We’ve been toying with the idea of stripping the paint of our upstairs doors for a while now but seriously didn’t fancy sanding them down by hand. I had a go at that with out outdoor furniture last year and it is a lot harder than it looks. Eventually we’ve priced up having them dipped in caustic solution and at £105 for 5 doors and delivery decided to go for it.

At this point we didn’t know what the wood beneath around 4 or 5 coats of various paint looked like but it was still worth a try even if we just painted right over the top again. At least the doors would actually shut rather than jam in the door frame because of the endless layers of paint.

The end result was a bit mixed. Some doors look absolutely perfect and a after a light sanding and clear varnish will look great, others we’ve discovered are made up of different types of wood and you can really see the difference in colour which clear varnish won’t help.

To start with I was thinking of painting them all even if not white again but certainly covering the wood up. Now I’ve had some time to think about it I quite like the uneven and slightly rough look of the doors. We’re going to keep the landing white so I hope it will just add the right amount of interest.

I’ll share more photos once they are properly finished as I’d like to do something with the door handles as well.


Nursery inspiration

One of the biggest projects of this year is going to be designing a nursery for our new arrival. As this is our first baby I haven’t got any idea about baby things or what exactly we’ll need but I do have a pretty good idea about what I like in terms of style. We have chosen not to find out our baby’s sex which I didn’t think would be a big problem you wouldn’t believe how much this limits your options as many baby designs are very gender specific. In the end I came up with this board as my main inspiration.


Birds in the bush bumper | Garnet Hill Knitted Throw | Birds in a tree decals | Estsy bird mobile | Comfy nursery chair | White sleigh cot | Mint and coral cushion | Azure and sea bedding set

I do like a bit of mint and the coral just brightens it up a bit. I might switch the coral accents for yellow if we have a boy though or perhaps orange would work well for both.

So far we only have a the cot and my amazing scheme fell apart when I found out the pretty bird cot bumper isn’t going to fit our cot. I wouldn’t be so gutted if it hadn’t taken me weeks to find a bumper I liked and if I hadn’t based the whole theme around it. It’s back to square one for now – if anyone has any tips on gender neutral but not boring cot bedding please do leave a comment.

For the first few months we’re planning to keep the little one in our room – hence the bedroom reshuffle but after we’ll be reshuffling the guest bedroom to see if it could work both as a nursery and a bedroom for occasional visitors. We’ll see how that challenge goes.

The one thing that truly sets this apart from any other project we’ve undertaken so far is that this one does have a deadline. Not a completely precise one but we need to get most things sorted before the end of July. At the moment I’m wishing the time away but I’m sure come June I’ll be begging for more time!

Bedroom reshuffle

When we moved into house we didn’t really change the way each room was laid out. This is partly because some rooms just don’t give you many options and partly because it’s very tempting to stick with what you’ve seen to work previously.

When it comes to the master bedroom the trouble was that while the lay out seemed pretty logical it didn’t quite work. As you can see on the floor plan the bed and bedside table are really close to the built-in wardrobes which means we can’t open one of the doors properly. I am just lucky I own the more accessible part. The other option would be to drop one bedside table but neither of us are keen on that option.


My first idea was to put the bed on the opposite wall to allow easy access to the wardrobes. What I wasn’t quite happy with was the “wasted” space between the windows which could at most house a mirror or pictures. On top of that I fear the room would seem quite crammed if you open the door straight onto the bed.



That’s why I came up with another option – bed between mirrors. At first I was fooling myself that the bed would fit nicely into the gap but in reality it is slightly wider. I was also worried that the space at the bottom of the bed wasn’t going to be enough to walk through.



As it turns out this works quite well. There really isn’t that much space at the bottom of the bed but it’s enough to comfortably walk through. I had to move the headboard slightly away from the wall to allow the curtains to hang freely behind it. The biggest positive is that we can now have two chests of draws either side or maybe a dressing table. and there is definitely enough room to open the wardrobes.


And a compulsory before and after picture to end with.



Dining room progress


Our dining room is starting to take a proper shape now. So far we have painted the walls, changed the floor and finished skirting board – all this is very exciting but what really put a smile on my face was putting up my new curtains.

When we were deciding on the paint colour we’ve ventured into our local B&Q, spent around half an hour considering our options only to decide the best one would be the Polished Pebble we already had at home. Mr S wasn’t too convinced by the soft grey (I think he’d secretly much prefer magnolia) but he did paint the whole room while I was at work only leaving me some small touch ups to do.

In the end we were both really pleased with the result . The next challenge were curtains. I would have been quite happy with a bit of voile just for a soft touch rather than stopping anyone from looking in. As there is just our back garden and then allotments on the other side of the fence. Mr S much preferred the idea of a proper curtain to keep the room warm. I have agreed to a “proper” curtain but didn’t warn him straight away he’ll never be allowed to draw them shut. The room is quite square and shutting the curtains just makes it look like quite claustrophobic.

For the curtains I wanted something pretty light with a touch of colour to brighten up the space. I do love a touch of botanical prettiness but I have to admit it was more luck than careful procurement that led to me combining both. And at less than £30 from Dunelm Mill were a real bargain.

There is still a lot to finish – mainly in terms of furniture as you may have noticed we’re still using our patio table indoors. I really feel that we’re getting closer to a really homely look. I might even unwrap some of our photos and art and go wild in the dining and living room.

Floor update

Finally we’ve completed enough of the skirting that I am happy to share some pictures. We’re really taking this slowly as it would be such a shame to finish our nice new floors with a wonky skirting board. I am really impressed with how good laminate can actually look and feel not to mention the wonders of underfloor heating in the kitchen.

The first completed room is the dining room which is finally beginning to look quite respectable with new curtains and without random clutter that was just abandoned there just because there was nowhere else to put it. Needless to say that most of the random clutter has just been disposed off.

We’ve picked quite a simple skirting from Wickes. I did look around quite a bit but after all the searching I found that pretty much everyone does the same styles. To start with I was tempted with the more ornate ogee but decided it would just be too ornate especially in conjunction with the picture rail in the living room so simplicity it was and I think it looks pretty good.

The other more practical reason for the choice was the fact we were more likely to achieve a neat finish. A few friends have recommended a handy tip of not mitering internal corners but scribing them instead, in effect overlapping the boards. You’ll find a lot better explanation online though: Despite the fact there isn’t a single straight wall or a 90 degree corner in our house I am quite pleased with the end result. Having said that there is still one wall to be finished in the living room and most of the kitchen and hallway.

Oh and I nearly forgot to add a before picture…this way you can fully appreciate the change for better. Note especially the poorly fitted scotia and a lovely gas pipe sticking up next to the fireplace. Can’t tell you how glad I am they’re both gone.

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