Art around the house

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.

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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!

It has to get worse before it gets better

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.

 

How I’ve lost the hairpin leg battle

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.

We’re back

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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.

Nursery update

Calling this the nursery update isn’t quite right as we’ve just set up the cot and a few bits in our bedroom for the first few months. You can look back at my inspiration post from April here. I actually can’t believe it’s been that long!

Fortunately I didn’t have to change the scheme yet again but have suffered a minor set back with the cot bumper which is too big to use in the cot’s highest position so for now my stripy beauty is staying in the linen cupboard.

I haven’t done much crafting when it comes to the nursery. The only thing I have made is the Psalm 139:14 print for which I’ve “stolen” inspiration from viewalongtheway.com. I’m even thinking of reusing the design on our Christening invitations. If you’d like to download my version click here.

Enough talking now and time for some photos!

 

Bathroom stock list

A lot has been happening lately mainly to do with the impending arrival of baby S hence the long silence but here I wanted to share where we sourced different items for our bathroom from. In a way it’s better writing this after we’ve had a chance to test everything properly.

P-Shape Bath

Supplier: Pioneer bathrooms
Price: £275
Verdict: This was an absolute bargain considering it included shower screen and front panel as you will find these alone can cost just as much as the bath. The delivery wasn’t the smoothest as it did take a couple of weeks to arrive after ordering but that didn’t hold us up too much in the end. The worst part was when it came to installing we’ve realised that the bath legs and front panel fixings were missing and had to wait another couple of days for these to arrive. Quality wise it doesn’t feel as sturdy as our old cast iron bath but then again I wouldn’t expect any acrylic bath to measure up to that. So far really happy with the purchase.

Shower Mixer Tap Set

Supplier: Bath Empire
Price: £229.99
Verdict: Again a good price for the whole bundle. I really loved the idea of an overflow filler as it means we don’t need to have any taps on the bath. The plug is also operated from the overflow which is the only thing that is a bit flimsy. You can see the big shower head is meant to be fitted to the wall but that wasn’t quite high enough for my other half so we ended up going through the ceiling instead.

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Basin Tap

Supplier: Bath Empire
Price: £29.99
Verdict: Good mixer tap which while not exactly the same goes quite well with the shower taps. The delivery on both the basin and shower taps was really bad though it was delayed (this was very much the running theme through the entire project) and when it finally turned up it was someone else’s order. It then took another couple of days and a lot of frustrating phone calls to get what we’ve ordered. Really wasn’t impressed as nobody seemed to know what was happening with the order. 

Vanity Unit

Supplier:Bath Professionals
Price:£165
Verdict: This was one of the cheaper vanity units I found. I was honestly shocked to see you can pay really silly money for what is essentially a wall mounted mdf box with a sink on top. This one included a tap (we chose to get a different one), waste and sink. I have to say you can tell why it was way cheaper than any of the other ones I looked at. The draws didn’t align properly and the mdf was broken off where the draw rails attach. We have got a replacement unit pretty quickly after getting in touch with the seller and after a bit of fiddling and swapping draw fronts around we now have a pretty decent looking vanity unit. Very much a case of you get what you pay for.

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Mirror

Supplier: Illuminated Mirrors
Price: £130.49
Verdict: I dare to say this was the only thing we’ve ordered that arrived on time (next day delivery) and contained everything we needed. Really great service. The mirror itself looks exactly as we expected and I really love the demister pad. 

Glass Tiles

Supplier: Walls and Floors
Price:£89.95/sqm
Verdict: Love the look of the tiles. The delivery was again a bit later than promised and when we ordered a few different samples a lot of them turned up cracked into thousand pieces. When the actual order arrived I don’t think there was a single damaged tile though which is the same main thing. They were a bit more tricky to cut but if you have a good sharp tile cutter you should be fine. Definitely worth investing in a glass drill bit for any drilling.

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Wall and Floor Tiles

Supplier:Al-Murad
Price: £17/sqm
Verdict: Another late delivery – 3 days this time. They were way cheaper than Tops Tiles though and pretty good service otherwise. 

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Glass Accessories

Supplier: House of Fraser
Price: £11.20 each
Verdict: Fortunately House of Fraser have their order process worked out so no issues there. I really love how these compliment the glass tiles and they make perfect storage for cotton wool etc. The soap dispenser looks pretty good too.

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So here you have it. If we were to do this all over again I would definitely order everything way in advance and double check everything as it arrives as there is no guarantee that the parcel you get is what you actually ordered or that there is nothing missing. I would probably try to avoid Bath Empire all together but sometimes it’s hard to turn down a cheaper deal.

Sunday afternoon at Cliveden House

Even though we’ve got plenty to do around the house and now also an allotment we’ve spent Sunday afternoon at Cliveden House. You could easily spend an entire day just walking through the grounds but with my walking abilities a little limited at the moment we’ve just settled for a couple of hours.

The gardens are stunning and here’s just a snippet of what is there to see. If you’re anywhere near I’d highly recommend.