13 April 2017

Love where you live

View from my studio today. Not bad for London.

9 April 2017

Family necklaces

I love making these little family heirloom pieces and haven't posted any on here for a while...

set with an opal birthstone

Set with a tiny sapphire

8 April 2017

My home renovations

It's just coming up to two years since I moved to King's River Cottage. Although there's still more to do here, it has changed a lot in that time. For all those who comment on IG how calm my house looks, I thought it might be nice to show you some of the transformation pics.

Estate agent sales brochure pics

When I bought this house it had a pine kitchen at the front of the house over looking the road (more of that to follow in another post). The back of the house was a big L shaped living room with a dining room at one end, and the sofa area at the other. It's walls were beige and it was carpeted in green.

This is the L shaped living area, looking in from the back of the house. By now I have already slapped white paint on the walls.

Looking from the dining end of the living space out towards the garden. It looks extra dark as the pic is taken towards the light, but this part of the room is always rather dull.


Before and after. Left: looking into L shaped living area. You can see a narrow hallway and a huge utility room (plus the very huge job-lot of solid wooden floor that I bought in the sale). Right: after knocking down the corridor and downsizing the utility room. Now you can see all the way to the garden.

My old house used to have a huge live in kitchen, and this worked really well for family life. I could cook supper while supervising homework. When I first saw this house, I knew it had potential to do something similar. This time I was doing the work myself (with help) and a very limited budget.

With the help of my friend's husband and my dad, the original doorway was bricked up, the three of us put a steel in, and then we demolished the big wall under it. (Here you can see the newly created stud wall of the smaller utility room). The day we knocked it down, not only had I done all the sledgehammer work, but the old utility room was full up with a mountain of bricks. The kids were due home from school just after 4 and I knew I had to move every single brick to restore a bit of normality before they got in. That was a very tough day - made slightly worse by the fact I hadn't thought about the time needed for a skip licence so I had to move them once to the front garden, and again a few days later into the skip. 

Starting to take shape. The floor was laid by me, plank by plank, and you can see some of the new kitchen stacked in place. When the kitchen was delivered, the lorry driver refused to come down our narrow road, so somehow I managed to single handedly get the entire kitchen down the road and into the house. 

There was a little delay while we broke through this bit of wall.

The first Christmas here, we had this interesting feature holding up the ceiling.

As you can imagine, there were times when I wondered if all this work, and all this disruption was worth it just to add a metre or so to a room.

Slowly the kitchen was taking shape, and yes, it was all worth it for that extra metre. This photo makes me laugh as you can see where I had done the floor as much as I could (I was still waiting for that other small bit of wall to be down) and I had painted - but not a bit where the plaster hadn't dried. I obviously couldn't wait!

I think this is the day the work surface went in, as I still don't have a tap or cooker. The kitchen was a cheap-as-chips on line purchase, with a lovely white quartz composite worktop to make something very cheap look more expensive. All the appliances were sourced on-line as cheap as I could find them, and I re-cycled the cooker that was here when I moved rather than buy a new one. The table was is 16 years old from Habitat and the chairs sadly are not originals.

One of the things I promised myself when I moved here was a wood burner. This sits down at the living area of the room. I wanted to have an exposed flue like this to maximise the heat radiating into the room. 

Frustratingly, I haven't got the photographic skills to catch the whole room well for you. But those two give you a feeling of how it looks now. I'm still short of the odd bit of skirting board and cornice in here, but I know I will get to them one day.

I'll show you what I did to the old kitchen in another post.

7 April 2017

Spring is here

Infact in London it feels like Summer is here, with temperatures this weekend expected to reach 23 degrees! The apple blossom is just about to burst into flower....