House Renovation Diary Part 2

Decorating, DIY, interiors, lighting, Renovation

For the last few weeks I have not had a minute spare to post anything, and have been trying to juggle the renovation, still do another existing part-time job, carry out my school Governor role, look after my kids and still run the family home.  I kid you not, this is multi-tasking to another level.  Luckily, we women have brains that can compartmentalize and manage these feats, otherwise I should be a gibbering wreck being carted off to an institution for intense therapy!


My view for the next few weeks


So, since the last post the house renovations has been cracking onwards.  All of the walls have been stripped bare, discovering along the way that the original builders glued woodchip wallpaper straight onto bare plasterboard in some areas, which is impossible to remove without damage. At least 3 walls had this finish so we had to budget for more extensive works to them to get them sorted out.  Who invented that paper and why?

I had to source a building team pretty quickly, and was amazed at some of the outrageous quotes that came in from various trades.  Differences for wiring quotes, as an example, were from £2,800 to £10,000 for the house.  The phrase ‘are you having a laugh?’ came to mind (and more explicit ones that I will not share)..  However, perseverance and a lot of cash deals sorted out a great team.  I then contracted the builders to come in and do the following lengthy list:

Plasterboard where necessary all ceilings and aforementioned walls, re-plaster all rooms  in the house, re-wire and chase in all new electrics, re-plumb, move two walls, install new central heating and radiators, hang & fit all new doors,fit two bathrooms and one kitchen… the list goes on and on.  I also have a gardener stripping out the hideous junkyard that was the garden, with new lawn, planting and fencing coming next week.  My main job is decorating both internally and externally, chosing the kitchen, bathrooms and flooring.  I have been sourcing new joinery and hardware for all the doors in the house, and am become a wizard with my tape measure and minute measurements!  I am also on first name terms now with trade suppliers at the Builders yards in the city.

I asked my building team to start from the top down so I can at least prep the new plaster with mist coats whilst the messy work is being done.  We are at the stage of first fix electrics being finished, and 50% of the house is plastered.  Most floorboards are up and the debris is incredible.  It’s a dust bomb basically, it even gets in my teabags somehow.

Stripping a room, can someone explain the painting method on the door to me please?


So here are some photos of the works so far.  A small loo has the wall smashed down in preparation for extending it into a shower room.

A bedroom gets stripped, re-plastered and mist coated.

The junkyard garden gets stripped out, and we find a patio, a pond and a path!

A lot of plastering is going on.  And I REALLY hate painting mist coats, I look like a ghost every night and it is murder getting it out of my hair.

The front of the house is now scaffolded, and I am painting it from a grubby magnolia to a fabulous dirty blue called ‘Hobgoblin’ by Valspar with white accents.


The inside will be white, white and more white generally with neutral carpets in most bedrooms and reception rooms.  I am calculating that I will use up 100 litres of white emulsion in the house, especially as the new plaster is very greedy and drinks it up, even with mist coats put on first.  I have the largest 15 lites vats of paint you have even seen.  I can only get a bit more creative in the bathrooms and kitchen using other colours, and will do the odd feature wall to stop white-blindness if possible.I found a lovely bird print wallpaper called ‘Arlo’ to use in a room or two, I will be using the taupe colourway:

I also am doing two customised doors where large walk in cupboards lead off Reception rooms.As I have to purchase new internal and front doors for the whole house, I decided to save some money and upcycle two very plain and dull flat ones rather than replace them, and turn them into faux bookcases.  I will add beading to make them look even more inset.  I found this colourway by Muriva which I think will look really good with the other tones in the house:


I am aiming for an effect something like this:


This is my palette for flooring, using taupes and bleached out planks, but with a very dark grey for one bathroom floor where there will be a retro feel.

flooring choice final


As we are re-wiring the whole house I have flooded the basement level with LED lighting in warm white, and also used these in the bathrooms. Plus extra inset LED spots on hallways and landings.  I have also added pendant light fittings lights in the walk in wardrobes across the house of which there are four, (always a bonus for ladies I think).  I hate plastic light fittings so sourced some much better chrome and twisted fabric flex fittings.  For most of the bedrooms and hallways in the upper parts of the house I found some very reasonable glass pendant lights, and two large statement twisted wire, glass and metal lights for the master bedroom and main reception room.  They both have very tall ceilings so needed some ‘oomph’.

So, that is is for now, I must remember to take more photographs as we progress.  I left the builders last night building the kitchen units, whilst a plasterer nimbly worked over their heads, so hopefully in a week the kitchen will be fitted and tiling will start.  The bathrooms are also progressing, and I spied a shower tray being fitted too.  More to come….. now I need to go and get the paint put my hair (again).

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