Monday 24 September 2018

My Flat in Progress: May & June 2018

For the first year and a half of living in my "new" flat, I slept on a single bed in the main bedroom surrounded by boxes and furniture and general chaos while my parents and I worked on renovating the spare bedroom and the lounge.

We pressed pause last summer to focus on other important life stuff... then, almost a year to the day, picked up our tools again this May. I moved my single bed into the spare bedroom, squeezed the boxes and furniture and everything else in wherever I could find space (including under beds, on top of wardrobes and in the back of cupboards at my parents house), and we started work in the newly empty bedroom.

Just like in the previous two rooms, there was lots of filling and sanding to do to prep the walls and woodwork... and a few sections of plaster needed patching up as well.

It's a lovely big room, which will be great when I'm actually using it as a bedroom but in the meantime this just means that there's a lot of ground to cover!

We had to take up the old laminate flooring a little earlier than we'd planned, because we had to get a surveyor in to check out a possible damp problem (which thankfully turned out not to be a damp problem after all, hurrah!).

This was intitially an annoying disruption, but actually it turned out to be rather brilliant.

I'd been feeling really guilty about having taken almost a whole year off from the renovations - I knew that I'd been too busy to focus on it, but I still felt irrationally bad about it, like maybe I'd just been being lazy and I should have magically got the main bedroom finished by now. But if we'd finished the bedroom last year and had carpet fitted and bought furniture... the floorboards would still have had to come up this summer to investigate the potential damp problem, and just thinking about moving all that furniture, taking up the carpet, etc, makes me feel exhausted. Taking up floorboards when the whole room was empty because we were decorating it, though? Perfect timing.

Taking up the flooring revealed some lovely old fireplace tiles, which have sadly been damaged over the years. Okay, so they don't look too lovely in this photo but there's actually a sweet little floral pattern under there. I'm thinking about drawing it before we get the carpet fitted, so I can maybe use the motif elsewhere in the flat in the future.   

The bedroom renovations continued in June: the walls gradually got painted (goodbye dark purple!)...


 ... and my dad repaired more bits of plaster...

... replaced a missing section of skirting board, re-opened the vent in the chimney...

...and did a whole bunch of other little repairs which collectively have made a real difference to the neatness of the room.

Elsewhere in the flat, we got the bay window roof repaired and (no longer paranoid that the roof was going to fall in) I moved everything back into the living room. It was really great to unpack boxes, put stuff back on shelves, and move my desk out of the kitchen where I'd been working sandwiched between the oven and my drying launding for weeks.

There's currently an island of furniture and boxes (displaced from my bedroom while we're working on it) in the middle of my lounge but it's still wonderful to have the rest of the room looking nice again.

Here's how my office shelves were looking this summer - I'm so pleased with them!

I've been doing lots of tidying and re-organising and decluttering this summer and I'm sloooowly getting things set up how I want them.

I'm also slowly working on my "finally frame and hang all the artwork I've collected over the years" project. It was really exciting getting the first things framed. It turns out actual proper frames (even super cheap ones) look approx a zillion times better than clip frames. Who knew??

As you can see I've opted to frame pretty much everything in simple white frames. I might upgrade them to something fancier in the future, but for the moment these are working really well. It's easy to find cheap white frames like this in all the sizes I need, collectively they're not breaking my budget too badly, and they'll look really great on the plain white walls of my flat.

It's obviously time consuming buying frames and custom mounts and getting the pictures neatly framed and mounted, but the real time-suck is the hours spent thinking where to hang everything! I've accumulated so many different pictures over the years, and there are so many different possibilities for where I could hang them all in my flat. I've changed my mind about the grand picture-hanging plan a frankly ridiculous number of times over the past year and will probably continue to change it again with great frequency over the coming months.

Despite all this indecision, at the end of June we finally got the first batch of pictures up on the wall.

I was beyond thrilled when we hung these eight pictures up - it was a much more exciting moment than it looks from that slightly gloomy photo! They're a set of pages from a vintage book, The Good Housewife's Enyclopedia, which has some really gorgeous illustrations in it - you can see them all here.


I had three of the pages on the wall in my old flat and the paper darkened gradually over time due to the sunlight, so they no longer matched the rest of the set. I was a bit worried about how they'd look hanging together because of this but actually the reason that photo is so gloomy is because we've hung the pages up in my dark and gloomy hallway (which gets very little natural light)... and the gloom helps hide how the pages are all different colours. Hurrah!

It might seem weird to have hung pictures up in the hall when we've not decorated that part of the flat yet but the joy of this space is that I'm not going to be putting any furniture in it, so I don't need to wait until I've bought and/or planned furniture to work out where the pictures need to go. Decorating the "big" wall in my hallway is also soooo far down the priority list of my renovation plans that these pictures will likely sit happily on this undecorated wall for years before I need to take them down again.

More flat updates soon! In the meantime, you can catch up with all my home renovation posts here. 


bairozan said...

Hanging pictures on the wall really makes a place feel like home! I am following the renovation progress with curiosity :)

Bugs and Fishes said...

Yes, it's such a relatively small change but it makes a HUGE difference to the feel of the space! I've put up a few more pictures now and they really make me smile... hope I can get lots more up on the walls soon!!

Jennifer said...

Don't feel bad about waiting to do improvements. Once you live in a place for a bit, you can get a better feel for what you need versus before you actually use the area. Slow and steady (even though I understand the frustration of just wanting to be finished.)

Bugs and Fishes said...

Jennifer - yes, slow and steady is absolutely the best way! :)