Redecorating already….


Be our guest

We have been in our house now for almost four years I think. It is big, it is empty for a lot of the year and the starting place we had was one of decades of neglect. So despite our Herculean efforts over the last few years, this project is like the forth bridge in that once we get to one ‘end’ we simply need to start again. Arghhhhh!!!

Regular blog readers will have seen our guest room makeover a year or so ago click here if not

But sadly for Peter and I as this room really has seen the most upheaval over the years (again recall the flood of 2012 here )
And despite this being it’s third iteration, it needed decorating again.

The paint had begun peeling from the walls and collecting in piles of dust around the edges where Peter was meant to instal skirting boards but hadn’t got round to it yet (come ON – what HAS he been doing?). Perhaps it was the damp walls of many decades making their own form of anti- farrow and ball protest “not Old White’ they were shouting…..


Starting to lose it’s a-peel

And the ceiling was peeling. Not, as badly as our dining room ceiling or indeed the downstairs bathroom ceiling but as we were painting the walls in here we figured we may as well do it all. And repainted the woodwork. And finally get round to painting the door. And so, now it is Calluna by Farrow and Ball a sort of lilacy grey.

And it does look much better but it did make us realise that we may need to do everywhere else! So much for a ‘holiday’ home….


New pics bought in Vide grenier


The same….. But Calluna

Bargainous bedding!


bargainous bedding website I love

I don’t normally do this but….. I had breakfast this morning with a lovely PR colleague who told me about a client who I should take a look at. Its a site that sells amazing bedding that is not that dissimilar to a well known bedding where things are all of a certain colour BUT it is much much cheaper.

The site is called duvet and pillow warehouse and I have already fallen in love with their grey cable knit throws, lace edged bedding and wool cushions.

Lambswool Cable Knit Throws

snuggly cushions

Lambswool Cable Knit Throws

cable guy

So that’s it – just wanted to share as until about four hours ago I’d never heard of it and now I will be bookmarking the site and visiting when a bedroom in one of my reno projects needs some finishing touches!

Want to see more pics?

So in real time I am currently in France. At my French house, so it rather makes sense for me to blog. I am in theory on holiday with time to relax and do things like blog. But somehow, while I am here, I have no time at all. By the time we’ve got here, opened up the house, tidied up a bit and panicked at the sheer amount still to do just to stand still, it’s all we can do to sit down and relax.
So rather than write elaborate blog posts of an episodic nature, I think I may just take loads of pics. So first up, guest bedroom.





Elephants breath vs mouses back


Not quite Babington yet…

We may have had our fair share of guests by now but we’ve relied on their pioneer spirit to see them through. That and a supply of flip flops for crossing unfinished floors. The house was slowly taking shape and with each holiday that passed we became more confident that one day we would have one of those holiday homes you could imagine on a website of ‘baby friendly boltholes’. We had a few finished rooms and had started to collect some bits of furniture.

Until now we had vacated our master bedroom and bunked into a little room next to the boys room when people came to stay. You have to walk through it to get to the boys room which curtails any chance of privacy and means that Arthur wakes us up with his 5am rises which he has done since birth and even now age 10 doesn’t show any signs of changing. I am hoping that one day he will be one of those teenagers that you have to drag out of bed with threats of cold water. And the room itself is fin. Cute even. I found the granny quilt on ebay (you actually search for just that – granny quilt) and we have no problem moving in while guests come to stay.


Our room when guests come to stay. Cozy.

But as another Christmas loomed large, and this time my parents were feeling brave enough to make the trip (the prospect of heating and not peeing in a bucket had increased their levels of interest in another holiday) we wanted to get a proper guest room ready. The room pictured at the top was the one we had earmarked. It was downstairs and next to the one finished bathroom (see below). Image

So together they would make a really nice guest suite. I could possibly start sidelining as a B&B landlady. But as usual there was a lot of work to be done before getting Alistair Sawday round to give us a five star rating.


The loo/rats nest was in the far corner. Like Nimh. Then it was gone.

By this stage we were old hands at doing up our rooms. And this room did not phase us. Oh no. Despite originally having a loo in the corner with a rats nest underneath it (we tend NOT to share this info with guests before they’ve slept in it) The most horrible peeling ceiling. A funny coat rack thingy (technical term) which I actually kept and put in another room later on and broken windows.

