House Tour Part III: The Rest!

And finally, time to move on to the other rooms that make up my little corner of the world – the bathroom and the hallway, and a bonus floorpan. The layout of the flat is fairly straightforward, with all the rooms coming off the hallway, as well as the front door in and the cupboard, which we affectionately call ‘the cupboard under the stairs’.

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The bathroom

The bathroom was the first room we tackled, and I’m so glad we did. Shortly after moving into the flat I got knocked up and had one hell of a rough pregnancy. When I wasn’t in hospital, I was in the bathroom, so at least it was nice.  When we moved in the bath panel and the windowsill were made from dark stained ply, so the bathroom was a bit of a light suck. We had to replace the floor after the subfloor collapsed due to a leak, and went with a nice warm cork. After replacing the floor we built a new bath panel that followed the shape of the bath, and tiled it to match the wall. I totally love the utilitarian look of that. It reminds me of the original bathrooms in Barbican flats. 

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The sink originally had a full pedestal and a mess of pipes behind it, so we bought a new sink and half pedestal from eBay. The sink arrived smashed to buggery but the pedestal was intact. You win some, you lose some. The epic bathroom cabinet is an Ikea Godmorgen. It holds A LOT.

The Hallway

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I took a real risk in painting the hallway black. It’s dark out there so the choice was either to paint it super bright, or keep it dark and cosy. The wall unit is an Ikea Besta wrapped in worktop offcuts, and makes a great perch for the Ferm Living bowl for keys, the human skull (probably just don’t ask) and the moulding of my teeth. Again, probably don’t ask. The black is Valspar Downing Street.

There’s also the matter of Milo’s swing. The precise reason I love the swing is because it’s ridiculous and there’s not quite enough space and I think that’s brilliant.

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House Tour Part II: Bedrooms

Picking up where we left of with the living room and kitchen, let’s move to the bedrooms. I’ve posted about Milo’s room before, but ai think that now he’s in a single bed, there won’t be much more change here, until a. we move out, or b. he moves out. One or the other. Our bedroom is also fairly static now, which is nice. When we moved in, the big bedroom was being used as the kids’ room, and it was SO BLUE.

Master Bedroom

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There’s not a lot of storage space in the flat, so we have to sneak it in wherever we can. That’s a Mandal bed from Ikea, sadly discontinued. I love it because the drawers are massive. The four drawers literally span the whole of the bed base. There’s A LOT in there. All the Christmas decorations, all my fabric and craft supplies, and one drawer is dedicated entirely to our shoes. Rock and Roll.

The blanket. OH THE BLANKET. I’ve wanted a Pia Wallet Cross blanket for FOREVER and I’m so happy I took the plunge. If you’re on the fence about getting one, just suck it up and order. You can eat beans on toast for a few weeks- no one will mind.

George Nelson saucer lamp was from eBay and it’s got a couple of holes and was in pretty poor condition. We cleaned it up with caustic soap and it’s been great. I’m itching to do something else though…I’m just not sure what. The print at the end of the bed (yes it’s a print – it’s gloss black on matte black, and with good reason) is from GFDA. <-Possibly NSFW! The vintage Anglepoise model 90s were liberated from a skip years ago, and the bedside tables are coffee tables from Marks and Spencer, a long time back. I’m trying to find some new ones though, I think bedside tables should have drawers.

Paint, as the living room and Milo’s room, is B&Q Colours premium matte in Victorian Lace.

Milo’s Room

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So, Milo’s room is pretty much all vintage or bespoke. It’s a super small space so we had to get creative. The room is EXACTLY wide enough for a mattress. In practice, this means that a bed doesn’t actually fit, because of the skirting board (or ‘trim’ for our American friends). So, we had to find a single bed that had inset legs, and preferably, storage. We found this bed in a second hand shop by accident. I’ve got birch ply all ripped and ready to clad the frame and drawer fronts, but the bed fits, and that’s the main thing. The cute ice cream strip blanket is from Atlantic Blankets on Not on The High Street.

The desk and shelves are Elfa track and bracket with birch ply, and it’s the same system we used in the living room. The idea here is that as Milo get’s bigger the desk can just move up with him.

