Rain, Hail and Shine
For the last few weeks, the wind has been howling through the hallways of This Old House. As the rain soaks the ancient timbers, the guilt creeps in. I feel like a very poor custodian of this beautiful building. As we knew it would, the weather has turned against us and the builders have been seeking shelter in a few indoor projects elsewhere.
I just want to wrap the whole place in tarpaulin, and whisper an apologetic, “I’m sorry. I promise it will be ok.” I’m looking at the sodden old wood of the original floors feeling heartbroken. These are the hard yards. This is the point in the project where we start to seriously question why we ever took on this mammoth task. The bills are starting to mount up, there are very few dry days and precious little light, meaning that next to no progress is being made.
It feels like we are destroying more than restoring This Old House. I’m definitely considering lifting most of what is left of the floors myself just to preserve what little original features still survive. To be honest though, it is such a depressing thought to be lifting floors with the wind and rain beating down on you that I just can’t face it. So, instead of braving the elements and risking double pneumonia on our building site, I’ve been cheering myself up with a spot of retail therapy.
I’m not sure how long the little house icon has sat at the bottom of my Facebook page. Has the whole world known about Facebook marketplace forever or are there some of you out there who are yet to discover its joys? I have yet to sell anything on marketplace (although I plan to put that right with a major clear out ahead of Christmas). Buying, on the other hand, I have been doing plenty of!
I’m a big fan of recycling, whether it be clothes, toys, fabrics or furniture. It’s one of the reasons I am passionate about old buildings. I would much rather rescue something well-made and give it a new lease of life than throw it away and start again. You can find out more about our previous purchases here.
Of course there is a risk in buying items for a house that is far from ready. I’ve been planning the colour scheme for such a long time that I may well grow weary of everything before a lick of paint ever hits the walls.
With that in mind, I’m trying not to let my purchasing of pre-loved household goods get out of control- but then that little house icon keeps on winking at me! With everything else to do with This Old House looking bleak and dank, browsing through other people’s treasures is helping me to stay sane.
Only the Best Will Do
I have managed to pick up some 100% silk curtains from marketplace in the lemon and grey combo I love. I’ve been a fan of yellow and grey together for as long as I can remember and used it in the master bedroom of The Old Manse (you can check out our previous refurbishment here). I’ve had this colour palette in mind for so long that I’ve almost grown tired of it but I think it will make the family room in This Old House feel cosy.
These beauties were taken from the Fitzwilliam Hotel. It can be terrifyingly expensive to dress the windows of a Victorian house as they are usually much larger than the standard sizes that pre-made curtains are sold in. So, when I saw fully lined silk curtains with a 90 inch drop for £28, I had to have them. My poor mother had the unenviable job of making curtains for the enormous bay window of the drawing room in our last property. I’m hoping if I speak very nicely to her she’ll be up for the challenge of adjusting these panels to fit our living room.
With no real house to furnish, it does seem like a temporary madness has come over me but there is a little method in my pre-loved spending spree. One of the main considerations in our renovation and actually our primary reason for moving from The Old Manse was lack of storage. During our last renovation project, I made the mistake of taking out a huge hot press to make the bathroom bigger and add a double shower. As soon as the first of our three kids came along, I regretted that decision. That glorious double shower was used about ten times in as many years whereas a good laundry cupboard would have been used every day.
One of the biggest boards on my Pinterest account is my “hallway” board, or should I say the “mud room” section of my hallway board. Not that I see it built, the space we have in the rear hallway of the house is limited and dreams of a spacious mud room were probably a little over-ambitious. We do need somewhere to hang coats and hide school bags though so when I saw a cute upcycled monks bench for a very reasonable price I snapped it up. I’m planning to get the charcoal grey chalk paint out to update it.
I do also buy some shiny new things occasionally. On a recent trip to Ikea (where I had planned to buy nothing but a roll of craft paper for the kids) I spotted these gorgeous coat hooks. They are a tad too big to add to the monks bench but I’ll get them in somewhere even if they just go up on the wall or the back of the bedroom doors.
It might be the best part of a year before my kids are throwing their school bags into my monks bench as I sit in the living room admiring my curtains, but, getting these wee bargains has cheered up the dull November days. It has helped me to keep my eyes pealed for the speck of light that I keep hoping will appear at the end of the tunnel.