We got to work with a vat of decorators caulk to fill gaps in the wooden ceilings. A gallon of white undercoat and gloss for ceilings and woodwork. Another gallon of white emulsion for the walls and a lot of patience to apply all of the above. Ourselves. And finally hours of pouring over Farrow and Ball paintcharts to choose the colour for the walls, about six changes of mind over which particular shade of beige or grey to go for (Elephants Breath vs Mouses Back – #firstworldproblems) We settled on Old White

Old White

Beige by any other name. Old White if you want to pay lots more for it

And we painted. And painted. And I got the children to help and they painted. And then Peter filled the holes in the ceiling and I painted that too. And this was probably some sort of school holiday/half term or other and my friends were facebooking about their sunshine breaks to Morocco/Dubai/Majorca (I even had pangs of jealousy as people fessed up to being at Centreparcs – not for long admittedly)

And it was finished. Although it didnt yet have a floor – just some mucky cold concrete but I bought a rug at Marks and Spencer and that would do for now. We bought a Leirvik bed from Ikea and carted it back from Toulouse. Along with yet more Hemnes drawers (I will be calling my next born Hemnes FYI)

Thanks IKEA

And finally we added a great glass chandelier we’d found at a Vide Grenier. And i made some curtains out of my favourite hessian fabric bought on ebay – with black out lining for extra warmth. Voila. And the rather splendid 1970s pic of the fallen madonna with the big boobies was found in a Vide Grenier for ten euros. A bedroom fit for parents and anyone else who descends from now on. Want to come and stay yet?




Renovation recap

So where are we at with this house? We’re having people to stay so it must be quite close to being done right? Well. Here is the thing. Bits of it look nice. The bits I’ve shown you. The kitchen, one bathroom, two and a half bedrooms and the barn now has a floor. (Mr Landauer the gardner came with gallons of cement, tonnes of gravel and excitingly for the male members of the house – a digger/tractor thing *technical term)


Le Tracteur thingy


First put down ten tonnes of gravel


Then pour on gallons of concrete…

And we have a table tennis table, swingball (another great 80s throwback – Pete and i dress up as John Lloyd and Chris Evert while playing for authentic feel) and a massive hammock for the garden. But inside? There is A LOT still to be done. And when friends come to visit we feel bad making them holiday and DIY, so work slows down. And if we have friends to stay then we feel bad going off and painting or plumbing, with a casual ‘help yourself to a slice of Brie’ so work slows down. So I must at this point thank Stuart for his Herculean efforts while technically ‘on holiday’ as he did spend an entire day, with Peter painting the ceiling in one of our dingiest rooms. And to our friend Mr Candy for his mini-break with Peter to install top floor windows in the early days. It was, and is, MUCH appreciated. And now that bits of the house are habitable, Peter can’t really justify heading over alone (or with Mr Candy) to ‘make essential advances in wiring’. So things have slowed. Considerably. And as this blog is being written in the past I thought it might be good to have a recap. Its roughly May 2011 and here is where we are at…



Vic began to wonder if her lamp choice made her a basket case?

2. Downstairs bathroom


Wouldn’t you just die without the Metro tile?

3. Master Bedroom


It was time to clear out the dead wood

4.boys bedroom


La Carte SVP

5. Upstairs hallway


1. The top floor!

On our top floor are two massive attic rooms. My goal is to make one a master suite with freestanding bath. The other is to become a ‘dorm’ for our younger guests. But right now they both look like this


Nice for bats!

2.The entrance hall

Not exactly Southfork is it? This is first thing you see if you enter via the enormous front door. Pete has done some plastering and some painting but there is still quite a bit of work needed.


3.The downstairs bedroom

This is going to be a guest room. It has the finished bathroom attached to it and at the moment you have to walk through this to get to the bathroom. Note it DOES have a radiator. Not quite hooked up yet. I might let Pete explain the heating to you all – it is beyond me! This room once had a loo in the corner of it so at least that has gone to the dechetterie (french for tip) and it has had a coat of white paint by this stage – it WAS worse than this at one point!


Its all white really

4. The grand ‘salon’

We rather pretentiously refer to this room as the ‘salon’ because sitting room just doesnt seem right. It is huge. It is grand. And one day it will be a salon. But right now it looks like this…. we did around this time have Mr Landauer come in and concrete the floor so we could at least walk through here without stepping on a mouse or rat or some such scurrier. But I thought I should give you the ‘basic’ picture.


Its all gone a bit ‘kings speech’

5.The worst room in the world (indeterminate eventual usage)

Look at this! Truly the ugliest, dirtiest room in the world. This is pretty much the worst room we had to contend with with a horrid huge water tank that took hours of sawing and yanking just to get it off the wall. And incredibly when we first visited the house this is the only sink we had and we used to USE it! But reader – this room will in about a years time from now become awesome. Just wait!


Cup of tea anyone?

6. The Dining Room

But not one you’d really want to eat in. All these not so nice rooms are connected to the nice rooms so even if you are sitting in the lovely kitchen having a glass of rose – if you need to wee in the lovely bathroom you have to walk through any two of the above to get there. Which is where flip flops have become essential items.


Pink to make the boys wink

7.The Top Floor bathroom

Yep. Check this baby out? Holes in the ceiling. A bucket to collect the water that pours in up here and no floor whatsoever.


Can I have a pee please Bob?

So thats it. Nice right? Want to come for a visit yet? Maybe leave it another few months? And see what we get up to?