One Last Post About Our Last House

Just for my own records so that I can look back at things on here, I want to share the estate agents images of our last house.

Its always interesting to see pictures of your house taken from another persons perspective. The agent that we used to sell our old house did not send a ‘professional’ photographer round (like some of the other agents used as a selling point for their services!) We used one of the cheaper online estate agents and the local expert did a decent enough job with her little compact camera.
old hose frontold loungeold dining roomold kitchen 1old kitchen 2old bedroomold bathroomold garden

We Are Still In Kent

If anyone was wondering, we still have not moved. We have not even exchanged contracts yet.

Rob and I had a really bad experience when we moved six years ago* and this time we were hoping that things would go smoother. We were pretty chilled out back in January when we started the selling process – fast forward to mid April and I am emailing our buyers, calling estate agents, responding to our buyers solicitor (who is an absolute nightmare to deal with) via our solicitor on a daily basis. I have broken out in cold sores below my eye (WTF?), cheek and nostril area. They don’t call them fever blisters for nothing!** I mean, how am I supposed to carry on with my international supermodel career with them on my face!!

Anyhoo, fingers crossed things will be wrapped up by the end of the month. If not, and it turns out that our buyers are wasting our time (like we are starting to suspect), then the house will go back on the market and we will start all over again!

This is how things are looking in our place right now!

Before. After trying and failing to sale our larger sofa on Gumtree we took it to the tip. We are just taking the smaller sofa and we eventually buy a new one.

Above before. After trying and failing to sell our larger sofa on Gumtree we took it to the tip. We are just taking the smaller sofa with us and we will eventually buy a new one for the future new house.

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Above how things currently look. The cat would not shift her bum, she is not usually allowed to go in the lounge during the day!

The lounge before again.

Above the lounge before again.

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We now have two huge (empty) bike boxes that our local bike shop let Rob take from their recycling in our lounge!

How things used to look in the dining room.

Above, how things used to look in the dining room.

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And how our dining room looks now.

Before.

Currently.

And finally, a glimpse into a room that I have not really shared on here, our third bedroom.  Over the years this room has been used as an oversized cupboard/dumping ground. We did eventually paint it white, buy some new curtains for it and carpet it. It is still being used as a oversized cupboard/dumping ground.

The spare bedroom. Pretty uninspiring stuff, eh!

 

*Last time we moved we were trying to buy another house on our estate. It took us over six months to find out that the seller was facing repossession and had no intention of selling us their house. All the time they had a buyer the bank would not take their house to recoup their debt. They were just using us to buy themselves some extra time. From the start we were lied to by estate agents, solicitors and the seller. Because of the delays we lost our first buyer on our house and over £700 in legal fees and surveys. I have a small amount of sympathy towards the seller and their financial problems, but they should not have dragged us into their sorry mess and wasted our time and money. As far as I am concerned they robbed me and still owe me £700! Anyway after almost a year of being packed up and ready to move, we managed to find another buyer (first time buyers rather than a investor like before which I was pleased about!) and eventually move to our current house.

 **I rarely suffer from cold sores and I only tend to get them every two years or so when I am under some serious stress (and its always when I move or am unsettled at work!) I think its because we are still battle scarred from our last move and we are nervous that things are going to fall through again! But if it does, it does. We got over it before and we will get over it again. Plus we have survived worse!

Hallway and Landing

I am really trying to not talk on here all the time about moving and house prices.

Oops – too late!

You try not to, but you do end up getting a little obsessed with it all, and it does kind of take over your lives. So I do apologise if I am being boring and repeating myself.

Although you could argue that being boring and repeating myself is my trademark niche in the blogging world haha!!!

Anyway, before we leave this house (which we have sold, but probably will not leave for a while as these things tend to take an age) I thought that I had better share some pictures of the rest of the work we have done.

Please forgive me for the quality of the photos. I had to use my crappy little bridge camera as Rob is out today and has taken his DSLR with him. So dark and grainy is what you are getting today. But not in all the before photos taken by Rob!!

Below is our upstairs landing and hallway. We painted it white, replaced the stair spindles, skirting boards, door frames, put new flooring down and carpeted it last year (around August/September or May time? I cannot remember?) and then finally started to hang some of our prints that had been patiently waiting to be hung for many years, in my much hoped for and planned stairway gallery.

