Archive for House project

How time flies!

Wow… what happens to the time, I say every day that I am going to achieve this, this and this, but the list never seems to get any smaller and the day goes by. (I need to address this life time issue). So sorry guys for such a long time between posts. Anyhoo…

We have been busy trying to finish the house off, having lots of people to stay, which is great as they make a house a home with the memories, and we have been playing in the garden. Not sure where to start with the update, but outside seems as good a place as any.

You may remember that my Handy Husband created a lovely potting shed for me. He knows the way to my heart. Well this year as we are starting to landscape the garden he increased the number of raised beds for me too. I found that last year there just wasn’t enough space for all the things I wanted to grow. Below is how it used to look before the upgrade.


And now!




pottager3 tulips1

So we added in two more raised beds and also reused some low fence panels that we had salvaged from the garden before we started deconstruction. They work well to break up the spaces between where we want to put our patio and the more functional space of the vegetable garden. Also the low fence will work well as support for a couple of roses that i want to train along the length of it.

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We gravelled an area to the side of the potting shed, mainly because we didn’t want to use up all the reclaimed bricks, but also to add in a change of surface texture to add interest. I’ve put here my tin bath and made a pond again. Early stages with the pond, but it will eventually look good. Plus its great for the birds to have somewhere to drink water and bathe in.


The inside of the potting shed is also looking very productive. I’ve been busy sowing seeds and potting on seedlings. I added more shelving in here as well.


So the sun is shining and I need to get out and potter. Hope you have a good weekend.

Emma x


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The art of hanging pictures.

We are finally coming to that point in our house renovation when I can start to hang pictures and photos on the walls. Now, I love orderliness. I like things lined up. I like all the frames to be the same size and the colours of the photos to be similar, and best of all arranged on a grid (I can’t tell you how it makes me feel calm and in control). But, (this is a bit BUT) I have been looking on Pinterest and admiring picture arrangements where all the frames are different and the pictures are different sizes and the pictures them selves are of mixed media. They look fresh and spontaneous. So I took a deep breath, and decided to step outside my comfort zone, and try my hand at this style of picture hanging.

We finally cleared out our storage container (shockingly we have had it for FIVE YEARS!!! – I know!!!) and there were things in there that I couldn’t remember having. Anyway, it was nice to get all our pictures back in the house. So for this little project I picked the loose theme of boats/water/seaside and found all the pictures and paintings that we owned that fitted into this category. I played around with the layout of them on the floor.


It took me some time I can tell you, as I kept trying to put them in a grid. (doh) But eventually I was happy with the way they looked. Next I cut paper to the size of each frame so that I could put it on the wall.


I had to fight the urge to line up the bottoms of the pictures, but I did try to keep the spaces as even as I could. So the balance seemed to work. Time to start putting nails in the pristine plaster. It was relatively easy to get the nail in the right place. Simply fold the paper in half (side to side) and measure where the string is and bang the nail in.


Just keep going till you are done!


The painting in the middle in the dark frame was actually painted by my dad in 1963!

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After that (slightly stressful) picture hanging exercise, I decided to revert to my comfort zone. We have the perfect wall at the bottom of the staircase just waiting to be filled.


As you can see I’ve already marked out with washi tape the area I would like to hang in. Of course it is an exact square. I used the same technique as I did before with the paper, it seems to be the easiest way. Here is the result.


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Lovely and ordered! Of course there are no hard and fast rules about how to hang pictures and like the pictures themselves it is all an expression of your own taste. Hope you have a good weekend.

Emma x

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Before and After (finally!)

I know I haven’t been writing much recently, but we have been just so super busy that some things had to go, and sadly blogging was one of them. But things have, relatively, calmed down I am back. We moved into our new house (it’s not quite a home – we haven’t made enough memories in it yet) a couple of weeks ago and the dust is starting to settle.

I thought I would show you what we have achieved with some before (top photos) and after photos (bottom photos).



and here are some of the outside of the house as it is now. The new utility room door, my potting shed and veg garden and the back of the house.


Now for inside. As you can see from the before and after of the front of the house (above), we moved the front door from next to the tower to the middle window. The front door used to come straight into the living room, so we took away the dining room (below) and moved the front door and the staircase and made a new entrance hall. We think it worked quite well.


Then we knocked the living room and the old master bedroom into one room and made this our kitchen, dining, and living room. This is just such a social space, and we love the fact that we can all be in the room at the same time doing our own thing but being together.




and some more photos of the kitchen…


We turned the downstairs spare room into our snug. We like to get together as a family on a friday night and watch a movie with popcorn.


