Every Home is a Castle

Fireplace Reveal

One of the things we were most excited about when we purchased this house was the big characterful fireplace in the living room. When we viewed our property the fireplace had a huge log burner in that was hiding the mess that was the wall behind it (there’s something to add to the checklist next time!). When we moved in sorting out the fireplace wasn’t necessarily a priority, but as we painted the living room and added custom furniture, such as our geometric coffee table, it stood out as a bit of an eyesore:



Fireplace - before

Granted, these photos were taken just before Simon started work on the fireplace, but you can see the visual eyesore that a big grey hole in our living room was causing.

Before we could freshen up the fireplace the back and sides needed to be re-screeded. To do this Simon mixed plastering sand and cement, roughly 4 parts sand to 1 part cement with some water, and applied PVA to the walls to create adhesion between the wall and the new plaster. We knew that wouldn’t be any heat generated in our fireplace, however if you were going to do so you would need to add lime to the mixture to help harden.

We had to leave quite a gap between screeding and painting, to enable the new smooth walls to completely dry out. Even while we were waiting for this to happen the fireplace was a vast improvement to look at (Although I think the bright sunflowers help a little)!

Fireplace - screeded

As you can see from the in progress shot we decided to add a fire basket into the mantle, rather than adding a log burner or fire. One of the reasons behind this was cost, but the other is that the house is already very well heated and a fire would have been for decorative purposes only.

Once the walls had dried out completely (I think this took about a week or so) we then painted the inside of the fireplace to match the colour on the walls. A few pine cones and some fairy lights later and we have now have a cosy focus piece for the centre of our living room, at minimal cost!

Fireplace - after

Fireplace - Close up

What do you think of the final effect? Do you have a focal fireplace in your home? I’d love to see what you’ve done with them!

Garden Update: DIY Garden Planter

DIY Garden Planter

We’ve never shared a garden post on the blog before, so today is a real treat for you! Our focus has always tended to be on the interior of our homes rather than the exterior but when the weather is lovely and sunny, like it was at the weekend, our focus tends to shift. However, our garden is a bit of a peculiar shape, and to add a bit of greenery DIY was needed.

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New Front Door

Today’s post may not seem like the most exciting of things to share, but when you have 5 dining room chairs in your lounge and another in the kitchen you find joy in the most simple of things, believe me (we are decorating, not trying out a new way of living FYI)!

In all of our previous homes I’ve always wanted a paint door I could paint. Quite a simple request you would think, apart from the fact we always had UPVC doors and a million other things that needed prioritising over my request for a paintable front door! It had never really bothered me, but when we moved here, back in April, the UPVC door was half glazed which made our hall feel quite exposed. We live in a village, so privacy and security isn’t really a problem, but it was still something that niggled me.

I decided to indulge with a spot of Pinterest browsing (who doesn’t) and found a few inspirational doors that I absolutely loved:

(I don’t have credit for either of those images, so contact me if you know where they came from as I’d love to link back)

As you can see, I definitely had a look in mind. Our house is an old house, which means some of our door openings are odd sizes, especially the front door which is quite wide compared to more modern houses. This actually worked in our favour, as we managed to find a brand new door on eBay from a leftover renovation project. The door came with a frame and all the fixings, so we probably saved ourselves about £300 – #bargain!

Simon fitted the door with the help of my dad (this was the 3rd one they’ve done, so pretty handy now!) which also helped us save. When the old door was removed though there was one quite scary point…

Front Door

Handy tip for you – the most important thing was to make sure the frame was square, by measuring the diagonal. This means the door should then open and shut easily as the frame *should* be completely square.

After the door was fitted we had a week or so of rain (or so it felt) so for a while we had a lovely plain door – I think I snapped this in between showers…

Front Door
Luckily though, the soggy weather eventually ended and we got the opportunity to paint our new front door a lovely grey colour (and also trim the bush!).

Front Door
I also added a little heart to the door just yesterday, it was a £2 bargain from Homebase, and although it doesn’t feel as grand as my inspiration images I love the little country feel it adds. We still have a few changes to make, such as a new plant by the door and a new light… but it definitely makes an improvement on the big hole we had, and the UPVC door right at the beginning!

New home – progress?

I’m sure it’s like this every time you move house, but we’ve been in our new home for nearly 2 months now and although I know we’ve made progress it still feels like our to-do list is never ending! We’ve shared a few projects we’ve tackled already – recovering our dining room chairs, and modernising a slightly(!) dated coffee table.

Thankfully, as a blogger, taking photos of everything as you go is just another thing to do on the checklist, which is why I have some very real photos off our new home, in various states, to share today… I’m hiding them after the jump, please don’t judge us too harshly!

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How to recover Dining Room Chairs

Recover dining room chair
I was going to start this post by saying it’s another chair tutorial, but I looked back and realised its actually been a year since we’ve shared anything chair related (we must have just been going through a phase in early 2014).

If you’ve been following our exploits for a while (and if not, why not?) then you may have seen our pleather dining room chairs before. When we brought our dining room table for our first home (nearly 5 years ago!) they felt quite modern and worked in our simple, open plan kitchen diner. Since then though we’ve started to fall out of love with them – the dark wood, with the brown pleather just seemed… well, brown! We had chair covers for a little while, but they didn’t survive the most recent move. What’s a DIYer to do? Remodel!

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