We then decided to move and had to put a lid on the gallery, so that was the end of that!

Here are some photos of the upstairs landing and hallway when we were carrying out the work on it –

In the middle of paint stripping hell here (for Rob not me)

In the midst of paint stripping hell here

The good news was that the house still had its original 1950’s bannisters and spindles. The bad new was that there were a few missing and what remained were so damaged that they needed replacing. We used the nearest sized pieces of wood that we could find in the DIY stores (a few mm out from the originals – another reason why we replaced them all) and kept the original clean, simple look rather than use something more more Victorian-esq and ornate.

And we still need to give them another coat of gloss paint, but never mind that!stairs b4

The old carpet

The old carpet

The cat did use this as a short cut once or twice, but she is lazy and doesn't like to do any jumping and normal cat stuff too often!

The cat did use this as a short cut once or twice, but she is lazy and doesn’t like to do any jumping and normal cat stuff if she can help it!

And crappy skirting

The crappy skirting

more deets

More details

I am lucky that Rob is so good at DIY. He has his uses!

I am lucky that Rob is so good at DIY. He has his uses!

stairs 1stairs 2stairs 3stairs 4

With the replaced banisters

With the replaced spindles

And after the new flooring was fitted

And after the new flooring was fitted

Right thats enough photos of the DIY. Im sure you can appreciate that it was a dusty, messy process that was expensive and took blooming ages (tell me – why are we moving and doing all this again?!!) Here are how things look right now, or at least on a grey January day through the lens of a crappy camera.

A stairway to heaven?

A stairway to heaven? New spindles, carpet and my Hornsea plant pots on the window sill.

What prints we have hung and our lampshade

What prints we have hung and our bright orange lampshade which we are leaving behind (sob).

This is the worst photo ever. Even for me.

This is the worst photo ever. Even for me.

This one aint much better!

This one aint much better! And here is our lime green retro lampshade that we are also leaving behind (sob).

Here is our hallway. We are not replacing the crappy interior doors because, guess what? We are moving! I think that I might have mentioned before that we are moving one or twice? Maybe?

Here is our hallway. We are not replacing the crappy interior doors because, guess what? We are moving! I think that I might have mentioned once or twice before that we are moving? ….Maybe? But the good thing is that we are leaving them behind for the new owners!

I think that I might get Rob to take some fresh photos for me and update this post at some point in the future, so do check back! But for now these will have to do. Sorry again about that.

Some Stuff I Like

Below are some things that I don’t need, but I would like to fill my house with.
You know, just to clutter pretty it up a bit.

house wish list

 

 

Polyvore is such a great way to waste time is’nt it!

My set I created says the following about me – I am a crazy plant lady who since she has learnt how to keep houseplants alive (by actually watering them) wants to fill her home to the brim with them, who wants to put a bird on it, likes yellow and extremely expensive coffee tables. And doesn’t really have an eye for visual layouts.

We Got Our Baubles Out!

Yey, its Christmas eve’s eve and things are finally looking festive around Hel ‘n’ Rob towers! Yesterday we got our baubles out and finally put our decorations up! Is it blog worthy? Well, it has been a while since we last got ’em out and hung our baubles *cough 4 years cough* so why not!

I wang on here about how much I love the clean lines of mid century modern furniture and interiors, and I do try to emulate the MCM elegant style in my own home……so if you are expecting tasteful, stylish Christmas decorations, think again!

Basically it looks like someone has vomited a toyshop and a load of glitter in our house!

