I still roll around on newly fitted carpet. I’m not even ashamed.

As mentioned in a previous post, as a joint birthday from my mum, Joe & I decided that we’d love a carpet for the lounge. This way, when we get the Christmas tree up in a week or so, this room will look so cosy, and pretty much finished. So it was a race against the clock….

We needed to:

  • Clear out all the rubbish we had been storing in there (bathroom stuff, unpacked boxes etc)
  • Decide what colour we wanted the walls and actually paint them!
  • Order the carpet.

So, first thing’s first. Here is how the room looked when we officially got the keys to the house in August.
In the month before we moved into the house, we had an emergency DIY session, which included lots of family, and plenty of jobs done:
The chipboard wallpaper was removed. The ceiling was re-boarded. The entire room was plastered. The electrics were re-done. The gas fireplace was removed. Radiators were fitted with the central heating. The floors were stripped back to the floorboards. The walls were painted plain old white.

We were then able to move in our furniture and start living there. So, up to a week ago, this is what our living room looked like (please pardon the mess. This picture was taken when we had just moved in!)

Here’s what we did in this last week…

Painted the room.
Our good friends Rik & Becky (and baby Skye) bought us a B&Q voucher as a moving in pressie so we decided to use it for paint. After all, it would be silly to get the carpet in and then paint the walls (thanks you three!).

We decided to go with Natural Hessian from Dulux for the whole room. It’s a lovely neutral with a hint of brown, and it’s still light unlike some of the other “light” browns we tested. Although it was the same Dulux range as the green we used in the main bedroom, it didn’t go on as easily. It needed at least two coats, as it looked really patchy with just one. (It was also very much like the colour of plaster with just one coat. If we’d have wanted that, we would have stuck with the skimmed walls!)

Thanks to Joe’s parents, we discovered this edging brush (again from Dulux. Christ, I sound like a salesperson for them! It’s just a coincidence that it’s all the same brand!).
I have such shaky hands and I’m just awful at the edges of walls, but this brush made it look less like a child’s scribbles. It really helped.

Order everything
We ordered the underlay from a great website which sold it at trade price. I think, if we had ordered it through where we ordered the actual carpet, underlay would have cost about £150. On this site though, we got it for approx £70, including delivery. I do love a bargain.

Get out of the way so we can get a carpet!
On Saturday morning, the carpet fitters arrived. After some heavy lifting from me & Joe (okay so it was mostly Joe), making sure everything was out of the room, we left them to it.
It almost felt like we were moving again, as we had to pack up everything – including our dvds/blu-rays/games case. There are hundreds in there and we had to whack out the cardboard boxes again. Oh well! It means I got to re-alphabetise them. <geek>

We got a sneaky peak of the progress from the stairs, as the underlay was going down. We were like kiddies on Christmas morning!

The carpet is absolutely gorgeous. I love it.

The room feels complete. It actually feels warm now that we’re not cutting our feet up on floorboards. It goes without saying that this room will be a strictly no-shoes area! Particularly whilst the dirty kitchen next door is still falling apart. The room looks bigger and the first thing I did when the fitting was complete, was do a stop, drop, and roll – like the grown up that I am.

Now all we need to finish the room is add the obvious – finishing touches.

We’ve asked for a few bits and bobs for Christmas, such as picture frames for example. If we get them, fantastic. If not, we will hit the sales in January. Either way, this room will be finished in the New Year.

There are still a few things we want to do in here, such as get blinds, curtains, and swap that window at the back for  uPVC one, but these will come in time.

For the time being, we will “finish” the room next weekend, when we get our Christmas decorations up, for our first Chrimo in the house. I’m sure there will be pictures to follow. I think we’ve done really well in only three months.

Karen x

The Karen way to chop wood

There’s a running joke between Joe and myself that I am a bit weak and feeble. It’s true that I have the upper body strength of a wet towel and can be a bit useless when it comes to ‘proper‘ jobs around the house (I like to think of myself as the co-ordinator although it really just means that I love sitting on the couch munching on some cookies watching Joe do burly things outside).

