2021 blues


I wrote this article in March and held off publishing it due to some bad news from my contractor in early April. I’m publishing it now as written. There have been quite a few developments in recent weeks and I’ll post on those very soon.


When I last posted on here, I was flushed with the achievements of a very busy December and optimistically looking forward to finishing the big jobs in January, anticipating moving in by early February. Of course this was optimistic even at the time and set against an upwards rise in Covid cases and the Tory government’s reckless attitude to gatherings over Christmas, it was predictable that things would not turn out as I hoped. As soon as we hit the Christmas break it was clear that another lockdown was imminent and that nothing would be happening on the house for an unknown period of time.

It’s March 7th as I write this and, on a sunny, spring-like day with Covid cases on the decline and vaccinations rocketing, it feels like things might genuinely be about to change for the better. It didn’t feel like that in January and February with harsh winter weather and the return to full time home schooling along with a variety of other issues to contend with. I’ve been through various stages of anxiety about it and have arrived, for today at least, at acceptance. The restrictions do not prevent trades from doing emergency work but travel is difficult outside council regions and some are implementing random checks on work vans. Understandably my contractor has not wished to travel in the circumstances. This means I can’t get the final critical work done which has a knock-on effect on deadlines, moving in dates and has a variety of not insignificant financial implications. In the meantime, I have made progress on other small but important jobs.

Under stairs cupboard

The cupboard was an ugly, dark space, which had been neglected for decades. I need to make use of all the spaces in the house so there’s no scope to leave anything untouched. I have mentioned previously that, with some money to spend, I’d convert this into a super-efficient utility area. That’s for a future time but stage one was to make it serviceable.

As you can see from the pictures below there was a lot to do. I started by lifting the drab, brown carpet tiles and patched all the holes – of which there were a great many. One in particular was a giant, triangular hole in the plaster which had been chipped out to accommodate the corner of a storage unit. The paintwork was an ugly khaki colour in a difficult to paint over gloss finish. Stripping this back would have been a tortuous job and would probably have revealed even more issues so, failing a complete tear out and rebuild, patching, sanding and painting was the most effective approach.

I used the same bright blue, kitchen and bathroom paint I used in the front bedroom partially because I had several tines of it available but also to bring a dimension of brightness and energy to the space which would make it pleasant to be in.

It took a couple of coats to obliterate the khaki colour and I went for the all-over approach son the back of the door and the skirtings are the same colour. It doesn’t hide the uneveness but it’s a lot more attractive.

After that I covered the floor left over underlay and carpet off cuts.

And then brought in some utility furniture.


The loft is a curious space with good height but limited use due to previous conversions and to the old fashioned A-frame supports which bisect the space limiting movement and storage. The floor is mostly boarded so I was able to clear out some leftover junk (though there were some interesting finds which may be upcycled in future projects) and cover it with the remains of the carpet offcuts. I’ve also assembled some shelves and begun shifting various items up.


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