In the last couple of months we have not been down to the basement very much and it is funny to think that when we first moved in this is where we spent 90% of our time.  Things are about to change though and once we start to use the space again the whole flow of the house will change.

The plan is still to use one of the rooms as The Husband’s office and the other as a TV room/library.  It will be amazing for The Husband to have a dedicated zone to work in as he works from home and currently moves from one spare space to the next.  It will also mean that at the end of the day he can shut the door and leave work behind.

Following the great flood, the insurance company retanked and decorated the whole space apart from the floor.  This post shows where we had got to and our hope that we’d have the floor down in a few months.  Unfortunately lots of other things took precedence and then the dressing room took far longer than expected but we’re now ready to transform the space.

We want this area to have a bit more of a contemporary feel than the rest of the house and the radiators that were installed as part of the insurance work reflect that.  As always, my priority is to make the space warm but the rooms are not neat squares and so there are a few odd walls jutting out for us to work with.  After lots of deliberation we have finally decided to install a log burner down there.  We kept changing our minds as we weren’t sure if it was the best use of the budget but the problem is that if we don’t do it now it will be much harder to do at a later date.  We also don’t want the rooms to get too hot (well The Husband doesn’t) and so we’ve decided to utilise the space in his office.  We can then leave the doors open to warm up the second room rather than having it directly next to where we will be sitting.

The space is directly below where we want the new oven to go and so the first company we spoke to said we would have to have an external flue which suddenly hiked up the cost and meant we’d have an ugly pipe running up the side of the house.  Luckily another company said it could be done and that they would rather do it internally.  We’ve had the chimneys tested and it is possible but due to the proposed kitchen plans we are a bit restricted on the size of the flue we can have.  We have finally chosen this one but are unlikely to install it until we start work on the kitchen so it can all be done at the same time.  We’ve gone for a dark grey finish with the log holder underneath.

But before that can come we need a hearth so that has been The Husband’s first job down there:

IMG_5846IMG_5852IMG_5860The next job is the floor itself.  We can not have solid wood floor down there due to the temperature fluctuations so that was the first decision made for us.  Originally we were going to have a light wood floor to ensure the space was as bright as possible but we had always said we wanted a dark wood on the ground floor.  After nearly 20 different samples of oak we suddenly decided we wanted the two floors to match and switched to mahogany instead.  I am still a bit unsure about the lacquered shiny finish as I don’t want it to look like a laminated floor but it’s arrived and we’re really happy with the quality of the packs we have opened.

Despite the floor being tanked The Husband still wanted to wrap the floor so he has spent the last few days doing that in preparation for the underlay and floor itself:


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I couldn’t even lift one box of the floor so felt sorry for The Husband who had to move it all in himself.  His Dad is coming next weekend and so the plan is to get as much done then as possible.

One final job that has been done is that all the switches and plug sockets have been changed to match the rest of the house:


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We have finally moved in!  This time last week we spent the evening sorting out, cleaning and moving into the dressing room.  It definitely wasn’t the quick job I was told back in April it was going to be but it looks good and I’m very impressed with what The Husband has done.

As mentioned here, it has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to finish it but the end result is far better than I was expecting.  It’s not 100% complete as the dressing table and mirror are still to be installed, we need a hook for the back of the door, the blind has not yet arrived and I want some better storage for my make-up and bits but the clothes are in!

So, in the last few weeks The Husband has:

  • Installed the floor, which is the same as the one used at the other end of the landing in our bathroom

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  • Built and installed the drawers although I still take the credit for this idea (even if they were a nightmare)
  • IMG_5835Done more cleaning than I’ve ever seen him do
  • IMG_5833Chosen and installed the window film – we got it from John Lewis in the end and it was far easier to do than we thought it would be
  • IMG_5842Chosen and installed a grey lamp shade
  • IMG_5837Fitted the mirror behind the door – it is on a hinge though so it means you can stand in any point of the room and see your outfit


So this is where we got to….


and then the clothes went in…


And what’s even more exciting is that now we have got rid of all the clothes and clutter we can see the potential of our bedroom again.  We’d almost forgotten about the fire place as we’d not seen it for so long and we can finally reach the blinds to open them!  One day we’ll even be ready to open all our wedding presents which are still stacked in piles around the house and maybe even get a bed to go with our mattress…

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When the idea first came up to build a dressing room I was assured it would only take a couple of weeks to do but that is not the case!  Instead it has been months in the making but I finally feel the end may be in sight…which is probably just as well as the hanging rail I am currently using is threatening to fall over and is being propped up with a pile of suitcases.

The Husband has spent weeks and weeks working on it and developing his ideas and with a bit of help from his dad we are now getting close to seeing it all come together.  A builder actually gave The Husband the original idea and while I am desperate to get it finished it has definitely been a good decision.  We are looking to transform the box room next to our bedroom into the dressing room because while our bedroom is a really good size, there is not much space for wardrobes as we have kept the original fireplace in.

When we bought the house the room we are using was the kitchen of the second flat and nothing had been done to it since we had taken out the old units.  Hours were spent stripping everything back and then The Husband started on installing the individual wall panels.

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IMG_5558I was concerned at this point that he was building a sauna but the paint was soon on and things started to take shape…

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In order to get as much storage as possible we are going to have three corner units and then three shelf and drawer units.  Once the dividing walls went up it was finally possible to see how the random sketches I had been shown were actually going to work!

IMG_5567He then spent time installing wooden trimmings to neaten up by the ceiling.



This weekend he has spent hours adding the details in with the cornicing and he’s just started to slot the shelves in.

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And not only are there now lights running all across the top of each compartment but he’s also started to put up the towel hooks….he is Mr Detail after all!




