Monday, 30 March 2009

A little bit of snagging

On Saturday morning we were heading off to Berkshire to test drive a boutique hotel for Mr&Mrs Smith. Hey, someone has to do it. (Fortunately great friends Kate and Tom, who live in Henley, took the girls overnight and even though the clocks went forward the kids slept in until 10am. Result.) As we were loading up the car to leave London, the guy who did our concrete counter top showed up to see if he could fix our cracks and sort the lacquer which has lost its sheen in places. Fortunately it looks like he can remedy the worst of it and we'll have to live with some crack "scars" which is part of the charm of concrete.

When we got back - after a hard night of drinking various elixirs and a morning of retching into a very stylish Duravit basin - we were delighted to see that Teia had fixed the bottom two drawers in the kitchen below the hob (pictured). Because of the pipes from the top floor bathroom these drawers couldn't slide open, as there wasn't enough space to house the runners once the pipes had been boxed in. The solution was to put the doors on strong spring-loaded hinges. They work a treat, and I've now moved the heavy Le Creuset cookware to the bottom 'drawers' which has freed up the top shelf in one of the cupboards for tall bottles of vodka and what not. They'll remain there for a the foreseeable future as I can't seem to get excited about mixing cocktails right now...

Friday, 27 March 2009

Progress on the deck

Earlier this week Teia showed up bright and early with this two Antipodean helpers and started digging up the back garden. Before long they'd started building the frame to support our deck. By the time I got home from work they'd built half of it - but unfortunately the lumbar yard (aka timber merchant?) had damaged some of the stock before despatching it, and this particular plank was out of stock in London. The reason it's so popular is that it's wide and extremely long, which means no joins in the middle. The rest of the wood should arrive early next week. We've ordered some oil based stain off the internet (sight unseen) as the wood weathers better if it's been treated. We've gone for light mahogony, which looks pretty dark on screen but I guess it'll fade in the sun.

I'm hoping the wood does arrive next week as we're having people over for lunch and it would be super to have our very first BBQ in the new house before Easter.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Bargain sale

This is my next door neighbour's conservatory. Once upon a time these two properties were identical. The neighbours are selling up to move to a much larger property and listed their home with the same real estate agent we bought ours from. The estate agent started showing people at the weekend and two days later the neighbours accepted an offer. Housing crisis? Bah humbug.

The purchasers are getting a total bargain - they're paying around £50,000 less than we paid for ours just over a year ago... and their extension has already been done. I'm sad our neighbours are moving as we have a friend in common (co-incidentally) and they're really lovely. I'm also rather fond of their cat, who was actually born in our house. I'm particularly sad at having paid *so much more* for our house! Oh well.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Spring has sprung

Yep, those are daffodils - persistent aren't they? The previous owners obviously planted them, and despite masses of dirt, mud, snow and trampling there they are. I feel slightly bad that this time next year (though hopefully sooner) there'll be a wooden deck blocking the light and therefore these hardy little flowers will be nipped in the bud. (Apologies for the lame pun, I am tired.)

The outlook is starting to look quite incredible, the neighbours tree is thick with pale pink blossom, and further along our fence is the densest jasmine I've ever seen. The smell is intoxicating (which is lucky, given how many cats and foxes roam around here). I'm not sure if it's old age or life in Zone 2 but I've become enamoured with all the wildlife, every day we see different species of birds in the garden. We've lived in London for nearly ten years and this is the first time we've seen Jays and Finches. Good job The Guardian gave a free bird guide a few months back or I'd have no idea what the birds were called.

In other good news, Teia was back yesterday for a few hours to do some snagging - he's finished his other jobs and is planning on coming back to finish ours next week. I'm pretty sure I've said that before, so let's wait and see... with fingers and toes crossed.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Sofa surfing

I just had lunch with a friend who was talking about her beloved Florence Knoll sofa. She doesn't have kids. We have a sort-of 'nod' to a Florence Knoll sofa which will have to do for the foreseeable future (well, until the kids move out probably). This sofa has hardly been used, it got delivered before we actually moved in and then hung around under protective plastic until the extension was built. Not pointing fingers but when someone moved it downstairs in January, our brand new, unused sofa ended up with some very nasty deep scratches right through the leather. No idea how. All I can say is, thank goodness it wasn't an original Florence Knoll sofa or there would've been tears and tantrums... and I don't mean from the kids.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Marching on

House update - the wood for the deck was meant to be delivered yesterday but this has been postponed to "tomorrow, hopefully" - what was meant to be three days of snagging is now stretching to three months of waiting. I read back over this blog and was mortified to see advice I'd written into the ether that builders aren't motivated if there's no financial incentive and am cursing Rob for paying for so much up front. We've withheld he last 5% but that's not enough of a carrot to make the builders rush back and finish the job. I know it will get done, but I have to admit I am getting impatient now - what should have been done and dusted by the first week of January still isn't looking likely to happen by mid March.

The new Livingetc is just out and in there is a tour of radio presenter Jamie Theakston's mid-century furnished house in West London. The article asks him what his favourite feature of the house is and he replies the fridge that dispenses ice and water. Pictured top is our fridge which also dispenses ice and water. I have to agree - it's been no end of pleasure having a G&T without having to smash up a frozen bag of ice cubes first, and we feel virtuous at reducing our consumption of bottled water.