This room, above, when we viewed for the first time in July 2016, was something of a mess. Two sets of bunk beds, random shelving, dishevelled bedding, bare plaster walls, bare floor boards – all in all, pretty dismal. BUT, with a beautiful soaring ceiling, original beams which could be made beautiful and a view out over what could be the front garden, and beyond to fields and woods, we figured this could be a pretty special room. Eventually. But definitely not when we viewed.
Fast forward to March 2017 and we’d gone with our guts, bought the house and had moved in. All of our belongings arrived on a huge lorry at the start of March, but we still needed furniture for the two guest bedrooms. And, as we’d decided to initially carve out Bedroom Two as a cosy and comfortable hideaway, whilst we were renovating, we had get furniture and furnishings sorted quickly. A trip over to IKEA in Zagreb did the trick – at time. we didn’t know how close we were to Trieste where there’s an IKEA and we were months away from discovering great stores like Jysk, so Zagreb it was. It was all a bit weird to be honest, as, like you’ve expect, the layout was just so familiar and so we could have been in the Ashton-under-Lyne, or Warrington store. But, no, we were in the Croatian capital, trying to furnish a room.
Anyway, we did it and a week later, everything was delivered from IKEA. IT was flat pack chaos, as obviously nothing could be unpacked and built, before we had painted the room. So, this was where we started, whilst living around boxes in the living room.
The decision had been taken early on that all walls in the house would initially be painted white, so that we had a real blank canvas and could get a feel for the house, when it felt light, bright and clean. So, armed with rollers and paint, we set about tackling those awful walls in Bedroom Two…We had plans for the woodwork, but that was going to have to be left to another day, as we just needed to create a room we could escape to.
The internal decor of the house was very traditional and not to our taste at all. Every light fitting was removed and replaced. Rather than overhead lights, most rooms had wall lights, with the most horrendous opaque glass horrendous. These were immediately skipped when we sourced some amazing shades which had been rescued from a Communist era office block in Zagreb. Very cool! The bed we had bought was large – comfort and size were top priorities – so we didn’t want bedside tables cluttering up the room, but we still wanted good lighting. These industrial style wall lights, from IKEA, were just perfect. A beautiful anthracite colour, with that gorgeous retro cabling. All ready to be wall mounted on either side of the bed – when it was built.
We pushed the boat out a little with the bed. A kingsize divan, which was just so comfy when we tested it in store. It definitely wasn’t the cheapest, but we knew that we had a good few months ahead of us of discomfort, so wanted to be sure that at the end of the day, we could just sink into a bed and fall asleep. It was put together fairly quickly and we were delighted with how sturdy it looked.
I can remember taking the photo below and feeling such a sense of achievement. Within days of us arriving in our new home, in a different country, we’d navigated purchasing everything we needed in a new capital city and were on track to having our first completed room. And, just look at those walls – brilliant white and so, so clean. Beautiful.
Next up was manoeuvering the very thick, substantial and therefore heavy, mattress, up the wooden stairs. After a lot of heaving and getting it around corners and through doorways, it was eventually in Bedroom Two, on the new bed and ready to be dressed. A big day!
The whole bed was wrapped in a grey fabric cover, so when new bedding was purchased (including a soft, new duvet – bliss) grey was the obvious choice. We also managed to locate some artwork from the hundreds of boxes, piled up around the house, so that the room started to have a little bit of personality.
This may not seem to much of an achievement to anyone else, but I think we really did smash the creation of a gorgeous new bedroom, within two weeks of arriving in Istria. And although things will certainly develop as we