Saturday, 22 December 2012

Wet and wild

It's that time of year again when the weather gets a bit wild and unfortunately our new chimney fell victim to the gales. Luckily the stove was only out of action for a day and our installer was really quick in rectifying the problem.  A great relief in this cold weather! Another treat was unccovered when he removed our old hot water cylinder revealing this little gem.

In other news...the kitchen is in the process of going in and we are frantically painting so we can get flooring down in the dining room and hall. More photos and updates will follow. Promise.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Busy, busy, busy!!

As the title of this post suggest, it's been a busy week.

Last weekend we gathered some man power and the cooker is now in situe. Our plumber is currently in the process of connecting up our heating and we have near to hot water at the moment which is very exciting. Thankfully the moving of the cooker was uneventful but the process still has its dramas. The latest being that the reinforced concrete floor is not in the right position. (it was by our measurements but once seeing it in there, we've decided it needs to be a bit more to the left). Also, our loft hatch has been enlarged (read hacked to pieces) so to fit the accumulator  - it was ordered to size and made to size...excluding the insulation! doh!

Other excitement -our kitchen got delivered! This did not go without incident as this picture of our wall proves:
Typically, this was the side of wall that wasn't looking too bad. I did feel sorry for the lorry driver however as it was his first day on the job. Whoops! We did have a bit off a faff waiting for IKEA to sort this out for us and it's looking like the job won't get done til after Christmas now.

That aside, other works have been going well. Ceilings plastered and walls painted. Three bedrooms have now been carpeted. This means our middle room is also finished and and AND we've finally moved in to the master bedroom.

Here's the finished result of the latest bedroom. This colour scheme uses up spare paint we had from our old place (the hall at North Fort St). The cushions (a charity shop find - £2.50 for the pair), add a bit of colour to it and takes away from the 'beige-ness'. I nearly painted the stripes red too but decided (was told) that might be a step too far. Actually, I initially planned to put up retro wallpaper but as we're on a tight budget, decided to stick with paint. The creation of the stripes was a bit labour intensive but I think it was the right move as the end result is quite a calm bedroom; and bedrooms should be calm places.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

a heated debate

Here's a pic of our gorgeous new multi fuel range cooker that is still sitting in our garage eagerly waiting to be installed and start making us beautifully risen cakes, succulent roasts and generally just keeping us nice and toasty. Unfortunately there's been more dilemmas with installing this than we first entertained. There''s all sorts of regulations about how close it can be to this, that and the other. Most significantly, we can't have it sit on a wooden floor and a further 1/2 metre around it can't be wood or other such flammable material either. So we had to re think our whole plans.  I was just about to order some nice large porcelain slabs in a light beige colour to do the whole kitchen and dining area when I thought more about the floor and the implications of laying these tiles. It's so bumpy and uneven it would cost as a fortune to create the necessary smooth surface. And with such posh tiles, we wouldn't want to lay them ourselves as they would have to be absolutely perfect or it would show up like the proverbial wart on the end of your nose. Tilers as uber pricey people (should've been a tiler..or a plumber...or a roofer) and we couldn't really afford it without cutting back elsewhere.  Although I was secretly happy (sshh) about not having to clean anymore of that white laminate flooring, we've in the end decided to stick with the wooden floor plan and making a feature around the cooker with tiles. I then took to scouring the internet looking for retro floor tiles. I found amazing tiles, reclaimed Minton on ebay but it seemed like sacrilege to put them under a cooker in a 70's bungalow when the should be proudly reinstated in a grand entranceway of a Victorian period house. Keeping with that theme however, I've just ordered these tiles from Fired Earth, which I think have a bit of a retro vibe to them. Are you digging it?

