December mega update


December’s been quite a busy month for work on the house with last week especially taking some major leaps forward. Here’s a quick round up of the highlights.

Decorative order

I’ve been painting for what seems like months. Almost every surface in the house has to be either painted or replaced with something, including ceilings, so there’s a lot to do. Much of this is undercoating which has, in a lot of cases, required two or more coats so what seems like just a quick once over with a brush is actually the result of multiple passes.

In the front bedroom, Katie made some decisions about how she wanted her ceiling and walls finished. My avant garde tendencies were toned down into something a little more sober, painting the ceiling right to the corners and the random strokes resolved into zig zags. Also put up a blind.

In the back bedroom I opted for an analogous colour scheme of deep blue and a duck egg blue (which looks quite green some of the time). I realised I needed this room to be both atmospheric but also refreshing and not too bonkers in terms of colour combinations but also not too bland. This colour scheme seems to do that and it goes well with the OSB wall. I also painted the ceiling, door, window inset and woodwork in the lighter colour.

Out in the hall I’ve been thinking about ways to disguise the deeply textured wallpaper which I’m keeping for now as I honestly can’t face the horror of stripping it all back and dealing with whatever lurks beneath. To that end I experimented with some coloured triangles and painted the banisters orange – you may have noticed that as a recurring theme.

During November I was in discussion with the local carpet shop so I was conscious that I’d have to get the stair woodwork painted before anything went down. I opted for an industrial grey which will run through the hall woodwork. I may have to rethink how the stair colours work as I’m not sure the blue and grey are quite right together.

Round the corner, on the ground floor, I continued the grey on the woodwork and louvre door.

Light works

I’ve been buying lights on a random basis as I’ve been working on the house. I don’t have a big budget for lights so am choosing carefully when I see the right thing at the right price. I’m also limited by the existing wiring and the fact that I don’t like a lot of the lights on the market so installation comes in bursts when I have enough to justify bringing the electrician back. Here’s a few I had put in in November and December.

The back bedroom had to have some atmosphere so I had a couple of spot lights installed on the OSB wall (one of the functions it was built for). I also had the white ceiling light cable replaced with a more fashionable twisted black cable and put on a bargain light shade I got at Sainsbury’s. The small light above the mirror is a replacement of an existing light, the concertina arm reminds me and Katie of the Pixar animated light. A fancy LED bulb from B&Q really sets it off I think.

In the front bedroom we needed something really special to go with the colour scheme. It took some research but eventually we found this combination multi-coloured lamp with Bluetooth speaker. Needless to say it’s a big hit.

Downstairs I’ve replaced the white ceiling cables with more twisted black cables (all these from B&Q). Pics to come in due course. I also had the kitchen ceiling light replaced with a cool, coloured one (only one of these I’ve ever seen in this colour).


I turned my attention to the wall around the door. This has been bugging me since I stripped it a few months ago. The combination of uneven surfaces caused by mixed materials and the generally poor nature of the plaster made this pretty ugly but also difficult to deal with given the array of narrow surfaces, insets and other obstacles (switches, light, door bell, electrical switch box).

I mulled over various options but kept returning to the cheapest and most obvious, cover it with lining paper. I’m no wallpaper expert so this is would never be my first choice but, with the electrician due to install new lights ahead of carpets being fitted, I had to bite the bullet and get over my reluctance.

It was a challenging operation and the results are very far from perfect but I’m satisfied that it’s a huge improvement and I’ll hide the various defects with more decoration. I also patched in that vast section of bare plaster where the coat rack was, but that’s a story for another post.


All that the painting, papering and light installation was done to get as many mucky jobs as possible out of the way before carpets could be fitted. I’m delighted to say, on the 15th of December, the fitters arrived and did this:

This has been a long time coming and the subject of quite a bit of thought and discussion. My budget being what it is (nonexistant) I didn’t have the option to go for the best available floorings so I took the approach I’ve followed all along to get the best value for the money I have. I asked the carpet supplier about any off-cuts he had. After reviewing the available stock, I chose three, one each for the stairs and bedrooms as none. I’m really pleased with the results, they’re much better quality than I’d have been able to afford otherwise and they they do work together. I do have a plan for the downstairs flooring which will be completed in January after the last of the kitchen work.


The final, and largest development is the installation of some new windows downstairs. This has been ongoing since later summer and was delayed due to import issues caused by, you guessed it, Brexit. I was advised by my contractor that it would be unwise to replace the kitchen sink before replacing any windows as it was a very destructive job. Windows weren’t part of my phase one plan but, given this advice and a good price on the job, I decided to stretch the budget and get two windows installed. I’ve been on tenterhooks for weeks wondering if they would ever actually arrive and when they might be installed but, on Thursday 17th December, it finally happened.

I’m really pleased with the results. Apart from looking good, they’ll improve the light, sound proofing and heat retention. They’ll also keep out the rain, which the old ones didn’t always do. My only regret is that I couldn’t stretch the budget to get all four windows done so the upstairs will be done in the future. There’s some finishing work to be done on both windows, which will be completed when the contractors come back in January to replace the sink. Stand by for another update then…


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