Husband and I have been busy little beavers and completed lots of projects around the house over the summer. I may go into some of these in more detail in other posts. For now, I’ll give you a quick (ish) rundown of all the painting and DIY jobs we’ve tackled and some sneak peaks at planned future endeavours.
Painting the Living Room
This is almost certainly the biggest change we’ve made. We painted the biggest room in the house purple.
We held back on making any drastic changes until we were sure we’d be living here for more than a few years. With Husband recently signing a contract for a new job, we can now be reasonably confident we won’t need to sell this house for a while. This means we can make it as brightly coloured as we like.
We slapped a few turquoise and purple paint samples on the walls, flip flopped back and forth about whether the really bright colours were too ridiculous or just ridiculous enough and eventually settled on Purple Hibiscus. The brightest purple sample we tried.
There then came the tedious process of filling all the holes with Polyfilla, moving all the furniture, and masking all the edges with tape before we could get to the fun part of actually painting.
As we joyfully rolled bright purple paint onto our walls, we both marveled at the fact that no sensible adults had turned up to stop us. We’re definitely still adjusting to the fact that this is our house and we can paint it as purple as we like. Nobody can stop us!
The only hiccup we experienced was dealing with the radiator. We knew it was a bit rusty and could do with replacing. It wasn’t until Husband removed it from the wall and big chunks of paint and rust fell off the top of it that we realised it was time to bump this job up the priority list.
Otherwise, the whole thing went very smoothly. I concluded that painting prep and clean up are extremely tedious (why are rollers such a nightmare to clean?) but it was all exceedingly worth the hassle. I am delighted with how the framed pictures pop so beautifully against the purple walls, especially the ones with the dark frames. The whole room feels more fun and all our mismatched furniture adds to the splendidly wacky vibe.
Speaking of which . . .
Future Project – Husband's Drinks Globe
Husband has wanted a drinks globe for as long as I can remember. Luckily for him I keep my beady eyes on Facebook Marketplace somewhat obsessively and stumbled across this absolute gem just across town.
Honestly, it's not a top-quality item. None of it is solid wood. All the pieces are hollow and finished with wood effect stuff that I don’t know the name of. The castors are teeny tiny and very plastic and covered with some very flaky metal effect paint. It’s just a bit naff.
That being said, it fits in well with all the other random furniture we’ve acquired from charity shops/eBay/Gumtree/Facebook Marketplace so we’ve decided to embrace the naffness!
We plan to bling it up a bit by painting some gold detail into the decoration and adding some rows of gold studs around the edge and across the top. We have acquired the supplies to improve the drinks globe and I will share the results in a future post.
Painting Husband’s Office
Once the living room was painted, all the other rooms in the house started to look very grey. They were always grey. But in comparison to the new very purple living room, they looked rather excessively and depressingly grey.
The solution was obvious. Paint more rooms bright colours.
We chose one of the colours we sampled in the living room, pleasingly named Fare Thee Well, and I decided to paint Husband’s office while he was away for a weekend up north.
I took the doors off the cupboard, took all the hooks and gubbins off them, sanded them down and painted them to match the walls. Turns out, reattaching heavy doors on your own is tricky but I got it done with minimal swearing and injuries.
I added to our radiator-based woes by snapping the metal bit that closes the valve when we removed it from the wall to paint behind it. Luckily it broke in the closed position meaning it didn’t flood the place. It could have been worse! Plumbers have been contacted to save us from freezing over the winter. It’s all under control.
Aside from that, the painting went well and Husband was very pleased to come back to a beautiful freshly painted turquoise office. Since then, we’ve also taken down the blinds and replaced them with much nicer curtains, which I got for £7 on eBay. I do enjoy a secondhand bargain for the house.
Future Project – Painting the Landing
The next space we will be painting is the landing. Here you can see the samples of Picasso Blue, Jellyfish Blue, and Biro Blue (left to right) that we considered. We’ve chosen Jellyfish Blue, not entirely because of the name. We think it will go best with the colours we’ve already used and the yellow/orange colour we have planned for the bedroom (more on that later).
The main problem we will have with this space is painting the top of the wall above the stairs. It is quite high up and extremely difficult to reach without risking life and limb. Various plans have been discussed, including precariously balanced ladders, me sitting on Husband’s shoulders and some paintbrushes on very long sticks. The exact logistics are yet to be established but the paint has been ordered and I’m sure no bones will be broken in the process of making this space Jellyfish Blue.
Look out for a future, hopefully not gruesome, blog post for all the details.
Shoe and Boot Racks
As well as painting the office, I organised the cupboards in the room. As I was moving blankets, board games, and bathroom supplies around I realised that if I removed two of the shelves from the big cupboard I could bodge them together into a boot rack.
A small amount of drilling, sawing, and more drilling later I had created this little beauty (left). The boots had been dumped in a heap by the front door since we moved in because they wouldn’t fit on our existing shoe rack so this is a vast improvement.
I stained both racks with a dark Danish oil to make them a little prettier and my bodge was complete!
Electrics are scary.
Getting electrocuted doesn’t look fun.
