House Update – Decorating the Hallway

It’s been a long year, but I think we’ve finally done enough for a wee house update!  Turns out, when you do it all yourself it takes a bit longer.

Concentrating mostly on downstairs, we’ve managed to almost finish the living room and hallway.  I did wake up one morning and couldn’t stand the bedroom another second, so we ran out, bought paint, stripped the wallpaper and gave the walls a coat of very light grey.

Downstairs, we lifted the carpet that ran through the living room, hallway and upstairs.  Stripped all the wallpaper, and painted everything white.  Sounds simple, right?  It wasn’t.  We started stripping the wallpaper in the hall, and quickly realised it was that two layer vinyl shit that takes double the time to strip off.  Paired up with the stupid high walls, it’s safe to say we quickly lost our tempers with it.  The whole hallway upstairs to the loft conversation was needing re-plastered, so we got off as much wallpaper as we could reach, and then asked the professionals to finish it off before they plastered.

Now with freshly plastered walls, we painted everywhere white.  Again, it was challenging due to the ceiling height, and the fact neither of us wanted to go high up the ladders…

Next we took on the task of laying laminate flooring.  My uncle kindly came round and helped us start it, then we were off!  We laid all of the living room and hallway ourselves, I’m well impressed by us to be perfectly honest.  The beading still needs put down but that’ll be the floor done.

I’d accepted that the ugly, speckled, hardwearing carpet was going to have to stay for a while.  Then a little bit of money came our way… so naturally I ripped up the carpet immediately.  A painstaking process of ripping up the carpet grippers followed, and then filling in the little holes and painting the stairs white.

I chose a light grey carpet, and paid the little extra to have the edges bound so we could have it laid as a runner up the stairs.  What a difference it’s made to the whole house!  It starts at the stairs, goes up onto the 1st floor, and up the stairs to the loft conversion.  Still waiting for a few of the stairs to be replace that haven’t been properly laid, but apart from that, I love it.

The radiators are back on the walls now, and we’re waiting on some prints being delivered for the living room.  Next up – the spare room.  I asked my mum to rip up the ugly, worn carpet the day we moved in, and we’ve been walking on just the underlay since then.  Looking at sticking with white, and going for neutral tones in that room.  Should be able to get most of it done in a weekend.

Are you renovating?  Send me links to your period properties!

 

 

2019

Happy 2019! I’m a bit late to the party, but every new year, I say I haven’t made any resolutions.  Which is true in a sense.  I don’t stick to the typical ‘weight loss’ or ‘saving’ or other cliches.  However, I do find myself quietly saying i’ll do things to make myself feel better.  I…

Making Plum Gin!

September crept up quickly there didn’t it?  We made our first plans for Christmas by making plum gin! When we moved into our house at the start of the year, there was 4 small trees in the front garden.  Through spring we watched 3 of them start to grow fruit.  Being complete novice gardeners or…

Exploring Rome

Several years ago I bought a travel book of Italy, but I never quite got round to going exploring.  This spring, I ventured to Rome for a long weekend with my mum.  I’ll tell you right now; a long weekend was not enough!

I got on a flight to Fiumicino (Romes biggest airport) with no forward planning from me.  The trip was a gift from my parents for my 30th birthday, so I was happy to go with the flow.  We had some provisional plans and had booked tickets for St Peters basillica and the colosseum; it works out cheaper to book before.

We stayed at Hotel Gravina San Pietro which was near Vatican City and close to a main road and bus routes.  There is a huge amount of things to see in Rome, there’s a ton of things I never managed to see or do, but i’ll cover what we seen.

Day 1

After dumping our bags around 1pm, we had the rest of the day to start exploring.  I’m a huge fan of Rick Steves travel books.  He’s an American travel writer but the way he writes his books is so much more interesting and easy to relate to.  So we started with ‘The Heart of Rome’ walk from his Travel Rome book.

Starting walking towards the Vatican, we walked through the middle of St Peters basillica grounds.  Then we crossed over the river Tiber and walked through Piazza Navona, towards the Pantheon.

The Pantheon is an impressive dome structure with an open top.  It is the worlds largest, unreinforced concrete dome, it’s almost 2,000 years old and has been in continuous use since it was built.  The open circle in the centre is 142m across.  I wandered around for ages, wondering what happens when it rains, but there’s several drains on the floor – they thought of everything apparently!

Following this, we walked toward the Trevi Fountain.  Hands down the busiest attraction I’ve ever been to, second only to the Mona Lisa!  You hear the fountain before you see it, and then the street leads onto some steps to the left down to the fountain.  It’s so busy, you can’t even see the steps, or the railings between the steps.  We didn’t hang around for long, it was amazing to see but the crowds were unreal.

Then we wound through a few more streets and on to the Spanish Steps.  By this time, the sun was low, and the lighting was beautiful.  The steps were lined with stunning flowers all the way up, and the little fountain at the bottom had lots of people eating ice cream and taking photos.

That night we went for late dinner at a place we found on Trip Advisor called Papa Rex.  The wine and pizza was just what I needed.  Mum had seabass which I sneaked a taste of and that was perfectly cooked and delicious too.

Day 2

On our first full day we took the open top bus tour and got off at the Colesseum.  Turns out, the ticket also covers Paletine Hill and the Forum.  I thought these would be extras that would take 5 minutes and not be particularly interesting – how wrong I was!  The colesseum was incredible, but so was Paletine Hill and the Forum.

We ended up spending 5 hours walking around all 3.  Seeing these ancient structures fascinates me, how amazing to think the ruins we see today, were such magnificent structures that drew in thousands of people for events.

