Little Touches: Kimono

I was in San Francisco last year with work. While there I bought this beautiful kimono from a vintage shop. I think I imagined I’d waft about in it on Sunday mornings while drinking coffee and reading an intriguing novel. Needless to say I’ve never worn it.

However, I decided to make more of it and if I’m not going to wear it I should display it. Magazines always have some pretty dress hanging outside a wardrobe or draped across a chair so I decided to steal the idea.






The flat – part two

This time it’s the bedroom / office area.

Here’s the before.


And here with a few things added.


I picked up this side table from John Lewis.

bedside table

I also have some work stuff in here. Dressmakers dummy for alterations and the like (heavily underused if I am honest). This had to be positioned carefully so you don’t wake up in the night and freak out thinking there is an intruder in the room.

dressmaker dummy

And a desk/work area by the window.

desk 1

This desk also doubles as dressing table, the centre section opens up to reveal a storage area and mirror inside the lid. It’s also from Made.



laundry baskest

And general bits and bobs.


piggy bank

Before and after – main bedroom

Now that some parts of the house can be almost declared “done” I thought it might be fun to look back at how they have changed. First up is the master bedroom. Annoyingly I don’t have too many “before” images, but here are a few.

This was the simplest room to change. We just took up the carpet and painted the floor Farrow and Ball Strong White and chose Farrow and Ball Elephant’s Breath for the walls; a strangely named paint and quite a gentle but beautiful colour. Changed the light fitting and added some furniture.

After which it looked like this.


Slowly but surely

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.

By day…

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.

Basement gets water and light (well nearly)

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.

Downstairs on the up

The basement is starting to take shape at last. The idea is that this will be a flat, that you can either access from the main house or separately via its own front door. That way the house is flexible and the flat could be rented out or vice versa.

There are two main rooms, the one you enter via the front door which is the largest and will be a kitchen/diner and a second at the back which will be a bedroom.

The basement had some pretty bad damp and so we’ve had a comprehensive bit of damp proofing done.

This had also affected the stairs down from the main house, and the bottom ones were rotten and collapsed.

We are going to put a loo in the space under these stairs that can be accessed from the main house.

So here’s how the front room is looking now.

These tiles were uncovered in the fireplace which we will try to keep. We’re planning on putting in a wood burning stove here.

This room has quite a nice window which looks out onto the steps you reach the front door by. It’s got horrible bars on at the moment, but it will ultimately look great.

The panels under the window are a stable style door that is going on the new office, which was an outside loo. That’s just all been replastered too. It’s a very small room just enough room for a desk and a computer but here’s a glimpse, we added that little window. The office opens onto the patio area so a half-door seemed like a nice idea particularly for the summer.

The back room which will be a bedroom has fresh plaster and a damp course too.

This room also has a lovely big window which we had replaced, it’s large enough to step out of into the garden. This one, the two in the bathroom I am about to come on to and the funny shaped one in the office we had to have specially made as they are such unusual sizes.  They look great, but it’s expensive getting this kind of bespoke work done.

The bathroom for the flat (well shower room, it will be too small for a bath) is off this room and was actually a bathroom before but was unused and in a terrible state. You can see it on the outside in the photo above.

Here it is now.

There’s clearly still a lot to do, but we’ve got the next stage lined up and have bought the shower loo and sink for this room. So it should be liveable relatively soon.

Chalking it up

In our last house we had a small section of wall painted with blackboard paint. The idea was to have a shopping list / to do list on there. In reality we used it to draw silly pictures and to keep a tally of who preferred The Holy Grail to The Big Lebowski (Holy Grail had it). Since as I’m sure you can tell this was so useful we decided to recreate it. This time we have used panels on the folding doors which we can use to section off the kitchen from what will be the dinning room.

from the dinning end of the room looking at back at some of our temporary kitchen

from the kitchen end looking towards the front of the house

There’s one single door and a two panel folding side. We have them open all the time at the moment but they’re really handy as it means you can easily create another distinct room. 

In other news we paid a visit to Ikea recently to buy kitchen shelves as mentioned here. We also impulse bought a rug for our bedroom. Considering we spent about 30 seconds considering it I think it works quite well and makes the room feel cosy.

I’ve posted some shots of our room on here before but I didn’t properly include an image that showed how we have our clothes. We don’t have any storage for them at the moment and so they are on open rails. Given that we have so much else to do in the house I think they’ll stay like this for some time. Also we just haven’t made up our minds how to finally arrange this room.


So thank you once again Ikea.

The other bedroom

It’s been a bit quiet over the last couple of weeks as Klaus has been busy working on a his proper job and to be fair he is the main driving force behind much of the work done on the house.

However I have got round to taking some photos of our bedroom. Like the other room it’s not finished and what you don’t see in these shots are all our clothes on rails but it’s a step in the right direction. 

