Today marks our fifth wedding anniversary – happy anniversary, honey!
We’ve actually been together more than ten years, since university, when our only source of decoration in the halls was books (his, sciences, mine, languages), posters (his, the tennis player with her bum out, mine, more embarrassingly, the Backstreet Boys) and interesting rugs (his, ratty strips of woven cloth, mine, a fluffy pink heart made of a wandering fibre that ended up on everything I owned).
We then moved to a shared house, where we had the whole top floor which had recently been renovated. Again, we had no power over what it looked like and function and utility reigned over beauty. The only painting Barry did was the bathroom ceiling, in a paint that just wouldn’t stick and turned out to have sand in it for some reason. It all peeled off.
In our third year, he worked in Peterborough while I lived in Spain and France. Spain was your typical apartment with tiled floors and airless rooms (pictured). My entire flat in France was smaller than our current bedroom. In the fourth year, we returned to (fancier) halls, in which I don’t think we even had posters or rugs.
At the end of that year, finally, we rented a house together just outside of the city which had a bit of character. The living room was on the third floor – very topsy turvy! The kitchen worktop had to be oiled regularly – I think Barry’s looking forward to doing that again. The bathroom was a horrendous aquamarine when we moved in, but we asked if we could paint it white and we were allowed.
The first house we bought was another magnolia kingdom. The couple we bought it from had lived in it for a few years and never done anything with it. Ha! we thought. Lazy buggers! We ended up painting this strip in the lounge a purply-chocolate colour, one wall in our bedroom green, a wall in our spare bedroom red, and the bathroom pink. Thus endeth our decorating of the first house.
Our current house is our second, and we nagged Barratt’s to death to get a cheaper price for it. It can be done! All of a sudden, the market will crash, and they won’t be able to give you it fast enough. That’s what happened to us, anyway. We ended up getting it for £25k less than next door, whose house is a mirror image of ours.
We fell in love immediately with the top floor when we saw the show home. It consists of our bedroom, a dressing room/nursery and ensuite. Light streams from opposite sides of the house and it feels huge and airy. The whole of the show home was very black and silver, but it did give us some excellent ideas, even if it’s taking until now to implement them (like black walls up the stairs).
As I’ve mentioned before, we’d love to have built in wardrobes, but they cost an arm and a leg. In fact, I’m not sure my arm and leg would cover the cost.
I was talking to Jules about house blindness (after the carpet discussion), and we’ve decided that once you’ve been in for a while, you just don’t see “it” any more. “It” can be the bland walls you see past, the nail pops you choose to ignore, the hideous (sorry, vintage) carpet you no longer look at. We’d been “planning” to decorate for some time before we actually started this January, but it took a shock this Christmas to actually make us get up and do something, because we needed a project to keep our minds off things.
As my friend Michelle says (and no, I’m not talking about myself in the third person), you always need a project.