This has been one of those eventful/uneventful weeks that sometimes seem to happen. You know the one: where for you, things seem to be happening but to a casual observer nowt much has changed.
My maternity leave has started a bit earlier than anticipated, thanks to recurring colds and viruses. I finally decided to ‘give in’ and see the doctor; thankfully, she agreed that I needed to stop now. But what an anti-climax! I still just feel like I’ll be back at work next week – it’s a very odd feeling to think that nope, I won’t.
I’ve had this cold for over a week now. Last week, I basically ignored it and kept going as we had the dreaded Ofsted in school. Then at the weekend, it hit me and I’ve spent a large proportion of this week in bed. What an exciting life! The best thing I did for it though was to help Aidan with wallpaper stripping – the wallpaper steamer did wonders for my snotty nozzle!
The house is really coming along now. Aidan has worked like an ant colony, all by himself. (Guess that makes me the Queen Ant… hmmmm, quite like this metaphor…). Upstairs is basically done with just furniture needing to be put in, pictures hung, general tidy round and a few touch ups.
The walls are all actually grey – apart from the Hi-Vis wall – but the ‘Chartreuse’ colour reflects off the other walls!
That picture probably shows the true colour more effectively. The lampshade we bought from Germany; the seller told us it was by Arne Jacobsen, but I’ve not been able to track it down. We’ve ordered this bed by Ercol to go in here. Unfortunately, due to the odd L-shape of the bedroom, a king-sized bed won’t fit in there properly. So, it’s back to a double size. The brightly coloured wall is probably going to become a Mid Century Picture wall, a bit like we had in the spare room of our old house. I think the Tretchikoff pictures should look quite effective with that as a backdrop.
The baby’s room is also nearly done:
It just needs the shelf putting up, and a set of drawers to put everything in. Hopefully he/she will like it! Oh, we need some wall stickers too. The funny little cardboard person in the window is one of a set of four that we have, again purchased from Germany. They used to sit in my classroom and at least once a week, a student would ask, “Is that one you, miss?” No. No, it’s not.
This week, Aidan’s parents have been round helping to prepare downstairs for the final stage (hopefully!) in our decorating run. His dad also sanded most of the wooden floors throughout the house which was a massive help to us. We’ve pretty much decided on how the living room will look; well, we’ve got the wallpapers, but we need to decide on the exact colour combinations. For the study, we need to decide on what wallpaper to go with.
Re-reading this has made me realise that it makes it sound like it’s all been plain sailing. It hasn’t, not by a long shot. We’ve encountered leaking chimneys, leaking radiators, damp walls, random damp patches, blocked chimneys, peeling plaster, random wires, light switches that don’t work, bulbs that don’t fit, flickering bulbs, wonky walls and doors that don’t shut properly. But, it’s nearly done. And hopefully, before a certain little someone arrives, we’ll even get a weekend to ourselves without any DIY needing to be done. Aidan has worked wonders in this house since February and soon, all the late nights, tiredness, sweat and damp will definitely be worthwhile.
As regular lurkers will know, we’re trying to do up our house within a fairly rigid deadline (!). As it stands at the moment, all of the floors upstairs are sanded, varnished and look lovely; although they are covered up with the old carpets to keep them nice. The front two little bedrooms are in the process of being glossed and emulsioned: one room in white (for now), the other in teal to match Sanderson’s ‘Squirrel & Dove’ wallpaper. Aidan has the week off work next week, so we really need to get thinking about colours for other rooms and get wallpaper and paints ordered.
We had the bright idea of putting together a powerpoint of all our ideas for each room: House Ideas. You can have a nosy at it, if you want to. Any feedback or ideas are appreciated!
The 1960s Homemaker magazines that Steve found for us a few months ago have become extremely useful on the ideas front:
This morning I had a look round the ‘Vintage Finds’ shop in Glossop which has some gorgeous fabrics in. The one I really want to use is this:
I’m thinking this would be very striking in the front guest bedroom with quite bright walls in a similar shade to what’s on the fabric. However, the material is currently two very long, quite thin curtains that I’m not sure would fit in our extremely large window. I’ve been looking up how to make different kinds of blinds, so that’s another option of what to do with it. Or turn it into some kind of bedspread.
