Sunday, 20 October 2013


Another long pause between posts... There has been progress with more walls knocked down and half the downstairs toilet. Yes, half. I know, I would have asked the same question - how can half a toilet be knocked down? - if I hadn't seen it for my own eyes. That is the topic of another post though.

This post is about vignettes. In the midst of all the building work and rubble I have managed to carve out a few little pieces of visual loveliness that I admire. I dream that one day the whole house will be like it, when not looking on pinterest or following renovations that are progressing at a far faster pace than ours that is. Two that I follow are The Lime Walk and Adelaide Villa. Both blogs offer excellent advice on house renovations and decorating, plus lots of other wonderful bits and pieces.

So, to my vignettes. These change quite regularly as the work progresses and bits and bobs get moved around. This is where things stood today...

New use for ottoman in the lounge room

Teacups and rhinos

Succulent garden

Blue and white on the landing

My dressing table

Writing desk in the guest bedroom

Candles and lace


More cushions
On my steep learning curve in all things decorating I have come to understand that cushions are the bomb! |Versatile, easy to make and can change a look in an instant or help to make a look in the first place. On another great blog that I have been following, Ms Faux Fuchsia never knowingly under cushions. I like this philosophy and am adopting it for my office also!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Garden - before and after

In one of the very first blogs of the house was on the garden (The garden aka the jungle). It has been a little over a year and we have been through the four seasons to try to understand the garden, what works in each month, what was already planted and where we can go. Pier has done an amazing job. He is adamant, though, that the garden is still a work in progress. So, even though I have called this blog entry before and after it isn't really after but before and work-in-progress doesn't have the same ring, does it?
From the bottom of the garden looking toward the house
July 2012

August 2013

The view July 2012

The view August 2013

July 2012

This is of the section on the far right in the picture above. We found a hydrangea in there. August 2013
July 2012
August 2013

And there is a green house in there somewhere and the potential for a rose garden...
July 2012
August 2012
Rose garden, August 2013
And these are just some random flower shots from this Summer...

The Alnwick Rose
Pompom Dahlia
Red cactus Dahlia
Cactus Dahlia
Pink hydrangea
Janet Rose

Stalwart found under another bush
White gladioli
Red glads
Yellow gladioli

Flowers make me smile. Hope you are having a good week!

Thursday, 8 August 2013


The posts have been very few and far between. Not due to lack of thinking about the house renovations but with everything that is going unless something really hits me in the face I don't think to blog about it. This morning however I was struck. On the weekend we had been lamenting the fact that a lot of the flowers had gone and the garden was looking a bit sorry for itself. We are learning and need to work out how to co-ordinate the planning a little better to keep a constant flow of flowers. Spring had well and truly sprung and the roses were just about gone. I made coffee and took it into the garden so we could sit in the morning sunshine together and enjoy the java (if Piers is to be found it is in the garden). As we were sitting there merrily chatting away I saw a dahlia, then another, then another. Overnight they seemed to all bloom. So, I share with you my joy that was my morning coffee and dahlias...

Cactus Dahlia

Having a feast

Pretty yellow

Another feed. 

Pompom Dahlia in cream

Red pompom Dahlia
Love the photos where the bees are having a feed! Wonderful to have bees and butterflies in the garden. Piers has done an amazing job in the garden and I think the next post will be the before and after although he tells me in no uncertain terms that it is still a work in progress.

Good weekend to all.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Renovating is like a really, really big jigsaw puzzle.

I have not written a post in two months. I kept waiting for something big to happen in the renovations and as the days turned into weeks and nothing big happened the silence grew louder and louder. That is until I realised that renovating is like a big jigsaw puzzle with each bit contingent on another. Just like a jigsaw the border needs to be in place before you can start piecing together the middle. Big things don't just happen, it is a piece by piece process, sometimes taking a piece out and replacing it with another. Or you can have a corner in place and begin piecing the other pieces toward the middle but to expand either vertical or horizontally you need more structure.

An apt house jigsaw puzzle

A case in point is the ensuite bathroom for the guest bedroom. My parents arrive in two weeks and two months ago I suggested we use their arrival as a target for completing the ensuite. This target was not without purpose. Our bathroom only has a bath and the water pressure (and heat) wanes if you try to stand and shower yourself. So, if you want a good scrub with hot water you must sit down. I worry about my folks lifting themselves in and out of the bath - a shower would be much better.

The bath. At least the hand rails may be useful.

