Dining Room (As it was…)

I know it’s been a while, but there’s lots going on here, including a new baby on the way and a big extension being added to the side of our house (as advertised on Facebook…). One thing that’s been left undocumented is that we’ve had a bit of an issue in our dining room.

I realized that I never really did a post about what I did in there, and it was by far my greatest house accomplishment to date.


The dining room is by far and away the biggest room in the house (at the moment), and was used as the living room by the previous tenants. This picture actually makes it look decent, but it was a dark, dank hole, so don’t be swayed…


Here it is after we stripped all of the wallpaper and pulled up the two layers of carpet.


And after painting the walls and laying the floor. Lovely.

Anyway, this room was used as storage space for us for quite some time before I actually had things unpacked/stored in the garage. I had always planned on doing some sort of banquette seating in here so we could have a bit of extra hidden storage for little things that we don’t really need to see/use every day.

I made literally the most basic bench seats ever out of some stud work timber and plasterboard (aka 2×4’s and sheetrock) that I had leftover from other projects.

2015-02-05 15.56.28

Then I ran out of timber…

2015-02-26 14.14.58

I did manage to get some more delivered though, and made some simple cushions out of some MDF, foam core, batting and fabric I bought off from Amazon.

2015-02-26 15.59.08


Not the prettiest bench ever, but it got Ellis’ seal of approval.

2015-02-26 17.43.33

It’s hard to tell, but I also put up some wallpaper that looked like wainscotting, in the dining space to separate it from the rest of the room.

Probably the best part is that we scored this awesome dining set from a local charity shop for only £125.

2015-02-15 15.17.56

It was SUPER 70’s looking, but really sturdy and exactly the right size for the space, so I spruced up the table by staining the top and painting the base, and the chairs got a new turquoise makeover with some funky, geometric fabric and new cushions.

2015-03-26 16.36.09 2015-03-17 15.24.10

And I bought a reproduction Eames armchair for the end, which Ellis has claimed as his own.

This really was a lovely little dining area for a while, and then our neighbors had a huge leak that caused dry rot in their floors and walls. Luckily we don’t have any wood in our walls, but that didn’t stop water from coming through and this is what we discovered:


MOLD!!! Arghh!! So I had to rip out the whole thing that I had built a year ago. Boo…


I had the major sads for a couple of days, but then I realized that I could start all over and do something new with the space. I really loved that bench seat, and it came in really handy for special occasions, but we’ll live.


Luckily it looks pretty minor, and we have no dry rot in our place, or leak, and the leak next door has been remedied, so that’s good news for us.

I’m getting a little twitchy waiting for construction to be completed so I can get to work on this little corner of the house. Mostly cleaning it up and repainting. I’ll worry about the other stuff later. Painting while 8 1/2 months pregnant will be a breeze, right?



Ellis’ Room (for now…)

Ellis’ room was pretty gross when we first moved in… and tiny!

2014-10-15 15.36.28 2014-10-15 15.36.37

The guy that was renting this room before is a big guy, too. I have no idea how he fit in there, Ellis barely does!

Anyway, we wanted the transition to the new house to be easy for Ellis, so his room was set up first. I think Dan spent 2 full days scraping and sanding off wallpaper and glue.

DSC02519 DSC02516

DSC02518 DSC02517

Luckily, one of the walls didn’t have any wallpaper on it. The only one in the house, I think…

And then we cut a big hole in the wall…

2014-10-25 12.42.14 2014-10-24 16.07.19-1

And Dad built another wall so that Ellis could actually have a closet in his room that didn’t take any space out of his original room.

2014-10-27 16.23.03 2014-10-28 15.08.43


This and the floors were probably the only things I really wanted done in the house before we moved in, so I was psyched when they were done.

Ellis’ walls in his old room were dark grey, so I used some dark grey, but because the room is so tiny, I had to lighten it up with a brighter shade… and wallpaper. Every room needs wallpaper.

2014-11-06 15.27.09

2014-11-03 16.20.40

The wall with the closet didn’t have paint on it for a very long time, mostly because it was such a mess, I had to use buckets of filler to even it all out (it still isn’t), but it was driving me crazy, so I did what I could to get it painted and the molding put up around the closet.

2015-04-20 15.44.45

While we’re talking about the closet, the inside was a mess, too.