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It has been far too long since I updated things on here but that is not to say that things have not been progressing on the house front.  For a number of reasons things have been a lot slower than planned during 2015 but momentum is now building again and we have big ambitions about what we want to finish before it is Christmas.

The Husband’s vision and attention to detail contains to drive this project on and one example of this is the front door.  We had already changed the front of it from white to black to freshen it up a bit but that was not enough….we have now painted the back and added on lots of door furniture.  It definitely looks much better (and we are far more secure at night) but I would never have thought about doing all of this!

Front door


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The focus at the moment is finishing what we have started before we start with any other big projects.  I said that one of the goals of 2015 was to get a bathroom mirror and we can tick that off the to-do list already.  The Husband put it up this week:


We are also well on the way to finishing the varnishing and the entrance looks so much better already:










As I write this, The Husband is upstairs having some fun with the window catches on the big window on the top floor so hopefully they will be finished soon too.


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When I first came to view the house I was not really sure what to think of the basement.  It seemed to be a lot of extra space to clean and I wasn’t really sure we needed it but it has since come to be a key part of the house.  It has also caused us quite a few ups and downs!

To reach the basement you turn back on yourself as you enter our kitchen.  As you walk down the stairs you are met with a hallway with four doors leading off of it:

  • The first leads to a small box cupboard/room underneath the stairs of the front steps.  It was really dirty when we moved in but it is one of the only built in cupboards we have in the house so eventually we will use it for storing the ironing board, laundry basket, DIY tools and things like that
  • There is then a room of similar size to our living room with three small windows at street level that run along the side of the house
  • Next is a slightly smaller room with a large window that looks into the back garden
  • Finally there is a small bathroom with a sink, toilet and bath as well as one of my other built in cupboards

We really like the fact that all of the rooms have natural light – I’ve never been a fan of rooms (particularly bathrooms) without windows.

When we first moved in this was our home, the smaller room had the bed and the larger room (which had a built in wardrobe) housed everything else from clothes to books to bits of furniture that had no where else to go.  It was fine, it needed a bit of TLC but was right at the bottom of our to-do list as nothing was really ‘wrong’ with it.  The only thing we needed to consider was how we could improve the fire exit plan of the larger rooms as building regulations weren’t happy with the three small windows being the only way out.

Then came the great flood of 2014…

I mentioned here the damage that was caused but it was a complete nightmare.  None of the other rooms were in a fit state for us to move into and the only rooms that were okay were full of every bit of furniture and possession we owned.  Initially we had to move out and stay with some family but we then returned and managed to move things around so we could squeeze into the living room  before making it upstairs.

Now, five months on I am able to look back (thanks to the fact I have a functioning bedroom) and see how this may have actually helped us in the long term.  The insurance has paid for:

  • new tanking and insulation
  • new plastering
  • new wood work and doors
  • new painting
  • new bathrooms

It’s not completely finished but the end is definitely in sight.  The intention has always been to make the small room (our old bedroom) The Husband’s office as he works from home and needs a space he can shut the door to at the weekend.  The other room has always been planned as a TV room/den or ‘man cave’ as The Husband likes to call it.  We’ve also been keen to ensure that both have the ability to be guest rooms if needed.

As with the whole house, my priority has been to make sure it is as warm as possible too!  We’ve gone for a bright white painted finish with the intention of keeping it simple and then adding colour via photos and pictures.  We’re planning on having a light coloured wooden floor but may also go for a brightly coloured carpet for the stairs.

The pictures below show where we have got to.  This is the hallway and the door to the room under the front steps:


This is from the bigger room through to the new office.  We have taken the opportunity to install doors between the two to meet the request from the building regulations team:

IMG_5354This is looking back the other way (ignore the mess but we have no where else to store the office furniture!)

IMG_5355You can also see the windows here:


This is the new bathroom which we have tried to style in a similar theme to the main one.  The tiles are the same and the rest are the same design but slightly smaller versions to fit the space.  We couldn’t match the floor as it would clash with the hallway so we gone for a slate one and we still need to redo the handles on the cupboard that is in there:

IMG_5348 IMG_5349 IMG_5357The builders are due to finish this week so in ideal world we may have the new floor down next month and then we can start utilising the space.



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I touched on it in the previous post but I think the staircase and landings needs some separate attention as The Husband has spent hours and hours on them in recent weeks.  I mentioned back in August that he was doing all the paneling himself (with some help from his dad) but the detail has been very impressive.

It took him weeks and weeks to measure out and install all the wood work but the end result has definitely been worth it.


He also sanded back all the banisters and prepped all the new ones.  You can see in the picture below the original ones that run up to the top floor and the new ones we had to install on the middle floor when we took down the dividing wall that separated the two flats:

IMG_3975He then installed all the cornicing which was fine on the middle floor but quite scary to watch on the top floor given the five metre drop that there is:

IMG_5206 IMG_5214This is him on the top floor – it looks fine here but the ladder is at full reach…

IMG_5217He created some fancy gadget on his work bench to help measure out all the angles and do the corners/edges:


Then came the painting.  This is on the very top floor and you’ll see we had to take off all the radiators in preparation for the carpets to be installed so it was a chilly few weeks!


This is the view from the top floor and you can just see the bottom staircase:


Just adding on each coat took a good few hours each time:


We were getting so close to the carpet deadline that we had to call on some help!


Once the white base coats were down it was time to start from the top again with the final colour and we have gone for Oxford Stone:


At the same time we also painted all the balustrades and made a start on the varnishing:

IMG_5277This is the end result:


This wall was the biggest challenge given its height!

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This is again taken from the very top floor looking down:


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