Privacy at last

Although not the most exciting of big projects, last Friday our blinds arrived.
For the past six months, Joe & I have been concentrating on getting the lounge and our bedroom finished. After all, these are the rooms we really ‘live‘ in, so it’s nice to have somewhere to escape to when the rest of the house is like a bomb site.

Each month, we have managed to get one step closer, and Christmas and birthdays have helped along the way. However, the lounge still felt unfinished and this is mostly because of the huge window at the front. Without having blinds or curtains, passers by stop and stare into our lounge for a nosey. We really don’t do anything all that interesting in there so they mostly get a good peek at me nibbling dinner, or Joe throwing his Xbox controller across the room when he can’t level up on Batman. (This is also the reason why I’ve avoided the Wii fit board since moving. I refuse to prance about huffing and panting with an audience!)

Now, finally, we have the privacy we need and it feels awesome. As always, here are some pictures to tell this glorious tale…

Just as we could see right out onto the road, they could see us too (and our surround sound entertainment system. If for no other reason, we needed blinds to avoid attracting thieves!)

But here are the blinds that we chose! Do you like?

Please pardon the messy lounge.

We are thinking about getting some curtains over these blinds to match the back window but thats just a luxury that we’ll do one day in the future. One more step down. Huzzah!

Karen x

Why we are converting to supervised DIY

This weekend, Joe & I thought it would be a great idea to finally get some stuff on the walls of the lounge. Pictures of the family and a canvas that we have. After all, we placed our blinds on order last weekend (blog post to follow on these when they arrive woohoo! No more nosey neighbours looking in on us!) so we thought, why not get the finishing touches done now?

This involved a simple job of screwing in the tie-backs for the curtains on the back window. Simple, it was not.

There’s a phrase that Joe likes to use: “We are so bloody unlucky” – I don’t think he means it in an ungrateful kind of way. But with this kind of stuff, we do tend to get in a pickle a lot. For example, with post, I am terribly unlucky. More often than not, stuff I send will be lost, and stuff sent to me takes weeks. Next day delivery does not exist in my world. But that’s another story altogether. Really boring. No-one wants to read about that…

Anywho, Joe and I started with the tie back. This was another Christmas present off Joe’s parents alongside the curtains (thanks again you two!) The first one went up a treat.
We get to the second one on the left hand side, and we hit something.
When Joe drilled a hole for the screws, water suddenly started spurting out of the wall and trickling down onto our brand new carpet, down our fresly plastered and painted walls.

Joe looked something like this…
After pulling up the carpet, unplugging the nearby electrics, scurrying for towels and quickly legging it to the other side of the house to turn off the boiler and water, we grabbed a bucket for the hole and rang Joe’s dad (no matter how old you get, parents are always the wisest people at hand) and our plumber.

When we had the central heating installed after we bought the house, we discovered that the floors downstairs were not floorboards like normal (although there were floorboards present – very confusing), but it was concrete. This wasn’t a major problem but did mean we had to install the piping for the radiators in the walls as opposed to under the floor. We, of course, forgot about this and drilled straight into the pipes.

To be honest, I don’t think we could have aimed for the pipes better if we were actually trying! Typical!
As you can see, we had to chisel into our new plaster (sad face!) to expose the plastic casing. Then Joe cut into the plastic to expose the pipes. After instruction from our plumber, he cut the pipe in two and connected them again with a coupler (which took a whole afternoon to find!).

It could have been a whole lot worse and a lot more damage could have been done, but I know that if we want anything hanging on the walls from now on, perhaps we could do with some supervision.

Next job on the to-do list, is re-plaster and paint this hole. Darnit.

Karen x

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

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

Reblog: Halloween Decorating Inspiration

Me & Joe have been looking to do the lounge an orange colour. We have a black leather couch so we know we shouldn’t really add brown also (although I do like to mix-and-match things so we’ll see!)

Halloween is the perfect time to get inspired for this type of decorating. I saw this blog post and just thought immediately “I want to decorate the lounge NOW!”

I can’t wait to get painting. And to celebrate Halloween. I do love Autumn/Winter!

-Karen x

What a difference a month makes

It took us one whole month from getting the keys to the house, to making it decent enough to live in. Joe took some pictures of the house just before we had the keys, and here are some updated images now that we have got our stuff in, so you can see how much it has come along (and how much we still have to do!) in such a short space of time. Really proud of ourselves, and grateful to the family who have been superstars.

The Lounge


Since then we have…
Stripped and skimmed the walls and then painted them white.
The fire has been removed completely and the floors have been stripped back to the floorboards.


The dining table has also been shoved into the lounge for now. As soon as we build a dining room, that's where it will go!

The Kitchen


To be honest, not much has been done in the kitchen. Eventually, we plan to knock through the back wall to extend the size of the room and then build a kitchen. So far, this room has had the boiler installed, and that’s about it! It is mostly being used for storage.


Bedroom 1 (the “master” bedroom)


In our bedroom, the horrendous moss green carpet has been removed. The bright pink wallpaper has been stripped off. The gas fire has also been removed. We have skimmed the walls and given it a white coat of paint.


Even managed to fit my dresser in there! Plenty of my junk yet to unpack though...

Bedroom 2


This room has been stripped of the horrible wallpaper. Because we couldn’t afford to have another room skimmed just yet, we decided to just paint behind where our wardrobes were going to go, and leave the rest until later. You may have heard me talking about the wardrobes before. They are massive and once they are assembled, we are NEVER moving them.

