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!!)

The living roomIMG_4132IMG_4134IMG_4143IMG_4137

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


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!

Organisation and ‘what success means’.

Warning: Slight Chance of Philosophy Ahead.

Hello there. Another week has flown by with no discernable house progress.  The to-do list is fairly steady, although I did manage to sort a bunch of stuff out that’s just been hanging around.  We’ve had a hire car for a few weeks whilst mine was in the shop.  That meant we had to take everything out of our car, which in turn, meant I had to sort out everything in our car.  There was a broken steam mop and half a rice cooker in there.  A fun afternoon of sorting was had.  I’m only mostly being sarcastic here-I genuinely enjoy sorting and organising.  Mr E always jokes that I have a thing for containers, and he’s absolutely 100% correct.  I love a good jar, and it was with great glee that I finally sorted out the world’s smallest pantry.  Well, it’s a cupboard, but I can call it a pantry.
I’m calling that success.  We were talking about what success means to us, and came to the conclusion that it’s really simple.  Being Happy.  I feel pretty damn successful at the moment.  I don’t earn a ton, but I spend time with my little man.  I don’t have a massive house, but my flat is full of exactly what I want.  I like my job, I’m happy with my self image (shock!) and the few friends I have are ace.

Mostly though, I like to open cupboards and see things all neatly arranged.  It certainly makes baking much easier.  This weeks’ TOTW wasn’t that great.  I made baked doughnuts but they were a bit too heavy and cakey for my liking.  Perhaps I’ll resort to frying again.
Already so interested in the record player.  This was a calm Sunday morning playtime shot, and he decided he wanted to climb.

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!


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!


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.

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.
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.
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.


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…
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 -
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…


Pictures of Progress

And so, as promised, here are some pictures of the carnage we’ve created in the name of “progress”.  This is my life right now.  Below is the Dining room, temporarily repurposed to become a bit of the kitchen.
Dining room kitchenNext up  is what I genuinely think is the best of the bunch.  The nursery, temporarily repurposed to become another kitchen.
Nursery KitchenAll of this is of course in aid of creating the ACTUAL kitchen, which as of this morning, looks like this:
IMG_0341 IMG_0340Bye bye, blue.  The other thing I mentioned yesterday was my nail polish shenanigans.  Well, in all this chaos, I looked at my chopsticks and thought “Hey, these could be more colourful!”. So I procrastinated and painted my chopshick tips with nail polish, and it turned out kinda OK?
IMG_0358IMG_0355IMG_0337I am the queen of procrastination.  (And with that said, I should probably get back to work…)

Aargh! Kitchen!

So today we’ve started to rip the kitchen apart.  Oh this is going to be fun.  Firstly: Do you have any idea how much CRAP it’s possible to store in a kitchen?!  Even more embarrassingly, we didn’t really unpack after we moved here, so I was pulling out half packed boxes from the cupboards and sorting them.  I found 6 (open) bags of mixed fruit, and also a bag containing a jar of marshmallow Fluff that had popped at some point.  Pleasant.

But.  We’ve started.  The spare room/small room/junk room/nursery is now a mini emergency kitchen – one hob and a microwave! Yeah!  And cabinets are disappearing in the kitchen.  We decided to go for an Ikea kitchen for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, they’re pretty cheap, especially if you do all the labour yourself.  They’re also ‘hackable’, by which I mean you can fit up awkward spaces and get exactly what you want if you’re imaginative/clever.  Ikea Faktum kitchens, however, are being discontinued in February in the UK (See more here).  The system is being replaced with the METOD system, which is more widely used in Europe and Scandinavia.  Cue a mild panic as we do the temporal math…Kitchen won’t be available to buy until February 3rd + Baby due end of March = “Ha ha, sod it! Let’s start the kitchen!”  We figure we can get the room cleared, the floor done, the lighting moved and wired up and the plastering and tile done before we pick up the kitchen, and install it straight into a prepped room.

Of course, the UK online Ikea kitchen planner won’t swap over to the new units until February (and we’re not just talking new doors, btw, it’s new shells, new sizes, new fixings…).  So we’ve been planning our kitchen on the Swedish version of the Ikea website.  Protip: If ever you want to be disillusioned with Ikea naming, go the Swedish website and let Chrome translate for you.  It will helpfully translate the product names, too.  It turns out the rather fancy sounding FAKLIG induction hob actually translates as…TASTY.

Pictures to come, of the kitchen desolation and also some other bits and bobs I’ve been up to, including PAINTING THINGS THAT ARE NOT NAILS WITH NAIL POLISH.  Laters!

The Befores and the Afters…

Good Afternoon!

Whilst I’m planning the next change (I think it’s going to be the bedroom, I’m itching to at least paint in there…) I thought I’d share some before shots of the current place.  When we moved into our current apartment, we had furniture that was cheap, begged, stolen or borrowed.  In the case of our sofa, it was a 2 seater borrowed from my in-laws.  It was so small my husband and I could barely sit on it at the same time.  This wasn’t a problem in the old place, as we had 2 and a half rooms.  One room for sleeping and officing, one room for bathrooming (the ‘half’ room) and one room for everything else.

In our current flat, we found we had so much room that we didn’t even use the dining room for a while as we found our feet.  Slowly though (and we have been there a couple of years now) we’ve got things just right, with a balance of the cosy that we were used to, and the open and airy that we aspired to.  It’s interesting too, to see how our style hasn’t really ‘changed’ as such, but has instead become a little more ‘refined’.  The walls are essentially the same colours, the same basic shapes in the furniture but just a little more subtle and grown up, although saying that, we do have the biggest sofa in the world and I jump on it sometimes.

Now to think about the bedroom!

Owls in the Kitchen

Good Afternoon!

Every now and then, Laura Ashley come up with something wonderously cute.  For the past few months, I’ve been fixating over a cute, owl shaped utensil holder, but was nervous as to whether it would survive shipping.  Last weekend I was in Southampton, and I came across on of their stores!  Not only did I find the owl (with no postage of worries therein) but they had a 30% off sale, so it only cost me £11.  Cue happy dance (no really, I danced all day).

And above is my happy kitchen menagerie.  I think I will declare Peonies my Favorite Summer Flower.  Now I just need to decide if tulips or daffodils are my favorite Spring flower, then get to work on the other seasons…

Calm new living room!

Good Afternoon.

As promised, here are the ‘After’ pictures of the newly painted living room (and kitchen, I suppose).

It feels so much softer and calmer in here now.  I made a trip to the big Swedish box today to get the second lampshade so that they both matched.  This made me happy.