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Even more room, even less time.

April 24, 2005 at 4:55 pm

On a bright Sunday morning we got back to work, with the first job of the day being to apply damp-proof paint to the external walls. We decided not to go all the way up, as we were hoping to dry it in the same day so we could paint on top of it. Having done that, and sanded off all the filler, we set to work with the actual paint. First it was the cieling (white, to replace the splotchy yellow and brown it was before) and then the walls, in "Gentle Lavender" (I think). The colour is a strange one – in some light it looks blue, in some purple and others pink. Very odd, but nice anyway – heck, just having the room anything but yellow is good!

Having applied two layers of the stuff, we left it all to dry for the rest of the day. The damp proof stuff probably could have done with a little more time to dry before we painted over it, hence the patchy bits you’ll see in the photo below, but it looked fine after some touch-ups. Henry made a few gaffes by getting the wall paint on the white cieling, but it’s nothing a bit of cornicing won’t cover!

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Spare Bedroom, not spare time.

April 23, 2005 at 4:45 pm

The original plan for this weekend was to fix up a few odds and sods before May, when we’ve got almost zero free time to play with. Things like the skirting boards and woodwork in the hall, as well as getting the bookshelves out of the spare bedroom in preparation for decorating it at some point in the near future. But sadly all that went out the window when Sara made Henry take the computer apart, purely to "get to the wall". Well, that settled it – if we were going to be without the computer then we’d get that room decorated if it killed us!

So, without much further ado we set about moving everything out, filling in holes, masking off woodwork and preparing the walls and finally cleaning them. We came up against an unexpected hurdle when we realised that 2 of the walls had been wallpapered – I suspect this was due to the walls underneath being freshly plastered, and the previous owner having discovered that when you paint on fresh plaster, it blisters and comes off easily. So, having taken all of the wallpaper off, we wondered whether to take the paint underneath off too, but opted not to, instead filling in any holes with the damp-proof paint.

We would have achieved more from the day, but at that point we both had to go out for the evening – Sara to the opera and Henry to Keith’s to do some work.

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The first proper barbecue of the season

April 2, 2005 at 4:42 pm

On Saturday the 2nd of April we hosted the first (proper – i.e. not sat at a workbench!) barbecue of the season. Ros and Keith and baby Barney came round to help us test drive the new barbecue (the first of the two that we bought) and all seemed to go pretty well. The weather stayed nice, the barbecue did what it was supposed to and everyone seemed to have a good time.

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eBay fun with furniture

March 31, 2005 at 4:38 pm

Having been looking around for sideboards and garden furniture in all the traditional places, but to no avail, Henry made the big mistake of introducing Sara to the delights of eBay. 10 minutes later and Sara had bought a sideboard. 3 days later and we’d apologised to the seller for cancelling our bid (Henry didn’t like said sideboard) and bought a different one. We also bought a nice set of garden furniture, and both were at bargain basement prices.

The garden furniture arrived first, and there was almost no putting together necessary – the kind of furniture we like! However, the sideboard was flat-packed so Henry set about putting it all together – not once, but twice! The problem was that Henry stupidly put it together so that a certain part was in the wrong position – have a look at the photos below and see if you can spot the different. Answers on a postcard to the usual address…

Once the sideboard was in place we decided the room needed a bit more light, so Sara went shopping and came back with two brilliant new lamps – and very achey arms. We think you’ll agree they look pretty nice – the lamps I mean, not the achey arms. And even if you don’t like them – tough, we’re keeping them.

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The hallway painting is finished.

March 25, 2005 at 4:34 pm

This entry is a culmination of days, as the painting of the hall is a) by no means that exciting, and b) no way exciting enough to warrant more than a page’s worth of photos.

In case you were wondering, we chose the colour scheme after seeing it done in a paint brochure, and we think it turned out pretty nicely. It was trickly figuring out where to take the line on all the stair inclines, but I reckon we got it right.

We followed the finishing touches (on Monday) by trying out our new barbecue – it wasn’t really barbecue weather, and we didn’t have anything to sit on, but we improvised quite well I think!!

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Mirror Mirror, on the wall…

March 12, 2005 at 4:29 pm

Once again finding ourselves at a (rare) loose end this weekend, we decided to crack on with all the little jobs that have been gagging to get finished. These included, in no particular order:

  • Sanding down and painting the lounge radiator white (as opposed to wee-yellow, which it was)
  • Applying the Caulk to the skirting boards to fill in all the gaps we’d left in them!
  • Putting up the very large mirror in the lounge, and a smaller (£10 Ikea bargain) mirror in our bedroom
  • Painting all the wood-work in the lounge – that’s the lounge pretty much finished now!
  • Filling and sanding all the walls in the hall in preparation for painting
  • Choosing a colour scheme for the hallway – we eventually settled on Apple white and Willow Green…
  • Attaching chicken wire to the front fence, to (hopefully) stop all the rubbish from the street from blowing in to our front ‘Garden’.