Unfortunately in the move, one of our major poster frames smashed. With the glass recycled and the poster itself re-ordered, all that was left was to break up the wood that was its backing, ready for our bonfire. As you can see, I failed miserably, whilst Joe took pictures in hysterics.

This is a pledge to man up, as Joe says, and get better at general house activities. I may need to buy an axe though if Joe wants anymore wood chopping up (especially since he had to do it in the end as I’m a complete failure. Oops).

Karen x

One wall down…many more to go

This weekend we finally got off our bums and painted the feature wall in our bedroom.

We had already bought the paint a few weeks back with a B&Q voucher I received for my birthday from the girls at work. So we put on some scruffs and got to work. I like to think of it as one of my presents to Joe, as it was his 25th birthday after all.

Joe struggled to work out how the protective sheets work...

Got to protect our bed and brand new carpet!

The paint itself

The big reveal

I was given the major important job of stirring. As you can see, I look like death. It was early Sunday morning after all!

The first tester!.....It says "Happy Birthday Joe" in shorthand. Or at least, that's what I was going for. It's been a while since I used it...

Joe took charge of the tall bits

THAT'S ME! (Also known as proof that I did some painting too)

Joe likes to draw rude pictures on things. I'm not worried at all...

And here is the finished result! It looks a lot darker as the picture was taken at night, but we really love it. We want to paint the rest of the walls a light grey as I’m not really a big fan of white walls, but that can wait until the new year. Now, we can hang stuff such as photos and mirrors, and get this place looking more like a home.

Next paint job….the lounge.

Karen x

I heart paint samples

I’m a bit scatty when it comes to picking paint. As mentioned in a previous post, me & Joe got a joint birthday present from my mum this year : a carpet for the lounge. We haven’t ordered anything as of yet because we want to get the walls painted first. Makes sense really doesn’t it?

We had the walls skimmed and painted before we moved in so they are currently plain old white. In a bid to get things moving (and hopefully done in time to put up a Christmas tree), this weekend we used what was left on a B&Q voucher – given to us from the girls at work (thanks again!) – and got some samples.

We chose some shades of what looked like light brown. This is where I struggle. We’re going to decorate with brown and orange furnishing. So we wanted a light colour on the walls so not to make the room look like a dark dungeon.
The above are what we sampled, all looking relatively light and fresh, but on the walls, it was something else. I know that’s what samples are for, but still, I do love a good whinge.

Pebbles was very helpful...

Why should paint swatches always be so boring? I'm doing hearts this time around. Obviously I'm not an artist....

Me & Pebbles taking a rest after that very stressful job tehe

So that’s what the testers look like. I actually love them all, and if we were doing a feature wall, I would absolutely use one of the darker colours from the right. However, we don’t want to make this room look tiny. Cosy yes, but not small. It’s a large room as it is – about 21 foot long in fact, but it’s not hugely wide, so a darker colour would probably narrow it greatly. So, we’ve chosen Dulux’s Natural Hessian (the bottom left colour on the wall).
This image is one of the reasons I’m so happy that there are testers available. Looking at it, I would have never picked that colour in a million years. It looks pink – almost a salmon colour. And if you know me, you’ll know that’s a colour I will never have in my house.

Luckily, we’ve made a decision (pretty good for me & Joe, we’re normally pretty useless at making choices!) and as soon as payday hits, I’m going to get my overalls out and crack on. The countdown to get our lounge done before Christmas begins…

Karen x

Far from lounging around

Tomorrow will be Joe’s birthday. He’ll be catching up with me and entering his mid-20s. Scary stuff.

Our birthdays are relatively close together – in fact, there’s only 3 weeks between us, so it made sense that my mum got us a joint present this year now that we’re big people grown up.

