Just because they are nice.
I thought I’d do a sweep round the house and how the rooms are right now as I am constantly shifting things about. Lets start with the bathroom. Coming in from the landing.
Little baskets bought in a market on holiday.
I love these Anthropologie towels.
I’ve always loved the cracked paint on this door.
And my favourite bit is this little green door knob.
Scented candles are one of those perfect gifts, mainly given by women to women. They’re great because (whilst admittedly a bit unimaginative) everyone likes them, they’re simple and the kind of thing you don’t really treat yourself too = a great gift.
They are also the kind of thing you imagine yourself using in the more perfect version of your life. The one where you make your own bread, have a fridge full of intriguing ingredients you actually know how to use and waft around looking elegant in statement necklaces. For me that also involves me having long relaxing baths in a room flickering with gentle candle light and ideally scented by some marvellous candle. In reality I know I get bored within about five minutes, but I still like the idea.
So when I was contacted recently by The Scented Candle Shop asking if I’d like to review some of their products I was all for it.
Here are the St Eval ones I received.
Quite good for me as I have some unused lanterns that these are perfect for. I really liked the one from the Victorian Herb Range, it’s a nice concept and also smelt lovely.
From the same line I also received some candle tins which had really pleasant fragrances.
All good so far but my favourite by a long way was the candle jar from the Aromatherapy range by Heaven Scent. It smelt amazing and I think it looks really cool. If I were to buy one it would be this one.
And here I am trying them all out at once in a kind of scented candle megamix. Lovely.
I had to go to Milan for a couple of days with work recently and I stayed in The Chateau Monfort. And I can tell you it’s kind of snazzy. They’ve gone pretty big on the design side, and I mean BIG.
Some of it wasn’t for me – a bit too knowing, but what I did really like was the bathroom in my room. I thought the contrasting colour scheme was really tasteful, particularly as they had extended it to the floor tiles.
The bath was also really interestingly set back into a kind of booth. I’ve seen this before in hotels (there must be some functional reason for doing it I can’t work out) but not made a feature of in this fun way – it felt a bit theatrical.
Oh and they had nice toiletries too!
In many ways this is the room that has gone through the biggest change. At some point what had been one room was divided in two to make a small galley kitchen which you accessed from the front sitting room and a similarly sized bathroom your reached via the original entrance from the stairs.
There was also a kind of kitchen in the basement so it seems this was done to allow various members of the family to live in the house but with their own space, whilst not exactly splitting the house up into flats.
Whilst the blue bathroom suite was kind of cool these rooms needed some change. First of all we took down the dividing wall.
We had to re-plumb the entire house at the same time.
This also meant we were removing the only kitchen in the house and working sinks. So we had to keep the “kitchen” sink working in this room for a bit while we set up a new cobbled together kitchen in the downstairs front room which was intended to be the new working kitchen for the house. For a while then you could have a bath and do the dishes in the same room.
Then we started to add things back in. We decided to have a walk in shower which you can see the first stages of in the picture above. Much agonising over the rest of the layout, but the bath eventually went in the centre of the room by the window (only downside is that you flash anyone looking in from the garden when you get out of the bath) and we installed a utility cupboard to house the washing machine. This was accompanied by a sheila’s maid to dry the clothes.
And now it looks like this.
The flat continues to become more a flat and less a few damp rooms at the bottom of the house.
The bedroom and bathroom are the most complete.
The bathroom now has a proper mirror, which is a pivot mirror so adjustable for tall and short alike. It comes from Next, which is the first thing I have bought from them.
I still really like this view from the bathroom back into the bedroom.
I have finished painting all the things green that are going to be green, including the double doors on the bedroom side. They just need some handles now.
And some storage has been added to this room. Clothes are hanging in a space which will ultimately be an enclosed wardrobe.
Shoes hidden in a shoe cabinet from Ikea along with some shelves and white boxes for er, more shoes.
I also picked up a little bin for this room from Jane Newbery in Dulwich. Pretty.
One last small addition is a hook on the back of the door. I bought this well over a year ago from Graham and Green in their sale, so pleased to finally have a home for it.
The connecting space between the bedroom and the sitting room will also be the connecting space between the flat and main house. This separation has started. Which also means a space has been created which will hold another loo for the use of the main house.
The green steps are currently standing in for the loo so we can check there is enough space, which there is, just.
And this is the big hole that has had to be dug by the back door to connect all the plumbing.
In the front room which will be a lounge and kitchen space the kitchen has been delivered and partly installed. It’s actually has white gloss cabinets, but the protective cover is still on.
This room us usable now and some furniture has been added. Including this rocking chair which I treated myself too, also from Graham and Green, also in their sale.
And by night…
Somewhere for me to sit and rock back and forth like a little old lady working on my sewing. Probably muttering.
But the rest of the room is still a bit ramshackle.
The front door for the flat is the next major piece of work.
This kind of lobby area has access to the old coal storage hole. This now has a new floor fitted and is being used for some basic storage. One day maybe a wine cellar.
The roof in the entrance area needs attention and we’ve had to have a new door made as it’s not a standard size.
View out from the front door.
Back the other way. These flagstones have already been lifted and replaced and I think in the finished space will look great.
This internal door from the lobby space into the sitting room will stay but needs some serious attention.
Some temporary measures to keep things waterproof.
The new door is due to be delivered in the next week or so, so this area should be very different in a few weeks. After that it’s work on the extra loo, then the last big project which is the main kitchen.
