Going Green…

Going Green…

We’ve decided that the not-so-bottle-green bedroom wall, is staying. Despite it not being the colour I had in my mind’s eye, we’ve grown to really love it. And a bargain of a find in TK Maxx when we went to Graz, in Austria, sealed the fate of the colour – a beautiful green angle poise style lamp, which works really well against the new wall shade…

Gorgeous green angle poise lamp from TK Maxx, Graz, Austria

Gorgeous green angle poise lamp from TK Maxx, Graz, Austria

So, green has been on my mind recently. One of the next parts of the house that we’re intending to tackle, is the upstairs bathroom. Like the one downstairs, it’s small, but we’ve got a bit more floorspace to play with and it does have a natural space for the bath (where the sink and toilet currently sit opposite to each other). Because plumbing is already almost in the right places, we can hopefully fit a rainshower head over the new bath. I’d already found this image, and loved the copper/brass showerhead, but hadn’t really taken much notice of the green tiles…

The bathroom is going to be a real mix and match, in terms of style. The downstairs bathroom is now quite sleek and co-ordinated and so we feel that we can be a bit more adventurous with the other room. Once, what we thought was a negative – the size and shape of the bathroom – is now actually a positive, as it means we have to be a little more creative. Our thinking is that the bath will be quite a standard bath, but we’ll have a frame built around it as the footprint it will go into, is a bit of a cheese wedge shape, so the colour of this doesn’t matter so much. The sink and toilet will move to the wall under the window, and so these will be immediately visible, as they’ll be what you see as you enter the room. We do have a gorgeous enamel sink, rescued from a science lab in a school I used to teach in – one of those really deep, white, rectangular shaped sinks – and we have thought that this would be the new bathroom sink, mounted on a new plinth, with wall mounted taps over the sink. I have found out that you can actually paint these sinks, so that’s a possibility, if we can have it done professionally. But, whatever, I’ve been poring over Pinterest, and as ever, my interest has been aroused…

So, what do you think? Should we go green?

downstairs bathroom reno : update 2

downstairs bathroom reno : update 2

For the first year of living in the house, we made do with the bathroom we inherited. OK, we tarted it up a bit – everything painted white, essentially – but it was still quite poorly laid out, with a tiny shower cubicle and not really conduicive to a relaxing experience.

We tried our best to tart up the downstairs bathroom, but it was never going to be a long term solution...

We tried our best to tart up the downstairs bathroom, but it was never going to be a long term solution…

So, the decision was taken that we couldn’t have another summer of guests, trying to squash themselves into a tiny shower. If we were going to have people staying with us, we had to provide them – and us! – with something a little bit more luxurious. The first job was to ensure that it actually happened and that we didn’t procrastinate or change our minds, so the shower cubicle was smashed out. A very satisfying job…

A very satisfying day of demolition...

A very satisfying day of demolition…

Luckily, we do have another bathroom upstairs so we could actually wash, but this one too, suffers from the same malaise as the downstairs one – small, quite poorly laid out, and ready for a big renovation. But maybe not quite yet! Once the downstairs bathroom had effectively been dismantled, we could assess the space and work out the plan of action – and to our builder’s delight, that meant moving the shower, the sink and the toilet 😉 We decide that the shower would be much better positioned by the window – we’re not overlooked, apart from a beautiful wall of ivy – and so felt we could get away with this. Where the toilet had been, we decided to create a recess – a shelf for shower accessories, which would also double as a seat, within the shower, and the toilet would sit where the old shower had been, behind the door, so not visible from outside the room. We also decided to continue the concrete theme into this room, following the flow from the new kitchen and the table we had had made in The Well Room. The tiles we chose were big – about 70cms x 70cms – so this made the job all the more tricky, because much precise cutting was needed for such a small space.

After having such an un-luxurious bathing experience for so long, we decided that we’d push the boat out a little bit further than we originally anticipated with this bathroom. To save space further, we opted for a wall mounted toilet, with the flush built into the wall, and the same for the sink. We bought a cabinet for the sink to sit on, but decided against it, when we realised that a floating sink would look so much better. The project seemed to take a lot longer than we anticipated, but to be fair, it was also a lot trickier than we anticipated – but finally, a bathroom did start to emerge…

Shower construction in progress...

Shower construction in progress…

Beautiful, big, concrete tiles...

Beautiful, big, concrete tiles…

Everything in place for floating toilet to be fitted and electrics ready for bathroom mirror, above the sink...

Everything in place for floating toilet to be fitted and electrics ready for bathroom mirror, above the sink…

The tiling is coming on a treat, all pipe work is in place for sink & the electrics, outside the bathroom, all done...