We took the bus back to the hotel and headed back out to have dinner at another lovely pizza place near our hotel.  For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was amazing.  Very popular with the locals and for takeaway!

Then we walked into the busier areas to see the Trevi fountain at night and have a few drinks at the Pantheon.

Day 3

In the spirit of making the most of our last day, we were up and out early.  The plan was to see some more of the sights, then finish up with the St Peters basillica tour in the afternoon.  We discovered our open top bus tour tickets were still valid, so we hopped on and took the scenic route!

The bus took us to the north of Rome through Villa Borghese and the streets were stunning.  Europe really knows how to brighten the streets with coloured buildings, and beautiful shutters and plants.

 

 

 

 

While on the bus, I spotted a huge monument I wanted to visit – Altare della Patria – also known as the national monument to Victor Emmanuel II.  It’s HUGE.  We walked up the vast stairs and took some pretty photos.  Walked inside and took the stairs as high as we could go, the views from the top were excellent.

We took the bus again and got off at St Peters basillica and took an audio tour around the church which was incredible.  The art work and architecture is so detailed and intricate.  There’s a huge 4 poster alter right in the middle and various alters around the rest of the church.  We just walked around taking in all these fine things.  I wanted to see the crypt, but unfortunately it was shut.

To end the night, I wanted to get the bus back towards the Spanish Steps and Trevi fountain to have dinner near there.  The atmosphere was incredible.  Tons of restaurant seating outside, people enjoying drinks and dinner out in the warm streets.  However, we are fussy gits.  Sat down in a restaurant and didn’t like how long it took them to take a drinks order… so I ate a bit of bread and we left!

We decided to take the bus back to the restaurant we went to the first night.  Sharing wine and some delicious food – a perfect way to end the trip!

Sunrise Alarm

Like most people, I struggle to get up in the morning.  I wouldn’t say I’m not a morning person, it’s just the getting out of bed part I can’t do!  I have early starts at work, long shifts and a horse to take care of at night.  Bed is my warm, happy place! I also…

Our 1930s House

We done it!  We finally bought and moved into our first house!  It was built in roughly the 1930s and it has some beautiful features, but it’s needing a little work.  Nothing structural, mostly cosmetic, but it still needs some TLC.  I think by far, my favourite feature, is the huge windows half way up the stairs….

Landing windows

The house has a decent sized entrance hallway – with THE most horrendous wallpaper.  I started ripping it down the minute we moved in.  Unfortunately, it runs aaallll the way up the stairs and onto the second floor.  Then up the huge wall to the loft conversation.  Also, the walls are so high, there’s sections we can’t reach even on ladders.  Our plan is to concentrate on the livingroom and hallway first of all.  They are the biggest projects, and the ones in need of the most work.

The house has a decent sized entrance hallway - with THE most horrendous wallpaper. I started ripping it down the minute we moved in. Unfortunately, it runs aaallll the way up the stairs and onto the second floor. Then up the huge wall to the loft conversation. Also, the walls are so high, there's sections we can't reach even on ladders. Our plan is to concentrate on the livingroom and hallway first of all. They are the biggest projects, and the ones in need of the most work.
Hallway

Now that we’ve managed to strip most of the wallpaper, we need to get someone in to strip the parts we can’t get to.  Either that or we’ll invest in extra long ladders and do it ourselves.  Then it’ll be on to getting some plastering jobs done.  Mostly it’s little holes and the areas above the skirting boards needing tidied up.  However, the wall leading up to the bedroom in the attic has been plastered to cover a join between the original wall and the conversion wall.  When we started stripping the wallpaper, a layer of the plaster started coming away.  Which means we now have a jagged line of broken plaster going up the wall.

Stairs to the attic

After we get all that sorted, we want to expose the livingroom and hallway floors.  When we started lifting the carpets, it became obvious that we can’t do that without some insulation below the floors.  So, we have 2 options; rip up the floorboards and wreck the walls, in order to lay insulation then the floorboards back down.  Or; lay insulation on top the original floorboards and new solid wood planks.  The latter is proving a very expensive option!

After we get all that sorted, we want to expose the livingroom and hallway floors. When we started lifting the carpets, it became obvious that we can't do that without some insulation below the floors. So, we have 2 options; rip up the floorboards and wreck the walls, in order to lay insulation then the floorboards back down. Or; lay insulation on top the original floorboards and new solid wood planks. The latter is proving a very expensive option!
Livingroom floorboards

The livingroom has potential to be a really beautiful room.  I’ll get a photo of the ceiling, it has a lovely ceiling rose, and the bay windows get the morning sun to light up the room.  We’ve stripped the wallpaper now, but that can wait until the next post!

The livingroom has potential to be a really beautiful room. I’ll get a photo of the ceiling, it has a lovely ceiling rose, and the bay windows get the morning sun to light up the room. We’ve stripped the wallpaper now, but that can wait until the next post!
Livingroom

2018 – The Year Ahead

Happy New Year! 2018 is here and I’ve been inspired by reading everyones goals for the year.  As I sit here feeling a little down that the holidays are over, I’m also excited for what’s to come! In December we had an offer accepted on a house.  Everything has of course gone quiet over the…

Winter Workout Motivation

The clocks have gone back, the first frost has been, and I’m finding it harder to get up in the mornings.  In fact, as I’m writing this, it’s proper pissing it down with rain.  It’s 11am and it’s so dull out I’ve got all the lamps on.  I need to get to the gym to…