I don’t recommend playing around with any complicated electrical stuff in your home.
We’ve done nothing more than swapping out some light fittings and one light switch and that is about as far as I am willing to go.
The simplest changes we made were in the landing and the bedroom. All we did was change the lampshades.
Changing the light fitting in Husband’s office was a little tricky. Removing the old light fitting felt akin to solving a puzzle box, which you have twist and turn in exactly the right order and manner to unlock the mechanism and open the box. After I cracked that code we attached the new pendant fitting, turned the light on and blew the lights for the whole top floor of the house.
This is when we learned that we had an old-fashioned fuse box that wasn’t full of handy switches you simply flip to fix the broken circuit. We had one with wire that needed to be replaced to fix the fuse. Obviously, we didn’t have any fuse wire in the house and it was well passed closing at our local B and Q.
It was a very atmospheric evening.
We have since paid a very charming electrician a slightly eye watering amount of money to replace our ancient fuse box with a newfangled one with switches to avoid repeating this cock-up in the future.
The biggest lighting challenge has been the living room. The original light fitting had five dimmable bulbs in it. There was no problem with the fitting in terms of aesthetics but when we swapped the bulbs for LEDs it sounded like we’d installed a beehive in the middle of our living room.
Over several weeks we tried multiple types and combinations of LED dimmable bulbs and switches and no matter what we did we couldn’t get the buzzing to a level we could live with. So, the whole lot had to go.
We replaced the fitting for one with two non-dimmable bulbs (without blowing any fuses) so it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly bright and replaced the dimmer switch with a straightforward on and off switch. The next plan for the living room lighting is . . .
Future Project – Customised Lamp
We bought this lamp from B and Q and the plan is to mount it to the wall. However, we’d like to mount it in such a way that it can be removed and used as a desk lamp. The current plan is to create a pocket/envelope using a photo frame that will be permanently attached to the wall and the base of the lamp can slot into it.
This definitely needs some more planning and testing but if we can pull it off it will be very nifty.
Future Project – Painting the Kitchen
After the landing, we will move onto the kitchen, which will probably be the same purple as the living room.
The amount of wall that needs painting is small but I fear the faff required to achieve it will be disproportionately large. The spaces that need to be reached are behind big objects, like the fridge, or tucked in awkward places like above the cupboards.
Additionally, everything will need a really good clean before painting, as kitchens tend to get rather grimy from all the cooking that goes on in them.
At least we have no plans to change any of the tiles, cupboards or appliances so it will be a relatively small project in the grand scheme of things.
Unlike . . .
Future Project – The Bedroom
Firstly, we need to remove the wallpaper. I helped remove the wallpaper from my in-laws' kitchen and I remember it being a very steamy and messy affair. But the wallpaper in the bedroom is flaking quite badly, especially behind the radiator and if we want to continue painting the rooms exciting colours it simply must be done.
The wardrobe doors also need a lot of work. While they are far from totally fucked they are rather wonky and we’d prefer a darker colour to contrast with the walls, which will be yellow/orange. So, we might as well bite the bullet and completely replace them. Or remove them, repaint them and sort the fixings out. Either way, quite a challenge.
Once that’s all done, I will either make or acquire some curtains to replace the ones I made in a rush when we first moved in. I’ve never made a proper set of lined curtains before so this could be a fun opportunity to learn how to do that. It certainly seems like a skill that could come in handy in the future.
I think this will be the room that feels most significantly changed once we’re done with it. Although I’m a little daunted by the prospect of the challenge, I’m looking forward to the feeling of satisfaction that will hopefully follow all the hard work.
Fabric Storage for the JoJo Shed
Getting this wardrobe home was a project in itself. I still can’t quite believe that we managed to fit it into our Ford Fiesta and drive home without it crashing through the windscreen.
I may well give it a more thorough renovation at a later date but for now all I’ve done is tidy up the legs. These little beauties were attached to the bottom of the wardrobe with a Frankenstein’s monster style collection of bits of MDF and plywood. All this had to be removed to make it fit in our car so I took the opportunity to sand them down, level them off, and stain them a much richer colour.
I also need to replace/mend the latch on the door, which is pretty but broken. Despite its faults, this is a far more beautiful way of storing my fabric than the plastic drawers and hanging grey wardrobe organiser that I was previously using.
Husband’s Deck Chair
This was a fabulous team project for me and Husband. He set to work treating the wood with woodworm killer, sanding it down (no DIY project is complete without a bit of sanding) and repainting it this lovely shade of pale blue.
I removed the old fabric, which was stained and torn, and replaced it with this delightful upholstery fabric I got from Freecycle.
We then combined our efforts with a couple of rows of gold tacks and Husband’s dream of sunbathing in his suburban surroundings was complete.
Two hooks. One broom. Bosh!
I realise it may seem odd to mount a broom on the wall. My intention was to create a spoof of fancy old buildings that have swords or oars on the walls. And to get the broom out from under my feet.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of the updates we’ve made to the house. I’ll share more as we complete more projects and gradually turn the place into a bricks and mortar version of Joseph’s amazing technicoloured dreamcoat.