The mirror’s were particularly tough, as they’re so effing heavy that Henry had to buy a snazzy new hammer drill to get the screws in to the walls far enough to hold them up. The other excitement of the weekend was going to see Claire and Dave, who have a new puppy called Otis. All together now – Ahhhhhhhhhh…!

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Skirting the Issue

February 26, 2005 at 4:25 pm

Having come back from a week in sunny Portugal (to bloody cold Snow!), we were suitably refreshed to start work on the house again. But before we got on with any more interesting projects, one part of the Living Room remained unfinished – the dreaded Skirting Boards!

So, on a very cold and windy Saturday we set ourselves the aim of cutting and attaching them all, so that we can at least call one room ‘finished’. The task itself was just as difficult as you might imagine – even with a fancy angle-cutting thing-ummy-jig which we got from Wickes (I’m reliably informed by Sara that it’s called a Mitre saw), it was still very tough getting the angles right. I suspect this may be partly due to wonky walls, but even so it wasn’t until we did the very last corner that we’d got the darn thing down pat.

Having said this, the task would have been even harder without the kind help of Claire, and later on Dave. Braving the howling conditions for a trip down to Reading (though they did get paid in food!) they did a load of the gluing and measuring, heck, and the cutting too. Good work Hobbits!

The only thing we have left to do now in that room is fill in all the gaps with Builder Caulk, and then figure out a way to hang the mother of all mirrors, without taking the wall down with it…!

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Messing with Fire

January 29, 2005 at 4:20 pm

As is often the case on a Sunday, Sara had a pile of work to do for the week ahead, so Henry decided to retreat to the man-sanctuary of the garage to do some spring cleaning. With the christening fast approaching, the option of having somebody actually able to park in there seemed useful, so it was decided that the place should be tidied. This involved getting rid of a whole bunch of wood which had been piling up as a result of various cupboards, wardrobes and doors being ripped down. A lot of it was quite nice wood, so Henry cut it up in to small pieces – Henry’s dad will hopefully be taking these away to use as kindling for their nice log fire. The rest of it however was now sat in the middle of the garage, and most of it was too big/heavy to go in the bin…

Everybody knows that if you ask a boy to do a simple task like disposing of some rubbish, he’ll turn it in to something a lot more dangerous – like a bonfire for example! So, using a large pot he found in the corner of the garden, Henry proceeded to make a rather small but still non-inconsequential bonfire. To his credit he made very little mess, although it did make adding the final coat of paint to the skirting boards all the more difficult – trying to keep floating ash away from white gloss is more difficult than it might seem!!

Sara wisely stayed inside while all this was going on, and it’s probably a good thing too – if she had seen how many plants Henry was throwing on the fire, she might not have been as happy…

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Finalising the set decorations – and a work bench

January 17, 2005 at 12:54 am

After the fun of the Saturday, Sunday was a much more relaxed affair, concerned mainly with making the lounge look presentable again. We arranged all the ornaments, put up some pictures, decided which books we didn’t mind having out (and which we should hide in the spare room!) and generally finished the room. Except the skirting boards of course, which will hopefully be coming along shortly…

Henry also made another trip to Homebase, where he purchased a brand new work bench (thanks to Claire and Dave’s Christmas present!), thus making him a real man at last. He celebrated by trying to put up a new shelf in the kitchen, but as soon as we put some books on it, the whole lot came down – part of the walls and all. So we’re re-evaluating that one – solution to follow. Hopefully…

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To lounge or not to lounge…

January 15, 2005 at 4:14 pm

Following our decision to have a completely sober January, along with our exciting new-year diet of Slim Fast and home-made soup, we have found ourselves in need of distraction, especially at the weekends. So, with a whole weekend free we decided that now was the best time to tackle the lounge.

First we cleaned the walls and ceilings – not very well mind you, because we both got bored of that job. No obvious results you see – very boring! So we fast-forwarded that bit and proceeded to paint the walls, ceilings and doors instead. After a couple of coats the room looked completely different, and we decided that in order to complete the transformation we needed a few more bits of furtniture. So, in classic fashion we got in the car and drove to the London Ikea.

4 hours later we were home again, and had gained a TV cabinet, a book-shelf, another DVD tower and lots of knick-knacks, like new duvet covers etc. This was all courtesy of various Christmas monetary presents, so thanks to all who contributed for that! After we put all that together, we were both knackered, but satisfied that the lounge was looking pretty good.

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