Without meaning to sound too “HOW quickly does time go?” it’s hard to believe its been two years since we had the bulk of the work done in our living room. After a few years of doing a bit here and there and getting sidetracked by other projects, I became determined that we had to get the big projects done if we were to get anywhere near a finished room.
That year we had the electrics reconfigured and the ceiling skimmed to replace the artex, the room was replastered from top to bottom, the new flooring of dreams was laid and we had alcove cupboards and shelves built. Admittedly it looked pretty bare by the end of 2018 and we didn’t bother with a Christmas tree but it was so satisfying to see the bulk of the major work behind us (oh how I miss a full-time salary that actually allowed us to pay traders to come and do all the things we can’t).
Fast forward a couple of years and I love this room so, so much. But I could also do with a bit of a shake sometimes to be reminded just how far we’ve come. So I thought I’d share 3 of my favourite projects here with a little look back.
Finding a home with a fireplace wasn’t a requirement but I DO love the central feature they create. When we moved in, the fireplace was an old gas one with the tap to the side that you turn on, the light a match throw it into the fire and hope for the best. When a chimney sweep came to clean out the chimney in our first year of living here, he advised that modern regulations meant the fireplace is now illegal which definitely reconfirmed my decision not to try lighting it.
I knew I wanted a log burner in place of the old gas fire and we currently live in an area where burning clean fuel is permissible. Now, I know that fires in general are quite a contentious issue and if we were to know then what we know now, we would have installed a bio-fuel fire instead. I’m quite sure at some point there will be new laws regarding the use of domestic fires and we’ll cross that bridge and make the adjustments we need to when it happens, not a problem at all. Last year it ended up being such a mild winter that we probably only lit it around 10 times but even unlit it’s such a stylish focal feature.
To install it, the fireplace had to be excavated back to what it would have originally been when the house was built (full disclosure we handed the entire job over to the professionals). It was noisy, it was messy, but it was so worth it. We chose a slate hearth and the HETA Inspire 45, a very clean burning, eco-friendly style. I wanted the biggest pane of glass we could find with quite a modern look and no branding or intricate iron work.
Above the fireplace we then fitted a beam from Traditional Beams to make the look more in keeping with the age of the house and fundamentally to have something to decorate at Christmas #priorities. The final step is to have the inside of the fireplace tiled, I’ve got the tiles but definitely don’t have the skills so fingers crossed we can find the perfect person for the job in the next month or so.
There was never any doubt in my mind that the carpet would not be staying. Now make no mistake I’m very grateful that it was at least inoffensive, it could have been a LOT worse. We knew we were definitely getting a puppy and I knew we were also getting a kitten (even if Pete wasn’t enamoured with the idea initially). So we were fully prepared for the carpet to take the hit of baby animal toilet training and that once we got through that phase, out with the carpet and in with the wood.
I’m sure so many people thought we were slightly mad to invest in a parquet floor when we have a cat and a dog but honestly, it’s totally game changing. It’s so much easier to keep clean than the carpet ever was and so much more hygienic too since it doesn’t harbour smells and dirt in the same way. I’m also surprised how much warmth it adds to the room – a few people said that wood will make the room feel a lot colder than carpet but it’s genuinely not the case.
So if you are on the fence about whether to put wood floor down and have reservations, I’d say go for it. It’s been almost two years now and it look as goo as new to me. It will almost certainly have a few surface scratches but nothing noticeable and to be honest to me that all adds to the lived-in authentic look rather than the modern addition.
Originally there was nothing either side of the chimney breast and over the time that we’ve lived here, the right was always home to the TV on a glass stand (ugh CABLES EVERYWHERE) and the left one has had various versions like DVD cabinets and side tables. Are DVD cabinets even a prominent piece of furniture anymore or does everyone just keep everything online now?
We agreed that cupboards on either side and then shelves on the left would be perfect to make the most of the space and thankfully our very clever neighbours built them for us. The cupboard on the right side keeps what we have left of our DVDs as well as the playstation and Sky box so it can all be tucked neatly away. We have an internal adjustable shelf and also internal plug sockets so the cable from the back of the TV just feeds down through a hole in the top.
On the left side we have bits and bobs for the fire like kindling, my mega candle collection and blankets. We’ve also got the same adjustable shelf and internal plug sockets and they feel like they were always meant to be there.
The wallpaper is one of my FAVOURITE features, I didn’t know until after the shelves went up that wallpaper was the right decision and then I saw a pattern which was so beautiful and perfect for the green walls. I’m sure our decorator was thrilled that he then had to wallpaper around the shelves that were already up 😊
Of course I love ALL the changes we’ve made but I think these three are probably the ones which either really add a practical use to the room, act as a focal point or have been things that I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. That “ROOM FINISHED” klaxon is inching ever closer.