Itchy feet

It didn’t take long but that strange feeling of not having any DIY or decorating to do has turned into a mad discussion of “perhaps we could just redecorate the spare room, it won’t take long…”

Since finishing the lounge our (what seemed endless at the time) list of house jobs has seriously shrunk, we’re at a stage where we now need to bring in the ‘professionals’ (loosely translated as my little brother) for the last big project – replacing all the doors – inside and out, but we’re now looking at some of the rooms we did early on in a hurry (and with a very small budget) with a critical eye. One of our pet hates has been our guest bedroom. It’s the second largest bedroom and in context of the rest of the house, when we first moved in wasn’t in too bad a state. Ok so the walls were covered in some ghastly wallpaper, which once removed left a mismatch of holes and plaster that needed sorting, but a weekend of sanding and filling and stripping back floorboards left us with a room that wasn’t in that bad a shape. We slapped on some paint and I made what was one of my first sets of practice curtains, job done. A week later we both hated the colour and faced with literally every other room to sort we just ignored it. The room doesn’t have a feature, we know there’s a covered up fireplace that eventually we’d like to uncover (but I’m working on the hubby to let me take a sledge-hammer to the one that’s covered up in the dining room first!) it’s just never really worked and we’ve never added those final touches to it.

So, my challenge last weekend, was to completely re-design it without breaking the bank. Without uncovering the fireplace, and not wanting to have a feature wall my thoughts were to make the window (and the view out across the garden and fields) the focal point. I was given a gorgeous remnant of Laura Ashley fabric (thanks Mum) which is just enough to make a roman blind and I’m going to make some floor length thin curtains to dress it. The new fabric works with the existing colour on the walls and completely changes my opinion of it. A bit of tinkering around with furniture from other rooms awaits this weekend and some accessorising and I’m hoping we’ll be pleased with the results. I’ll post some before and after shots next week and you can all tell me what you think…

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Ding dong the blue carpet’s gone…

Out of all the rooms in our home this was one of the biggest jobs (it felt even bigger than dealing with the wall incident in the main bedroom). We’d always planned to tackle this room last, as hideous blue carpet aside, it was in a lot better shape than the rest of the house.  We love our stove, which we use all through winter, so that was always going to stay, but we hated what had been done to the fireplace (see picture below). Having uncovered the chimney breast in our bedroom we knew that the chances were there was something lovely hiding behind all the cracked plaster.

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It took a whole weekend but we chipped away at the plaster and uncovered some lovely brickwork, which we re-pointed to form our main feature. I’d already begun to form an idea for the colour scheme, I wanted something a little more contemporary so opted for a grey palette. I’ve stuck with Farrow & Ball.  For the walls I used Purbeck Stone and Ammonite for the woodwork. My brother is a carpenter and he created the bespoke cupboard and shelving in the alcoves – using a piece of American walnut for the cupboard top and mantle piece, it’s a gorgeous piece of wood and against the grey Ammonite really stands out. I’m not a huge fan of symmetry (or straight lines) so on the right of the fireplace I wanted a free standing piece of furniture for the TV, we found this bargain on Ebay and with a little TLC and a lick of paint, it worked perfectly. I handmade the curtains and soft furnishings, using a Laura Ashley fabric for the curtains – Bacall which is a linen mix, I interlined them too to make the room extra cosy. Other finishing touches include the freestanding lamp which provides another level of lighting, and the upholstered Laura Ashley footstool which doubles up as a coffee table. It’s been a long project, but I think this is now one of our favourite rooms, now pass me a cup of tea…

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