I liked this as well:
But this one isn’t jumping out at me of what to do with it or where to put it. Other than to make a giant swishy skirt…
I’m hopeful that by the end of next week I should have some photos to share of finished rooms. Not everything will be done, but enough to make us feel that real progress has been made. We finally won a 1950s sofa and armchairs on eBay, so we should be going to pick up those next week. Getting those into the house is going to be a little more tricky given my current state. I’ll blame that and not the fact that I’m generally a weakling!
- Wallpaper Madness (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
Have you ever done up a house? Today, we realised that B&Q had an offer on Dulux paints that was ending this weekend, forcing us to examine our wallpaper choices and make some decisions. Easier said than done. So far, we’ve narrowed it down to these:
The ‘Squirrel and Dove’ wallpaper by Sanderson is going to be for my little room at the front of the house. The room’s quite small; just about big enough for a single bed with a wall of built in wardrobes with mirrored doors. I’m probably going to put a table in there and finally do some sewing…
The ‘Mobiles’ by Sanderson is for the living room. The room has a strange little alcove attached to it which we intend to use as a dining area: the current debate is whether to paint inside this alcove the lime green colour or the more sensible
boring grey colour. The room has a dado rail that oddly changes heights at different points in the room; in the alcove, it’s about one third of the way up the wall. I quite fancy painting it the lime colour below the rail with the grey above.
The ‘Marcelo’ wallpaper by Holden Decor is quite a newly released one. I love the ’50s style of both this and the ‘Mobiles’ one. However, putting them together I’ve realised that we’re doing for the same colours in two different rooms. Too boring? They’re going to be utilised in completely different ways; perhaps they are too similar though and we should be a bit more adventurous. The ‘Marcelo’ also comes in this colour-way:
It’s so difficult to decide what we want! Basically, if the choice was just between ten different papers and paints, we’d be fine. As it is, there are hundreds, if not thousands, to choose from. Wallpaper Direct has taken over Rightmove as my online guilty pleasure! Our ideas for the big study at the front of the house have been scuppered too by seeing this room at the Fat Cat blog. The dark grey wall with a scandi sideboard and West German pottery is right up our street, and perfectly doable with our current furniture and furnishings.
Choices, choices, choices!
Other things we still have to do before D-Day in November: sort out plastering and electrics upstairs, fit new light fittings, paint and wallpaper upstairs and down; buy all of the baby furniture; buy all of our furniture (sofa and chairs, dining table and chairs, various shelving options, two double beds…); save ourselves from going insane! Aidan is also very keen to keep up his Germany trips and Ebay selling of West German pottery. We’ve got a double garage full of pots, including hundreds of our own collection pieces that we need to sort through and decide what we’re keeping. Along with our retro mass market art prints of Tretchikoff, Lynch, Shabner, Van Der Syde, Torino and others, the pottery will probably make up the bulk of our accessories.
Oh dear, wish I hadn’t written that last paragraph! I’m going to measure some walls up to get some of this wallpaper ordered this evening… that’ll be one less job to do.
Is it me or is it getting more and more difficult to find good items in charity shops nowadays?
Yesterday, we went up to the Emmaus charity warehouse in Mossley (near to Staley Vegas…) and we also stopped in at the YMCA in Ashton. The Emmaus did have some interesting bits and bobs in it, mostly in the lovely little room at the back of the upper floor, behind the cafe. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me… We did buy a couple of things (and for a pittance):
I read many blogs and see that people like Vintage Vixen and Claire are off to jumble sales left, right and centre and snapping up amazing vintage items for less than 50p. I’m starting to think that the North West doesn’t have jumble sales! I’ve only seen one advertised since we moved here seven years ago, and that was too far away for me to get to via public transport. Ah well, should just console myself with hundreds of West German pots in the garage…
The house decorating is moving on. Aidan has spent the last couple of days pulling up carpets, measuring and inspecting floor boards:
You can see on this picture where the bathroom remodelling encroaches into the bedroom space. Presumably, many years ago, someone has changed the layout of the upstairs of the house to include a bathroom. We’re guessing that at one point the bathroom was either in a different room, or perhaps was even outside?! We’re quite tempted to go with the old style of painting round the edges and putting a rug down in the middle. I have a feeling though that Aidan will ensure these floorboards are in tip-top condition first – no easy paint job for him.