This room has turned out even better than I expected. Despite strong opposition to painting it such a dark colour (Farrow and Ball – Downpipe) it has been much admired.

We turned what was the kitchen into our office. We both work from home, so having a dedicated room to work in and then shut the door on is an absolute necessary. As you can see we haven’t really done much more than paint and put down some temporary carpet, but already the light in here is amazing.


Upstairs we extended the roof and added in an ensuite, family bathroom, and three bedrooms.



Of course we are still a long way from being finished, and I thought I would show you what the rest looks like…! Ha Ha!


Have a good weekend

Emma x

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The big reveal!

Well the house is coming along, at a pace, and something big has moved things on today. The scaffolding is coming down.YAY!  It feels a bit like unwrapping a present, a really big present. So I just wanted to share with you what is inside!

The front…



The back…



and the new roof.


We are getting closer!

Emma x

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Progress report

We came back from our break in Valencia to see some major progress on our renovation project. Not sure if it is because we hadn’t seen it for a week, or the builders have been extra busy… but I thought I would share with you the new additions.

The roof tiles are going on. We are reusing the old tiles on the back of the house and new ones on the front to try and keep check on the costs.

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We decided on how the front porch was going to look, and it now reflects the way the dormers are made and it fits just right. You can just see the construction of it coming off the roof.


Inside the house, the stud walls are all up upstairs, and it gives a good feel for the sizes of the rooms. We are really please how this has turned out. Below is the master bedroom.

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Here are the other two bedrooms on the other side of the landing.


And this is the view down the stairwell to the front door. I am particularly pleased how spacious this feels. With the Velux window over the stairwell, it will be really light.


… and this is the view from the front door up the stairs. (by the way these aren’t the final stairs, just temporary ones)


Downstairs, the stud walls for the cloakroom and downstairs ensuite are now in. (sorry for the very boring photos!)


…and windows are going in too! Here is the main living room/kitchen area.

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And finally I thought I would show you how much the veg garden has grown since we were away. Thanks to my dad for watering and looking after my babies!


Have a good weekend y’all.

Emma x

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New paths, new dormers and dirty faces

I hope you are comfortable and have a nice cup of earl grey tea to hand, cos this is going to be a long post as I have lots to tell you.


Firstly the Handy Husband has been very busy putting down a new path to his man cave garden shed. We got a great deal on some concrete pavers from B&Q at the trade counter, for about £2 which is a total bargain. We’re mixing them in with the reclaimed bricks from the house. We don’t have quite enough of the bricks to make all the paths that we want to, so by mixing them in with the concrete pavers perhaps we will have enough.

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I also dug over the border (well half the border before my back got too stiff – man! that border is long!) and planted some new plants that I bought this morning from Garden Beauty who were having a plant sale. It’s great being able to work in the garden and make it our own while the house is being renovated. It makes it feel more like ours.

My girlie was also very busy in the garden. I am sure you can see exactly what we look like from her garden portraits!

dirtfaces amymakingheads

Moving onto the house, the roof is taking shape, the carpenters have been having taking their time and getting it right. It hasn’t been easy for them as the drawings from the Architects aren’t all that good – but that’s another story I won’t bore you with. Still they are managing and the results are great. If you look down the length of the roof, all the rafters are perfectly inline. That’s a skill. (The perfectionist Handy Husband is suitably impressed).

alaninbatroomdorma dormersoutsiderooftimbers2

It will only be another couple of weeks before they start to put the tiles on – SO exciting – a roof!

Downstairs is moving on too, all the rooms have been joisted out and battens (green ones) put in place to support the insulation. They will be putting pipes and wires in soon (I hope) for first fix.

downstairs2 downstairs

It has been great realising the spaces as they take shape, and they are just as I imagined (phew!) Well sorry for very long post, I hope your tea didn’t go cold!

Have a great weekend

Emma x

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All I need is roof over my head…

Well the guys on site have been busy this week, and have started putting the roof on which is just great! Sadly our architects drawings aren’t all that special and so there has been rather a lot of head scratching, measuring and adjusting. But “measure twice, cut once…`” I think is the saying, and so far “it’s all good”.


I have noticed that whenever we undertake large building projects, there is the “big, small” syndrome. What I mean by that is one day you visit site and have a look at things going on, and a sinking feeling takes over and it all the spaces look SO SMALL. The thought crosses your mind “How ever are we going to fit it all in..” Then something else is added and all of a sudden the spaces look big again. It’s always really noticeable when you dig foundations, they always look tiny, then the walls start going up and all of a sudden the spaces feel really big. Luckily it always works out pretty much as I imagine in the end.


