Sitting Room

Another post, another room. This time looking at the sitting room.

This room has a lot going on in terms of colour and pattern, but I think it works. It contains my favourite thing which is this black Mora Clock I bought a couple of years ago. It’s also one of the rooms where I have painted the walls, doors and ceiling all the same colour. I don’t think that’s something you immediately notice when you walk in and you’d assume it would make the room feel small or dark. However, the impression is (I think) of greater height because you don’t create a hard stop at the top of the walls with another colour. A bit like horizontal stripes making you look shorter and wider!


These yellow and red cushions are made from some fabric I bought down the road in Peckham.



These pictures are actually embroidered but me in front of the TV in the evening. They are the last eight Prime Ministers.





I love this chap. I bought him in the sale at Anthropologie.



And my growing collection of Fat Lava pots…..eBay is a dangerous thing.



My friend has come to stay with me while he writes a book. So we’re transforming the sitting room into a bedroom and the kitchen/dining room into a kitchen/sitting room. It’s actually been fun. A bit of a struggle moving sofas between floors (the sitting room is…well was..on the first floor) but quite a good challenge.

As part of this I took the chance to get the painting finally done in the kitchen. It got a quick once over with pigeon when the room was first worked on but it was never a polished job. Plus overtime I had decided that it would be better to have all the woodwork, ceiling and walls one colour. I got some raised eyebrows when trying this out on people as an idea but I felt pretty sure it would work. Or I’d like it at least. So I plunged in and got going.

Taking delivery of plenty of paint.

How it was before. 




and after…


I’m also changing the lights in this room to two of these which I bought in the John Lewis sale after Christmas. I don’t think they do this one anymore but they have some similar styles.




Painting the ceiling a dark colour is definitely the most controversial idea, but (and it may seem strange that I consider this a good thing) no one actually notices that it’s been painted until you point it out. Just that something is different and I think it makes the room seem more complete and the ceilings seem higher as there’s not a band of colour demarcating the divide.

Overall I’m pleased with the results.

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.

We’ve sprung a leak

This past week should have been one to enjoy our newly spruced up sitting room. The carpet arrived giving a cosy if a little bland feel making our plan to have rugs (or one large rug singular) in the room more urgent. We’ve also been able to unpack one of the many boxes downstairs and retrieve cushions, pictures and general knick knacks that are nice to have around.

We’ve also got a new sofa to replace the one taken out in the ceiling collapse. This one is a sofa bed and is from (as usual at the moment) Ikea. We bought it with this rather Grandma friendly print and a spare plain white version we can switch it to if we fancy it.

But then disaster struck. We were sitting in the kitchen and Klaus noticed this – and we don’t mean the horrible textured wallpaper.

He’d also been going on about a loss of pressure in the boiler  (we have very exciting chats) and consequently was suspicious about a leak. And so he investigated upstairs lifting our newly fitted carpet. We could just about make out some water when we peered through the boards. Drat.

After lifting the boards we found that one of the screws had indeed gone straight through the pipe and we had a slow leak.

Well slow until we removed the screw.

We had to urgently drain the system.

Then drain the water trapped in the ceiling.

We managed to get just cold water back on as this was a pipe connected to the boiler. That was a real set back as we were back to living here without hot water or heating. But in the end it was only for 24 hours as the hole was fixed the next day and the carpet went back down surprising well.

Which means this sitting room is back in action. I had a few more additions as well. A neat little calendar block which whilst new we picked up from Debden Antiques.

Plus some new lamps which I bought in the Peckham branch of Poundstretcher (not a pound shop they just make your pound go further). It does take some imagination to get things in Poundstretcher but they normally have some nice pieces amongst the less attractive which I often see for sale elsewhere at twice the price. These lamps including the shade with £15 each, which is very good. Well I think so anyway.

Last buy was some fabric, also picked up in Peckham. I’m planning to make some cushion covers and maybe cover some chair seats with it.

It looks a bit lurid now but I think it will mix in well.

Uncovering the fireplace and recovering the ceiling

As the weather turns colder we’ve been thinking about getting our fireplaces sorted. We need a complete new grate and surround for the dining room fire and for the sitting room we have a surround but need a new grate to make it useable. 

