Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mirror, mirror on the wall

This may come as no surprise to those who see me every day, but we're lacking well-placed mirrors in this house. Our last flat had a wall of windows in the bathroom so everything from flossing to makeup application was usually done with strong daylight. Here though, all three spaces designated for personal grooming are in badly lit, internal spaces. I decided to remedy this on the back of my de-junking project and started looking around for a suitable mirror.

Rob hates frou-frou so anything tongue-in-cheek was out (I did think a massive ornate gold thing might be OK but this was met with near hysteria) so my mission was to find something mid-century and preferably teak to match the cabinet/bar.

I don't have the time or inclination to trawl round second hand shops at the weekend so off to eBay for me. I found the perfect mirror... but forgot to bid on it (it went for £16.50). Luckily there was a slightly smaller one (75cm high) available as a Buy It Now item (£24.99 + £9.99 postage) - pictured top of this page. It arrived today but unfortunately when I opened the extensive packaging it was broken (pictured below).

Fortunately, my local mirror and glass guy was open late tonight, and he cut a new piece of glass and fitted it for £20. An hour after opening my package I had it back again looking, well, as good as new.

I guess there's a lesson in there about ordering glass objects off the internet, but all's well that ends well.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Clearing out clutter

This past weekend was the first time - in about two years? - that we had absolutely nothing social pencilled in. A completely free Saturday *and* Sunday is pretty much a rarity since having kids. The goal was to spend both days unpacking the stacks of boxes that have been bugging me for the last year so that the bank valuer could see the space without being distracted.

Somehow on Saturday we ended up having brunch at the local pub with some other parents and the attached children, mashing together enough tables to seat the 13 of us. We spent an hour freezing in the playground before moving on to another pub. All the while I was thinking about those boxes. We managed to offload our kids onto a spontaneous sleepover (thanks Sara and Chris!) and went out for dinner. Sunday morning came and went. We got the kids back after lunch. And still not a lot happened with those boxes. Then something clicked and in a manic frenzy we somehow managed to clear every single one out of the TV room and either deal with the contents, or hide them elsewhere. It took four or five hours of solid sorting but it's made such a huge difference - the hallway from the TV room to the office is huge! We can use our retro Danish bar again! I can't believe it took 15 months to get around to doing it, but it goes to show that a tiny bit of determination gets you there in the end...

Downstairs wall update

This is a white expanse of wall. And it may look like the most boring thing you've seen in a while but if you scroll back through these posts, you'll see that this used to be home to a rusty, ancient boiler. The Polish builder managed to get it looking pretty good, though it will need proper plastering at some point to make it super smooth. In the meantime, the only reminder that the boiler was there is the old power point to the top left of this photo, and that will be replaced with a less noticeable face plate sometime in the next millennium.

The rest of the room looks like the photos above and below - even on a grey, overcast day there's loads of light. The whole motivation for moving the boiler was to increase the value of the property - and reduce our massive gas bills - and the valuer came around this morning. Unfortunately bank valuers are somewhat more conservative than real estate valuers so we're sitting tight and hoping that the figure he comes up with will allow our new mortgage rate to be something reasonable... it's all based on how much we owe vs how much the house is worth. We should know in the next couple of days.