About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A little decorating, while we're at it

Many house renovation projects tend to expand as other tasks get drawn in, While we're at it. So it is with the heating project. Having moved all the furniture out of a room and replaced the floorboards, the obvious thing to do is redecorate before moving the furniture back in. At the very least, floor covering of some kind must be laid. Here is the carpet we used to have in the dining room:

The dining room before we took the floor up

This carpet is not to our taste and besides which, does an extremely good job of hiding anything that's dropped on it, including pieces of dead mice, later to be found by stepping on them. We decided not to put this carpet back down.

Our kind neighbours had some Flotex going spare which they generously gave us. Before getting to the floor, though, it seemed like a good idea to give the room a fresh coat of paint.

We thought this paint was closer to the old colour. Oh well, we like the result.

There was just one more thing to do before laying the flooring. Whilst the new heating boards were the same thickness as the old old floorboards, the new old boards (distinction between the old part of the house - floorboards possibly 200 years old - and new extension - floorboards 30 years old) were thinner, so some padding would be required where the two met. Furthermore, the difference seemed to vary throughout the room. I've no idea how this happened. In some places the difference was about 3 mm, which turns out to be roughly the thickness of cork tiles, in other places less. I used a mixture of cork tiles (spares from the old bathroom floor, left in the house) and lino from the kitchen.

Bits of lino and cork used to level the floor

Now to the flooring...

Pebble supervises the laying of the flotex flooring

Sorry for the poor quality of these pictures, we've been a bit short of daylight lately. I don't seem to have a picture of the room when it was finished. We furnished it with slightly less furniture than we'd taken out of it, and it was lovely for a while. Then about a month later we decided to reclaim our bedroom. We were expecting friends to stay for the weekend and felt that it would be good to have our bed in the same room as our wardrobe so we didn't have to wander the house in search of underwear. At this point we had to take the rest of the stuff out of the bedroom, so the dining room isn't quite so tidy any more.

We'd like to redecorate the bedroom at some point, but for the time being it's OK, so a new look for the bedroom will have to be a future project. I suspect that will disappear into the distant future, but (because) it's not that important. I mean, how much time do we actually spend in the bedroom and conscious? We just put back the old carpet - perhaps should have been more careful about not folding it while it was up - and put the bed, blanket chest and chest of drawers back in there.

That left the spare room more-or-less clear for decoration. Step 1: Clear out last few things. Step 2: Strip wallpaper. Step 3: Recoil in horror at the extent of the black mould behind the wallpaper.

Mouldy wall

Actually I didn't recoil all that far. I'm getting used to mould - it's everywhere at the moment. I did try scrubbing it off, with some success, but it was still pretty grubby by the time I'd finished. The brush I used was completely worn away by then, too, so any failure wasn't for want of effort. Ian went into town to buy paint while I got started with some white paint we already had. We'd discussed colours and agreed on white for three walls and primrose yellow for the fourth. Would you trust your partner to bring back the right paint colour? I even got out the wildflower book to show him what colour primroses are...

After extensive application of a polyfiller/paint mix to cover the dark patches, the white paint went on well enough. Ian's choice of yellow was influenced by experience with the dining room, when the colour ended up lighter than we'd expected. That yellow was a bit much! I mixed in some white for the second coat and the result was very nice. And some point during this process we'd gone out and bought - yes, actually paid for - new carpet. It's cheap, felt-backed carpet, so not too much insulation against the underfloor heating, and it's purple, not that you can really see it from the picture below...

The finished room, partly furnished.

This may be the spare bedroom, but it also has to serve as the music room and craft room. It now also contains futon, desk, treadle sewing machine, spinning wheel and fabric cupboard. There wasn't enough room for the guitars and I haven't yet worked out what to do with a second stash of fabric that I came across the other day. The built-in cupboard in the corner is now full of sewing and knitting things, which frees up a drawer in the dining/room study for various computer-related bits of wire, which reduces the amount of crap we have sitting about the place. It's very satisfying to have proper homes for things!


  1. It's very satisfying having a good tidy out - for me it somehow feels like I am back in control :)

    Have you thought about wall hanging the guitars?

  2. Yes, that's the feeling - control! When I don't know where anything is I feel so helpless.

    We have indeed thought about wall hanging the guitars, or at least the one in the photo. We even got as far as buying the fixings for the wall. That must be six or seven years and two houses ago, now! We don't have wall space for all five of them, but we do have a nice stand for them that I've put in the sitting room.

  3. Looks lovely - and so much fun stuff in one room!

    We had some similar bit-of-dead-mouse-disguising carpet in our dining room here so I COMPLETELY understand why you had to change it. The purple looks fab!

  4. That old dining room carpet of yours looks just like the carpet we've got in our sitting room. We purposely chose it to disguise the mess the children make and it's still going strong 12 years later!And,yes, we do keep treading on things because we can't see them, not helped by the lack of natural light,either.

  5. We are discovering that the flip side of having a carpet that doesn't hide things is that it shows the dirt more. I'm not sure I'll clean it any more often, though.


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