Poor Peter (Joe's dad) having to assemble them. You're a legend Peter!

The rest of the room is currently being used for "storage"

 Bedroom 3 (The boxroom)


I would have loved to show you what this looks like now, but it is currently home to a computer desk, a spare single bed, and an entire bathroom suite, so it’s pretty stuffed!
We have however, removed the lovely carpets, and all wallpaper.

The bathroom


What used to be this awfully dated pink bathroom suite (rotting, may I add) and a separate WC, we have now ripped out all fittings and tiles, as well as the adjoining wall. We have taken everything back to the brick, added plasterboard to the walls and ceiling (to make a lowered ceiling) and added a toilet. As soon as we can afford taps and tiles, we will fit the rest of the bathroom. Hoorah!


We will probably take things a little slower now. We got so much done in the first month simply because we had to. I can’t wait to get all the dirty stuff out of the way and get some flooring in the next few months. It’s going to be a blast.

Karen x

The final countdown: Part 4


Today has been a bit overwhelming for me.
Mum, my step-dad Nick, and my sister Amy popped round to the flat early this morning to help move stuff between the flat and the house, but me & Joe weren’t quite as prepared as we thought we were. However, as my mum often says, “You’ve got to be brutal.” I was hoping to be very organised, recycle everything I didn’t want and maybe put a few things on eBay but with so much to do at the house, we’ve neglected the packing.

I’m superduper excited to move into the house properly. A new era and all that jazz. But it will be hard to leave the comforts of the flat. It was mine & Joe’s first home together and we have had some pretty good times there. Plus, it will be hard moving away from my sister Amy, who lives in the same building at the minute. It’ll be hard not seeing her every day.  On a lihgter note, check out the progress we made today…

Joe in our bedroom flat. The wardrobes are going to be difficult to move...

The other half of the flat bedroom. Plenty to still pack...

The bedroom by the end of the day. The bed has been moved so looks like we're just on the mattress for now.

The second bedroom in the flat. The single bed has gone, computer desk has been dismantled and moved, and the room has been taken over by our wardrobe doors. Don't know how we're going to move them...

The second bedroom by the end of the day. Looks bigger now that it's empty!

Amy helping to pack the kitchen.

Back at the house…

Nick helping unload some boxes

Mum sanding the skirting boards in the lounge

Peter (Joe's dad) adding new skirting to where the fireplace left a hole

Sam (Joe's sister) painting the second bedroom in preparation for the monstrous wardrobes

I’d better crack on with packing for more of the same tomorrow…

-Karen x

The final countdown: Part 3


Thursday I was off work, but unfortunately not in a way that I could make myself useful at the flat/house. I was off ill. *insert sad face here*
I have been feeling groggy for a while, probably from stress, and I suppose that staying up until 1am the night before packing up the wardrobe didn’t help!
However, the central heating was finally finished, and the lounge walls were finally done being skimmed, so all was not lost.
So, I decided to pop to the house and check out the progress.

Hello boiler Byebye money...

Beautiful skimmed wall. Byebye ugly old-fashioned fireplace

Lily obviously paid us a visit.

She's a lump!!!


Probably shouldn't have let Lily sit on my lap in my work pants...

For someone who has "no clothes" I have a lot of jackets/dresses/jerseys

Didn't realise how many shoes I have!

Bit gutted the bathroom didn’t come on Friday (yes that’s right, we will have a loo!) but it is due to come on Monday instead. Cutting it very fine, but better late than never! Need to get moving stuff to the house now. Luckily we’ve got a few happy helpers over the weekend. To be continued…

– Karen x

The final countdown: Part 2

We have arranged for plasterers to re-do the lounge, which will take all of Wednesday and Thursday. In preparation for this, Joe bricked up the fire we no longer want on Tuesday. But beforehand, we thought it would be a good idea to leave a note behind the bricks, so that if anyone ever finds it in the future, we could say hello.

Joe's brickwork. Not too shabby

The note we hid behind the bricks.

If you can’t read my terrible writing, the note says:

Dear future humans,
The year is 2011 (13th September) & we’ve just bought this house.
We are obviously not here anymore so if you are reading this, please make sure you play lots of 80’s music (my favourite), eat lots of chinese takeaways (our favourite) and look after the cat if it’s still here.
Enjoy our house!
Karen & Joe xxx

And then on Wednesday the plasterers came…

Enough plaster?

One wall down...

Ceiling re-boarded. We weren't originally planning to do this but decided that we are only doing this room once, so we might as well do a proper job of it.

In the evening, I tested some colour samples on the bedroom wall, and – obviously – played with Lily, the our cat.

Lily off to see what all the racket in the bathroom is (Joe was bashing walls about with my Uncle Chris)



As soon as the testers are dried, we will pick a colour and get this room finished!

I was also up until about 1am packing up our wardrobe & I’m probably only about half way through. If you haven’t heard me natter on about it so far, the wardrobe is about 8 feet tall, and almost 10 feet wide. It was custom made for us, and when we bought it at the flat, took nearly a fortnight to assemble. It should be easier the second time around as we won’t take apart every draw or shelf, but the sooner we get that big boy packed up the better. Never realised how many clothes I had….

The sooner we get the main bedroom painted the better. We need to get in the house pronto.

-Karen x