Two of my friends have recently purchased homes and have been busy painting and buying furniture. I mentioned to them that Lucy and I have only just painted the first room in our house, having moved in December 2019. I guess you could say that the pandemic put a lot of things on hold! In any case, I realised that I’ve never done a house update on my blog and we are in our second summer here. To be honest, we haven’t done a huge amount in terms of DIY, but there are a few projects which are coming together that I thought I would share. So without further ado, here is my home DIY update for 2021!
Other than the projects listed below, the “house” items I’ve recently purchased are: a new microwave to replace our rusted-out 2012 one, a new kettle to replace one which broke less than a year after purchase (rage!), and a new dishwasher because the integrated one that came with the house stopped working. I have since learned it also wasn’t installed properly, which is partly why it broke! I’m the type of person who likes to keep something as long as possible, and I hope new legislation on right to repair helps consumers. Companies should be mandated to make more durable products, and ensure that it is efficient and cost-effective to repair rather than having to replace appliances.
In the middle of the first lockdown in 2020, I found myself with time on my hands and wanted to tackle the roller blind in the bathroom. It was a coated plastic fabric and had lots of mildew spots on it. I made a DIY cleaning solution I found on Pinterest and unfortunately, it left water stains; it also didn’t remove the mildew. I really wanted to replace the blind last year, but Lucy was unsure of whether or not she could drill into the bathroom tiles. The last thing we wanted was to take the old blind down, blow the tiles and plaster, and find ourselves without any blind. This project ended up being put on hold until we could arrange for a blinds company to fit a new blind. We went with faux wood PVC Venetian blinds because they are moisture and mildew resistant.
The second set of blinds we had installed on our French doors in the dining room. As you can sort of see in the photo with Wilbur looking out the window, the heavy floor-length curtains were tied in a knot. This is because after every meal Wilbur would go and start pulling on the curtains, damaging them and risking the curtain pole being pulled out of the plaster. We decided that blinds that could be pulled down to half height would work best. These are clip-in blinds from Hillarys and they are wonderful! They let in so much more light than the heavy curtains, and are very easy to raise and lower. The blind fitter was at our house for about an hour and both sets of blinds came in at around £500 including installation. Two small changes that have made a world of difference!
Updating the Fences
Our property has three fences, two which belong to us, and one which belongs to our neighbour. Earlier in the year, our neighbour had our adjoining fence repaired as it had been dangerously wobbly in the winter storms. Some of the fence posts were rotten and needed replacing. That fence is now sturdy and in good condition.
The fence on the other side of our property was in desperate need of new paint. The problem is that it’s a huge project painting the gate and fence, both in terms of time and cost. Last September, Lucy and I painted the outside of the fence, and in early summer Lucy continued painting the inside fence panels. The only part we have left is one panel at the back of our property, which is hidden by our apple tree, and the inside of the gate. Our advice to anyone who is looking to build/replace a fence is to avoid painting/staining it. Go for a clear protector, a natural finish, or a non-wooden fence, and save yourself a hassle!
Painting the Second Bedroom
Our original plan was to do up the second bedroom in time for friends to visit in the early summer of 2020. Obviously that didn’t happen, and our need for a guest room turned into a low priority. Lucy used the second bedroom as a temporary workspace, and beyond that, it’s where we hang our laundry. Nevertheless, we would like to have somewhere for guests to stay eventually, and we felt that the second bedroom would be a good tester room to try out paint. Our intention is to find one off-white shade which we can use in most of the house since “sad mushroom” isn’t our preferred shade. You can see in the image below how many off-white shades we tried before settling on the white white.
We went with clay white from earthborn, which is a clay-based low VOC paint. Lucy did the painting and she said that it applied well, and has a nice finish. Plus, there is no off-gassing, and the water-based paint is safe to go down the sink. If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly paint brand, I suggest checking them out.
Once Lucy and I decide on a colour for downstairs, I think the next project will be to paint the dining room, and then progress to the living room. We have big plans for some wallpaper, and maybe even a feature wall so watch this space! When we eventually finish the second bedroom, I’ll certainly share an update.
For more home-related posts see:
- Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Changes to our House
- We Bought a House!
- Selling and Buying a House in the UK: Part 1