All quiet on the house projects for a while, I’ve been focussing more on my artwork. However I finally sorted out some pictures that have been framed and waiting to be hung for months. I’ve got them all out several times, had a bit of a think and put them away again. This time was different and I got the majority up on the wall.

Very pleased.





You may have noticed a small dog sneaking into a number of pictures on this blog. It’s Heidi after whom, with her counterpart Klaus, the blog is named.

Being a Dachshund you are supposed to discourage them from running up and down stairs, leaping ill advisedly from heights and general activities that might put a stress on their backs. Basically all the things Heidi truly loves. Because of this Heidi needs to be stopped from using the stairs all the time as she attempts to follow you around the house. You could achieve this through training or through mini barriers just to be doubly sure. Being short of stature they don’t need much height and so are easy to step over but do thwart Heidi. I actually suspect she could climb over but they are enough to discourage her.

Mind are quite crudely made but I’ve used left over paint to make them a bit smarter…




Because they are so low I am tempted to paint a height restriction on them like they have for fairground rides, but presumably Heidi would be the only one short enough to see it and I’m not sure she would appreciate the effort.


A Change of Heart

Early-ish on in the process of working on the house I tried out a pretty bold colour combination in the hall. At the time Farrow and Ball had released a new range of colours used in quite strong combinations that I really liked.




Nice huh.

Based on this and my love of Cinder Rose and Arsenic I went for a combination of the two in the hall.

cinder rose

It was a pretty polarising choice with some people loving it and some being politely not so sure. For me there were two things I didn’t like, the first was that despite using colour throughout the house (I’m not really a fan of all white homes) the other rooms are more muted. The other was how the Arsenic coloured door looked when opened into the kitchen, not great against the Pigeon walls in my view.

And so a change has been made. Something more sober.









This time I have gone for Pavilion Grey on the walls and Hay on the doors. I’m still getting used to it but so far I think it’s a big improvement. I certainly feel it works better with the colour of the kitchen.




Totally floored

In recent weeks (well months) it’s all been about the flat. However whilst work still continues on the flat there has been some attention to upstairs, namely the entrance hall and upstairs kitchen / piano room.

We’ve been holding off on this part of the house because of all the work going on elsewhere and therefore all the walking through, carrying building items, dragging things too heavy to carry meant we knew it would just get damaged.

But now we felt it was time for some attention. Mainly all that has happened is we have painted the floors – Farrow and Ball Strong White, like the floors throughout the house. This was also the focus of much discussion; white floors certainly show the dirt more and as this is the main hall and communal room that seemed a silly idea. In the end however we realised it’s easy to clean, easy to touch up and the added light seems to balance the darker wall colours.

So here comes a series of images, some taken in the day and some in the evening showing the results.

obviously the fireplace needs some attention - we're not burning books just yet

rug from Ikea...

And in the daytime….

However this just means we have to face the much bigger decision on how we want the kitchen part of this room to be. At the moment it is just cobbled together from existing units and bits of the kitchen that was already there. We’re yet to totally decide between free-standing /rustic and fitted.

In the pink

Progress in the basement flat continues at pace as now it’s all about adding things that make it look better as opposed to stripping off plaster and generally wrecking the place as part of the “battle of the damp”.

Here’s a before shot.

And here’s the best of the interim ones.

The floor has been painted strong white like the rest of the house and the walls are setting plaster also from Farrow and Ball. I really like it, but it’s a slightly depressing colour to use when you pay someone to plaster the walls, then carefully prime them only to paint them basically the same colour as they were before. Again the ceiling is also the same colour and the skirting will be too.

And one of the many deliveries that helped get us there.

The boiler will be boxed in as part of a cupboard.

From this angle you can see the unpainted end of the room which will be a kitchen area. The lighting is already in for that work area.

They are from B&Q.

Still some work to be done on the door and obviously the stairs beyond but you can see the flagstones are back down and looking good.

The view into the bedroom.

And here’s the fireplace with the beautiful tiles that were uncovered when the heater was removed. Unfortunately there’s some pretty extensive damage, although ultimately the plan is for a wood burning stove in here so that might cover the gap and work. We shall see.

Here’s a close up of the lights which are from John Lewis (like the ones in the bedroom). The plan is that a sofa will sit under these.

Off the entrance to the flat is a kind of cellar which sits under the front steps. It was a horrible hole full of coal dust and a bit scary. It’s now had a new floor put in and is ready to act as some handy storage.

