PROJECT: BAR

As with any project in this house, the bar seems to have taken a long time and although I am told it is still not 100% it looks nearly there to me.

The main delay seems to have come from the stone on the top.  The same piece of stone that ended up costing the same as a flight to somewhere very sunny but now it is in it does look good!

I’m pretty certain it would have been quicker and cheaper to get someone else in to do it but then it wouldn’t have been The Husband’s unique design.

The stone top has a hole for the ice bucket, he fitted mirrors to the back wall and then lights around the doorway:

This is the end result:

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Apparently we now need to build a second shelf for the spirits to go on, stock up on all the spirits, snacks and beers that any decent bar should have and then buy some new handles for the cupboard door…

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PROJECT: BASEMENT

I look forward to the time when bank holidays are all about long walks and catching up with friends and family but at the moment they are mainly used for DIY and this weekend has been no exception.  The Husband’s dad came a few weeks ago and started to help make some fitted bookcases for the basement and he’s been back this weekend to move them along.

The basement had been finished to a point where we were using it daily and The Husband had a nice office down there but unfortunately it is currently back to being a building site.  As with all the rooms in this house it seems to be one step forward and then ten steps back but we’re getting close to another big transformation down there.

I’m always going on about the lack of storage in this house but I won’t be able to moan for much longer!  We have boxes of books located all around the house so it will be great to finally unpack them.  Not only that but it will also mean we can start clearing out the two rooms that are currently full of things that don’t have a permanent home (mainly kitchen equipment, DIY tools, books and our bikes).

The new bookcases are all in the ‘main’ room down in the basement (not the Husband’s office) and there are three units that have been built…

  1. Behind the door

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2. Under the windows

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3. Behind the sofa

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None are 100% yet but this is where we have got to:

In addition, The Husband has set his heart on building his own personal bar.  I was a bit concerned that it seemed to be taking centre stage but thankfully all the other areas moved on a fair bit this weekend.  It’s hidden in one of the cupboards but this is where he has got to:

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PROJECT: DRESSING ROOM

2016 is going to be all about the finishing touches (and the kitchen) and so we’ve pulled together a pretty long snagging list.

There are areas we need to repaint, doors we need to re-hang and cushions we need to buy.

One of the rooms we’d hoped to finish last year was the dressing room but the stone we had ordered for the vanity unit only arrived the other day.  There has just been an odd space by the window since The Husband finished the room last summer.  This is what it looked like before hand:

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We need to put the architrave back in at the bottom but it’s exciting to be able to tick something off the list already.     IMG_6177

 

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A LOOK BACK AT 2015

I have just been having a look back at how much we did in 2014 and compared it to what we ticked off the to-do list last year.

In 2015 we:

  1. Built the dressing room
  2. Installed the hearth and new wood burner in the basement
  3. Fitted the floor in the basement
  4. Designed and built furniture for the basement
  5. Decorated the living room which included painting the walls, fitting new blinds, moving and replacing all the plug sockets and laying the new floor
  6. Painted the inside of the front door and fixed all the new furniture
  7. Fitted a light in the hallway
  8. Bought bedroom furniture for the guest room and a sofa for the basement

At first glance it doesn’t really look that much which surprised me a bit.  However, while the list is definitely shorter than previous years the things we have succeeded in doing seem to have had a bigger impact on our lifestyle and we’re that bit closer to turning the house into a home.

Finishing the dressing room so that we could free up the space in our bedroom and putting the floor down in the basement so that room was usable were definitely the two big changes.   We use both rooms continuously and finally having a cosy space just to chill out has been lovely.

At the start of 2015 I wrote that in an ideal world we would have the following finished in the next 12 months:

  • An office downstairs for The Husband –A BIG TICK (although there is still more work to do to make it 100%, he does at least have a dedicated zone to work in and is no longer working on his lap on the sofa)
  • A staircase we’re 100% happy with – SADLY THERE IS NO PROGRESS HERE (this is being added back on to the to-do list for this year)
  • A dressing room on the first floor – ANOTHER BIG TICK (we’re just waiting for the vanity top for the dressing table but it is on order)
  • Unpacked our wedding presents that are still neatly wrapped in boxes in our bedroom! – SADLY THEY HAVE NOT MOVED!

Looking back at the year, these are some of my highlights from 2015:

We have transformed the living room.  This is what the living room looked like just after we moved in:

this is The Husband working 24/7 in the run up to Christmas trying to get it finished:

and this is what it looks like now:

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We’ve currently got a dining room table taking up the other side of the room but the walls are all painted, the floor is down and the new sofa arrived last week (it just needs some cushions now).

The basement has gone from this:

to this:

and the dressing room has gone from this:

to this:

So, in 2016 we need to try and get the kitchen done!  We have got some designs already, have spoken to the structural engineer and are in talks with a builder so hopefully in the next 12 months work will finally start on it.