Now the fun begins in actually laying them and creating the smooth look that's in my head where the two different times of flooring come together effortlessly with a perfect neat, smooth join. Help!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

showery with a chance of tatties

Finally our bathrooms are finished and I must say, we're quite pleased with the results. For a start they're not the colour of baby poo (do you remember the avocado suite and it's brown patches?). Instead they are clean and white and sparkly and this is very pleasing indeed. Although we did our best to source the best buys, the cost for totally refurbishing two bathrooms is disturbing. At least I think it is but I'm not actually going to add it up; we certainly spent more than a penny. (haha, get it?!)

Sorry. Anyway, moving on...

The main bathroom has grey porcelain tiles from Tile Star, bathroom suite from ebay (a good deal with some tense bidding on my part), the lights are from B&Q. The ensuite tiles are also from Tile Star - the black mosaic ones were quite pricey -hence why there's only a few off them- but the white ones off set that. The bathroom suite are also more ebay buys. I'm especially chuffed by the 'designer look' shower fitting from Plumbworld at a mere £75!

main bathroom
main bathroom


In other news, in case you didn't notice, it rained a lot this summer in Scotland. If you look closely at the picture on the right, you can see that there's actually a waterfall cascading down our steps.

And here's some of the veg we've managed to grow. Definitely on the way to living 'the good life'!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Demolition Man

demolition man

So here's the man himself, proudly wielding his sledgehammer and admiring his handiwork. I am very impressed at how seemingly effortless Craig made this look. I went to B&Q and wall was in tact and came back to it being no more.  Just like that! If you look closely here you can see that Craig didn't even bother to remove the glass vases on the window sill. That's also his good jeans and boots he's wearing too.

Hmmm, best not to dwell on that...

The not so fun part is that we are currently without a kitchen. Instead we have a make shift operation in the front room (I should really take a picture of that too). We have a microwave, steamer, slow cooker and could always bbq (if it ever stops bloody raining)!

Despite all the rain, Loch Leven is looking lovely - I took this photo during a brief sunny interlude. This was me walking back from the wee shop in Kinneswood where I bought a loaf and 1/2 dozen eggs. Overpriced by quite a margin but I thought, oh well at least I'm supporting the local grocer. Once home discovered both items were out of date -eggs by almost 2 weeks! Ah the dramas of living in the countryside!

Loch Leven

Sunday, 5 August 2012

bathroom progress

bathroom in hallway!
We arrived home from a short break away with a small glimmer of hope brewing that perhaps our bathroom will be ready for us when we got back. Instead we were greeted by the bathroom in the hallway!
getting there
 A few days later however the tiler did arrive and this is now the state of play. Getting there. Apparently the plumber won't be back to finish things off for another couple of weeks. It's tantalisingly close to being finished and us having a clean, sleek bathroom to call our own. I can't wait for my first bath in here:)

The design has changed a bit and I didn't get my dookits but overall I'm happy with the end result. We do however have a big pile of the black tiles either broken or covered in adhesive that the tiler refused to work with. At £5 a tile we really do need to find some sort of use for them.
new tiles  
I now need to get a mirror and blinds. The tiles are porcelain so we require a special drill bit to put up the mirror. It costs £200 for the bit so hoping our plumber has one in his tool kit.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lottie's quilt inspiration

Home made baby blanket
brickwork pattern
Another blog post where I have start apologising for being so slack with my updates. There's really not been a lot to report on recently unless you want to hear about boring plumbing or electrical stuff. Yawn. We are about to order a kitchen so watch this space, its all going to take off any minute....Any minute now...promise.

As you've probably guessed, I'm about to go off topic slightly by showing you what I have been working on. Quilting is now my new craft passion I stumbled upon accidentally when trying to think what I could make for my best pal's baby. My brief to myself was that it needed to suit either sex, be personal and not too challenging. By challenging, I don't just mean in terms of skills required, although that too was a consideration, but also due to our recent loss, it couldn't be something that would push me too much emotionally. I had my moments but overall I quite impressed myself by focusing on celebrating a new life and not just thinking of our own tragedy and what could've (should've) been.

