It has been a year since we moved in and while we are working our way through our to do list I can’t help but notice all the things that are still to be completed. It was only recently that we got our pictures and photos out and decided to actually hang them. I’d love to be able to say that I wanted to make the place more accomplished and homely but the truth is that we still had a few boxes knocking around and needed to unpack them. The added homeliness was more of a welcome side effect.
At the moment we are lacking shelves and anywhere to display sentimental artefacts and that’s why I decided to put all our photos together and start a gallery wall at the bottom of the staircase. I didn’t follow the advice to plan out a gallery wall with sheets of paper first and all worked out OK in the end – that was mainly luck though and for my planned expansion of the display I will have a more thought through approach.
We don’t own very many artful pieces but all of them mean something to us. The church is where we got married and was painted for us by a very good friend as a wedding gift. The same friend also painted the cornflower. I love botanical art and when you can get a friend to create one for you it’s even better. We have picked up the Italian town canvas on our honeymoon and it really stands out on the grey dining room wall.
The photos above the sofa were taken on our holidays and the large format and white Ikea VISERUM frame makes them look pretty cool. I am really looking forward to adding more art and general prettiness to our household and have recently discovered the art section on minted.com which is just and amazing. I can spend hours selecting my favourites and fear our house isn’t big enough to fit it all in!
If you’ve seen my garden post from April you’ll know there was a lot to do and today I am happy to announce that the hard work in the garden has been completed – at least for this year. Our poor garden has gone through a massive transformation which in short meant removing pretty much everything that was there and starting from scratch. There were multiple casualties – one garden fork, one pick axe, two chainsaw chains, one fence panels and multiple broken backs.
The first part of the great garden makeover involved cutting down a fair few trees and shrubs and then getting rid of all the wood. We’ve had a few impromptu barbecues on top of our fire basket, gave a few logs away, run multiple loads to the tip and kept a few for more barbecues next year. This has taken by far the longest as there were two overgrown trees and a lot of shrubs in our rather random hedge. It seemed like a never ending task with more piles of wood cuttings appearing every weekend.
Then there was the job of digging up the old patio and path – this was surprisingly easy as the mortar was so badly eroded it really didn’t take much. After half a days work we ended up with a big pile of slabs at the front of the house. This is where freecycle.org was absolutely great. Within a week someone came around to take a lot of them away to use for their new crazy paving and we only had a few more left to take to the tip. I am now pretty hooked on freecycle, checking new listings every day! Our little play house also got relocated – if only moving home was as easy as getting four guys to pick it up and drop it somewhere else.
The final job was digging the garden over in an attempt to level it and start a new lawn. It doesn’t sound too bad but again took two weekends of hard work even with the help of a rotavator and some friends. The ground was just so hard it was really difficult to break the surface. The levelling task wasn’t a walk in the park either and I am not going to lie – it is not perfect but after a lot of raking, digging and adding 2 tons of soil we conceded it was good enough and proceeded to sowing grass seed a few days ago. I am now impatiently watching the ground every day to see if there is any grass emerging. So far I’ve only observed a few small patches of the old lawn that survived poking through. Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the newly planted privet hedge – it is only about a foot tall but in a few years time will look great.
Anyway I’ve talked enough and you will get a much better idea from our photographic evidence.
Back in April I’ve posted about how much I love the hairpin leg look. Unfortunately it turned out I couldn’t convince Mr S that it was the prefect style for our dining room and while he normally doesn’t care much what I do with decorating he felt quite strongly about this one. We had to work out a compromise in the form of an IKEA KEJSARKRONA dining table and some DSW style chairs which I’m pretty happy with. Having failed with the hairpin legs I was pretty sure that suggesting some plastic chairs wasn’t going to be much easier but to my surprise after sending Mr S to an M&S cafe to check them out he happily agreed. Admittedly the £29.99 price tag could have had something to do with his enthusiasm. I was slightly worried about how comfortable they’d turn out to be but must say they are great. More comfy than a lot of wooden chairs I had the pleasure to sit on.
It was a great feeling to move our garden table back into the garden where it belongs and setting up the IKEA table in place. I’m not going to lie – I’m not the biggest fan of IKEA furniture as I don’t think it looks great next to a proper solid piece. This table looks pretty good though, it is solid wood and the assembly didn’t take 8 hours and neither did we require an engineering degree to do it. The table itself does add more of that cottagey feel I was so badly trying to avoid but the chairs do tone it down a fair bit and I absolutely adore the slightly rough table top.
The dining room is now looking much better and the table is large enough to sit a few friends around. The only thing detracting from the rather smart look is the nappy changing table in the corner (which I have managed to keep out of the photos). I still need to add some art to the room and possibly a couple of shelves to be able to call it complete. I am toying with the idea of hanging some plates on the wall above the dining table but still a bit worried about going too much towards the country cottage look.
This has been a longer break that I have anticipated. Over two months have gone past and while there was plenty to write about I somehow couldn’t get the time to post anything. We have become a family of three with the arrival of our sweet baby girl Anna. Nothing will ever been the same and I wouldn’t want it to. It hasn’t been all plain sailing but it has all been worth it.
I have expected to have tons of time for all sorts of DIY but being a mama and operating the washing machine seems to take up the majority of my time. There has still been plenty happening both inside and out especially in the frantic effort to get as much done as possible before Anna’s arrival so look out for posts on our garden, dining room, master and guest bedroom projects.