bedtime stories

Boy do we love our bed. It’s served us well. We bought it when we moved into our first unfurnished flat about 9 years ago. It’s a super king size (that’s big) with a firm, memory foam mattress. But… it takes up too much space in this room and looks daft.


So it’s going on Gumtree. Let’s see if we can get a few quid towards a new one. Along with it are the bolt-on bedside tables and the matching chest of drawers.

For now we’re using the guest bed and various bits of furniture to replace the bedside tables. I totally get the mismatched but also artfully paired furniture look so many vintage and scandi homes do so well… but this is just whatever we have cobbled together. It’s not exactly a ‘look’. This bed is a standard double with a standard mattress. I was expecting we’d get in each other’s way after years of acres of space, but so far there’ve been no turning-over-in-the-middle-of-the-night mishaps. And neither of us has fallen out of bed. Though my back would like my firm mattress back.

bedroom with guest room furniture

This weekend we’ll be swapping the woefully inadequate slatted blinds for blackouts so we can sleep past 6am, and add gauzy curtains for privacy when the blinds are up.

Next task here is to renovate the old chest of drawers so we can start using it. Then we’ll turn the shelving in the built-in cupboard into hanging rails for a temporary wardrobe. We could do with some pictures on the walls, too.

Long term we’ll get a new bed and bedside tables plus a substantial wardrobe built into the alcove.  For now, though, this is it. Other, more pressing projects, come first.

pick a colour, any colour

I have tested a million colours so far. OK, I’ve tested, um, 9 colours. Which is probably 5 too many.

I wanted to keep a common thread through all of the downstairs, so it flows from one room to the next. It’s a small house (have I mentioned that yet?) so I think keeping everything the same main colour would link the rooms rather than making it feel like a run of very small rooms.

I’m really into grey. I’ve seen beautiful images of softest, powdery greys looking cosy and welcoming. Dark, moody bluey-greys looking dramatic and setting off any object you put near it.

So I tried  pale, soft greys. Easy to live with, they’re acceptable in every room, from living room to bathroom. But the living room is dark and feels poky. Even a pale colour isn’t going to make it feel light and airy. There’s only one window and it gets very little direct light. Upstairs the same size room but with two windows feels airy and spacious, so we know it’s a problem of light, not physical size. So, working on the premise that you should go with what you’ve got, I decided to go ‘cosy’ in the living room, and stick to my pale greys everywhere else. I went back to those dark and dramatic colour schemes I remembered from Houzz and Pinterest. And then I convinced booyaa it would work.

When I tried what I thought would be the perfect warm, multi-tonal  grey I was so disappointed. It looked drab and flat. I tried a dusty purple which I thought might be like our bedroom and look grey with purple undertones. Nope. Mid-tone rather than dark grey? Muddy. Eventually I tried some darker ‘clean’ greys. I thought a grey with a warm tone would work better than a bluish grey in our cold, dark living room. But that was my mistake. The dark, moody, steely grey looks beautiful. Very chic, not the least note of muddy. And bold, I’ll wager, once it’s on a full wall. It could also shrink the room even more, which will be, um, challenging. Oh the antici….pation.

Then there was the conundrum of the woodwork and how to move from one room to another. Can I get away with bringing the skirting board colour right through the downstairs as a way of keeping a link? But what do you do in the hallway, where two rooms come together. You can’t stop painting halfway through an architrave. GAH. How do people cope with this? It feels like I’m playing KerPlunk. One false move and it all falls apart.

It’ll be a few weeks before we get painted but I’ll post pics as soon as it’s all done. (I should have put the video here, right?)

first look

House tour of photos taken on Day 0.

Moving day! Oh my goodness, the nerves. We’d left the movers to pack up the last few boxes at the old house and walked, via a greasy spoon for second breakfast, to the new house. Our house. And we walked in to this tiny little two up-two down. What we loved about it seemed hard to find in its cold, empty state. Didn’t help that the carpet smelled of cat pee. Eeewwww.

I was stressed and panicking that we’d made the worst decision of our lives.

day0 back garden

day0: back garden

day 0 living room

day 0: living room

day 0 dining room

day 0: dining room

day 0 kitchen

day 0: kitchen

day 0 bedroom 1

day 0: bedroom 1

Then the movers filled every square inch of space with boxes. Some of the furniture didn’t fit where I’d planned for it to go.

More panic!

day 0 bedroom, after

day 0: bedroom, after

day 0 kitchen and dining room after

day 0: kitchen and dining room, after

And now the hard work begins. Phone for a takeaway, because I can’t find the cutlery.


foot in the door

We bought a house! Years of saving, moving away from London because we couldn’t ever afford to buy a house there, and a slow but steady erosion of ideals have culminated in the purchase of a tiny little Victorian terraced house in Colchester.

The house we’ve bought is a 2—3 bed mid-terrace. There’s no front garden and there’s no hallway, you go from pavement to front door to living room. It’s a small house, with all the main rooms measuring 3.3×3.3m. That’s quite small. Especially when we’ve lived in a house where a 4-seater sofa didn’t look out of place. After the living room there’s a gap, you couldn’t call it a hallway, which leads up to the stairs. Then the dining room, with a door out to the back garden and a big understairs cupboard. The kitchen is tiny, with not much space for food, pans or cooking. There’s a back lobby, which I’ve discovered is very common in this part of the country, and it’s currently used for the fridge-freezer on one side and the washer on the other. The bathroom is the last room you come to on this floor.

The stairs cut horizontally across the house, so at the top of the stairs you turn left for the main bedroom, which has two windows, a cast-iron fireplace and a built-in cupboard. To the right there’s a second bedroom, with a window over the garden and a door into the tiny third bedroom. This would be great as a nursery, but it’s not private, since it’s only accessible from this room.

Outside the garden is entirely enclosed by fencing. There’s a large shed and a gate out to the back pathway that cuts along the back of all the gardens along the terrace. The garden is currently covered in several inches of coarse gravel making it really awkward to walk on. You sink as you crunch.

And that’s how it is as we move in.