Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Forth Bridge...

I expect you're all dying to hear what exciting new makeovers I've been up to. No? Well, not many. With the impending arrival of the in laws next month I became gripped with the need to have a freshen up of the white walls in the hall, stairwell, landing, ceiling and stairs. Lest they think I sit on my arse all day watching Homes under the Hammer. My aim was to achieve it in one day and I so nearly did apart from the downstairs hall and the toppermost landing.

The trouble with houses is that once they are all done, they're still not done. Hence my post title. (By the way, that's a complete myth. It's not true that once they'd finished painting the bridge they had to start again. Who knew?)

My new love in the world of paint is 'Soft Sheen' so I've mercilessly dumped ' Matt'. I was never happy with  him, if you gazed up the long stairwell wall it looked patchy and you could see where one row of painting ended and the next began. With soft sheen you don't get that, and it's a lot more resilient to cleaning off the grubby little fingermarks that led to the whole paint job in the first place.

I have a long handled roller which is great for the high bits you couldn't normally reach. But what to do about the parts that cannot be rollered. The edges? The bits where wall meets ceiling? This led to what I think you'll agree is a damn fine invention.

I call it 'Brush-on-a-Stick'. (Patent pending.)
Look at this span...

Hurrah! I'll have to go into mass production and sell them on QVC. I'll make millions.

The day before all this activity, I talked my husband into allowing me to paint an old Edwardian wardrobe, so that remains in four parts all over the kitchen. I promised I could do it in two days. But by day two I just had to paint the entire stairwell. The kitchen is an obstacle course, that has to be fun right? Well, the cats are enjoying it.

It struck me that the pursuit of calm, tranquil, white interiors lead to mess and total chaos. We are ALWAYS in chaos. My husband is very patient most of the time and as for the wardrobe, I didn't specify which two days so that buys me some time.

Let's look at that stairwell again...

Soft sheen, I love you.

The white stairs needed a freshen up too. I asked my husband if he needed the loo, hoovered all the way down, then wiped down every step and board to remove the last specks of dust and airborne cat hair in preparation for painting. Then my husband decided he wanted the loo. I told him no but he went anyway. This led to me screaming at him that I would no longer be doing ANY housework from now on. ''You don't anyway!'' he shouted back. I saw red, burst into the office and threw something at him. It was a cushion, which in hindsight was not the deadliest weapon but it was there. And I missed. But hopefully that was a serious warning to him.

And hopefully those walls will stay white for a little bit longer this time. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Country cottage door reveal...

Well isn't it just like 'Homes under the Hammer' around here? Except instead of fixing up a whole house in 6 weeks, it takes me that amount of time to change some doors.

Let's remind ourselves of the unpleasant doors that were on the cupboard in my daughters room...

             They were so ugly that I allowed the sticking of picures on them to try and hide them.
                       They were hollow and shoddy. But the frame is solid wood and well built.

               Hoorah! Much more yummy. Because I clad both sides in timber the doors feel very solid.

                                                                    And those edges?

                                                    They all got filled, sanded and painted...

                                         ...and look just like the edge of a door should.

            The door cladding and hanging process was a LONG one that you can read about here and here. 

                                                               Let's see the inside before...

                                                                        A junky old mess.

I thought it would be a really nice surprise for my daughter if I painted the inside in one of her favourite colours.
                 This decision may have been influenced by finding an ''Oops'' paint for £1 a litre.
                                                                        She hates it.

I had to saw off some shelves and add a rail, which would've been fine if I hadn't mislaid a screw for 45 minutes.

I like the pink. It makes me think of a boutique.

I added hooks to the interior where my cross pieces were between the layers of tongue and groove so that madams handbag collection is out of sight...

                                         They used to hang on the wall and it looked messy.

I used Blackfriars problem solving primer all over the bare wood twice. It's pefect to seal knots and will happily work with waterbased paints unlike knotting solution.
For the top coat I used Dulux waterbased Diamond hard satinwood in TRADE paint. I wasted nine quid on their regular paint earlier this year and it was so poor, I couldn't use it. It was so thin and watery. But the Trade paint version was 10 times better and I was very happy with it. Always go for trade paints!


The hinges and handles were just bog standard ones from Wilkinsons. You can find hand forged wrought iron jobbies all over ebay but we don't live in a sixteenth century cottage so I couldn't see the point. I'm all about getting the look without spending the money.

I still need to add catches so the doors shut nicely and do a little sorting of this area...

at the side of the cupboard...

...but it's getting there.

99% done is good enough for me.  I'm off for a lie down.
I'm over the moon with how this has all turned out. I've really not done much of this sort of thing before. I've mended furniture, put up some cladding, and stuffed up a table top but never attempted anything of this magnitude. There'll be no stopping me now! And if I can do it, anyone can.


Furniture Feature FridaysTreasure Hunt Thursday
The Shabby Nest

Family Home and Life
Ivy and Elephants

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The cupboard doors...