I took this photo looking in from the gable end of the house, you can just see the tower in the background to the right. The Handy Husband is standing just inside the doorway to the front bedroom (the Girlie’s we think). It’s still really hard to get a good idea of the room sizes as the dormers aren’t in yet, (Big-Small) but we have extended the roof quite a bit and are only putting three bedrooms, one en-suite and a family bathroom up there, so there should be enough space.


And under the scaffolding the house looks positively playhouse sized!

Enough boring photos of roof timbers, let me show you what I have been doing in the garden. I have a little game for you, can you to spot the difference between the two photos below?



Oh wow, you are good at that game! If only gardening was as easy as using photoshop! This photo is the view from our french windows in the dining/kitchen area of the side of the garden. I want to plant a couple of frees that won’t grow too tall, but will screen the neighbours just a little bit. I thought it would be fun to play around with positioning of the trees to see how they could look eventually.

So, I would like a flowering cherry – Prunus ‘Kanzan’ (the pink one) and a Sorbus Aria Lutescens, that’s the greyish green one on the left. I would also like to add in a lilac tree/shrub (the purple one) as they have the just best smelling flowers and you can cut them to put in the house.

Other than that we have been busy digging up old paths, sowing seeds and putting up wigwams ready for sweet peas and french beans. Fingers crossed they come up.

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I hope you all had a great weekend, what ever you were doing. (Running marathons, digging gardens, going on holiday…)

Emma x

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House progress

Well the builders are at last building, rather than knocking down, which is great! I thought that you would like to see what they have been doing.




This is the utility room being rebuilt, you can see where they have written ‘door’ on the wall, that’s where our new back door is going.


and this is start of the new downstairs bedroom and ensuite.

Also I thought that I would show you how amazing my potting shed is now. I have the best Handy Husband a girl could want.


Have a great weekend

Emma x

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My potting shed update

Well my Handy Husband has been working hard for me again. He is such a wonderful man – he is building me my own potting-shed!!! What more can a girl ask for?

So we started with the foundations, just digging a shallow trench and filling it with pea-shingle, then placing some large treated timbers on to this gravel. Hopefully this will stop rain water from rotting the wood – in theory. Although one of our builders – did mention that it would probably rot in about 10 years…. so I guess this is a mid term building then!


Next, the handy husband started with the door. All the measurements for the potting shed have come off the door height, and of course the width of the reclaimed windows.


Then came the front wall and of course the side and back walls. We have had A LOT of discussion about how the roof is going to work. We have been back and fourth between B&Q and Wickes looking at roofing supplies. So, I found this photo (below) on pinterest which shows how I think it will hopefully look. We did talk about using some of the slates from the roof of our house to create an area of shade at the back wall of the shed, but there was too much ‘stress’ about how to do this and the join between the ‘glass’ area and the slate area, so I made an executive decision, and we have gone for an all clear roof. Perfect. Cheapest option, and lets face it, girls, cost is always a consideration, so we have gone for the corrugated plastic. I think it is just the right solution for this potting-shed, it’s not too hi-tech, and it’s not too white-plastic. I hope you know what I mean by that. I don’t really like plastic as a rule, especially the white stuff.


I can’t wait to show you guys the finished product… but you will just have to wait!

It’s going to be ‘SO awesome’ in the words of that very cool dude, Will-i-am!

Have a good weekend.

Emma x



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Deconstruction continues…


So the deconstruction of the house continues. The roof is nearly all gone and the decision to replace the entire structure has been made. Previously it was thought that we would keep the last bit you see above, but it turns out that it would be more hassle to do this than start again, plus the timbers here are not in great condition. Hay ho – in for a penny…


As you see above the guys have taken most of the floor off too to expose the beams. I guess that it has to go through this stage to get better, but I just can’t help feeling just a little panicky when I see how little is left. I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it in the end.


So this was what the old sitting room fireplace looked like…


And now it looks like this! You can see clean through to the back wall of the house, and it gives a good idea of the size of the room. That window you can see here is going to be blocked in and we are putting our new wood burner here.


This is the view from the other side of the fireplace, in what was the master bedroom, straight through to the old front door. It’s all looking good.


And again from the back of the house looking through to the tower bay window. I know it’s hard to get your head around what this is looking like, or even where it is in relation to the rest of the house, but here we are looking from the dining area through to the other end of the room, past the new wood burner and to the sitting room. (clear as mud!)

Hope you like the update.

Emma x


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