he can do something he's completely capable of doing. Now ramble aside here is my experiment with getting the floor boards the right dark colour and seeing which stain and method I liked best (the brown one on the bottom won).

Now for the bad dining room ceiling now looks like this:

Just a little note to self to NEVER EVER EVER use a builder I don't know anything about and who has not been used by anyone you know. His plumbing was horrible and we had a leak and the only thing that saved the ceiling from coming down on our lovely dining room furniture is the horrible wallpaper (I don't think even the 1970s would be willing to have this stuff back) and the twelve layers of badly chosen paint on top.

Anyways I would say the end is in sight, but having survived between this point and the present I know that was a long dark tunnel where I almost thought about killing my builder...more than once.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A bit of tiling and little walls all around...

Things are moving really quickly now that the structure is up. Or maybe it's just because the blank canvas is not so blank anymore that it is starting to look like things are being done. Here's an updated shot of the bathroom with some of our tiling and some of the internal walls up. The big one hides our boiler cupboad and the little one will be what the bath taps are attached to. It looks a lot better now I promise!!

Downstairs is flying ahead as well. We actually have doors on. Aren't they pretty?! Makes it look like a real part of the house now.

Inside we've got our bar wall up. Now unfortunately there won't be beer pulls attached to this it's so we can sit and chat to whoever is cooking. I can't say that we are exactly right aroudn the corner from making a four course Thanksgiving dinner...but I might be in November...

Here's how it looks from the other end of the house. Yes it is still just as big a mess!
More tomorrow......hopefully it'll all start looking like something people could live in instead of a fancy garage.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Finally an update!

I know it's been ages, but my only excuse is that my camera decided to hide under some of the debris from the building works. Now last time you saw my lovely house it was in less than ideal standards. So in an effort to be better I'll put up a few posts over the next couple days and hopefully get all caught up (in much less time than it took the builders to do the job)!

It's all moving pretty quickly, but we still have miles to go.... Here are a few pics.

There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing walls reappear with strange wires sticking out of them....lame I know, but even more exciting is our bathroom update!

(Classy I know)

Now is may not look like much but at least we've got a floor and basic stuff in and yes we have cleared out the bathtub.

More tomorrow!