The guest bedroom has a big built-in cupboard. We are knocking through the wall into the cupboard next to it. That second cupboard contains the water tank. To build the ensuite we need to move the tank. In order to move the water tank we need somewhere to move it too.

Frame in place for the new ensuite, once the tank is moved...

The loft is a logical place... Unless we decide to connect directly to the mains. In that case we need a different boiler system... Or not connect to the mains and move to gas now, and it makes sense to sort it all out now. So, the boiler will need a strategic position, as well as digging the trenches to lay the gas pipes ready for the connection to the mains gas that runs under the lane ( a 2-month wait apparently!). We have decided that the boiler will go in the new utility room. The new utility/laundry room needs to be built. We are using one-third of the existing garage for the utility/laundry room while the remaining two-thirds will be a study/smaller bedroom. The frame is now in place.

The frame for the wall.

You can see where I am going with this. Our house renovation and the ensuite in particular is becoming the most convoluted jigsaw puzzle! The side wall in the photo above will become the doorway into the utility/laundry room from the hallway. Those with an eagle eye will notice that in the top left-hand(ish) corner is the electricity board. Yes, to knock through the doorway we need to move the board. Moving this board means we need to do the re-wiring of the entire house sooner rather than later (none of the wiring meets the standards of today).

Ultimately what this jigsaw puzzle all means is that the ensuite won't be done in time for my parents visit. As someone whose natural inclination is to solve problems through finding a practical solution and implementing it quickly and preferably painlessly, I am finding this renovation jigsaw somewhat frustrating. But it is a big lesson in patience, which is one that I needed to learn!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Colours and fabrics

The cold weather has halted the renovations. To keep me motivated while living in a building site my mind has turned to colours and fabrics, especially in our bedroom. My colour of choice has always been blue. My room at Wolsey Road was blue and white - fresh and crisp. My white furniture and beloved lamps are in our room in my attempt to create a space that is not under construction. I saw these lamps in an antique store when I was a student and just had to have them. One of those purchases that I had no money for at the time but I have never regretted the purchase (although not happy with the shades but that can be changed..).

I have been very unsure about colours for our room until this past Christmas. I had thought that may be it was time to move away from the blue. I knew that blue was to stay when my gorgeous cousin and his very talented wife gave us these stunning linen cushion covers. Amber has only recently taught herself to sew and is creating the most lovely things. I wish she would start a business as I think she would be very successful. 

The cushion covers are made from linen with cotton lace. I am convinced now to stay with blue accents.    So I have been researching fabrics and ordering samples. This selection shows the final contenders.

I am going to make curtains in the same linen fabric with the striped Nina Campbell trim, the striped fabric will go on the chaise lounge with the honeypot trim, and the embroidered floral will go on a buttoned bedroom chair. Alternatively I could use it on the headboard and use the pale blue diamond weave on the bedroom chair. Still some decisions to make... But I am very excited to have narrowed it down not least because there is so much to choose from, I like this choice because it is not too feminine for Piers but still has some lovely touches and hopefully will be a calm and welcoming cosy place to fall asleep.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Waiting, waiting...

The weather in the UK has been bitterly cold. We have also been incredibly busy with work. All of this means that the house renovations have stalled currently so no progress photos to show. That doesn't mean though that I have stopped planning and thinking. I will post soon on a colour scheme for the bedroom but in the meantime there have been a few eBay purchases and today I am off to Whichford Pottery. Once a year they have a seconds sale on their gorgeous pots so I am going to see if I can grab a bargain for the garden! Then all I have to do is wait for the weather to warm up and start planting.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Spring is here?

I decided that today was the day to plant the new roses. The irises, crocuses and snowdrops are blooming and the daffodils are ready to burst into yellow gloriousness any minute. I had ordered the eight roses mentioned in the previous blog post although I swapped the George Arends rose for The Alnwick - a softer cupped rose that suits the others better I think. It was certainly not great to keep the bare root roses for two weeks unplanted but the weekend the order arrived, so did the snow followed by rain. The ground was too cold and then it was too wet. Piers had planted hundreds of bulbs in the late Autumn so I had to plant around this but I don't think that matters. The 8 roses now spread down the side of the glasshouse in front of the two pale pink climbing roses that had been planted there years ago. Once the Spring bulbs have flowered we can lift them and plant other plants and Summer bulbs among the roses. It won't be a traditional rose garden by any means but it will be a riot of colour and scent. Can't wait!

Blue irises


 White, yellow and purple crocus
Any minute now!

A line of roses down the side of the glasshouse.

A close-up - hope the take it to their new home.