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Further Tales From The Decorating Front

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I promised you a house update so here goes...

At the end of the last one I was busy feeling sick about all the cracks in the walls and waiting anxiously for the plastering to take place.

 Well, the plasterers have been.  They did a grand job but OHMYGODTHEMESS. Even worse than when the plumbers ripped out the boiler.

Approximately 27 trips to the tip later and it looked somewhat better.  Nice when it's all done and you've got actual walls and ceilings!

I don't know why I've now got a hoe in my house. It just appeared.

I severely underestimated how long it takes to prep a room for painting.  The place was filthy (still is). It took about two days to chip all the plaster residue off the wooden surfaces and get it vaguely clean enough so that the walls and ceilings could be painted.

My ever-awesome father made a beautiful job of painting the ceilings.  I donned my decorating smurf costume and attempted to help but just gave myself a crick in the neck.  I'm too short/inept to successfully do it.

Luckily I am excellent at scrambling up and down ladders and doing finicky things so I did all the pre-painting taping things off which also takes ages but is rather satisfying. What's not so satisfying is when you take the bloody stuff off and it brings half the paint with it. You had one job, Frogtape!! Useless.

I then spent four hours going up and down ladders with two tiny paintbrushes in hand, fixing it. Felt like a trampy version of Michaelangelo.

Wall painting is much more fun.

Deciding on colours is hard though. The living room was dead easy (green, obvs) and although all of these shades look pretty much the same in their tester pots, the library colour was obvious once we'd painted some sample splodges (Honey Dip won).

The hall colour proved more difficult.  Who knew there were so many shades of yellow?

Then my equally awesome Mum, she of the precise eye and wallpapering skills, was drafted in to help with the next stages.  So we have wallpaper.  Glittery wallpaper!

And shiny, clean, freshly-painted skirting boards!  Also pipes and radiators and stuff that I neglected to take a snap of.

The contractors have been busily doing their thing too.  The electricity hasn't actually been turned on yet (something to do with Manweb and earthing...I dunno) but the lights are up. All hail the tacky green chandelier!

I can now get in the loft. That's nice!

I'm trying to arrange for someone to come and rescue the parquet flooring cos I really don't want to have to cover it up again.

But I was delighted to rip the crappy old stair carpet off to discover that my vision for the stairs is basically a case of restoring them back to how they were in the past! I want painted stairs with a carpet strip up the middle and that's what I'm having.

Oooh, well done if you've made it through all that lot.

I go through stages of feeling awesome about what the house will look like when it's done and stages of feeling utterly despondent about how long it's all taking and how much there still is to do. This has been a nice exercise in reminding myself how much has actually been achieved so far though.  It's getting there.

It was very nice to sit down on Sunday, cast the paint brushes to one side for half an hour and dive into this beautiful Decorating with Colour book which I got from Farrow & Ball. It came at a perfect time. Strange as it may sound, my gloom about the state of my house was immediately lifted by looking at sumptuous photos of other houses. You'd think it'd work the other way and send me into even deeper gloom, wouldn't you?  Nope!  I was all "oooh, pretty" and "right, I want that library!" instead.

Now obviously I can't turn a two-bed terrace into an airy Italian palazzo or ancient English country cottage but I don't think they exactly expect that.  It's all about inspiration, isn't it?  I can't be an interior designer but I can damn well pinch their good ideas! This book is chockablock with them.  Every single page has a paint colour or a design idea that I want to steal.  Just don't think the house is quite big enough to fit them all in...

The only slight downside is that I now have extreme bookshelf and cushion envy.

Seriously, I want that cushion so badly.  Help.



  1. The one problem I have had with painting walls is that even with testing it doesn't always take into account the way light falls. I have on feature wall painted but it's actually only the right colour for the tiny period of the day when it gets proper sunlight -- the rest of the time (i.e. *all* the time) it's too dark and so completely the wrong colour. Don't make my mistake there!

    It does always take ages but it'll be so worth it. That's a lovely staircase and an excellent chandelier.

  2. Wow, what gorgeous flooring and staircase. Don't you just love Liverpool terraces. It pains me when people gut all these treasures and fit them out with modern b&q rubbish, urgh

  3. Urgh, I hate painting so much. It's one of my least favourites as it's one of those things you think won't take too long, and then a year later you're still going ;(

  4. What? Frogtape doesn't work? Feck.
    I am supposed to be painting my lounge but I just can't muster the enthusiasm.
    It's all looking very exciting. Love the chandelier!

  5. It's really starting to come together, I can't wait to see what it looks like when it is finished! Love that chandelier too, it is so green! <3

    Maria xxx

  6. When I bought an old Victorian terrace it took about 2 years to get it up to scratch/decorated, but I was living in it at the same time.
    I never bother with masking tape, I just take my time and luckily seem to have a very steady hand. With tester pots I paint a sheet of white A4 paper, as little squares are never big enough to really judge the colour. I then use bluetack to stick the paper on the wall - you can move it around to different areas of the room and get a better idea of how it'll look.

  7. I'm seeing how much work you're doing and realising what I'm getting myself into buying a house! I love the Farrow & Ball paint names - I think Mouse's Back and Mole's Breath are my favourite haha x

  8. Told you it would be worth it in the end ;-P Your chandelier is fab and I cannot wait to see your parquet floor in all it's glory.

  9. What I find interesting about blogs is that you don't see the in-between. (Obviously), I don't think about your house renovations outside of your entries, but I come back weeks later and am instantly impressed. Good work, keep going, I'll just sit back and marvel at the results :)

  10. Oh I know that it's stress for you but oh my GAHD I get so excited when I see these photos! It's going to look so outrageously amazing. I am positively oozing with jealousy at those walls, that wallpaper and that flippin' chandelier!!


  11. Ooh I love the original parquet flooring and the idea with the stairs sounds perfect - always lovely when people re-paint them and add their own touches, I love it. Also the smurf decorating costumes is brilliant and yay for wall painting! Looks like it's coming along really nicely - hope it's not too much more stressful for you now! - Tasha xxx

  12. That chandelier is amazing, what a find! The house is looking great, it must be so rewarding to see it all coming together finally. Hooray! Fi x


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