You can get a sense of the rail effect from this picture taken the weekend we moved in (this is the bed we later moved into the other bedroom). It’s a bit neater now.

We chose a new quite neutral wall colour. I normally prefer more colour but we had a headboard that I made for our previous house we wanted to use again and this colour worked best with that and the fireplace. The colour is elephants breath by Farrow and Ball. Probably the best name ever for a paint.

The colour looks really different from one of these shots to the next . In the morning light it’s quite varied as well with one wall looking cool and the other much warmer. I like that.

We’ve kept the existing curtains, but we weren’t too keen on the pattern and just for now we have simply turned them round so we are actually living with the lining.

The floor boards in here are painting the same colour all across the top flor and into the other bedroom. I used the same colour to update an old mirror we had steadily fallen out of love with. Klaus claimed it was “too 1990’s”.  Here it is just before I took my paintbrush to it in rather a pretentious photo which has Klaus’ piano in the relfection

And here it is afterwards back in the bedroom.

These fireplaces in the bedroom are really polarizing. Some people love them and some literally hate them. We can’t afford to change them at the moment anyway, but I am starting to come down on the side of love.

A busy weekend

First up is the bathroom. We have a new roll top bath ordered, paid for and arriving tomorrow. The shower screen and tray have arrived and we went out and bought some simple tiles. We’ve also started the process of building the utility cupboard which goes in the corner of this room. The new washing machine is sitting next to it ready to be slotted in. Plus plasterboard has gone on the ceiling.

We were however still missing a sink (and a loo). Everything we saw in the showrooms we either hated or was extremely expensive so we decided to check eBay. At the pub on Friday night using their wifi we found a very nice sink not too far away and about to end. It had no bidders apart from us so we picked that up for 99p, incredible. Then we noticed that the seller had other items, a complete bathroom suite in fact all of which was about to end. Since we were going to their house anyway we bought their loo, shower attachment (which we are hanging onto for the basement bathroom) and another bath. The second bath we thought we’d keep for the taps as they are so expensive and find a new home for the bath.

Here’s the loo arriving.

So that’s a very good condition bathroom suite for £7.48.

We left the bath out front as it was heavy and before we had the chance to take the taps off (which were ok but not too great) some very strong beachcomber came past and took it away. To be fair when this normally happens we’re pleased as we deliberately leave items we don’t need out front for poeple to take, but in this instance it was a bit swifter than expected.  I think we owned the bath for two hours maybe three. Nevermind.

On the way back to London from collecting our loot we swung past the Graham and Green warehouse sale in Chiswick and bought some small bits and bobs. It’s worth checking out particularly for furniture. It happens about twice a year and everything is at least 50% off.

The other room which has had a bit of attention is the back bedroom. This is how it used to look.

And here it is now. It’s not totally complete but a quick facelift.

This is Chinese Blue from Farrow and Ball and the orginal curtains.

But unfortunately the view back onto the landing shows the general state of mayhem.

This room and a few of the others have boards that can’t be put back down. Either they are too fragile or they have been cut but not across the beam so they are impossible to repair. So we went to the reclamation yard and bought some  new/old boards.

Some other treasures at the reclamation yard. These are taken on my phone so not great quality shots.

The boards are now in the house waiting to be fitted.

So still lots and lots to do.


In getting ready for moving we are having a clear out. Klaus has convinced me to throw away my back catalogue of interiors magazines (mainly homes and gardens and living etc). But before throwing them away I have gone through and cut out everything that catches my eye in the hope that it’s useful.

I’ve tried to organise them into themes.

Starting with the hall.  


I like the image of the staircase particularly, the contrast of the dark wood and painted rails. I also really like the corbels. Our new and currently drab hall could so with some features like this.

Sitting room. 

The TV unit on his page is a really neat idea. I’d like to use stronger colours like this on the walls as well. 






I was surprised how similar all these fireplaces were when I lined them up, seems like we like relatively plain white but traditional. 



Pointing out something not relating to chairs on the chairs page, the colour of the shutters behind the black chair is very similar to the colour we’re thinking on for the shutters in our kitchen. We’re considering pigeon which is similar but paler. 


The kitchen bottom right is probably most similar to the free-standing look we are planning. I’m quite keen on the pink walls in two of these shots but Klaus doesn’t seem too keen…..


Again mainly very traditional. Apart from the pair of very modern sinks. Klaus thinks it’s better to go for the more traditional look as these will date less quickly and I like the idea of using some very decorative tiles around the bath and sink as they have in some of these pictures. I don’t want the whole house to be traditional though so we”ll have to keep an eye out for the overall balance. 


Again lots of strong colour but also patterned wallpaper. Something we’re keen to try out as we haven’t used any before. 


It’s big (for London) and bland at the moment. Will need some proper planning.