The plan is to put another toilet in the space under the hall stairs and because of that some serious digging has been required to put new plumbing in. Which also means going out the back door and particularly using the outside tap is a bit tricky.

And lastly, also outside some of the holes in the patio filled from our large supply of random bricks.

An update in three parts

In recent weeks we have made a bit of progress.

First up is the plaster in the hall and on the first landing. It’s been done and dried, so we can now decide on colours.

This part was a particularly bad spot and we’ve had it simply redone for now. But I’d still like to replace some corbels at some point soon.

And now we need to finish stripping all the paper from this tricky section on the top floor. I’m a bit afraid of this bit as we’ll need to use ladders on the stairs. Not keen.

Then next is the basement. We’re due to start work down here shortly as at present it’s still totally untouched. We have a totally unusable bathroom down there which we will reinstate. And so in readiness it has been cleared of all the junk it has accumulated in the (what must be) decades since it was last functioning.

As you can see it’s in a sorry state.

And from one bathroom to another.

The one upstairs one is almost done.

We were going to do the floor in black and white tiles, but we decided that tiles were too cold and lino too horrible and we couldn’t find anything affordable in-between. So instead we painted the boards the same colour as the floors in the bedrooms. And actually I now think we should use this colour more elsewhere and have greater consistency in the flooring. I used to think it was a bit unimaginative to paint everything white (or in this case Farrow and Ball Strong White) but now I wonder if it isn’t a good idea and allows you to be more daring with wall colours and still feel like all the rooms and house are connected. Anyway one to think over as going with white floors in the front hall and kitchen might be a bit much – not sure.

This piece of furniture next to the sink is a new addition. We picked it up for next to nothing in a dodgy looking local shop.

The clothes airer is still going strong and proving to be really useful.

I am not certain about the colours of the walls. At the moment they are just white and I quite like it. But I did have my heart set on using some wallpaper and colour in this room. Ideally this paper from Timorous Beasties.

But the one thing we have decided not to touch is the paint on the door. I like it just the way it is.

This room was actually subdivided into two rooms when we moved in, a thin kitchen and a thin bathroom. We took out the partition wall and made it one room again.

The pictures from that stage are here.

Some signs of change

We seem to have finally reached a point where we are adding rather than subtracting from our house. We’ve been busy painting the walls and floors on the top floor to get the bedrooms looking better if not perfect (pictures to follow), Klaus and his brother have been putting up plasterboard in the hall, and all the radiators have arrived

which means once they are all fitted the floorboards can all go back down. We have so many odd boards propped up all over the place that will be a relief.

We have invested in a few stylish radiators in places where they will be on show and more functional ones where they will be obscured.  Once they are fitted we’ll not want to take them down again in a hurry to paint behind so that has meant we have been forced to make some colour decisions. Much of the work on the house feels like this, slowly slowly then suddenly we need to make instant, binding decisions.

In the kitchen we have two windows that are at the front of the house with panelling and shutters. When we first looked viewed the house in deepest darkest January this was one of the things we thought about changing that made us want to go for it. We thought at the time we’d go for Pigeon by Farrow and Ball but we tried another just to be sure. This is Pavilion Grey along side Pigeon.

But Pigeon was the winner. We’re planning to do much of the woodwork and walls in this colour perhaps adding in another colour if the overall effect is too dark as this will run throughout the room to the area where the kitchen units will actually be. One day. In the future. We hope.

Here are some tester shots of the colour plus radiators to get the idea.



 And at the other end of the room the fireplace has finally been knocked out to allow the oven to slot inside. This was much more trouble than we expected but it’s done now and we are pleased with the results so far.

On the other side of the room these are the rather limited facilities we are functioning with at the moment. It’s cobbled together from freestanding parts of our old kitchen and the sink that was upstairs in the orginal kitchen.

So it may not seem like much but to us it’s the first glimmer that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Roasty Toasty

Probably not the most exciting bit of DIY but I have a feeling we’ll be thankful of it come winter. Klaus has been busy insulating the walls and floors. because the rooms are big and airy we’re anticipating some chilly winters. So each room has been insulated as much as possible and we’ll control the temperature in each room individually. Plus it’s also intended to be good sound insulation.

There’s a really chunky piece of oak in this shot.

It all looks a bit mock-Tudor.  This will be covered over again soon and plastered as the rewiring is also finished.


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.