I love the lights above Milo’s bed. It’s just an EKBY shelf bracket and string lights from Ikea. It has such a lovely warm glow. Speaking of warm, you may have noticed that there are no radiators or other visible forms of heating ANYWHERE. One of my non-negotiables in the flat was underfloor heating. For some reason, these flats don’t have a gas supply (the house literally next door does, so it’s not a pipe issue, IDK??), meaning that EVERYTHING is electric. That’s fine, but electric heating options are somewhat limited. Originally the flat had old concrete night storage heaters. Inefficient and ugly. The electric underfloor heating is cheaper to run, nicer to look at and well, it’s just nice.

House Tour Part I: Kitchen and Living Room

Whelp. I’ve promised this for months (years). Today I finally got my act together and set up the wide lens and the tripod and got some shots of the flat. My flat is super tiny (48sqm), but I think we manage to pull off family life here pretty well. Without further ado, on with the show (LINKS AHEAD!!)

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So. A breakdown on the finished article. The bare brick wall was created with Keswick Blend Brickslips. It was reasonably expensive, but not *much* more than a fancy wallpaper feature wall. My dear, long suffering husband stripped the original wallpaper (seen here), then laid the slips much like tiles, and then pointed the fresh brickwork with actual mortar.

The wall colour is actually super cheap B&Q Colours Premium matte in ‘Victorian Lace’. We have the same colour in both bedrooms and the living room, and it’s a lovely soft white, with just a hint of blue-grey. The flooring is from IKEA, they don’t do flooring any more, which is probably for the best, as it’s not really holding up super well. I’ve had to cut waaay back on the steam mopping. Boo.

The sofa is an Ikea Soderhamn, and it’s only a few months old but it’s holding up pretty well so far. The main draw for us is the washable covers – we’ve yet to try it, but I’m sure everything will turn out fine… Other things of note are the Hell Yeah print from Sir Face graphics, and the plant, which is a Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s tongue) and I’ve yet to kill it, so that’s a plus.

The Kitchen

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Ikea Kitchen! There’s already been a total kitchen saga, dealing with the decision to wait until I was heavily pregnant to buy said kitchen, ripping the old kitchen out on boxing day, drawing all over the walls, following Ikea instructions, plastering, tiling on my due date, and getting sooooo close to finishing before Milo arrived.

There’s still a bit of old tumble dryer hose connecting the extractor hood to the wall, so answers on a postcard for solutions to that one, please…

We’ll catch up with the bedrooms next!

A little more progress…

Bit by bit, things are coming together in the kitchen.  We’ve started tiling and now have a feel of what the kitchen will look like once it’s done!
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So, now we just need to finish the tiling and grouting, fit the doors onto the washing machine and dishwasher (and what a nightmare that is, but that’s a story for another day…), and bolt the wall cabinets together.  So close now, but the newborn is taking quite a bit of our time!  Hard to believe that he’s one month today.  Yay Milo!

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Slowgress! It’s like progress, but slower!

A few years ago, I discovered the Slow Food Movement, and the way I ate and cooked changed.  I was more discerning about where my food came from, what I did to it, and the atmosphere I created when I ate it.  Suffice to say, as the name suggests, this takes time.  I was eating and cooking more slowly, and paying more attention to the experience of the meal.  In short, I became one of those food wankers who takes Instagrams of their lunch.  Fast forward a few years and I’m faced with not just a meal to put together, but an entire kitchen.  In retrospect, starting a kitchen reno when 6 months pregnant probably isn’t the best idea we’ve ever had, but we’ve had the luxury of taking it slow, and fitting work in whenever the Mister has time to breathe and whenever I’m not being sick or doing a beached whale impression.  I think we may have started the slow kitchen movement.

Hob, extractor and oven

Very clearly not finished yet, the obvious missing factor being the tiles.  We have tiles – great white glossy, daunting things! And black grout! And edging!  It’s just sat there at the moment, but once that goes up things will be that much closer to feeling together.  We also need to put the door on the washing machine and the dishwasher (fun fact: Ikea have discontinued the door attachment kit for third-party dishwashers).  The plinths and the worktop-back-edging need to go on, the wall cabinets need to be bolted together and I think that’s it.  Oh, and we’re going to put an open shelf to the left of the extractor cabinet for crockery and particularly pretentious cookbooks.