I still have a long way to go with my cupboard doors. I've had a few set backs to contend with. My dad dissuaded me from buying a jigsaw so I tried to do the whole thing with a hand saw. I quickly realised this was futile for  the following reasons;
-I have no muscles.
-My husband blunted the saw cutting down a tree.
-It will take me a year to finish the doors as it is SLOW.

Also I was merrily sawing away and a piece of my tongue and groove snapped. I had to take the entire front of one door off as all the bits are glued down every join. I could have cried. (I didn't. I just slammed a few doors.)

I bought a little Black and Decker jigsaw and I'm thrilled with it.

 I've been working really hard on the doors, ducking out to saw or sand between the showers and I've had a blast. I decided that if I could get these doors to hang right and if they fit, I'm not only going to build a walk in wardrobe in the master bedroom, but I'm going to have a go at building window frames for the garage too. I've seen it on youtube and it doesn't look too hard. I'm now a qualified chippy having graduated from the youtube school of carpentry.

So where were we?
Ah yes, when we last discussed the doors I was at this point...

...having ripped off the front, sanded off the protruding lip and clad the front with tongue and groove.

I cut roughly round the door leaving a few mm to sand down. Next I flipped the door over, ripped off the back and sanded off the protruding lip that the hardboard sat in again...

Now you can see inside the door. On the cross bits of the inner frame I added a fatter piece of timber wherever the original hinges were. The new T hinges are mounted onto the face of the door so I needed something sturdy on the inside to take the weight.

The new hinges are going in the same place so I just went by the old hinge holes to see where to add wood.

Then I clad the back in tongue and groove, trimmed roughly round the edges with the jigsaw and sanded all the edges smooth.

They were starting to look like doors. The side edge shows the three layers sandwiched together...

...the original door in the centre. The door is now much heavier and much thicker than it was before. A word of caution here if you're thinking of doing this. Get the thinnest tongue and groove you can find. And make sure your door will fit back into the frame when it's fatter.

My door frame is constructed like this...

It's just an opening. If you were going to attempt this on a real doorway into a room the frame would have this...

...a piece of wood that makes the door shut and not swing both ways. I guess you could rip that off and put a new one further back so that the door didn't stand proud of the door architrave but it would be a lot of hassle. Also you need a wide flat door frame to accommodate the T hinges or you might have to cut into your frame. Again, a lot of hassle and it's going to look odd.

After a quick youtube masterclass on door hanging I realised I needed packers. These are great little things. They come in different thicknesses and you pop them in around your door trying to make sure that the gap around the door is equal on every side.

I loosely fixed a handle on so I could get it open again.

With T hinges it's best to attach them to the frame first and then the door.

At this point I was jumping for joy. The door opens and shuts!

Two more to go...


I decided to move the hinge side to the far side on the sloping door. I thought it would be nice to stand in the middle and open both doors rather than shimmy around to open the other one. Having done this I now see why it wasn't designed that way. The pointy top of the door hits the sloping ceiling. I might attach a chain so the door only opens so far or swap the hinge side back again. Not sure...

The door handles need placing properly, then I need to take the doors down again, punch down a hundred panel pins, fill the holes, treat the knots and paint the doors. But I'm relieved all the outdoors work is over and I can potter away on the rest of the job in the warm.

My daughter is not happy with the doors. It's not what she wants. She wants a wardrobe like this but bigger...

This is Rapunzels wardrobe and is about 6'' high. 

Failing that, she wants me to paint birds, flowers and rainbows on the doors I've slaved over. I won't be mum of the year because I can't bring myself to do that. It seems seven year old girls like all things blingy and bright and do not understand why mummies want everything to look old.

Until next time I shall be working like a dog to get these doors finished. Whether my family appreciate them or not.

Friday, 1 November 2013

So... Hallowe'en...

I should have written this post yesterday but it was all a bit frantic round here as we were preparing for our Hallowe'en party. My daughter has had the most miserable half term as she's been poorly for the whole week. We had a trip to the doctors yesterday and she found no sign of a chest infection or anything and declared her to be not contagious so the party went ahead. Because we'd spent the morning at the doctors I was way behind on my Hallowe'enery. The afternoon was a blur of activity.

We always do a fancy shmancy pumpkin with templates and a Joost Elffers tribute pumpkin with the stalk as the nose. I love the work of Joost Elffers.

We had seven seven year olds and we were clearly on the same wavelength as they thought everything was ''So cool.''

idea from Pinterest

In a few years it will all be ''so lame'' and I will have to up my game.
And actually scare them!

The dresser made a great gruesome display cabinet.

Morrisons supermaket is where we found some cool new decs this year, like the fingers here...

...and the blood splattered arm.

Not to mention the cockroaches...

At last, a practical use for a white painted staircase!

The girls enjoyed their tea party...

And there were cobwebs galore...

Then we all went Trick or Treating round the neighbourhood. They were very happy with their overflowing
buckets and their going home presents...

idea from Pinterest

Now it's all being boxed away in the loft along with a few 75% off bargains I picked up today for next year.

I hope you all had a good Hallowe'en.

Right then. Christmas...