Making Lottie's quilt was not altogether straight forward. For a kick off, I started too late and even though Lottie gave me a few extra day's grace, I was still well behind resulting in the scaling down of ambitions. I 'cheated' by going for a brick pattern as this saved having to have all the squares of equal size and trying to painstakingly line them all up. Also the applique is machine done. I'd recommend taking the time to hand stitch this. The bit I was dreading the most was actually the easiest -the binding (Pimps as they say up here). I think I may have just got lucky. Anyway although the baby quilt is clearly miles away from house renovating it does still tie in as I think I may make a quilt or two out of retro fabrics for the house. This would please me. Now all I need to do is to find the time (and the right fabric). What do you think?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

kitchen porn

So you must all be wondering what is happening at the Butts? (that's our house name for those of you who've forgot - I know it's been a while but like you could forget that!) You are probably imagining that everything is now complete and the Dunns are smugly sitting in their perfectly polished house too busy admiring its shiny wonderfulness to be bothered to blog. Well, hah, if only, is the answer to that.

I guess I need to get in to a better habit of updating this blog as the whole point of it is to record our progress, the highs and the pitfalls of this Do-It-Yourself game. A tedious long winded game I might add. And recently we've been down more snakes than up ladders. And, we've been up a hell of a lot of ladders.

So, what have we been up to that's not to photograph and share with you lovely people? We've been dealing with a lot of shit, that's what. Can I say shit? Yes, I think so and my mum's not reading this anyway. In fact, probably no one is... Apart from you, my dear friend.

It has been problem after problem, expense after expense since the bells rang in 2012 thus putting a swift halt to the decorating. Firstly, as you know, the trees and fence came down, then a sewage pipe burst (nice, and yes that's the shit I refer to), also we had the leaky roof and then we had solar panels fitted to then discover that the house is not earthed so we can't turn the blasted things on. Needless to say, fixing all of that costs a lot of money but with not a lot to show for itself. Pfffff.

Gardening, gardening, gardening has been the main source of entertainment however as clearing up costs nothing. The trees are finally disposed off (thanks again to those who helped) and we now have enough wood to see us through next winter (yay, a positive!). The grass has had its first haircut of the year and we've started a veggie plot as well as growing things in the greenhouse. My fingers are actually green. Must buy gloves.

Before we can make any progress inside, we need to get the heating installed. Going to go for underfloor heating which I like the sound of as its nice not having ugly radiators. You'd think that this would be a simple process but we seem to be struggling to get anyone to actually do the work for us, for a fair price anyway.

Our next big task is to get the extra wiring done that we need for the solar panels. Craig says we need to dig a trench. That sounds quite hard, think I'll just dream about getting a nice new kitchen instead. Ah kitchen porn, that never fails to cheer a girl up!

Mmmmmm. Delicious.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Blog progess 0, house progress 1

I am a bad blogger, I am a bad blogger, I am a bad blogger... (repeat 100 times). Although the blog has been neglected of late, please be rest assured that work does continue on the house.  Small jobs have been undertaken: starting to tile the bathroom then, ahem, untiling the bathroom (Master tiler Craig unhappy with his workmanship).  Another room painted, the mighty curtains made -coming in at nine metres wide and two and half metres tall, more wardrobe doors have received a fresh lick of paint with new handles added and shiny brushed steel sockets fitted. 