Similar to my birthday, where Joe’s parents very generously suprised me with a bedroom carpet, we decided that after living with this luxury under our feet in the bedroom, we also want it in the lounge for our ‘joint’ birthday. So, this weekend we’re ordering underlay and carpet, with the hope of getting it fitted relatively soon – courtesy of my mum and step-dad. Thanks you two! 🙂

It is actually the exact same carpet that we had fitted in our bedroom as we like it so much. It looks a little something like this…

Saxony carpet. Lovely and soft. Looks a lot darker here that it actually is.

Here it is in the bedroom. (Sorry for the mess. I'm still unpacking!) It really makes the place look more finished. Be gone floorboards!

So when Joe’s birthday was approaching, he made a list of what he wanted ranging from the ridiculous (a new 50″ tv with surround sound system. Maybe next week Joey) to the more realistic (lampshades, wine, xbox games).

On Thursday we went for a family meal, and he got a fantastic toolbox with lots of handy tools from his aunty, uncle and cousins, so that he can:
1) Crack on with little jobs around the house…
2) ….without having to steal the tools from his dad!

On top of this, from his parents he received the lampshades that we had wanted to go in the lounge as well as a voucher for something for the house! Peter (Joe’s dad) kindly came and fitted the lampshades today and it inspired us to go to B&Q to pick out a paint for the lounge walls. If we can decide this week, that means we can get the walls painted, and then the carpet fitted, meaning we’d have a completed lounge (apart from blinds/curtains – need to do some saving for these) in time for Christmas!

Sorry the quality is bad. Think I should use a better camera in future!

Much more cosy (please pardon the mess!)

I used my superduper editing skills (Microsoft Paint) to remove the value. That's between Joe and his parents. Can't wait to find out what he decides to get!

I will post pictures of Joe and his toolkit when I get them off his family – if you’re familiar with this blog, you’ll know how much of a poser he is. He was so chuffed with his tools, it was adorable.

I’ll also post some piccies of the paint samples we did for the lounge.

I think I prefer birthdays as an adult. Decorating is so much fun.

Karen x

Any excuse to have a house party

One thing I have learned about modernising a house is that there is a lot to get rid of before you can bring in the new shiny goodies. Luckily, when we moved in, the house was empty of furniture so at least we were saved from chucking mouldy couches or curtains. However, we have found that we’ve ended up with a large pile of wood. And with bonfire night arriving just in time, it would be just plain rude not to make a party out of the occasion. And now that we have a large garden, there was no excuse.

So, Joe and I collected all of our wood, and remains from trimming the garden, ready for burning. We bought a special bin for this purpose (and I’ve previously mentioned our family tradition of having a bin-fire) which came with a free mini-BBQ. Double win.

We set up the mini-BBQ, alongside our current mini-BBQ, bought some fireworks, and invited some family.

Joe posing with our spiffing new bonfire chimney bin

Fireworks. Pardon our dated kitchen floor

But first things first, we had to get rid of the Halloween stuff (and yes, if anyone was interested, we had a huge number of kids come to the door. Turns out our neighbourhood is big on Halloween).

But not until the rats had a bloody good play with the pumpkin first…

SO very ladylike

Watching TV with her new favourite toy

As the night got darker, my sister Amy arrived, as well as my mum, Angela, my dad Nick, my cousins, Lee & Tom, and Joe’s parents, Peter & Carol – a lovely little family get together. What was even lovelier as well, is that mine & Joe’s parents haven’t spent much time together before, so it was awesome to have everyone round. Especially since we didn’t bother with an ‘official’ house-warming party due to emergency decorating.

BBQs and fire on the go!

Joe pretending to whizz on the fire

Pebbles popped in before heading back to her owner. Never met a cat who didn't mind fireworks before

One of our many fireworks

Joe's parents brought around a MASSIVE 'firework' but it was a trick that fooled us all - it was just a sparkler haha

Joe likes to play with fire

Everyone! (except Joe who is taking the picture)

Me & Joe trying for the Charlies Angels look with the fire in the background. Successful yes?

