Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Our Home - The "Before"

Keeping it real, this is the current state of our house - we are mid numerous DIY/decorating projects, so this is all very much work in progress.

I want this post to serve as a statement of intention as much as anything. I've taken a picture of each room in the house to act as a marker point and to introduce you to my home. I'm hoping this will help the motivation process to get projects finished - I think used to it having been like this for so long that we've actually stopped seeing it as it really is. My hope (not resolution) is that the house will not look the same at the end of 2012 as it does at the start!

I'm a novice photographer and the photos were taken at night, so apologies in advance.

One thing I have realised is that seeing things in a photo really does help you to see what needs to be done to sort things out - I've been feeling like I've had no vision for our house - but looking at the pics I can see straight away (apart from the obvious clear the junk out) what needs to be done - e.g. I didn't realise that the speakers in the living room looked so in your face being black, so def have to think of something more discreet for that in the redo. Plus we've no curtains in the living room, never have had, but you don't realise how much like an office it is till you see it in a photo. Feeling the need to take me some more photos!!

Blogland seems to be full of new year, lets organise, fresh start type posts and I feel we're still stuck in the domestic chaos that I think has been going on for month after month. It all started with getting the new kitchen (which started May 2010 with the removal of the wall between the kitchen and utility room), so we had to empty and move all the stuff from the Kitchen into the Dining Room. 

The kitchen is pretty much finished now and I do love it, there's just one little bit of it that seems to be a catch-all for rubbish landing (see below), that I need to sort out... I will do a post on my super-organised kitchen cupboards at some point - I LOVE THEM!! (is it wrong to love a cupboard???). 

Before the kitchen was totally finished we had the bright idea to get a new unit for the Dining Room, as some of the stuff from the kitchen (dishes only used for special occasions) we wanted to store in the Dining Room instead. So all the stuff in the Dining Room then had to be moved into the Den to clear the Dining Room for the new unit... or at least that was what the mess in the Den was supposed to be but looking more closely its now more like lots of random stuff from all over the house that no longer has a home - there's even an old computer (a ZX Spectrum, showing my age or what) in there somewhere!! Plus of course G is using one of my chairs for clothes storage, as you do!!

That's the new unit for the Dining Room above. We can't get it built as there's problems with it, so while we're trying to resolve that the Dining Room looks like this (and has done so in various forms since late summer). Mind you, it was worse than that for a while - 3 of the built up bits were lying on the floor and all the other packages/boxes were lying in the Living Room, right through November and December! So that was our Christmas decoration for this year - lovely!  I am linking up the Dining Room progress to Org Junkie's 29 Day Challenge.

There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I got so frustrated with nothing being finished, projects stalling and just being over the chaos of living in a mess, that I decided to do a mini makeover of the study. Just moved some stuff about, quick joooj and tidy up...

But even that never really got finished. There's cables under the desk to be sorted, those pics lying on the floor have to get new inserts before being hung (same as the one the one that's already on the wall), there's a stack of magazines to be sorted out and I got so annoyed with the 3 feet high pile of filing lying on a chair (out of shot), I hid it all in a cupboard. Oh the shame for an organised soul!! But it is looking a lot prettier than it did - considering at the start of the mini makeover I was adamant the wallpaper had to go cos I hated it, it doesn't actually look that bad now I don't think and for now it will do - as you can see from above, other priorities for now!!

When the Dining Room project stalled and the Study makeover was done and having no enthusiasm for finishing off the bits and pieces from the epic kitchen redo, we then turned our attention to our bedroom. We got as far as new wallpaper and new curtains, but then that stalled to as our attention was back to phase 2 of the Dining Room drama. So now, its just a new bed, new furniture, new carpet, new built-in wardrobes, get pictures framed and hung and actually put the new bedding on the bed instead of on top of a drawer unit! and it will be done!!

There are a couple of places that haven't had a mention yet - the living room, hall/airing cupboard and the bathroom. The living room hasn't been decorated for about 15 years (ouch!) but we've got used to it, it is probably a bit dated now but we still liked it and apart from the carpet showing its age, it wasn't too bad. We bought a new suite at the same time as the Dining Room unit and that's prompted us to decide that we do need to redecorate but that will involve raising part of the floor (at the window, I think you can just see that that area is lowered, we need to raise that so its all on the level), so that's a project that will have to wait till all the other chaos has been sorted - 2020 I'm thinking. I want to move away from the warm peachy autumnal tones to greys, taupes and creams.

So for now (despite a radiator cover and random cables lying around) the living room in the grand scheme of things isn't too bad. I have to laugh at the state of the middle cushion on the settee - its gone like that because it reclines and G frequently falls asleep and slides down the leather so that he's almost hanging off - looks hilarious but I didn't realise what an adverse effect it was having on the leather - he will have to learn to stay upright!!

