Home improvements

Long time readers will know that I have a rather annoying habit that presents itself every time I go away on holiday.  The habit is that I get a renewed sense of enthusiasm for doing things in the house.  As you can imagine, Tom loves being away on holiday and discussing DIY and home improvements.  I kid you not, one night at dinner in Slovakia Tom had his iPad connected to the hotel WiFi as we looked up the prices of shower rails.

Since we moved into our house in March 2010 we have done an enormous amount.  No rooms any longer have traces of textured wallpaper and gone are the various pink or green carpets.  We turned the spare room from a horrid old junk room into a lovely bedroom, turned our bedroom from plain walls into something a bit more coordinated, and we renovated the conservatory, from another junk room into a beach-hut-esque room full of sunshine and nautical details.  And then there is the garden, which doesn’t look quite as perfect as the day we unveiled it any longer, but is much better than before.  With the light streaming into the living room and bedrooms on Sunday I must admit I did wander into those rooms feeling proud of what we’ve created.

My house
My house
My house
My house

I do feel really lucky that we are able to have some rooms in the house finished, and areas where I can sit and relax without looking at all of the things that need doing.  But there are so many little irritations around the house – cupboard handles that come off into your hand, drawer fronts that have been off for over a year and so things tumble out of them, holes in walls, paint on skirting boards and so on.  The kitchen and bathroom really need a complete refit and I’ve never really felt that it feels like a normal ‘home’.  You know when you walk into someone’s house and they have the corner sofa, the table lamp, the fireplace, and it all looks like you imagine a living room would, like something from the Next catalogue? I long for one of those functional, homely homes that feel welcoming and finished. Ours just feels like a mish-mash of furniture from my old flat, horrendous attempts at DIY from the previous owners and ingrained dirt from 40 years of various owners and renters.  I’m forever envious of people with new homes that look shiny and gleaming after a quick surface clean, or who have the skills (and the budget) to tackle renovations that give a room a new lease of life.

My first task when I returned from holiday last weekend was to have a bit of a war on clutter.  Much to Tom’s annoyance I collected all of the items on various surfaces in the lounge, hallway and kitchen and piled them up on the dining table.  My Saturday project was to either find them a home, bin them or put them to a charity shop.  It took a few hours but it was so worth it, it makes me feel much calmer now walking into a room without various small items, books, DVDs and bits of paper piled up everywhere.

With saving for the wedding we really don’t have any money to spend on the kitchen or the bathroom at the moment (we’re going to have to save up over two months for that £50 shower rail we need, true story) but I can still dream about what they might eventually look like.  I’d love a ‘country bathroom’ feel – rustic floorboards, a roll-top bath and old apothecary bottles filled with lotions and potions.  I love this rustic style flooring, the ‘chateau’ laminate looks like old French fruit crates and would be perfect for bringing a bit of ‘country vintage’ to a room.  And I’d love an Ikea kitchen!

img credit: housetohome.co.uk
img credit: nenaghal.blogspot.co.uk

I know that most home improvement projects are a marathon rather than a sprint, and that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. I definitely need to focus on the things we have done rather than the things we haven’t, and remember back to the green carpets, bright blue walls and fitted furniture as it was when we moved in.  I do dream of a day when it’s all finished though, and people walk through the door and say “Oooh your home is lovely”. One day!

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