Some wallpaper samples arrived this week – this is the exciting part for me!
From left to right: Little Green 50s Line ‘Herbe’; Sanderson ‘Mobiles’ and unknown! I can’t remember the one on the right! All of the samples came from Wallpaper Direct, along with another one that I’ve not shown because I didn’t like it when it got here. I love Wallpaper Direct. At the risk of turning up on some dodgy searches, it’s like porn for home decorators: “Just one more, one more! Yeah, that’s the one!” The website is easy to navigate, and I like the feature that shows you what the wallpaper looks like in different types of rooms. It’s also free to order the first two samples, 75p for each one after that.
This is our favourite one so far, possibly for the front living room on one wall. It’s quite a grand room as it is, and we want to retain that feeling in there but with a mid-century style. ‘Mobiles’ by Sanderson seems to be fitting the bill for us so far. However, I chose all of these samples so far: it’s Aidan’s turn to order some this week, so we’ll see what he brings.
We’re off to pick up some plates I won on Ebay later:
They’re the ‘Fiesta’ design by Barker Bros; we’ve already got one plate in the blue colourway, but now we’ll have dinner and sandwhich plates in the colour design. The seller looks like they might have an exciting house as they’re selling some other interesting bits and bobs, including a lovely West German piece. Wonder if I’ll get a chance to have a nosy around? Do you think they’d mind if I took my camera… (I should probably point out I’m joking!)
Right, I’ve just heard a great big crash-bang-wallop! from upstairs. It appears that Aidan has either fallen out of bed or knocked something over. Before I go, this is his efforts with the stone hearth this week, ready for the fire fitting next week:
Pretty good, eh? Can’t wait to see the finished article, complete with paint added to the plaster and removed from the stone surround. Have a good Sunday everyone - I’m on Easter holidays for the next fortnight so you’ll probably hear much more from me than in recent times.
After last Friday’s posting of the house in 1956, I thought it was about time I shared what our house currently looks like. You’ll be able to see what I mean about trying to marry the styles of the original house with our taste without removing the original features and identity.
At the moment, most our stuff is just placed in rooms and we’re making do where possible. The makeshift table in the front room is a good example! In total, there are four bedrooms plus a loft room. Two of the bedrooms are titchy; not really sure what we’ll do with those. One is a laundry room, the other is my dressing room at the moment! We’ll probably have the room with the crazy floral wallpaper as our bedroom, although we are enjoying living in the loft at the moment.
Since I took these pictures, Aidan has stripped all of the carpets out from the upstairs bedrooms, removed the old gas fire in the back room and discovered the original stone lintel underneath the rubbish terracotta tiles that made up the hearth. Why would anyone tile over an original stone hearth with terracotta tiles? Next week our Morso stove is being installed. Is it bad that I feel happy that the current warm spell is supposed to end by then? It gives us an excuse to use the fire…
Did you see the log pile in the pictures? I had to include that as my dad has definitely gone wood-mad. I don’t think it will be long before Aidan is the same.
We absolutely love living here, and can’t wait to get our stamp on things. Decorating will be difficult, but fun! We’re on the lookout for fairly 1950s style wallpaper where possible, so if anyone spots anything they think might go – please let us know.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to find this gem of a book in a charity shop. I think I paid 30p for it. The past couple of months, I’ve been thinking about the next house we buy and how I’d love to do it up in a really unusual, retro style; each room with its own individual scheme. This book might just become my decorating bible! Anyway, enjoy looking through the pictures – hopefully, they will give you some inspiration too.