Kitchen towards window

Kitchen Right

Kitchen Left

I’m actually quite proud of the extractor cabinet above the hob there.  There was a LOT of debate over what kind of extractor to get, and we nearly ended up with a plain stainless steel one-you know the type, looks a bit like an upside down capital ‘T’.  The one thing we had to work around in this kitchen is where the outlet for the extractor is.  In the picture above you can see it in the top right-a ragged hole stuffed full of plastic bags because SPIDERS.  If we had gone for a ‘traditional’ hood, we would have had to botch it quite a lot, as most fans just want to vent UPWARDS, never sideways.  We figured that if we got an integrated cabinet fan, we could stick some industrial ducting out of the side, and channel to the outside.  That’s the theory, anyway.  The decision to paint the cabinet and door the same colour as the wall was one I wasn’t 100% on board with, but I think it works.

A final note to anyone who’s good at math or knows me IRL-I still haven’t had the damn baby yet.  He’s a week late now.  I think if I just start tiling, he’ll decide that that’s a SUPER GOOD time to arrive, so perhaps that’s the plan.  Oh, also this was my 100th post, I hoped to have finished, but I can’t leave you hanging.

 

Kitchen Plans

So you’ve seen the real life state of my kitchen, but I wanted to share my vision as well.  I feel like we’re getting to the point where the bones are coming together, and we can think about the ‘finishing touches’.  Yes, a tap is a finishing touch.
Kitchen Touches1. Marimekko Oiva teapot  2.  Orla Kiely Linear Stem pot  3. B&Q Senio tap  4.  Aloe Vera plant, Ikea.  5.  Habitat ‘Flap’ Clock.  6. Valspar Kitchen and Bathroom paint in Bottlenose Dolphin, B&Q.  7.  Franke Ascona sink, Screwfix.  8.  White tile with dark grout, via House & Home.

All the appliances are integrated, including the microwave, which means there doesn’t need to be anything on the worktop if we don’t want there to be.  Our kettle is a stovetop rather than electric, and I’m pretty sure the stovetop espresso maker will live on the hob, too.  I’ve got a cute hanging herb planter, and a stack of nice chopping boards, and for once I’ll be able to edit my little kitchen vignettes.  Of course, once the kitchen is done, we’ll pretty much have a baby here, so who knows, maybe I might not get round to that as quickly as I’d hoped.  Oh, and on that note, we also have to create a nursery from scratch!

Kitchen Progress

Hi guys!  There’s been a fair amount of progress in the kitchen, now that we’re starting to get some of the big jobs done.  On Tuesday we got a plasterer in to fix up the walls and flatten the ceiling (we had a lovely 90s patterned Artex ceiling in there…).  We waited all week for it to dry, so that we could seal it with some watered down paint.  FYI, fresh plaster looks like melted chocolate.
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When this weekend rolled around, we got busy with the paintbrushes.  Once plaster is PROPERLY dry, it goes all pink and powdery.  That’s when you need to make sure to seal it well, otherwise the plaster will suck out any water content of the paint and the paint will dry patchy or the plaster will crack.  We used Dulux Light and Space mixed roughly 50/50 with water.  I guess you could use cheaper paint, but the Light and Space is what we’ve used on ceilings everywhere, so we had a fair bit floating around.  Also, if we ended up with a half used tin of trade pure brilliant white, it would never get used.  First coat dried really quickly-no surprises there, as the plaster absorbed most of the water, so we were throwing up a second coat in no time.  We did the same again, 50/50 mix.  We left this to dry for a few hours whilst we did some more cabinet building.  The kitchen was looking pretty bright at this point, but just got super fancy when we rollered on the final coat of ‘real’ paint onto the ceiling.  Pure, undiluted Absolute White Light and Space.  ‘Twas a thing of beauty.
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Check out all the beautiful brightness going on there.  Over the last two days I’ve assembled all the wall cabinets, except the one for the extractor fan, as the instructions for that appear to have been written by an utter sadist.  I’ve put the drawer fronts on the drawer units, fitted the oven into the oven housing and built one of those funky little wire pull out drawer cabinets.  We also managed to get the fridge and freezer back into the real kitchen, which means I can now open the fridge again!  When the fridge was stacked atop the freezer in the ‘nursery’, it was against a wall and opened the wrong way, and with this baby permanently attached to my front, there physically wasn’t room for me to open the door.  HAHAHA.  HILARIOUS.
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Sneaky little look at how the kitchen will eventually come together.  Unfortunately I took the picture late last night whilst so tired, but it is a small beacon of hope in the sea of neverending kitchen woe.  The kind of woe that has had my living room looking like this since BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
IMG_0521Soon.  Soon it will be over and I’ll have a fancy-pants kitchen and I’ll never leave it.  It’s my birthday next week and I’m having some people come over, so before then I’ll need to have straightened out the lounge at least.  The wall cabinets went up this afternoon, but they will need to come down again in the week so that I can paint the walls in the kitchen, and then the cabinets can be straightened and fixed up properly.  We’re a little closer to the finish, but given Ikea would have charged over £3k to fit the kitchen, I don’t mind that it’s taking a little while!