The tiling is coming on a treat, all pipe work is in place for sink & the electrics, outside the bathroom, all done…

Ready for the shower to be installed...

Ready for the shower to be installed…

The absolute joy of running water, after so long...

The absolute joy of running water, after so long…

So, how does it all look now? Well, we loved our bathroom in West Didsbury, but somehow this one just feels a little bit more spa-ish. I think it’s because there’s no bath, and so essentially it’s become a wet room. Although, and thanks to our builder for persuading us on this one, the addition of underfloor heating, means that the water will dry up quickly in colder temperatures. (No problems currently, because it’s so hot, it dries up almost immediately). There are still certain things still to be done. Where the shower curtain is now – again, a very inexpensive IKEA option with a telescopic pole – we’ll have a hinged shower screen, which will fold back across, and under, the shower, creating more sense of space. The piping structure will be created under the sink, giving us space for towels etc. And, again due to time constraints, we had have the original door rehung (although turned around so that it now opens the other way), but the plan is to have a sliding door installed, again creating more sense of space.

We could not love our new shower anymore! It is the quietest shower, ever – but powerful. There is also something very beautiful and liberating about showering in front of an open window, looking out on lush green foliage and knowing that you cannot be overseen. Our builder did think I was quite mad when I said I wanted a “seat” creating within the shower, but he gets it now. I think 😉 It’s lovely being able to apply moisturising cream, after a shower, but still in the shower. And, believe you me, after months of dust and dirt and heat, moisturising is very important!

I really hate plug holes in showers – they make me shudder, so we decided on a linear trap. And found one to perfectly match the white and chrome shower, which then followed through to the sink tap and the toilet flush…

The previous sink was the kind of sink you might find in a toilet room – it was tiny and really only for handwashing, so we went for a chunky, rectangular sink, with sufficient room for face washing. And with a very funky push down plug. It’s the little things 😉

 

 

kitchen reno : update 6

kitchen reno : update 6

Oh, didn’t I just end the last renovation blog post on a bit of a high? Loving that the undercoating was about to start in the kitchen, meaning we could almost, but not quite, see the finishing line. Well, the undercoating did start, but we fell at the first hurdle…
Our house seems to be full of tins of paint. Some bought here, so in terms of the kindof paint, often incomprehensible Croatian or Slovenian. The kind of paint where we have to rely on the linguistic skills of people in the DIY store. We also have paint that we brought back from England after Christmas. You can’t buy Farrow & Ball here – the nearest stockist that I’ve found is in Treviso, so a bit of a trip for a tin of paint. However beautiful it is. So, we have tins of floor paint and paint for walls and undercoat, a lot of having been mixed here. Being a bit disorganised, we didn’t think to carefully label the paints as we went along, and so you can probably what’s coming next. Yes, the undercoat, which we gave to Misko, and which he kept saying was a bit unusual, turned out not to be the undercoat after all. And, the realisation slowly dawned on me…In the paint buying flurry back in England, we’d competely forgotten to buy undercoat for the walls, and so what was being rollered on the ceiling, was undercoat for the floor. That’s right – a lovely, silky undercoat, meant for wood or metal. The wise words of Misko – “This doesn’t look right, Helen…

The wrong kinda paint...

The wrong kinda paint…

The next dawning realisation, was that he’d have to continue painting the ceiling with the wrong paint, so that at least it’d be wrong in a uniform kind of way. Then, let it dry, sand and start again. We gave Misko a very big beer 😉

One day on, and thankfully, the situation has been rectified. The right undercoat was bought and has now been applied, giving an idea of what our beautiful new kitchen might look like when the Farrow & Ball Hague Blue is finally applied.

Dark undercoat finally applied...

Dark undercoat finally applied…

While the kitchen is being finished, the next room renovation is beginning – the small bathroom which adjoins the Well Room. This is starting to be ripped out, in preparation for a complete renovation, which will involve re-configuring the layout we’ve inherited, so that the space is better used. It’s odd to think that our new bathroom is inside all of these boxes, ready & waiting…

New bathroom...

New bathroom…

The ripping out of the downstairs bathroom begins...

The ripping out of the downstairs bathroom begins…

No going back...

No going back…

So now we're renovating two rooms at the same time...

So now we’re renovating two rooms at the same time…

Meanwhile, while the builders work, we’ve not been idle. With better weather and lighter evenings, the push to get the shutters finished has intensified. The Well Room is back to being a Shutter Hospital as we try and restore each one. It’s a very slow process, but we’re seeing progress as we start to get them back up.

Shutter hospital...

Shutter hospital…