The bedroom in the basement flat is finally ready (well nearly).
Here’s a before.
And here’s an after.
I am pretty sure this room has not been used since the sixties (judging by the decor) so this feels quite big as it’s now ready to be lived in.
I have a new bed, bought at low expense from ebay.
It’ a little over the top maybe, but I like it.
Colourwise this paint is Fired Earth Verd Antique. The door and ceiling are all painted the same colour. Painting the door the same colour is just me copying from various nice restaurants I have been in and liked and painting the ceiling I think makes the room feel bigger as there is no strong colour dividing line.
The decision now is whether to also paint the bathroom doors and windows the same. I think yes.
The bathroom is all done as well, boiler installed and working (in the front room) so it’s all go. The doors from this side will be simple white.
All the bathroom and bedroom windows are partly painted with an undercoat. The plan is to use Farrow and Ball Downpipe on the exterior to match with the front windows.
The bathroom doors need some doorknobs, fortunately I have a collection to choose from. These are my finalists.
Other new items include this chest of drawers picked up a local second-hand / junk shop.
And some lights from John Lewis. They are wall lights because the ceilings are quite low.
There’s nowhere to hang any clothes just yet, but there will be in here.
So nearly there.
The shower in the basement flat is almost there. Tiles on, sink in, loo in and shower working. All that’s needed now is for the boiler to be linked up and it’s all sorted.
Everything is from somewhere different. I actually can’t remember where the loo is from – just somewhere online. The shower is from bathstore.
There will be folding doors to separate this room from the bedroom.
The sink is from Ikea, that I do remember since it was a late night purchase in Croydon – ah the glamour! It took a while to find one that didn’t come out too far from the wall as the room is thin and therefore every centimeter counts.
These windows still need some thought to privacy (for the shy).
The bedroom itself is now basically ready to be decorated. The walls have all had extensive treatment for damp which was pretty bad in this and the front room (being a basement and an unused one for some time). Although there is still some damp on the chimney breast. The thinking is some water still needs to dry out, or that water is coming in down the chimney. To stop this we’ve capped the chimneys temporarily – photos to follow.
Hopefully that will fix it.
I’ve even bought a new bed, from Ebay. Doesn’t look much here but I am hoping it will look good in this room. It’s a bit elaborate so its meant a change of plan in terms of decoration, much simpler than I had previously imagined or it will all be too much.
The garden is also starting to come together. More and more plants are slowly added and on a sunny day there are some patches that I am starting to really like.
I have even planted some herbs in an old sink and a terracotta trough, I think they’ll look nice on the steps coming up from the flat bedroom.
Progress continues in the basement flat.
The flagstones have been relaid in the hall area and in the shower room.
And the radiator has been installed in the bedroom. It’s under the window but low enough so you can step over and access the garden (as is being demonstrated here).
Thanks Heidi. Very helpful.
In the bathroom the tiles we bought from B&Q which I think are from their basics range have gone in. We chose a dark grout, it’s very forgiving if you’re a bit slapdash with the cleaning plus I actually prefer this look. I think it feels more contemporary.
Originally we were going to go for metro tiles and these are like over-sized versions.
The wooden frame is where the shower will be fitted.
The towel rail is also a B&Q special.
The other project that has moved forward is the garden. Originally this was all lawn and a massive patio. We’ve made a start at changing this roughly in line with the original plan that you can see in an earlier post here.
Some of the paving has been lifted to make flowerbeds and some others beds have been marked out at the sides and towards the back of the garden.
Spot the space hopper.
The area at the back by my studio was going to be a vegetable patch, but for now we are going to have wild flowers. A path has been mowed in to the studio.
Filling this with plants is a bit epic as we need so many. And I’d kind of like the planting to look like this, a photo taken in my local park (but without the bandstand of course).
Most of the plants bought so far are from East Street Market in Walworth. On Sundays there is a small plant market in a side road. It does seem to focus on the kind of plants you see on roundabouts but those are the kind of hardy specimens we need.
Here’s a local trader who presumably is taking a well earned rest after selling out of his Burberry stock.
Transporting our purchases home.
Planning things out.
And the other matching border.
We’ve tested things out with a game of croquet = lawn just about big enough.
But there’s still an incredibly long way to go and a lot more plants even if they are spaced out with room to grow.
Still it’s lovely to have the garden, particularly in London. Here’s me enjoying a bit of sun with a blanket I knitted and a cushion made from some fabric I bought in Ikea.
Work continues on the basement. It’s all pipes down there.
This is the hall area where the flat joins with the main part of the house. It’s so luxurious it even has a radiator. Ooh.
This is the view into the bathroom.
The barrier at the top of these steps is to stop the dog going down, jumping the last step and then getting trapped down there. She doesn’t seem to be learning from this mistake. We are still missing a bottom step hence the problem.
This radiator is to go in the bedroom under the french doors / long window. It’s only from B&Q and seems to be the perfect size.
The front room / open plan kitchen still needs some work. Although we do have a boiler now.
Is it more depressing to have a wheelbarrow in your lounge…
…or a cement mixer in your bedroom?
What does look great is the office, set up as a music studio for Klaus. The half-door I think is a great idea of his.
The pigeon holes/ shelves in here are from Graham and Green.
The next steps are to tile the bathroom and put in the toilet etc which we have already bought. Hopefully this next stage should see some swift improvements.