TreeHere is our massive tree (honestly, the photo above does not do justice to the true scale of the monster). We decided to assemble it in this corner of our lounge because it has two handy plug sockets. We then remembered that we needed to buy some new fairy lights. Oh well, next year maybe!santa babyNext, we have a massive toy Santa on our smaller sofa and behind him on the windowsill a sparkly owl and reindeer. I bought the giant Santa a few years back in the 75% off sale, plus with my staff discount and he worked out to be around £3.50! Boom! He is so soft and cuddly, I love him! Rob is not so keen.g plan xmas 13Next, we have our Gplan unit displaying our cards. We didn’t get many cards this year. We get less and less each year (although with the price of stamps, I don’t blame people). There are more cards on the top, not shown. This photo is a good opportunity to perv over some bookshelf porn, if that kind of thing floats your boat. It totally floats mine BTW.close up of toysHere is a close up of the toys on the unit. A mini Santa (same as the big one on the Sofa), a cute little bird and a deer decoration that I bought in Bruges. I do love Bruges. I sometimes do the day trip thing on the coach, along with all the OAP’s, to the Christmas markets and I really enjoy it. And thats coming from a girl who doesn’t really do Christmas. We never made it this year. Next year, maybe!fireplace at xmasNext we have our fireplace guarded by a snowman and Santa.Mr pot headThen on our TV stand we have our favourite Crimbo decoration Mr Potatohead, next to a little wind up Santa.Poppys stockingAbove we have Poppy’s stocking hanging on my snake plant. We don’t have a mantle piece so I had to improvise.  merry kitschmasThen in the dining room, on our sideboard, we have a mini black tree with my most kitschiest, tasteless decorations hanging on it. I have some baubles from Cathy K, the beer one I was admiring in TKMaxx (I just had to go back and buy it!), cupcakes and a bah humbug bauble at the top. On the side board we have kitschy deers bought in the sale from Paperchase (the tartan one was £1.40) and three of the kitschiest decorations ever from Paperchase, which my mum treated me to as an early Christmas pressie.crimbo duckThen finally, on the bathroom windowsill, we have our Crimbo rubber ducky!

So thats the full 2013 Christmas decorations tour. There is no theme in our house, and none of our decorations really match. But as Noddy Holder says “its CHRIIIISTMASSS!!!!” – who cares!

Have a good one readers! See you on the other side!

The Time Is Now

Following on from talking about our new geometric bargain bed linen on here. I have to share the other recent purchase that I treated our house to.

Remember back in February when I talked about how I was on the hunt for a starburst clock for the dining room? Here is the link to my thrilling blog post if not!

Since then I have been browsing EBay, and stalking my local chazzas on the hunt for one, to no avail. I came to the conclusion that I was never going to get my grubby mitts on a vintage one, as I would never pay the £120+ they seem to sell on EBay for.

My next best option was buy a brand new reproduction one. I casually toyed with the idea of buying one from here for £85, with my birthday money I received last month.

Again, I don’t think I have the stomach to pay that amount for a wall clock. Even if it is an amazing, retro style clock that would look perfect in our dining room.

clock

Sorry for the dodgy snap. I have got very lazy/half arsed recently about taking photos for my blog. Must try harder. When I can be bothered.

But look, I now have my very starburst clock! And I am well chuffed with it!

I found it in my local TK Maxx. I am not a huge fan of clothes shopping in general and TK Maxx is definitely not my favourite shop (its far too much effort all that rummaging!) But my local branch is next door to a DIY shop, so I normally quickly pop into there to avoid the fun of the usual boring DIY shopping tasks, like finding the right thickness in a piece of plywood or a certain sized galvanised screw etc.

I spotted the clock, but it had no price on it, or bar code, or packaging. It was the only one in the shop, so I took it to the till to see if they could find out how much it was for me.

I queued up, then waited patiently while the assistant went hunting for another, then asked her manager what to do, then spent 15 minutes phoning other branches to find out the price for me.

At this point Rob was calling me to ask where the f*** I was, but I was this committed to finding out the price of the bloody clock, I was determined I was going to walk out the shop carrying it.

Eventually, she informed me the price was £25. I ummed and ahhed about it, as I was hoping she would tell me it was £15 (dream on Helen!) The assistant could see I was hesitating (plus I think she was determined to sell this ruddy clock after all her effort) so she offered me a discount as it has a scratch on it.

Sold! So I paid £22 for a brand new clock which retails at £85! Cher-ching!

 

Clock Watching

I hope that I don’t come across like a ‘see all want all’ type on here, as I often post about stuff I like and wish for. I just want to share my thoughts and passion for mid century and vintage stuff on here. Last week I wanged on far too much about chairs, now I am going to babble on again about another item on my house wish list!