But instead of trying to fill in the humungous gaps, I just decided to chip off all of the cement board on that inside wall.


Again, not perfect, but saved me a lot of hassle, so, whatever.

I put off organizing Ellis’ closet for a long time… mostly because when I opened it, this is what I saw…


Daunting was the word… But once I got it all out of there, I could start putting in shelves, toy storage and a hanging rod.

This is what the stuff looked like living in our bedroom for the day…


I basically had to do this whole project in a day because I didn’t have anywhere else to put all of his stuff in the meantime, so I had to be ready to go from the second Ellis headed off to daycare.

I tried to keep it pretty basic. Shelves on the left and a hanging rod and toy storage on the right.

DSC02659 DSC02658


Kitchen (Part 1 of 1 Billion)

So, I know that I said I was going to look at Ellis’ room next, but I’ve decided to move into the kitchen for one major reason: I’m going to be changing it, and soon (hopefully).

We have plans to extend our house to the side and add on another bedroom, utility, shower room and a bigger entrance, but I’ll get into that another time. But once we get the contractors in to start demolishing the garage (which needs to be emptied beforehand) I’m also going to get them to knock down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen… it’s just decorative anyway.

Anyway, the kitchen started out almost as empty as a kitchen can get…


Some nasty laminate flooring, net curtains and a door with a cat door, minus the flap (which was awesome when we were working on it in October, hence the left behind poster stuffed in the hole there…).

2014-11-06 09.50.41


The other side had a couple small base cabinets and the sink and cabinet just under the window, with a couple spaces for a washing machine and cooker (stove). Also note the hideous backsplash…

I changed the flooring pretty early on to some vinyl tiles to brighten up the place.

2014-11-06 13.02.42


And the floor looked pretty amazing for a couple of weeks, until we actually moved in and got all of our appliances. Tiles started shifting and the adhesive was coming up making a huge mess and collecting dirt, so it’s not as great as before, but it’s better than when we moved in.

We don’t actually have that much by way of kitchen tools, plates, etc., but we sure as hell needed more storage. Where did the previous tenants keep their dry food? They had a couple of shelves up on the wall when we looked at it, but that was it. We also had no appliances (except for an old washer and dryer that were gifted to me by a former client when we moved into our old place… but the dryer had since broken, and the washer was on its way out too, so I threw it up on ebay and made £50, woot!), so I set out ordering appliances and cabinets pretty soon after getting the floor down.

Anyway… the laminate countertop and cabinets are not in great shape, and we’ve always had a plan to really fix up the kitchen when we could, not only to make it look a bit nicer, but to make it much more functional and work for us. As it is, only one person can be in the kitchen at a time and with our washer in there, I can’t even open one of the drawers, and the door to the “corner cabinet” doesn’t open all the way. Also, we’re pretty sure there’s a rat roaming around back there, as evidenced by a few chewed up sponges… Needless to say, I’ve been planning what we’re going to do for a while, and I’ve decided on a general scheme for the room, which helped with picking out our starter set of cabinets.

apartmenttherapy apartmenttherapy2

It’s pretty standard, but we are going for dark base cabinets and white wall cabinets with brass colored handles. So we headed over to Ikea to have a look at their styles (which I highly recommend doing before ordering online as they almost never look the same as they do in real life, especially when you’re looking at something as pricey as your entire kitchen!).

After deciding on which ones we liked I went home, measured and ordered everything online (no need to spend any more time in Ikea than necessary). I also had some excellent labeling help at home:

2014-11-18 09.30.23


After installing our cooker, fridge/freezer, washing machine and dryer, I finally go to installing our cabinets and getting a little creative with our former headboard


Master Bedroom: Part One

So, yeah. It’s been a while. I know, I know. No excuses, just haven’t taken the time to post anything! So here it goes:

The master bedroom has somehow become the most complete room in the house. I’m not sure how or why this has happened, since it’s probably the least used room in the house.

When we last saw our bedroom it looked like this:

2014-11-05 11.01.01


Actually it looks pretty good there… no crap taking up space.

Now there’s lots in there, but I’m going to stick with that little corner of the room for now.

