Wednesday 5 September 2018

My Flat in Progress, Spring 2018: Chaos & Calm

The wet and windy winter of 2017-18 brought me a "fun" surprise: a leaking roof! Woohoo!

It was just the little roof over the bay window in my lounge (a tiny rooflet! a mini roofling!) and we got it fixed pretty easily but it still freaked me the heck out.

I noticed the problem pretty late one night in January, and stayed up into the wee small hours moving everything out of the lounge and into the other rooms of my house in a state of OH MY GOD WHAT IF THE ROOF FALLS IN WHILE I'M ASLEEP??? panic. The next day my neighbours recommended some excellent local roofers, and a few days later they'd done some emergency repairs to stop the leak and we'd arranged that they'd come back later that spring (when it was no longer raining constantly) to replace the whole bay window roof.

The roof was no longer actively leaking, everything was going to get fixed, but I still couldn't shift that WHAT IF??? anxiety and was (entirely irrationally) convinced that if I moved everything back into the lounge before the roof got replaced something terrible was bound to happen. So... I just went back to living surrounded by boxes for a few months!

This was slightly chaotic and very ridiculous (I know I'm an idiot), but the weeks passed quickly and the weather improved and the lovely roofers came round and put a shiny new roof up in double-quick time... and I breathed deeply and moved everything back into the lounge again.

My oasis of calm during these weeks was my spare bedroom. I'm going for white and pale neutrals when decorating my flat to make it as light as possible and give me a blank canvas to work with when I start adding colour... and the spare room is looking very minimal at the moment!

It looks quite bland and plain in photos, but it's such a calming space to sit in (especially compared to the mess and chaos elsewhere in my work-in-progress flat) that it's given me a new appreciation for the kind of super-minimalist interiors which I've always thought looked a bit joyless and depressing. Because of this, I've decided to lean into the simplicity of it and keep this space quite neutral.

I've got two sets of pale bedlinen I can use on that bed: one white with a grid pattern, which I picked up for £10 in the John Lewis sale last Christmas (at the time I was annoyed they only had single bedlinen sets left in stock, but it's worked out great as this linen will be perfect for my guest room), and one white with a delicate leaf pattern, which is a hand-me-down from my parents (and possibly originally from IKEA many years ago?).

I've also picked out some black and white pictures from my "art collection" (I cannot use that phrase with a straight face, it sounds so serious and impressive compared to the reality), and a few other "quiet" pictures which were getting a bit drowned out by the bright colours of a lot of my other faves. They look lovely together and I can't wait to get them up on the wall!

The doors to the spare room and living room had been off their hinges since we got carpet fitted last summer, so our first DIY task of the year was to lop a bit off the bottom of each door and get them hung back up (partly to, you know, just have working doors again instead of door sculptures propped against walls, but also so we could shut out the dust from our other planned projects).


Here's how the spare room looked this spring once the doors were back in place...

The wardrobe is a smallish one that used to be in my bedroom when I was growing up. I never turn my nose up at hand-me-down furniture, and this turned out to be the perfect size for that space by the window.

There aren't any built-in cupboards in my flat for storing bulky stuff like the hoover and winter blankets... so this wardrobe is doing that job for now. Eventually I'm hoping to build a big cupboard in the hallway or the kitchen, then either use this wardrobe as an actual wardrobe or replace it with a nice chest of drawers (with a spare drawer for guests, of course!).

Up on top of the wardrobe are some useful-sized empty cardboard boxes (I am absolutely the sort of person who always has a stash of useful-sized cardboard boxes) and a lovely old suitcase which used to belong to my grandmother and which is currently full of packing materials (bubblewrap, tape, etc).

The chair is another family hand-me-down, but one which has been "officially" mine since my teens. It originally had a cane seat but now just has a bit of wood in the space to make it useable - I hope one day I'll be able to get it restored to its original glory because I love it.

The shelves at the end of the bed probably aren't staying in this room, they just don't have another home right now. Similarly, the stuff on the shelves is just... stuff that doesn't currently have another place to be. It's great having it all out of boxes, though!

I might put a little chest of drawers here if I keep the wardrobe? Or  maybe buy a little vintage bookcase specifically for this space, with books my guests can borrow?? Or maybe some modern open shelves that I can put a few plants on to make the most of the light??? As you might have gathered by now, I'm still pretty undecided about what's going to be happening furniture-wise in this room... but that's fine. For now, it's neat and tidy and functional and I'm happy.

The bed looks very low in these pictures because it's actually just half a bed - or, rather, one of a pair of stacking beds. This is another bit of furniture from my childhood bedroom: it was perfect for sleepovers because your bed could magically become two beds when you had a friend over to stay! It's already been really useful having two-beds-in-one, and the slim size of the bed means it doesn't dominate the small room. Eventually there'll be a little bedside table next to it, too, which will just fit in behind the door.

Because the bottom bedframe is quite low to the ground there's not much room for storage underneath but it's the perfect place for me to keep the big bits of paper and card I use as photo backdrops (v important). 

And that concludes the (not particularly exciting) tour. It's still a work in progress but one I'm very happy with so far - especially when I think back to how this space looked last year

The spare room doesn't currently look this neat and tidy (sadly) as I'm living in it while we decorate the main bedroom (more on that soon!)... but I have finally turned up the net curtains so they no longer stick out of the bottom of the actual curtains. Hurrah!

P.S. Click here to catch up on all my flat renovation progress so far.


Angela said...

This looks brilliant- I LOVE hand-me-down and kept-from-childhood furniture too. The chair in MY bedroom is about 50 years old and is just an ordinary chair, but rather precious. I had not long started grammar school, and needed a chair to sit at my desk and do homework.Mum saw it reduced to clear in the furniture shop next to my little brother's primary school when she went to get him one afternoon. She had breathing/mobility issues- so HE helped her carry it all the way home through the town [he was about 5] I have treasured it ever since. I took it to MY first flat, and then into my home once I married. I think you are doing a FAB job on your flat - may you find much joy and happiness there.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks, Angela! :) I love that story about your chair - ordinary but precious is absolutely how I'd describe lots of the things in my flat as well. Everyday objects with long histories and fond memories attached to them!

bairozan said...

Leaking roof is horrible but in your case it was "the small devil", as we say in Bulgaria :) And how lucky you could find people to fix it quickly! Love that little spare bedroom, I'm still sorry I didn't keep a wooden chair from my childhood with a carved seat (but it wasn't my decision to leave it behind) :( And I recently turned down some empty shoe boxes and now I need them badly :)

Bugs and Fishes said...

bairozan - Oh, isn't that always the way with boxes! I often think sadly of things I used to own but had to let go of, but realise that if I'd kept all these things I'd barely be able to move in my house for stuff, haha xx