Believe it or not I am actually notoriously picky when it comes to furnishing our house. I don’t rush into making decisions and sometimes, when I finally make up my mind about something that I want for the house, like for instance our coffee table, it can take months or even years to find the item at the right price etc.

After all its not like you can drive to Ikea to pick up a 40+ year old piece of furniture, but I think the challenge of finding what you want and at the price you are willing to pay is quite fun! If a little frustrating and time consuming!

The next object on my wish list is for our dining room. We have pretty much finished decorating this room now that it has been carpeted, and there are only a few things holding me back from posting the room tour on here. Mainly that that we need to hang our pictures up. This is because we are saving up all of our prints to be framed in one go, as it is best to order made to measure frames in bulk online, the more you order the bigger discount you get! So we are going to do the whole lot in one hit. I cant wait!

I have talked about this before and I know exactly where this print is going to hang in the room. But one little detail about the room has been bugging me, the bare expanse of white wall above the sideboard.

I have played around with the future arrangement of our prints in my head, I have casually browsed around the Internet to see if there is another piece of art I would like to hang there. What I would love is more Tretchikoff ladies (originals please!), but I know Rob is not too keen on that idea. Sometimes I do have to rein it in and remember that this is his house too, and that he might not want quite as much tack in it as I do!

One thing I keep going back to is the idea of getting a starburst clock to hang above the sideboard. I now finally believe that after nearly three years of mulling it over, that yes, this is the best option for this wall, and yes, I do love them enough to spend around £45 on one (dream on Helen!) unseen on eBay and I will keep it for a very long time.

click on image for source

click on image for source

I have done a previous post on clocks on my blog before, and I know that I really don’t need another one. And yes, maybe I do have a bit of a fetish for mid century era clocks! But to me these are timeless (ha ha – pun intended!!!) pieces of good design, that really do stand the test of time!! (OK, I will stop now!!!)

You can buy one of these band new, but that is a bit more than I am willing to spend, and is a last resort option, if I give up after constantly getting outbid in auctions. Also, it would be nice to own an original vintage clock as the two others are reproduction.

So the hunt begins. I am in no rush, I will wait until I win one at the right price online or maybe I will have a lucky find in a vintage shop or chazza while I am out and about.

Wish me luck, it might take me some time!!! (Sorry, I just could’nt help myself with the stupid puns!!!)

all 3 poor quality pictures pulled from google images

all 3 poor quality pictures pulled from google images

Crimbo 2012

So we survived the Mayan apocalypse of 21/12/12, and what do you know, it seems I have finally twigged that Christmas is coming (that sneaky bloody Christmas gave me no warning yet again!)

I have enjoyed seeing other bloggers photo’s of their Xmas decorations, and I wanted to put together my own similar post. But this year for the forth Xmas in a row, we have decided not to bother with the decorations.

Let me explain why, its because we are currently having a major sort out of our loft and have started to rip out stuff and do the prep work to decorate our bedroom. So we are busy doing trips to the tip, selling stuff on Gumtree in our spare time and it just feels like its another chore we could avoid. Plus its so close to Xmas now, it will soon be all over and done with!

We delayed putting the tree up because of the carpets coming two weeks ago, after they were fitted we kinda liked our lounge as it was really, so we did’nt rush to do it. It felt special enough as we had waited two years for them!

Our previous excuses are – in 2009 we had packed up and were expecting to move house (although it turned out we did not move until March’10), in 2010 our house was a disorganised mess following the move, we were still half unpacked and living with the decorating’s dusty chaos. Last year in 2011, I was a bit fed up as I was leaving my job and wasn’t feeling very festive, but Rob did put just the tree up all by himself, to try and cheer me up.

What is festive in our house is xmas1

My Mum bought me it!

My Mum bought me it!

Mum treated me during our trip to Tunbridge Wells on Friday!

Mum treated me during our trip to Tunbridge Wells on Friday, it was in the sale already!

An early Christmas pressie from Mum and Dad!

An early Christmas pressie from Mum and Dad!

All bought for me by my Mum (she's the best!). Dunno why she got the bah humbug one!

All bought for me by my Mum (she’s the best!). Dunno why she got me the bah humbug one!

I did make a Christmas cake. Its the first ever one I have baked (I know, call myself a baker!) I used cutters that my mum lent me and it took me nearly 2 hours to decorate it, but I’m quite proud of it none the less!