So, because we took out almost a third of the room to give Ellis a closet, we were left with sticking our bed in this spot, but I really hated shoving the bed all the way to the back wall (especially since I sleep on the left side of the bed, and that meant having my face against the wall…), so this is what I came up with after less than a week of waking up with my nose against newly pasted wallpaper:


I put two Ikea desk shelf supports (that had been sitting in the garage since the move) behind the bed to bring the bed about a foot from the back wall, which actually lined up with the side wall (huzzah!). Should I have made the bed before taking this picture, sure… 20/20 hindsight.

So, since in our old place I used a pair of shutters mounted to the wall as a headboard, I couldn’t actually use those again here. Well, I could have, I guess, but they’re being employed elsewhere in the house at the moment. So I decided to actually purchase an upholstered headboard. The only problem was I didn’t like anything I saw. And to that end, I decided to make one myself and it was super easy.

I had inspiration from a couple of places, but I really loved this Pottery Barn one:

PB Headboard


I also liked this version from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs:

Headboard SDDesigns

So I opted to go somewhere in between:



And, It. Is. Awesome. I really like how it came out, and if I could put stud trim on everything, I would. For one hour and £40 for all materials, it was a great decision.


2015-03-09 13.42.17

I remembered to make the bed this time! The only issue we had now was the huge space behind the headboard.



And while it is handy for storage, it looks kind of weird. So I built a platform using some left over plywood and stud timber.



I didn’t worry too much about staining the supports since they hide behind the headboard anyway, and because I’m a genius I had to take the headboard back out of place to put the shelf in… ugh. But now it looks great, and it was an easy morning project that really tidied up the room.


There’s not tons of room to walk around the bed, but we haven’t had any injuries yet, so we’ll count it as a win!

I’ll probably move on to Ellis’ room next time, but here’s an updated before and after of this little corner of the house first:





New House

In lieu of clogging up Facebook with lots of house pictures, I’ve decided to throw it all up on my own website which has been lying dormant for years. Who knows, maybe this site will help to keep me on task? Nah, I’m sure it will be more distracting.

In any case Dan and I bought this house back in October, and it was used as a rental for god knows how many years, so it had been left to disintegrate for some time. The structure is in great shape, and all of our utilities work well, and most of the furniture from our last place fits, but there was a lot to do before we moved in, and there’s still a lot to do! We’ve also downsized from a three bedroom to a two, so we have had to get rid of some stuff (we’re still getting rid of stuff) but we’re getting there.

Exterior01Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 2.42.49 PM

Luckily, my Mom and Dad flew over to give us a hand both with the house and with Ellis, so we could actually move into the place by November.

For now, I’ll go room-by-room with progress pictures and will hopefully update as I get work done (or at the very least, as I make progress). Keep in mind that I only have Mondays and Thursdays to get housework done (while Ellis is with the childminder), along with the increasingly rare nap time…


The kitchen is fairly tiny, and there was absolutely no storage when we first moved in:

DSC02501 DSC02500

That’s it, that’s the whole kitchen. We didn’t actually do much with it while my parents were here; just a little clean up and repaint. A couple of days after my parents left I laid vinyl tile on the floor and it instantly brightened up the whole room.

2014-11-06 09.50.32 2014-11-06 13.04.48

I also made a big Ikea trip to buy cabinets, as well as a nice little order from Appliances Online to get a cooker, washing machine, fridge/freezer and tumble dryer. The wall cabinets were easier than I thought to get up, thanks to a tip from dad and lots of boxes laying around so I could prop them up while drilling/hanging.

2014-11-28 13.58.45 2014-11-28 16.29.41

I also just realized that I have no pictures of the other side of the room since the cabinets went in… oops! There’s till more to do in this room, though:

Finish putting up cabinets ( I haven’t fixed the upper cabinets to the wall surrounding the fridge yet…)

Paint Tile (that splashback tile is hideous, and for the time being, needs to be painted over)

Fix Floor (when I put in the washing machine, some of the tiles slid around and the glue underneath built up and has made a mess…)

Dining Room

The previous tenants used this area as their living room, but I cannot get behind having the dining room at the front of the house and the kitchen at the back, even though it is the biggest room in the house.

Dining02 Dining01

After peeling a very thick layer of vinyl wallpaper with about 3249862104 coats of paint on it, we had to scrub all of the residue off the walls just to make it somewhat even (and it still isn’t).