The sitting room fireplace is in a classic Georgian design and we’ll probably get something similar for downstairs. However the one in the sitting room is covered in thick white paint. When we bought the house it was mentioned to us that this was a marble fireplace underneath. So we’ve had a quick look using a heat gun to peel away a bit of the paint. 

What’s was really surprising at this stage was that it seemed to be two colours. A normal pale tone and what looked like a lime green outer section.

Removing the paint with a heat gun was probably not the best idea from a health point of view as we don’t know how old it is (lead is a worry) plus the smell is truly terrible. So we ordered some specialist products to take the paint off and fully reveal what lies beneath. You have to keep it under clingfilm to keep the moisture in. 

and it worked. 

This was the results after leaving the paste on for one week. A few bits still on but we can sort those and the lime green has strangely vanished. We’re so pleased this has turned out well as replacing this like for like would have been really costly.

 Now, still in the same room but looking up.

You may remember this disaster where the ceiling collapsed.

Here’s the original post about what happened. We also had that repaired this week.

Here’s an action shot.

Nice technique.

And the ceiling all done afterwards – original features intact.

And so now we’re in a position to start decorating this room. We think we’re going with carpet in here, but otherwise we have no firm ideas.

Waiting for the dust to settle

Yesterday we had a long conversation about the ceiling in our sitting room. There were cracks in the ceiling plaster when we moved in and we knew it was an issue. We looked at the floor from above to check it was the plaster rather than the whole floor which it was. With that in mind and on the basis that the plaster had been up for the best part of two hundred years, two world wars (and one world cup) it was on the list of things to fix “some time next year”‘. Non-urgent.

Then this evening it fell in.

I was just about to go up and watch some TV but thought I’d go into the garden with the dogs first. Otherwise this would have landed on my head. 

As you can see the sofa is now an ex-sofa. 

Everything else seems like dust damage only. And there’s a lot of dust which is partly why we hadn’t looked at this before. 

Fortunately the cornicing looks OK. 

We hadn’t done anything to this room yet so it’s not like it’s ruined all our hard work, but it’s not exactly ideal. Now we just have to figure out the best way to fix it.

How we’re living now

We’re workmen free at the moment and Klaus is busy preparing for a show which means not much work is happening on the house. However on the plus side since things have settled down a bit we do have a chance to get all the rooms a bit tidy and as functional as possible. 

The front room has a kind of working kitchen. Our last kitchen was mainly free-standing and so we had some bits and pieces to bring with us like the plate rack. The sink was upstairs in the original kitchen (now part of the bathroom) and so we have just moved it downstairs for the time being.  

You can see where we have just roughly painted some sections behind shelves to make it easier when we paint this room properly. It’s all pigeon from Farrow and Ball as we plan to use that throughout this room. 

I’ve got a few paintings I have been working on in this shot. Slightly surprisingly I was letting the first rough stage dry on the oven top, the oven wasn’t on of course. It was just the only place to keep them out of harms way at the time. 

I have been using the other end of the room as a temporary studio space. We’ve had the internal doors partly closed to give me a bit of privacy. 

This is the view back from my studio area.  

The light in the front of the picture I really don’t like, the one at the other end of the room we brought with us from the old house. It’s really intended for the hall but it looks OK where it is for now. 

In this next photo we are in the hall facing into the kitchen. The red mop and bucket makes an entrance in all these shots. That wasn’t intentional but given the general level of work needed I’m not sure these styling lapses really matter.

Outside this room and on the landing you can see that we’ve stripped back much of the wallpaper but left the carpet down for now. 

And upstairs is the sitting room. We have done nothing to this room apart from take up the carpet so we could get the central heating plumbed in, put in radiators and some of our furniture. I know the settee needs upholstering but I kind of like it like this. 

When we were decorating our last house which to be fair was a much smaller job than this one of the most annoying things was moving boxes and furniture from room to room. This time we have the luxury of the basement which is where we are keeping as much as we can out of the way for now. And here they all are. 


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.