In the meantime we need to go back over the house and start finishing all the rooms off, tidying up some of our paint work, putting up our pictures and buying the soft furnishings and fixtures and fittings.  Just before Christmas we got this light for the hall and it has really smartened the space up so I can’t wait to do the same in all the other rooms:

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First on the list is the basement so we can get that space 100%

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PROJECT: LIVING ROOM

This is the next big project.  We have done nothing in here since we moved in apart from replace the fireplace.  It feels a bit like an old people’s home at the moment due to the eclectic mix of chairs we have in there and it’s always freezing cold.  To be honest we don’t really use it much as neither of us like it in there due to the drab wallpaper and dirty old carpet.

With everyone coming for Christmas we’re on a mission to get the room looking its best.  Last weekend we started by taking down the horrible wooden blinds that were here when we moved in and it instantly looked better:

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It will be tight timings wise to get it all done but The Husband reassures me it will be fine and done in time to get the tree up!

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PROJECT: BASEMENT

The basement has quickly become the hub of the home and we’ve been spending loads of time down there.  There is still a fair bit of touching up to do on some of the paint work and the bathroom is not 100% finished but we’re really enjoying the space.

I don’t think we have had the dividing doors shut at all and the big space feels really warm and cosy thanks to the new floor and fire.  It’s funny to think that it was just a dirty concrete floor for most of the year and we didn’t come down here at all…or that it was once our bedroom!

We’re now starting to turn our attention to the furniture we want.  It turns out that buying a sofa is pretty stressful!  We’d spent hours researching designs and costs online and then spent a fun(!) day driving around to all the different shops.  The quality of the material and the way they were built was really extreme and unfortunately very few of the ones we had seen lived up to our expectations.  We’re going to be sitting on it every day so want something that is going to last.

In the end we decided on one from BoConcept.  The unique little designs to keep the cushions in place and the quality of the materials available really impressed us.  Most importantly it was really comfortable – even for The Husband and his extra long legs!  We were even lucky enough to find the one we wanted being listed on one of the store’s clearance sites which was a huge cost saving – those sort of things never normally happen to us!

We were really restricted on the size because of the wall that sticks out but it fits perfectly…all it needs now are some cushions:

IMG_5897The only glitch was getting it into place.  The back window was too small and the stairs were too tight so unfortunately the stair rail had to come  out:

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Originally we had been looking at a small chair to go with the sofa but we’ve decided to wait and see how we use the space first before we buy anything as it will cut off that side of the room.

Attention has now moved to storage and The Husband has once again decided to make everything himself.  I’m not sure it will end up saving us any money due to all the paint and wood we’ve had to buy but at least we know it will fit perfectly.

We’ve not had a TV since the start of the summer and neither of us has really missed it as we’ve had the iPad and our laptops.  We also wanted to wait and see exactly where the new one would go rather than rush out and buy one that ended up not fitting the space.  On Friday, we made the most of the Black Friday deals to get a new one in time for Christmas and The Husband has been hard at work making a bespoke stand:

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An extra shelf has now been added and the soft close doors match the floor:

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Work has also begun on a unit for The Husband’s office to match:

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We have lots of guests coming for Christmas so are on a mission to get as much done as possible so it looks more homely and less like a squat!

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PROJECT: KITCHEN

Compared to everything else in the house this is probably the biggest project and so we have left it until last to think about.  It’s also the one area that I really care about and am keen to have a say on what goes where.

When we were house hunting we wrote a list of things that we weren’t prepared to compromise on.  We wanted a:

  1. hallway
  2. guest room with its own bathroom
  3. outside space for entertaining
  4. third reception room
  5. study
  6. walking distance from town
  7. quiet road
  8. side gate / easy access for bikes
  9. double glazing (which we don’t have but I wouldn’t change our windows now we’re in as I really like the old glass)

However, right at the top of the list was:

  1. a kitchen with room for a table
  2. a kitchen with lots of surface space

We definitely don’t have that at the moment but hopefully we’re getting closer.  This is what we currently have:

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It’s fine and it has suited us well over the last three years but I can’t wait to have a table so that I don’t have to eat every meal off my lap but also so that we can have friends over.

We have very little storage at the moment and things are slowly breaking.  The most recent was the freezer which was actually a blessing in disguise as it made us realise there was a fault.  The wall it backed onto was randomly home to the old water tank which we have always found odd.  We couldn’t find it when we first moved in but after discovering that wine in the cupboard in front was always warm we tracked it down!  We had it disconnected when we put the new boiler in but it can’t have been done well and must have been dripping for months and months.  The shower room at the end of the house has always been horrible and damp but had got much worse and so we were lucky to discover it when we did.  I can’t wait to knock the wall down and get it out completely.

The Husband has had his graph paper out again and has planned out the whole space and we’ve recently had two kitchen designers draw it all out for us and add in a few small builds.  We’re going to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, build into the fireplace in the dining room and knock down the fake wall in the kitchen and get rid of that fireplace.

The structural engineer has been and we think we have found the units we want so all we need now is some dates as to when the builder can start.  We had hoped to get it done this year but didn’t want to be worrying about whether or not it would be done in time for Christmas so have decided to put it on hold until the New Year….apart from the awful mess and disruption I can’t wait!

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