The neverending tale of the black wall has an end

Changed radiatorFinally! We’ve had a decorator in for the last few days to paint the black wall that has been looking at me since we half painted it in, erm, well, embarrassingly… March.  Time flies!

Here’s a reminder of how the wall has looked since then.  Yes, that is indeed been like that for eight whole months.

As I mentioned recently, we asked our shiny new decorator, Josh, to split the jobs we’d asked him to quote for into three parts, and he’s been busy doing the first (and cheapest!).  And now the wall is completely black!  Hurrah!

Black wall

Our new wall is not only sleek and sexy, but it sports straight lines and a glossy newly painted bannister.  Oh yes.

Josh has whizzed through quite a few of the “to-dos” on my depressing visual representation of all the jobs left to do: the kitchen post from way back in April – sanding and repainting the rest of the kitchen ceiling and walls, glossing the skirting boards, and painting the stairs wall, ceiling and handrail.

Black wall 2

In fact, we’ve only got two jobs left on that list now – tile the kitchen walls and replace the switches with brushed silver ones.  Both things that can wait a little bit, so I’m feeling a bit smug.  I think I’ve got enough lists going on without that one anyway (do two things make a list?).

We’ve asked the decorator to come back in early January to do the next instalment (middle floor hallway/stairs up to our room/nursery), can’t wait!

Black as night

I’m off work today to wait in for a B&Q delivery (allegedly this should be the last).

This weekend, we took a deep breath and did it – we’ve painted most of the west wall in the kitchen black!  We decided against painting it with chalkboard paint, although looking at it, it’s probably the same stuff anyway.  Still need to do the edges but the majority’s done.

Barry’s also put the splashback under the cooker hood and built the unit that goes on the other side.

We also visited my ex-uncle this weekend with his broken and new sanders.  He was lovely about it and said we shouldn’t have, and there was much merriment about lending us tools that were on their way out!

Barry’s got lots of fiddly things to do now in the kitchen, like fixing the electric plug and gas hose behind the oven, starting to build a cupboard for the boiler, and then putting handles on all of the purple doors and drawers.  He’s going to ring the joiner this week as well; I cannot wait for the sink to be sorted!

All that glitters

I love shiny things, sparkly things, bejewelled and sequinned things. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too surprised that when we got rid of the chandelier we used to have in the living room, I kept the sparkly things that used to hang from it.  Sorry to my friend Helen, to whom the chandelier was bequeathed, jewelless.

They’re not at all valuable – I think they’re just clear acrylic cut into a shape that catches the light – but I’m determined to find some possible use for these in my new living room.

I was thinking that if we had a pelmet above the window, I could somehow attach these to it and it would look really pretty. Either that, or it would look cheap and tacky, but it’s worth a try!

I still love the light we chose for our bedroom (pictured here), which was an Ikea find when we first moved in. We’re thinking about painting the wall behind our bed in this lovely rich Raspberry colour from Wickes, having the other walls Victorian White (also Wickes!), and then painting the skirts and doors gloss black.

I know I talk about Wickes a lot, but it’s our nearest DIY store so we’re up there a lot.




We were inspired by this photo in their paint catalogue, which was actually advertising coral paint, but we thought would work with their Raspberry too. You can get away with using any rich colour here, so we could even paint the dressing room (just off our room) a different colour, like this teal.


Barry’s been a busy little bee, plastering and sanding the walls in the kitchen of an evening.  They’re looking great, but it does look like a crime scene in which the fingerprint techs have been round the bottom two floors of our house searching for clues.

K – 6 days…

Feelin’ hot, hot, hot

The kitchen is now freezing, because the radiators have had to be removed. I seriously considered switching the oven on the other night while cooking at the hob, just for a bit of warmth.

Before we entered the Dark Ages, we were thinking about putting a small radiator under our bay window, but as the pipes come from above, this will be a really difficult job (lots of patching up), so we dismissed that. Barry’s mum once again had a great idea (this kitchen malarky was her idea in the first place) of having a vertical radiator.

These are the style we’re looking at on eBay. We started with B&Q and Wickes, but quickly switched to old faithful as they’re a third of the price, delivered. Can’t argue with that! This is now pressing as the temperature’s dropping, so I think we’ll order one this weekend.

I’ve also spotted (no pun intended) these white lights on the B&Q website. They are £40 each though, and I think we’ll need two, so we’d better raid the piggy bank!

Barry’s now put wood and plaster board on the end of the wall that was open and we’re coving the rest of them this weekend with plasterboard – hopefully it will help to keep a bit of warmth in.  Pictures below!

Which is best, tiles or wooden flooring? Only one way to find out…

We’d decided on slate tiles in the kitchen before we’d even thought about getting a new one, never mind knocking down walls and making it bigger.  However, I’m not sure about whether they would go with the units we’ve now chosen, so I’m still wavering.  We’d settled on these ones from Wickes, which were on sale when we first saw them, but now the square footage is getting bigger and they’ve come off sale, they’re looking more and more expensive.  I think we’d have to shop around before making a decision anyway.

Another option is to take the white wooden laminate (discussed previously) from the living room right through to cover the whole ground floor.  However, I’ve been strongly advised by colleagues not to have wood in the kitchen – one leak and it’s all over.  Anyone wishing to share their experiences is welcome to do so!

This is the flooring we have at the moment – bog standard laminate.

One factor affecting the choice of a black/grey tile is the colour we’re going to paint the kitchen.  At the moment, we’re thinking brilliant white on all walls, as colours may clash with the units and they’re enough of a statement on their own.  However, in the show house we visited before we bought our house, they had matt black painted up the stairs on both floors.  It sounds a bit gothic and depressing, but it really worked (honest!), so I think we may do the same.

Now that we’ve opened up the stairs to the kitchen, we could carry that black wall down so that one kitchen wall is black (the wall in the image above).  I’m wavering, because I think very dark grey would work as well, like this Slate (left) from Wickes, but Barry’s set on black.  I bought a tester pot of Dulux Midnight Kiss (below), and painted a splodge on the wall (and a bit on the carpet for good measure).

Either colour would also match the potential slate flooring.  I think some hard decision-making is in order, but we’re committed to painting it in some way to cover up the black!

To counteract the darkness of the floor and the wall, Barry thinks that brilliant white on the ceiling and all other walls is the way to go, but I don’t know if it will be too much with the white high gloss cabinets…any thoughts?

On a completely separate issue, I have to have a mini-rant about the plastering in our house.  Where we’ve removed walls, there are obviously big vertical holes, about three inches apart.  However, in two places, the plaster on either side of the hole won’t meet with a flat, straight line of plaster because one side comes out further than the other.  On one of them, the walls are about perfect at the top, but it comes out about an inch further at the bottom.  These things are hard to explain, but it’s infuriating, and it’s going to be a problem in particular for one of them, because we’re putting the kitchen cabinets in front of it.  At the moment, we’re wondering whether the worktop and upstand can be cut in a curve to accommodate it, but we’ll have to see when they arrive.  Rant over.