Can’t wait for there to be many more in the future. Might even do it all again on New Years? Who’s in? 🙂

Karen x

The cat with too many names

If you’re familiar with Youtube you may have heard of Maru; a cat in Japan with a fascination for boxes.

Below is her best moments on Youtube. If you have a fascination with funny cats on the internet (like Joe does, BIGtime. Seriously, he even has the cat piano on his iPhone) then this video is for you.

When we moved into the house and discovered that it pretty much came with a cat, Joe and I joked that we could have our very own Maru, as she rolled around all of our belongings, which just happened to be in boxes.

Eventually she became distracted with other random things such as the couch, my leftover food, and sleep – might as well have called her Garfield.

Lately though, she has finally confirmed what me and Joe had suspected. She is a Maru. This is what we were calling her in the first place until one neighbour told us her name was Lily. Then her actual owner put us straight and said she was called Pebbles. Well, I think we might revert back to Maru.

We had actually fallen out with Lily, Pebbles, Maru recently as she decided to leave ‘presents’ around our lounge and in my shoes one day not so long ago. (Translation: presents = vomit) But as she is no longer violating our floorboards and eating our food, I think it’s safe to say we are friends again.

I’ll have to get on with some more unpacking so she has plenty of boxes to play with. Aren’t we sad. 🙂

Karen x

Making a pickle out of picking paint

Our bedroom is almost complete. It will be the first room in the house to reach this momentous status of ‘being finished’.

In fact, all that we need to do now is paint the walls, and then it is simply a case of adding finishing touches such as wall art, candles, etc. Y’know, all those girly things that make a house a home.

(I know that obviously this is the wrong way around as we have just had carpet installed, but it was a surprised birthday gift, and if you know me, you will know that I don’t often like to do things normal anyway 🙂 )

It sounds fairly straightforward, and we decided early on that we wanted a green feature wall – more specifically, the green we wanted would be Dulux’s Melon Sorbet. It looks almost a bit mossy green in the tin, but we recently saw it on the lounge walls of a friend’s house and were certain it was the right colour.

Anywho, I bought the brushes and green paint a few weeks ago with the B&Q voucher the girlies at work bought me for my birthday (thanks again!)

What I bought with my B&Q birthday voucher

The other problem that has arisen is that, for some reason, I really don’t think I’m comfortable with having white walls in my bedroom. There’s just something about it that looks unfinished to me. At the moment, they are all white, as we needed to give them a base coat after being skimmed. Originally I wanted this set-up below in the bedroom, but Joe thought it was a bit too much and didn’t like the stripes. Oh well! (Men eh?) But at least it gave us inspiration for the colour.

Instead we have chosen the green as the feature wall, and a neutral colour on the others. But when I say a neutral colour, I mean anything but magnolia. We had it in the flat and when I say in the flat, I mean on every single massive wall.

Joe and I decided when we moved into the house that although we loved living in the flat, we want to make the house purposefully different, so as far as neutrals are concerned, off-whites, and creamy beiges are off-limit. That’s why we decided to go for a grey instead. But alas, it turns out there are a bajillion shades of grey available. We’ve managed to narrow it down to two Dulux shades. (By the way, I’m not sponsored by Dulux or anything. It’s just a massive coincidence that they’re the only ones I liked.)

Chic Shadow

Polished Pebble

I think I prefer Polished Pebble, especially when Chic Shadow is slightly too dark and described as “easy to live with” – it if has to be described as easy to live with, it’s probably not very easy to live with.

I’m not very good at making decisions. Neither is Joe. Nor are we fantastic at decorating so far. We just don’t have the eye for it. Joe’s sister Sam, now she has really got a designer’s eye.

Anyway, I’m going to get cracking with the green wall this week and see how I like the white ones again. Who’d have thought I could chat so much absolute nonsense about paint. I’m such a nincompoop.

Karen x