Thursday, 27 August 2009

Entrance door

The London summer has been relatively good this year, while there were plenty of monsoon showers there's also been loads of sunny days. I've taken to wedging open our front door to let the afternoon sunshine pour in. As you can see, it completely illuminates the front hall and fills the house with bright light. Our current front door is a traditional Georgian style, painted fire engine red, and while perfectly functional doesn't let any light in. Rob's attitude is that the wedging open solution is fine - we live down a dead end, private road so there's no chance of the kids getting run over. However, keeping the door open doesn't work so well when the temperature gets a bit cooler... and now a neighbourhood cat boldly comes inside when he thinks no-one's looking!

I'd like a simple modern door with glass panels at the top which would match our interior decor. And of course the panels would let some light in when it's closed. The top of the range styles which feature all kinds of security enhancements and are fully bespoke door solutions are not cheap though. Silvelox for example offer 11 different types of glass which can be used with 13 different door styles, but they'll set you back around £3,000 including fitting. The photo below (from the Silvelox website, excuse the house in this example!) shows a door with glass panels at each side which would've also been a good solution - our door width unfortunately isn't wide enough.

One of my neighbours asked a local company how much it would cost to make a basic door with a segment of glass included and they quoted £450. You'd then need to buy the door furniture (ie the locks, handles etc) and have them fitted on top. We have a metal security gate and a monitored alarm so I think spending £3K on a bespoke secure door seems a tad excessive (and we've got nothing of value to nick anyway). Still, good to see what's out there incase we win the Lottery...

Monday, 24 August 2009

House of Bamboo

"Number 54. The house with the bamboo door. Bamboo roof and bamboo walls, they've even got a bamboo floor" Andy Williams, what a classic. And yeah, we have made ourselves the House of Bamboo - certainly with the flooring, the foliage and now thanks to a Friday morning delivery, some actual plants. They were £35 each from a garden centre in Enfield, the black plant tubs were £65 each. £270 all up for what is now a massive improvement to our deck.

In addition to providing a bit of privacy and shade, we're hoping these will provide a slight barrier to prevent the girls from constantly flinging themselves over the fence to annoy the neighbours. We've had the bamboo for exactly four days and it's already looking a little dry and floppy despite two massive watering sessions. I am optimistic these plants will survive (£140 for replacements! They'd better survive!) - actually, I'm off to read up on how to look after bamboo right now...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Hot stuff

Oh no it's finally happened. I've fallen off the wagon and instead of staring with barely contained politeness at people who wax lyrical about their gardens, I have to own up to having a mild interest. It didn't take much. Basically a visit to B&Q on a particularly warm day a few months back saw the impromptu purchase of a selection of baby lettuces, a container to grow them in and a massive bag of compost. Within weeks the lettuces were getting quite large and they've supplied the leaves for numerous salads ever since. Until last week when some kind of animal (a vegetarian fox perhaps?) interfered with the soil and the snails moved in shortly thereafter. I am going to have to dispose of these lettuce remains and the soil as I'm too paranoid to eat them now. I'll do it properly next time, with salt and beer sunk into the soil or maybe some kind of netting system.

In other gardening news (!) we were away for five nights and it was fairly warm in SE England for a few days, topping 30 degrees on Tuesday. The girls had planted a handful of wildflower seeds which were beginning to shoot skywards last week. It turns out they flowered while we were away and them promptly died due to lack of water. I am the greenfinger of death.

At least the chillies seem to like being ignored.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Img from

This photo is rocking the Eames/concrete/white aesthetic and reminded me of a more upmarket industrial version of our house. Also, I have no new photos of my actual house to post as nothing has happened lately.

Rob finally heard back from Teia at the weekend. He's still planning on coming to do a few odd jobs in the next couple of weeks, but he's going to give us back the money for the splashback so we can sort that directly with the glass company. (Annoying that this wasn't sorted months ago as I've had several messy accidents involving a high pressure espresso machine and wet coffee grinds). The bespoke cabinet is officially on hold till we replenish the ever decreasing house fund, which will be some time off as we now need to replace the boiler.

Our neighbours moved out on Friday and the new ones moved in the same day - the new people have been reading my blog (HELLO!) thanks to having a friend in common (London can be a village). Despite reading my marathon-angst-fest they've keen to remodel the ground floor of their house in a similar way to ours. I have to say, despite the time and the money, it's totally worth it - our house is a pleasure to hang out in!