Monday, 28 February 2011

Romancing the home

Yeah! We made an offer on the tumble down house, and after 3 days of faffing about trying to scrape extra money out of thin air, we managed to stretch ourselves to an offer the owners deemed reasonable. So, the next day we (our family) and our extended family, all jumped in our cars and went to the house to look around (the poor estate agent!) We all got rather excited and the neighbouring house's curtains twitched so frequently I wondered if they were in fact trying to communicate by semaphore?

The house was just like I remembered, Tall, narrow, pale and full of potential but falling apart of the seams everso slightly...think like a vintage dress that has been loved but is just starting to look tatty enough to that. I love it. The garden is glorious and overgrown and the house is a time warp, slightly innocent looking but there is a proudness hidden under the tired old wallpaper and paint.

Upstairs there are 3 good sized bedrooms, two at the back with no carpet and radiators, plaster so cracked it could be a secret map of the london underground and some gorgeous old 1920s floral nets which will be taken down and dyed minty green and put up in my kitchen as curtains/door panels. The kitchen is a place that time forgot, the floor is sunken and the walls all over theplace with badly boxed in pipes and layer upon layer of floral wallpaper peeling back like the pages of an old, wet Laura Ashley catalogue.The poor excuse for a bathroom standls lonely just outside the kitchen walls, with only a narrow hallway to connect it, within the narrow hallway are old school hooks for coats and a gorgeous old bakelite light switch..I will be keeping that. The size of the bathroom..ok, wet room (there is no bath) isn't great but it will do for now, do for drying clothes when no one is, showering and for washing the dog in - grubby little boy., but it will do and I have grand grand plans for it one day!

Today I have had some luck, a lovely lady was Freecycling a kitchen dresser, so of course I emailed her right away and it turns out she is also getting her kitchen removed today, she offered it to me and I have snapped it up. Not bad for one afternoon of Freecycle trawling. I hope to find a lovely colour paint, paint the units (if they aren't up to scratch - which they might be) and then go on the hunt for a nice work top for cheap or free! I like the idea of covering the one that is already in there with copper sheeting, it is such a cool look.

I also now have to think about my littlest son's new I had a quick search online and ended up finding this rug! (see above) Now what could be cuter than that! Then I thought about what I could do in there and my mind is going wild with ideas..I just can't wait. I know I could be jumping the gun a bit as there are stumbling blocks with regards to the sale, like the survey (it has to value the house at what we will be paying) and the mortgage company definitely saying yes...but these aren't things I am going to worry about ..I will go mad
So to combat madness I am now going out to look for some cute fabric to make hoop wall art for a room, whichever room suits the fabric I find..Will update with more news as soon as I know!
Woo-hoo, keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck!

Thursday, 24 February 2011


So, as promised, we (our little family) expanded by one. Little fyfe is here and growing bigger by the day, this pleases me as he is such a bonny, happy boy. Full of smiles and love for all. Big brown eyes and pale, milky skin..he looks fragile.

He has taken really rather well to sitting with me in the lounge and hearing the clickedy clack of the knitting needles and the dulcet tones of Kate Walsh and her lovely album 'Peppermint Radio' Listen to it on Spotify! It is full of beautiful covers of old songs that have her magical, fraglie touches..I love her voice and the simplicity of her music. It is just perfect.

Anyway, my young man, he has a smile for everyone and loves a cuddle, what more could you want from such a handsome boy. The rest of our little clan is happy and keeping well, which pleases me as good health is something you really ought not ever take for granted.

This week an exciting new prospect poured over the horizon like sunshine coming up over a gloomy old hillside..

Now we are expanding as a little family, He, my lovely man..(soon so be husband, how weird is that!) told me that we really ought to get on and get this house we are living in, cleaned up and sold. So, me being me (impatient and always on the hunt for a bargain) had a little look for a house and found myself a little house that needed a lot of work but just so happened to be in our price we book to see it and then decide we really aren't in the right place to look at it so we decide to cancel and go looking later on in the year.

So, some time ticks on and a nice chat with my dad results in us looking again..and guess what, the house is still on the market. So last weekend we went to look at it. It's falling apart really, no kitchen to speak of, it still has the original 1920s coal-fulled range cooker, it has no kitchen floor, a bathroom the size of a postage stamp and it hasnt been decorated in 50 years..but it has a charm.

Now, it may be true that I am a bit of a snob, but I am not too big for my boots and not too proud to build a life from scratch..afterall, you can't depend on the kindness of your parents your entire life.

So I looked into this is an ex-council house built in 1926, it was built under the 'Homes for Heroes' scheme, which was a scheme made by local councils to provide affordable housing for the wives and children whose husbands has been sent off to the first world war and either been killed or wounded so badly that they couldn't afford to work. These families were left with nothing and the end result was the government building houses for these families to rent. Now fast forward some 90-ish years and here I am, a woman looking to house my family..we may not be war heroes but I am in love with the idea that lost in time somewhere is this beautiful idea and this wonderful tumbledown house could just be right.

Perhaps living on an ex-council estate in a tumbledown house is brave or stupid, but I have decided to keep a diary of it, the sourcing of free or cheap items, the renewing of such an old building..the will be cool to keep not only my work updated here but also my family and home updated too and perhaps one day it will be useful or interesting to someone else in the same position? - who knows.

What I do know is I am nervously awaiting the estate agent to call me back with the news of my offer, will it have been accepted or declined, the first was declined yesterday...not a great feeling but it could be we have gone in, all guns blazing with a new shiny offer and now we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope they say yes..then it is all go, a life of sourcing new kitchens and bathrooms and garden items from Freecycle, Ebay, car boots, jumble sales and the tip! This house will strip us of every penny, so what fun to see how we can make it better for cheap or even free..keep your fingers crossed!