 

Just a Quickie…The kitchen…Exists. Sort of.

Afternoon!

Following much excitement and so much waiting, on Wednesday we hot-footed it down to Ikea and bought ourselves a kitchen.  The kitchen planner lady was really helpful, but I’m pretty sure she took one look at us-all set with Macbooks at the ready, full of plans and spreadsheets and costings and measurements-and figured she would just let us get on with it.  I think that the standard drill is for the planners to go through your online plan and check spacing and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  I don’t think we were typical customers.  Despite only bing available since Monday, there was a fair bit of Metod on display, and our kitchen (sans doors) was delivered the next day.  All the doors and fronts are due next week.  Super speedy.  So, after a fashion, the kitchen is in the flat.  Mostly though, it is in boxes, but it’s here and it’s ours and it will soon mock us with cries to be assembled.  I’ve put together four units so far, including nine drawers and it’s a sinch.  Although if you’re heavily pregnant (ahem) and sane (ahem) I wouldn’t recommend it.  Good thing I’m only ONE of those things.

IMG_0447 IMG_0448 IMG_0451 IMG_0452Aaaaaaaannd…. Obligatory person-incubating-selfie…
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Just eight weeks to go before little Mr E is with us.  God, I hope we’re ready.

 

More Kitchen (Or ‘Less Kitchen” Depending on Your Viewpoint…)

Everyone has days where a decision is made, and looking back, the only justification you can offer is that “it seemed like a good idea at the time”.  I have a feeling that in 5 weeks time, when we’re still struggling with running water only in the bathroom (and only just…), food in the living room and a single hob in the nursery, we will argue that a new kitchen whilst 8 months pregnant “seemed like a good idea at the time”.  Do you know what’s really hard when you’re pregnant?  Washing up in the bath.  Anyway.  We now have absolutely no kitchen in the kitchen at all, whatsoever.  We’re currently laying the underfloor heating and the laminate floor, and took the opportunity to draw out the new layout on the bare insulation.

Left corner of empty kitchen - Geekarilla.com
Right corner of empty kitchen - Geekarilla.comIn terms of the overall layout of the kitchen, other than keeping the shape, the hob and the sink the same, we’ve changed pretty much everything else.  We’re switching from a stacked fridge-freezer to two separate under counter units.  We’re adding a dishwasher and moving the washing machine to behind the door.  We’re adding more useful storage in the shape of pull out cabinets and drawers.  We decided to keep the oven and sink in the same places due to a. making plumbing MUCH simpler for us, and b. they’re pretty much in the most sensible place, anyway.
Kitchen layout, Geekarilla.comIt has actually been quite fun grabbing Sharpie markers and doodling all over the walls.  We had to decide the best place for all our appliance switches and the thermostat for the underfloor heating, so there’s a lot of this going on at the moment…
Socket placement scribbles - Geekarilla.comOnce Mr E has finished with the flooring in there (that’s today’s job), we can chip off the remaining tiles and start hacking holes in the plasterboard where the new sockets will be.  We also need to move the lighting-we’re removing the main overhead light and replacing it with a pendant in the corner by the sink, and putting lots of heavy duty under-cabinet strip lighting under the wall cabinets.  That’s next weekend – the weekend of electrics – and also my 4D baby scan, I’ll be 30 weeks pregnant with 10 weeks to go and no kitchen.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…