There’s been a small change in the kitchen. Actually the first of a few changes.

Friday night was spent living the highlife and driving to Ikea. It seems like a weird time to go, but it really makes sense. No on in their right mind would go to Ikea on a Friday night. Meaning you have to place (relatively speaking) to yourself.

The main target for the shop was to buy some extra spot lighting for the kitchen. This was successful but tragically I forgot to buy the corresponding bulbs so their great unveiling will have to wait for another day.

However I did take the chance to change the kitchen rug. It’s been subject to a grime onslaught and being made from jute is not easy to clean. Here’s an old picture showing it in it’s former glory.


I was going to just replace it like for like, but then I saw this character and decided it was time for a change.


table 2


table 1


A bargain at £50.

The flat – fixing it up part one

Rental properties can be a bit tough to make your own. You can’t choose the colour of the walls, flooring, tiles, kitchen cabinets etc. But you can do your best to make it a bit different with what you can add. That’s what I have been doing.

Here’s my flat before.

The lounge (taken on my phone, so really poor shots).

lounge window

lounge back

And here’s what I have been doing with it. Starting with the lounge. I’ve tried to divide it into a dinning and seating area

view into lounge

The sofa and coffee table are from Made (who I’d love to recommend as the furniture is great and inexpensive but the customer service is dire), the sideboard an Ebay special and rug from Ikea. I like this rug so much I actually have two now, the other is in the house we’ve been renovating.


The pictures are all held up with a product called Command Strips, a kind of velcro for walls which you can peel off later without damaging the plaster (at least I hope so, I have used a considerable number).


work bowl



I also acquired this useful side table. The top comes off and becomes a tray if you fancy it. I got mine at Jane Newbery in Dulwich.

coffee table


Then for the dining end. Same room, different angle.


The table is from Crystal Palace Antiques and the chairs I have covered on here already in this post.


window ledge

And here’s the bench still waiting for me to finish upholstering it, also covered here in an old post.


Bedroom next.


I’ve been using up some bits of fabric I have to make cushions. There’s probably a better technique for making these but I have a very basic approach.

Fabric from Ikea – they actually have quite a good selection you can buy by the metre.

I then cut two squares slightly larger than my cushion filler.

Lay them back to back and pin together. Sew around three sides and a bit at each end of the fourth. Turn it back round the other way, push in the filler and then sew up the gap by hand.

All done.

Mine was immediately road tested by a willing volunteer.

I made a couple more with some fabric I bought in Peckham a few of years ago. A little on the lurid side perhaps.

I have another one on the go which is much more involved. This will be a decorative embroidered one. So far it’s slow progress, but I can’t claim to have been working hard at it…

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.

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.

Water and beds

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.

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.

Kitchen update

This weekend we paid a visit to Ikea. We had to pick up a few things and also collected a few things we didn’t really intend to buy as seems to be the way with Ikea. 

We were mainly looking for some shelves to go around our cooker. We’re quite pleased with the look of this area after going through all this….

Seriously dusty and surprisingly time-consuming. And so we want to make the most of it. On the cheap of course. 

We found some inexpensive small shelves of the right size. They were £2.50 each and a bit dull but we bought six took them home and I carefully painted them all Farrow and Ball Cinder Rose

I’ve suggested pink again and again after cutting out these images from some magazines.  

And finally we’re in agreement to go ahead and that it works. 

We’ve using them for the ingredients we use the most. It looks a bit like we’re playing shop. We also added a metal bar to hang pots from, so they’re always in easy reach and because they take up so much space. 

And we inch forwards a bit more. 

An evening in

Since the ceiling fell in upstairs in the sitting room we’ve been forced to have a re-jig. We have moved our remaining settee downstairs and the fatally injured one out the front ready for the final trip – to the dump. 

The dogs seem to be carrying out a survey to find the best place to snooze. 

This is the settee that we really need to re-upholster. We bought it for very little in an antiques shop in Rye but just haven’t got round to it. Plus the cost of having something beautifully upholstered is way more than the settee cost. You can do these things yourself – I made the red headboard in our bedroom. But in this case I think we need a professional job. When we find the final home in the house for this settee we’ll make a decision about the look and get it done. 

This chair we bought years ago in Greenwich market. Klaus is pleased as it is starting to look a bit worn. The rug is a simple one from Ikea.

The fireplace is still empty. The slightly ridiculous dogs’ bed is tucked in here and they seem to like it.