Purple haze

There’s this wall that has been the bane of my home and my blog and my mind, I’ve brought it up for at least three years, and at last it’s done.

After painting the tester of Twilight Mist (again, whaaaaat?) on the wall in our bedroom and disregarding the opinion of my husband (spoiler, it turns out alright), I decided to go and buy a full tin and a cheap roller set from Wickes and just do it.  When I say just do it, I meant for Barry to just do it, but that didn’t happen, and it didn’t paint itself, so I did it as it turns out.

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Testing, testing

This is the wall that just refuses to paint itself.

Paint colour booklets from various DIY shopsFollowing the slathering of a hot pink tester on our bedroom wall, in, ahem, March 2012, we’ve had to look at the crime scene every time we walked in our bedroom door.  It had got to the point where we didn’t see it any more.  And when I did see it one day, I painted over it in white to make it easier to cover when the whole wall was painted.  There was probably a year between these two events.

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Colour me beautiful

I’ve been following a few other decorating/DIY blogs, and one writer has recently come up with a couple of kitchen posts I found interesting – one about white ones and one about kitchens with flashes of colour.  It’s nice to see trends on the other side of the pond, and shows how a bit of colour can really work.  I’m unsure about the brightly coloured units in three different shades in one kitchen though – it would have to be huge to carry that off.

I love the idea of having chalkboard paint from this blogger.  We’re having one wall matt black anyway, so we’re looking into this – it’s definitely a possibility!  From the big UK stores, I’ve found this one from B&Q, and this one from Wickes.  If anyone actually has experience of doing this, it would be much appreciated.  I’m not sure how much control you would have with a spray one, and I’m not sure how much you’d need to cover a wall that goes up the stairs!

The tile of my life

Many of my posts include the words I can’t decide, or something to that effect.  I hadn’t realised I was so indecisive!  Because we’re spending a lot of money on the kitchen especially (and will continue to do so for, oh, the next three years), we want it to be perfect.

I’m going to continue with affirmative phrases.  I like kitchen tiles.  We’re having an upstand made of the same wood as the worktop (walnut), but I believe that we need something above that to protect the walls.  We will be getting tiles of some description.  I like the tiles that are rectangular, like bricks.  I like these ones from Wickes (pictured).

But!  Is it boring to have white tiles, or is it chic?  Do we have enough colour with the purple units on the bottom?  What shall we have for tea?

Decisions, decisions…

Barry and I made a little trip to a friend’s this weekend so Barry could put a coat hook in their solid wall because he’s got a fancy drill.  We were talking about how nice it was to do a job and it having a definite ending!  We were also instructed to take a photo for the blog.

He’s spent the weekend here plastering and sanding – I can’t even help at this stage, which is frustrating for me, but probably more so for him.

We’ve had our first visits from friends to see the new space (and have a cup of tea, of course!), and the items we were selling on eBay have all sold, which is good.  Money is now being automatically translated into its equivalent value in DIY or household materials.  But would you pay £26 for a used loo (= a tin of paint)?


I know I’ve mentioned this before, but Pinterest is brilliant!  I thought you may want to see a couple of my boards as they stand.

I keep spotting some lovely accessories and pinning them to my boards, and it’s easy to see if they’ll fit with the theme, so I’d highly recommend it if you’re decorating.  I’ve pinned photos of items on there from B&Q, Wickes, Argos, Dulux, the list goes on…

As an example, I’ve just found these lovely curtains on the left in the Next sale for the living room.  I can clearly see that they complement the room’s theme.  However!  A word of warning.  I pinned this photo onto my Pinterest board and was going to wait until payday to buy them.  Then I thought I’d better get them as they’re on sale.  They were all gone, in every size, when I went back an hour later.  I’m naturally suspicious, and event one might have nothing to do with the other, but if you see something on sale, buy it before you pin it!

This is my kitchen board.  I’m lusting after some gorgeous tableware from John Lewis at the moment, but, being realistic, £9.99 for a cup is out of my price range, unless we start buying one piece of crockery a month!

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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…

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.

If you can’t stand the heat

Following my mother-in-law’s suggestion, we decided to look into knocking down walls to make our kitchen a larger room.  We think (and so do many of our friends, now we’ve discussed it!) that it’s really small for a house this size.  However, we know we’ll be knocking money off our property by getting rid of a room, albeit a smelly hole.

We did have a builder round to quote for knocking walls down, installing a new kitchen (plus installing fitted wardrobes in our room, but that’s definitely going to have to wait), but the prices were more than we’re willing to pay, so the husband is going to do it all himself, with a little help from the tea fairy (me).

We went to B&Q before making a decision, and vaguely had an idea of high gloss white units in mind.  We were still at the stage where we were testing the water and weren’t really committing to anything, but as soon as we saw this, we knew we had to have it!  The kitchen is from B&Q’s Cooke and Lewis range (as is the photo).

We made an appointment and then a few weeks later sat for an hour having the kitchen designed, with the added benefit of it being on sale as it was January.  If you get installation, they do make you change all of your electricity points (“to ensure they’re safe”, never mind we’re in a new build) and the cost for installation alone was a whopping £3,600, but we looked past that to supply only, which was much more manageable (and they were offering 3 years 0% finance).

Then madness gave way to reason and we realised we’d better get another quote from somewhere to make sure it really was reasonable and we hadn’t lost our senses.  We went to Wickes to get a quote from lovely Malcolm, who quoted us on the Caledonia.  It’s an inoffensive plain white high gloss unit, with integrated handles which I’m not too keen on anyway, but would have lived with if it was the difference of, say, £2k.  It wasn’t.  And my cleaner mother reliably informs me that integrated handles are a nightmare to clean anyway.  Sorry, Malcolm.

I’d also like to point out here that I double checked MSE about B&Q’s units and prices before we sold our souls and there were good reports, but also some scathing ones about the price of their installation.  My guess is that it’s something they don’t really care to get involved in, so they make it worth their while for the times they do.  As a side note, Martin Lewis’ website is brilliant, and I always check it before buying anything major.

So, the husband trotted back to the B&Q designer with our full page of tweaks for another hour of kitchen creation (measurements were slightly off, we wanted white, not cream, a bigger sink and oven, to name but a few changes).

Ah, the oven.  It deserves a post all of its own.  In fact, it’s not just an oven.  It’s an oven and a half.  My mum actually counted the number of knobs on the front from the picture and told me what each of the ten might be for.  Seriously.

B&Q price-matched Wickes and even managed to squeeze in a cheeky wine rack, and I’m really glad they did (price-match, that is) because the colour combo units make me much happier than plain white.  Granted, we were going to tart the white ones up with a flash of colour from a fuschia upstand, but it’s not the same you understand.

The husband called me to ask if we were going for it; B&Q gave him 20 minutes to make his mind up.  I didn’t really need the 20 but ummed and ahed along until we came to an agreeable conclusion.

This was a week last Wednesday.  On the Thursday, he got a call from Indesit asking if they could deliver our new oven on Saturday, very eager.  He managed to put them off a week, but couldn’t delay it any longer, so we’re going to have a random oven until the walls are sorted, the old kitchen is out, the new kitchen is in and we can get a registered gas man to fit it.  The joys of self installation!