The biggest excitement has been the fitting of solar panels and then discovering that the house isn't even earthed. Until this problem is fixed these panels are currently blooming expensive roof adornments. The greenhouse has had a good scrub and things are even starting to grow - fast growing lettuce really is fast growing!! More work has taken place in the garden since the weather's been fairly mild recently. Craig has a new toy, a chainsaw, and has been hacking away at the overgrown bushes to create an opening for his veggie plot and potatoes and carrots have been planted. I've tried my hand at topiary and reshaped the hedges (as one does). Despite receiving a lot of help clearing up storm damage, that is still ongoing*groan*. Alas all this means is that no job is fully complete and we can't provide you with any big reveal, no 'changing room' makeovers for you (or us) to enjoy. Instead hopefully these little snippets of images will show that we are still scoring off the 'to do list' at pace.
these curtains are a patchwork of 3 curtains

we have doggy visitors and you can see their paw prints on the white floor here

nearly complete

a sneak peak at the master bedroom

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

living room and fireplace update

As a little reminder to you and to us, this is what our living room looked like when we moved in. The sculpted artex walls, stone fireplace and dark wood all seem like a distant memory now. We've been living without a living room since the plasterer's visit in early December. Jeezo, plaster/plasterers makes an almighty mess.
We've been painting like demons til our fingers bleed and finally the walls and ceilings are done. New lights have also been fitted and all (all!) that is left to do is fit the laminate flooring. As you'll see we've gone mad with white, top to toe. The chimney breast wall is painted grey however. It turned out a bit curvier than anticipated as those pesky stones were very lumpy indeed and although perfect straight edges would've been sooo good, we didn't want the fireplace to get any bigger that it already was. I felt that we couldn't go for white here as although I do like interior design from the northern snowy fringes, igloo was not really the look I wanted. However, until we have new heating, I'm sure an igloo would probably be warmer. I'm not caring though as I can see the end in sight for this room and I am very excited about that. The walls will need jazzed up by some artwork but that can happen later. Soon, we'll be able to relax on our couch again and watch the TV. Bliss....
Ok. That's that thought over with as there is still far too much to be getting on with.
Since we're here I also thought I'd include some photos of the old bookshelves that is also a recipient of the white (and grey) treatment. I've painted the shelving white and their backing grey to give them some interest. That's saved me a trip to IKEA for a billy bookcase!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A stormy start to 2012.

 Apparently it has been a bit windy when we were away. We returned from a short holiday visiting family in Skye and on our approach to the house, we felt that the place looked different somehow. "Don't we normally have more trees than this?' I said to Craig as he drove into the drive. Bizarrely the answer was yes, two were not where they were supposed to be. One narrowly missed the house and the other had decided to move in with the neighbours. Luckily no serious damage was done - the neighbours have a squashed wheelie bin and a flattened hedge. So, the news really wasn't hamming up their weather reports after all. We didn't even feel a breath of it up north where you expect the weather to be lousy at this time year. Being a Tiree lass I do enjoy a good gale, nostalgic memories of childhood, that said I was glad we were away when this happened. Two trees coming down either side of the house must've sounded like the world was ending! Exactly why there's no trees on Tiree. Looking on the bright side, we were planning on taking these two down anyway due to their close proximity to the house.

This pic on the right shows how close the tree came to squashing our wee house. So much so it  actually dislodged some of the guttering.
 Here it is from the other side -totally uprooted!
 Our fence is also in bad nick.
And that will be some ex roof tiles. Now we are in operation clean up and neighbours have been coming to our door with chainsaws revving and even machetes at the ready (and that was just one guy! - note to self, don't cross John). This would normally worry me but we've been glad of the help as it's a hell of a task trying to move their mighty bulk.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

the dining area - work in progress (with a little help from our friends)

This is our dining area on move-in day. Big ideas planned for this space as we want to knock down the wall between it and the kitchen to create one big area for cooking and entertaining. However, the kitchen makeover is down the list of things to do right now as we need to save up for that one. In the meantime we are trying to improve the space the best we can. This has meant yet another paint attack on the dreaded pine ceiling. I couldn't face it myself so luckily our good friend Asta volunteered her services for beer. We were happy to oblige. Another (also good) friend, Les, helped re position the hall lights in a row. More beer coming right up! Now looking nice and retro and will go excellently with the Seventies Habitat dining table I bought on Gumtree which is patiently waiting in my mum's garage until everything is ready for our first dinner party.