I spent yesterday ‘upgrading’ our living room curtains, a job I’ve been putting off for months. M has never really liked curtains, we have roman blinds in the rest of the house but I persuaded him, some years ago, into allowing flat sheets ‘pegged’ onto a thin wire line (courtesy of Ikea) in the bay window as blinds would have cut out too much light. He’s grown used to these enough for me to now properly line them, add some buckram and generally upgrade them to proper curtains. I hate sewing curtains. Still it’s done now and it helps keep the cold out (and our bills down), but it reminded me of a post I started a couple of years ago and never published. To add some context to below, we have now completed all the building work in our house, although there is still a fair amount of decorating to do.
Written June 2010
I have been making an attempt to clear through my iphotos as it’s all getting a bit out of control and with the final stages of our house build nearly there I find myself viewing our lovely home through all its stages. I am amazed how far we have come and actually quite proud of what I am prepared to put up with, without too much moaning, and thought it might be nice to do a photo round-up, perhaps even to dispel any ideas that we live in a pristine home. As the title suggests, I’m starting with the living room.
Spring 2006. This is our first house viewing. I appreciate I look miserable in the middle photo, but we were in fact super happy having realised, whilst sitting outside waiting for the estate agent to arrive, that we knew we were going to live here. We felt the same way about our last home, even before going inside, it was right.
The house was even more filthy than it looks, empty for months, with rotten windows, no heating and full of insects, both dead and alive; but with the potential for an extension on the side, and into the attic plus it being a non listed building (our last home was Grade II), it was perfect.
August 2006 after we had moved in. I say ‘we’ but M was conveniently away with work for 2 weeks so I moved us, skipped the carpets and scrubbed the house on my tod with F still only crawling…it was pretty yucky. As you can see, I washed everything down (woodwork and walls) and laid a temporary lino that we knew we’d have to live with for some time, as it turned out, some years.
Early 2007, removing the wall between the two downstairs rooms. The back room was very small and had little natural light, the front room had the lovely (sadly rotten!) wide bay window and would eventually have an opening leading into the kitchen on the left. By now, I am pregnant and we are staying with my sister, having moved to hers for only 6 weeks in the Autumn of 2006 (we had planned to be back home in time for Christmas 2006!), however we stayed for 6 months. We are still talking.
Spring 2007. As you can see I am now hugely pregnant (and for some reason wearing shades of khaki – I think I’d given up on my appearance by this point). We have just moved back in, the walls are still wet from recently being plastered, the front window is boarded up as it had to be re-built with new steel above it and a new window put it and Mr C is soon to make an appearance…what fun! You may also notice the lino being re-laid thanks to the idiot builders cutting the other ‘temporary’ floor up, despite my telling them repeatedly it was to stay.
When I first came home with Mr C, we had only been back home a few weeks and there was still no glass in the bay window. Above, the boards finally came down, giving us a glimpse of sun, a truly glorious moment. As you can see it’s still total mayhem but at least we are back in our own home (C is hanging out in his car seat on the table – where did the time go!!).
The large black plastic area is covering a hole in the wall created to make an entrance to the new extension/kitchen, which at this point is being built, whilst we make do with a narrow temporary kitchen in the back ‘hallway’. The original staircase, with its dog-leg turn still lands in the back of the room, stopping us from taking any large pieces of furniture upstairs, so our living space is still very crowded.
June 2010 with the new oak floor laid and drying (over a fabulous underfloor heating electric system called Ecofilm, which I highly recommend), finally loosing that cheap plastic ‘lino’. This was a huge leap in the building work for us. Although, at this point we had been living in a largely finished home for some time, with most of the upper floors plus new kitchen completed (apart from decorating, which is ever ongoing), we had to wait until the back hallway was re-built, complete with new stairs and the old stairs removed from the living room before we could lay flooring and heating. We’d made do for some years with an open fire and plug-in heaters.
October 2012. And this is today. Actually this is yesterday, today I have a sick child laying on the sofa, or at least the half he hasn’t vomited on…again!
I’ve been putting off publishing this post for so long because I keep forgetting to take photos of the living room when it’s tidy. I realised that’s never going to happen, and it would feel a bit of a lie anyway, so here is it in its raw state. As you can see we have one too many sofas, due to getting a new one last winter (from sofa.com) but not actually getting rid of the old leather one. It serves wonderfully as a place to dump huge piles of ‘stuff’ 😉 We don’t really use the back area of the room, it originally had a large table there for dining, but as we have a smaller table in the kitchen we use daily and I nicked the lovely trestle one for my work desk it has become a space the boys play in.
We had shelving built-in on either side of the fireplace, earlier this year to house some of our large book collection and on the other side, the TV. The room is painted in my favourite colour, Farrow & Ball ‘Slipper Satin’.
This is my favourite piece of furniture, it was made by my Gran’s family and has followed me around my homes for years. M used to hate it, he doesn’t like being ‘tied’ to things, especially large furniture style things, where as I am hoarder and love objects of any kind that I can make a connection with.
Apart from some of the boys school projects lurking in the corner, you may notice a huge basket of Brio, this is normally laid out over the floor as the world’s largest train track, complete with lego embellishments (streetlights, houses, bridges, you name it). In this sense the above photos are a lie, I did take them on a day just after I’d hoovered, hence the tidy floor. This is very much a family home and C loves to build and we often have drawings, train sets etc cluttering up our floors that have to be stepped over. I am quite relaxed in that sense, possibly a bit too much so, hence my regular comments re our messy home.
There are lots of ‘in progress’ bits, such as this pouffe, made by my Gran which is waiting to be covered and most of the room already needs re-painting.
We have recently bought quite a bit of furniture from made.com, including this coffee table (the rug is from John Lewis). I had hoped to show you quite a few details of the room, such as my favourite prints and cushions but I fear this is already a very long post. I’m not sure how interesting it is to look at someone else’s house, at least not in this detail, but I hope it hasn’t been completely boring. I just think it gives context to me and my family life. I love our home, but we went through a lot to create it, nearly 4 years of builders on and off in all, and there’s still plenty to do. We’re nearly there though so I hope to show you a bit more in time, maybe in shorter posts!!