sunny sunday reno reflections…

sunny sunday reno reflections…

The intense heat of summer seems to have receded. Fans are no longer constantly whirring and the early morning sunlight is not quite as blinding in our bedroom, which is blessed with the most gorgeous sunrise views. Summer is still clinging on though – it is very warm during the day and we haven’t seen a cloud for days. But there is still the feeling that autumn is just around the corner – and the impending new season has spurred us into a new flurry of DIY action.

The current big renovation projects, requiring workers to be in the house, are all but completed and we’ll wait until spring to start on the next phase. So, apart from a some smaller, more specialised jobs which will need the expertise of our builder, it’s down to us at the moment. We’re mostly at that lovely stage, in quite a few areas of the house, where we’re finally able to put things back together and make rooms more homely and comfortable. Wakening up this morning, the light streaming into the bedroom was gorgeous – we’d forgotten to close the shutters so we woke up to the sun rising just about the church steeple in the village, and sunlight starting to flood the room. Everything just looked so lovely!

Sunday morning sunlight flooding into the bedroom...

Sunday morning sunlight flooding into the bedroom…

IKEA Maskros pendant lightshades work a treat in the high ceiling – and cast very pretty shadows...

IKEA Maskros pendant lightshades work a treat in the high ceiling – and cast very pretty shadows…

Here little fishy… I *knew* all of the cushions I’ve been stockpiling would be used...

Here little fishy… I *knew* all of the cushions I’ve been stockpiling would be used…

Now that the interior stonework is painted white, the house, especially upstairs is so much lighter & brighter and more able to accommodate pops of colour…

Now that the interior stonework is painted white, the house, especially upstairs is so much lighter & brighter and more able to accommodate pops of colour…

The upstairs bathroom is one of the winter/spring projects, but now that the downstairs one is completed, it doesn’t seem quite as awful as we once thought it was. Probably because we now have a choice and don’t have to use it. But we’ve tried, in the short term, to make it as pleasant as possible – and hopefully, we’re creating somewhere that in the interim is calm and relaxed. Helped by some bits and bobs brought over from England…

Our very serene Buddha…

Our very serene Buddha…

Hamsa hand & trailing faux ivy...

Hamsa hand & trailing faux ivy…

In the grand scheme of things, there’s still an awful lot to do in and around the house. We need to experience this coming winter (last year’s deep freeze was apparently very out of character) to decide how we’re going to go, heating wise. Maybe the wood-burners will suffice – there will be three when the final one is fitted, but there will still inevitably be cold-spots, so a decision will have to be made about the most cost-effective way of heating the house, bearing in mind that for seven/eight months we’ll generally not need any form of additional heating system. Both the inside and outside cellars need to be tackled – the one under the living room will become a den/snug with, hopefully, a new door leading up & out into the piece of land we’re in the process of acquiring behind the house, to create a secret courtyard. The outside cellar, once cleared of junk will become much needed storage space. A new boiler needs to be installed. A utility room needs to be carved out of the internal cellar space so that the washing machine & dryer can be hidden away. Floors need to be painted. Two sets of internal staircases need to be radically improved and beautified. More beams need be give the TLC treatment. Bathroom #2 needs to be renovated. And, then the outside space needs to be tackled. For a house which was structurally sound when we purchased it, and apart from a paint job, OK to live in, we’ve created a mammoth task for ourselves! However, it’s not every day you have such an amazing blank canvas to work with – and it just means that every DIY day is a day nearer to our dream home. Which, if history repeats itself, we’ll obviously then sell and start all over again…

 

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 😉