We put in a new bathroom about 10 years ago and apart from replacing the carpet, sorting out the side of the bath where it gets marked by my chair and getting a new blind, we're pretty happy with it, so for now its not on the horizon for any kind of makeover (thank goodness one room has been spared!). Can you see I'm keeping it real with the baby wipes on the floor lol.

I recently decided that I hated the bookcase that we had in our hall so it had to go. What I didn't account for was that it conveniently hid that I had marked out tyre tracks from my chair showing my route from the bedroom to the bathroom - boo - or how bare the hall would look with nothing in it (the bookcase used to be on the between the two doors on the right hand side). I do want to change the wallpaper (again its decade old relic) - to something lighter and more neutral. At the end of the hall you can just about see the unit in the study - that used to be filled with red and gold stuff but now its been neutralised and its just wooden and white ornaments, which really work well with the cream, pale wood and gold colour scheme. Again keeping it real, there's a shaver box lying on the floor at the left hand side!

Finally, in the hall, the door on the left is a large cupboard we use as an airing cupboard and for our coats. Its a great space, but as you can see it too is in need of some love and attention - someday!! BTW how disgustingly dirty is that old pillow - yuck!!

We live in a bungalow, with all the bedrooms at the back of the house and our "back" door is actually on the side of the house. Before we added the conservatory, there was no access to the garden from the back of the house, just from the side.

The conservatory is off the middle bedroom, which is the smallest of the bedrooms and is our study. We knocked through the window to make it into french doors and then the conservatory was added, giving us access to the garden. The conservatory's lovely in the summer, very fresh and light (teal, cream and blue colour scheme of choice), but although we have a radiator in there, not so much in the winter, so it tends to get closed up (which is why I forgot to take a photo!).

I work from home usually in the study, so having the view out the french doors through the conservatory into the garden is really lovely, even in the middle of the bleak winter (when actually its nice to be inside looking out!).

So here's the conservatory:

There's a few things I'd still like to do:
  • Blinds - we're overlooked so it can feel a bit like a goldgfish bowl.
  • New Chairs - the two chairs are temporary till we get something to match the settee (no funds for new leather chairs right now!).
  • New Units - I also loathe the little unit with the square holes in it - it was originally bought as a laundry basket and brought into service in the conservatory when we were trying to furnish it cheaply having blown all our funds on building the thing in the first place! So I want to replace that and also get a complementary long, low unit to sit to the right of the settee and put the strange shaped ornament on it (its nicer in real life, its all covered in little mother of pearl tiles and inspired the colour choice, just doesn't photo well!
  • I'd also like to get throws and rugs to cosy it up in the winter.
  • Lastly we also need to sort out the lighting, with more lamps again to cosy it up at night and in the winter.
As you will no doubt gather from all the other "projects" on the go, the conservatory is way, way down our list of priorities - since it looks OK and we'd don't use it so much this time of year, its not needing or getting a makeover any time soon!

In the pic with the blue settee, can you just about make out in the background the garden bench? Its in a structure supposed to look like a Japanese teahouse, but now affectionately known as "The Bus Stop". Its another unfinished project - are you seeing a pattern yet. The garden's been a major epic project over 3 or 4 summers - it all had to be made up to one level, new paving, decking, a pond built, a second patio area, huge trees taken out, a fence collapsing and finally we decided that we'd really like another sheltered seating area where we could look back toward the house and have somewhere outside but under shelter from the sun - hence the teahouse as we're going for a minimal/oriental-ish theme in the garden. 

We'd already put up willow screening to hide our garden and all the wooden parts of the screening were painted a gorgeous dark purple colour - Carragheen by Fired Earth. So it was a summer later when we decided to do the teahouse and it was to be screened in willow and the wood painted in the same dark purple. Only problem being that in the meantime the paint had changed - we don't know if its because the changed the stuff it was made out of or what happened but the Carragheen paint we bought for the teahouse was completely different to all the other woodwork. 

So we then spent weeks and weeks and weeks (I'm not kidding) tracking down every colour purple under the sun but none matched up to the original paintwork. So then we were faced with the dilemma of "do we repaint the whole thing - we realised that this would mean having to redo all the screening too. So that idea got quickly scrapped and sadly the project just stalled from there - out of necessity and as it was heading towards winter we had to turn our attention to projects in the house instead and since then we've not been motivated to finish that project either - why is nothing ever straightforward???

Does anyone else live a life of chaos like this??? Please tell me I'm not alone!!

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