Annoyingly it has aquired three small dents.

Annoyingly it has acquired three small dents. It was once perfectly smooth, honest!

Oh and Mum gave me the ribbon for the cake. Did you notice a theme? My parents are two of the most generous, caring people I know, and as well as that, my Mum really tries her best to make me more Christmassy! (She loves this time of year, she even has some Christmas cushion covers!)

I think the less fuss you make about Xmas the more “meh” you get about it as the years go by. Well that’s whats happened to me. Blame it on working in retail since the age of 16. Xmas music send shivers down my spine and gives me nightmarish flashbacks of working in hectic supermarkets and shops!

Next year we will put them up. I did once enjoy doing so when I first moved out of home many years ago. I am trying to force myself to not be too bah humbug, after all no one likes a grump this time of year!

Bah humbug merry Xmas to you all! see you on the other side!

Some Wall Art

Today I am going to share a small selection of the wall art we have chosen for our home. Finally it seems, I am getting into the swing of blogging about our house, which is what I intended this blog to be based on when I started it almost a year ago!

Let me start by saying that Rob and I are not ones for filling our wall space with framed photo’s of ourselves, as we both are very camera shy. We hate having our photo taken and cringe when we see images of ourselves tagged on Facebook. Come to think of it, we do not have that many mirrors in our home either. Nope, we definitely prefer to hang art on our walls instead of our seeing ugly mugs. Much more easy on the eye!

Click on image for source and more info.

In our lounge, hanging in pride of place, above our sofa is this print below by Airside. Rob bought me this for Xmas a couple of years’s ago, after I sent him a link (it benefits both of us to email gift orders to each other!) It then sat in a tube for a while, until we painted the lounge. Then we took it along to our local framing store to get a frame specially made for it. Framing pictures is pretty expensive business let me tell you! This print combines two passions for both of us – music and design. We were both fans of Lemonjelly’s music and packaging, back in the day.

Image from Artrepublic

Next, in our dining room I have a reproduction print of this image below. Now I love this print, I love all its kitschy ugliness, and again its a nod to my favourite era the 1950’s, coincidentally also when our house was built.

I did originally plan for our dining room to be just a black, white and yellow colour scheme, but  eventually I chose these curtains for it. In my mind the two products co-ordinate perfectly together and are made for each other!

I love the history behind the image too. Please click on this link to learn more about the artist who painted The Chinese Girl. Then on this link to read about the subject of the painting.

Image from John Lewis

 

And please do read this link to a great blog post about the art that adorned the walls of many a home in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Its funny that the blog post mentions Warhol, as patiently waiting in a cardboard tube, for me to spend a significant chunk of my wages on a frame for it, is a poster of this album cover, yet to be hung up in the dining room.

Is it a bit too much to have a huge yellow banana on your wall, a blue faced lady and dandelion clocks in the same room? Nah, more is more I say!

And Then There Was Carpet!

Apologies for the quality of the photos, when I finally get round to doing official room tours on here, I hope to have learnt how to use my camera (if not I will cheat and get Rob to take the the pictures with his fancy DSLR!) But on Saturday, after two years of bare concrete floors, we got new carpet fitted in the lounge and dining room! This now means that these two rooms are nearly finished, we just have silly little things to do, like frame and hang pictures!

This also means that after nearly three years of living here, we are almost done with decorating! We just have the small spare bed to do, our bedroom, and the hallway and landing.

Then carpet the rest of the house and get new internal doors and maybe a new front door, then landscape the back garden (a huge job) and maybe the front driveway, then move house!…….I joke, I joke! Nah, once that’s all done we can enjoy this house and not feel like we are living in a dusty building project! Whoo hoo!

Did you spot Poppy in picture 4? Well that little miss was taken straight to the vets on the very same day, to have her claws clipped.

Please do not think that we are cruel, but as she is lazy and spends roughly 22-23 hours a day sleeping, instead of doing normal cat things like going outside and scratching trees and fences so she has exceptionally sharp claws.

There is no way we are going to let that little monster ruin the new carpets (that’s my job as chief tea spiller!) So hopefully it was £15 well spent!

Unfortunately she is still attempting to claw them the little so and so!