DSC02490 DSC02491 DSC02492 DSC02493

We also had to pull up two layers of carpet to get to the floorboards. But a fresh coat of paint and some new laminate floor made the whole room look like new!

DSC02536 DSC02537 DSC02538

There’s still a lot left to do in this room, but I’m hoping to make major progress this week:

Finish building banquette seating

Refinish dining table and chairs

Paint Around Boiler


Fit light fixture

Door to Boiler (Dad made us a door for the boiler cabinet he built and sent it over before christmas, but it’s still sitting in the box…)

Coffee/Tea Station (to extend the counter space in the kitchen a bit, I build a coffee/tea/microwave station in the dining area, but I still need to finish the top)

2014-12-05 11.19.42 2014-12-06 16.18.27

Living Room

Living02 Living01

Along with the vinyl wallpaper and 2 layers of carpet, we had an added layer of linoleum on the floor to scrape up, so that was fun… as well as graffiti on the walls!

DSC02495 DSC02496 DSC02494 DSC02497

In addition to painting the walls and laying the new floor, my mom wallpapered the alcoves surrounding the former fireplace.

2014-10-23 16.16.03

There’s still loads to do in here:

Shelves (we still haven’t unpacked our books)

Toy Storage (We have some, but it’s unfinished and messy,  so I need to work it out better)

Mantle (We can’t really have a mantle because of the layout at the moment, but the area still looks like the pic above, so I have to figure something out…)

Sideboard (We bought a sideboard last week that I need to repair and refinish so we can use it as our media cabinet/tv stand)

Scotia and Skirting


This area didn’t need much work, as there were scraps of carpet stapled to the stairs, and the walls were in good shape, but we changed the layout upstairs, so there’s still a bit to be done there.

2014-12-08 10.18.44 2014-12-08 10.19.14


2014-12-08 14.24.46 2014-12-08 15.14.27

Fairly recently, I painted the stairwell and put a runner down the stairs, but I still have to lay the laminate in the entry and finish the skirting and scotia on the upstairs landing (which I have no pics of at the moment…) and finish the linen cabinet that’s there.


All of the fixtures in the bathroom are fairly new, so we didn’t need to do much.

Bathroom02 Bathroom01

I did add new floor tiles (same as the kitchen) and am in the process of adding shelves and decoration to make it a little more functional/pretty.

2014-10-30 12.07.42

Ellis’ Room

Ellis’ room was nasty to say the least. It was also so small that he would have had no room to play in there (not that he does, really, but he may want to hide from us in the future), plus he has more clothes/stuff than we do, so he needed a closet.

Ellis01 Ellis02

So we just knocked through a wall.

2014-10-24 16.07.19-1 2014-10-24 16.21.55

Okay, so a contractor did that, but it allowed us to take some space out of the master bedroom and give Ellis a closet, and put in the linen closet on the landing. That’s all thanks to a wall built by Dad.

2014-10-26 10.20.30 2014-10-26 10.20.44 2014-10-27 16.22.53

And Ellis’ room got a much needed new coat of paint (or two), some funky wallpaper and some new carpet.

2014-11-05 11.01.33 2014-11-06 15.27.09

Unfortunately, the wall with the hole isn’t finished, but the wall needs to be repaired before I can paint, or do anything else, which means the wall inside the closet needs to be done also. Therefore, there are a lot of boxes and other miscellaneous baby things filling up the closet, but are just piled up on the floor. Just going through that stuff will be a major undertaking, so I keep putting it off…

Master Bedroom

So we actually made the master bedroom smaller because of the need for a closet in Ellis’ room, but this is what it looked like before:

Master01 Master02 Master03

A bit of chaos, but we did have a closet, so that was a start. But after building a new wall and adding some paint, wallpaper, and a new carpet, it looked a million times better. I also built up the sides to the closet in hopes of putting in a sliding barn door over the front… we’ll see.

2014-11-05 11.01.01 2014-11-05 11.01.10 2014-11-05 11.02.00

So, obviously the place is furnished now, because we’re living here, but I haven’t been great at taking pictures, mostly because it’s usually in a state of chaos. Like this:

2014-11-25 17.10.58

But I want to record all the work we do, mostly because it’s our first house, and partly to show how much work we’ve put into it.