Thursday, December 29, 2011


We bought some paints when a hardware store was selling out, as well as got some pots here and there over a long period of time, and this was the basis for the work we have been able to do in the house. We also bought some white floor paint and some items from Ikea when we got a small sum of money. This is what we have done.

The kitchen was really a kitchen from hell. Someone had recycled some old cabinets from the 1980s but of course nothing really fitted very well. They also covered the walls in panelling, which I call the "sauna effect"! We desperately needed to do something about the state of affairs but it was difficult without any money. I gradually painted one wall after another with cheap white matt emulsion.
The dreaded sauna effect!
We removed the shelf, painted it white,
and hung it above one of the doors to hold my collection of
colourful tins..
The Scandinavian settee moved to the dining area
(former pantry or utility room)
and the table was also removed.
The cabinet doors are a very typical British design from way back in time...
Fake wood grain melanin and wooden handles across.
The tiles speak for themselves...
I have managed to cover the floral pattern on one side of the
kitchen with a spray paint for tiles that I got on sale.
I will never use spray paint indoors again!
It was a nightmarish job.

One sleepless night I was thinking about the cabinet doors, which would be very difficult and somewhat pointless to replace until we have some money. I made a decision and since I couldn't sleep I just got up at four am and primed them with Crown Multi Surface Primer. In the morning I asked Martin what he thought and he didn't even notice! But the next two days we painted them with a mixture of a water based green paint that I got on sale and some pigments. Though the pigments don't mix very easily, when applied they blend and create a surface that doesn't look dull. This is one of my little tricks to get an interesting shade and surface! I love dark green and quite enjoy creating my own shade anyway.

My old cupboard from the 1920s that doesn't go upstairs finally ended up in the kitchen
where the bench and the table used to be.
This gives great storage for crockery and things like the bread machine that was taking up space on the worktop.
I still need to deal with the varnished surface.
and Martin has to do some fixing of the door.
A lot of junk and food has come down from on top of the cabinets.
To the left above the oven there is a big hole where there used to be a microwave oven.
I will replace the white curtain when I find
something suitable. Tins and flour are now in that space.
A lot of food have gradually found its way into Ikea storage jars, and later on Martin will build shelves for them.
We got cheap black iron handles for the drawers from Ikea.
The worktops aren't great, they are fake oak, but at least they are neat.
The spice rack is also from Ikea, built from four pieces.
We've been looking for a bread bin for a long time, but when I saw a series of tins
for only £ 15 in a supermarket I figured it was just as well to go for it.
The tiles in the background aren't painted yet, but they are not as obtrusive
as the ones on the other side.
I had some spare halogen light fittings that Martin put up on the walls.

I had a three-piece halogen light fitting that Martin attached to the cabinet
for better working light.
These tiles were spray painted white.
A lamp stand from Ikea was bought to fit this shade,
as a cosiness factor in the corner.
I painted the side of the unit dark green to create as much
sense of coherence in a chaotic looking kitchen as possible.
It's a great shame that we have a brass blender that we got on sale a long time ago
but cannot afford having someone install it at the moment.
What is also irritating is the positioning of the gas heater,
but when the kitchen is done properly it will have to get a better place inside a cupboard.
We also hope to have a Belfast sink eventually,
as well as move the sink to the corner and have a Finnish style drying cabinet above it.
We have not had time to do anything much to the yard,
eventually the trellis will come down and the walls will be painted white.
I bought this lovely kitchen curtain a long time ago in Finland and now it found the perfect window.
It makes a big difference to the cosiness of the space.
I have also attached a spotlight above the sink.
The wicker rug beater to the left is from Finland.
We bought these halogen lights for the ceiling on sale some time ago, we like the vintage look.
Decent lighting. i.e many small spots and halogens, helps to make the space cosy.

We moved a shelf to the door that leads to the dining area.
My collection of Chinese tea caddies is on it.
The dining area is quite cosy now, and we can use it... we just need to get the vinyl wallpaper off completely.
The Christmas cards are obviously seasonal...
I really like my set of Scandinavian chairs and a bench from about 1910.
I have primed them, but am still looking for the right paint. I think they will remain white.
The seats are clad with some William Morris fabric I found in Finland.
My artwork "Grazing A Maze" from 2006 adorns the space above the fridge,
along with a small blackboard from Indiska.
Luckily the floors are tiles, they are not our taste at all but at least it's neat...


This is the table that used to be in the kitchen.
We have a large and rather horrible plastic shower tray that was originally meant for a handicapped lady,
so it requires two shower curtains.
Nice ones tend to be very expensive so my solution was to buy cheap white ones for the inside.
On the outside, there is a normal curtain with a lovely pattern.
In fact, it was two for the price of one shower curtain!
I wouldn't usually buy polyester but 50 % (the rest is cotton) is warranted in the wet room.
I hate the pointless non-see-through window glass
and hanging an old favourite cotton curtain in front of it makes it all seem cosier.

Finding a way of fastening the curtain really required lateral thinking...
I had to get them up quickly for Christmas and didn't have time to fuss with eyelets.
I had these curtain hooks from the past, but only one set. The other set is much thicker metal.
It was hard to find thin metal ones anywhere, most are plastic these days,
but in the end I found similar ones from John Lewis so I will be able to make small eyelets that will fit the hooks.
I have taken the little curtain grips that are traditionally used in Finland
and bent the wire so that I could fasten it to the actual shower curtain hooks.
It doesn't look too bad.

I hung an Indian textile shoe rack by the sink
and we got a cheap shaving mirror from Ikea that doesn't get quite so steamed up.
One of my pet hates are these two separate taps. It's like living in the 1950s.
Oh well, one day...
The black/grey/gold tiles that are scattered around the walls are truly pointless,
and quite ugly,
but there's not much we can do about them right now.
The floors in the bathroom have been painted white with Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint, but some more coats will be necessary. We also solved the problem with dirty laundry - I admit to creating quite a lot of it... - by getting a big but cheap metal garbage bin for £ 16. It was a damn sight cheaper than any decent quality laundry bins!

The space between the floorboards still needs filling.
Ideally you would take the boards out and reposition them,
but Martin will be using caulking and hemp rope instead.
The old step ladders function as clothes depository...