Keys and Cup Hooks

When we first moved in to our house, we were astonished to find locks and keys in pretty much every door, internal as well as external. OK, so you expect front door and back door keys, and one for the door going out into the garden from the conservatory – but to find keys dangling in the doors from the hall to the living room, to all three bedrooms, and to the kitchen?

And in the double doors from the kitchen to the dining room, and then again from the dining room to the conservatory? I understand our house once used to be used for a Bed and Breakfast business, so that explains why locks on the bedroom doors may have been a sensible option there, but who locks up their living room, or their kitchen, or their dining room and conservatory? And why, for what possible purpose? Welcome to my home, but at the same time keep out?

Anyway, the superfluous door keys are now safely stored in an old tin in an old alcove cupboard (unlocked, but also with a key!) while our internal doors are all enjoying a new-found freedom in a rather more relaxed household security regime. But our next surprise was the sheer volume of cup hooks screwed in around the house. Cup hooks of all dimensions were everywhere, with the greatest density appearing in the kitchen – even lining along the insides of all the cupboard doors, as well as under the wall cabinets.

I have been known to employ the odd cup hook myself when needs must, but not to that extent! So after we’d removed and stored all the excess keys, our next job was unscrewing all the cup hooks from everywhere – we even found some very small ones spaced at regular intervals around some of the door frames! Curiouser and curiouser… For holding fairy lights in place, we wondered? Doesn’t really gel with the idea of requiring mulitple locks and keys though, does it? I guess we’ll never know 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Key

Cee’s Fun Foto: Yellow

Not terribly exciting yellows for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – soft furnishings in our house include a yellow bedspread, yellow curtains, and a yellow cushion – I guess I’m in a bit of a yellow mood, bringing a bit of bright sunshine into our new home 🙂

When Dreams Come True

My husband and I used to dream about buying our perfect home – or rather, buying a house that had the potential to be turned eventually (however creatively) into a home that is perfect for us. And here we are today, living in the dream house we fell in love with the moment we walked through the door… ❤

The funny thing is, looking through our pot of potential viewings, on paper this house wasn’t in any way near the top of the list. We’d spent a lot of time making practical decisions on the age and style and size of house we’d buy based on very sensible, rational criteria, having a favoured wish-list but understanding the likelihood of achieving everything wished for would be far-fetched in the extreme. So we worked out on paper which things we thought we would be most prepared to compromise on, and started viewing those houses that most closely matched our criteria.

Indeed, every house we viewed we could easily have lived in had we chosen to, there was nothing specific in any of them that completely ruled them out of the running. But somehow there was an over-riding bland ‘sameness’ to them and one after the other they just didn’t feel right – we just didn’t feel ‘at home’ in them. And yet with this one – the oldest and most needy by far – we booked the viewing not quite as an afterthought but certainly more as a determination not to rule anything out that met our basic criteria, however unlikely it may be to suit our specific needs as we’d calculated them to be…

But the minute we crossed the threshold, we felt the warmth of welcome. The house itself invited us in, enveloping us in its embrace and encouraging us to explore further, offering spacious well-proportioned rooms and loads of natural light, with a lovely sense of flow throughout. Even with someone else’s decidedly-not-to-our-taste decor and furniture in situ, it felt immediately like this could potentially become the perfect home we had dreamed of, list or no list.

Later that night we found we spoke animatedly of nothing else but what we would like to do to the house if it was ours, what changes we would make to it, where we would put our current furniture and what we would buy new. We were already considering possible colour schemes and flooring and window coverings and felt inspired to action in a way none of the other perfect-on-paper houses had done for us.

So after a second viewing we put in an offer that was accepted, and we bought our dream house! It certainly needs a lot of TLC but we’re more than happy to give our time and energy to fixing it up. We’re the kind of people who like to do things ourselves as far as possible, so we’ve got a long-term plan of action in place covering the next few months to slowly transform the house from the previous occupant’s home to our home, and so far are thoroughly enjoying the process!

We’re just absolutely delighted that for us, our dream of a perfect-for-us home is definitely coming true 🙂

Stream of Consciouness Saturday: Dream

Five O’Clock Shadows

Being awake a lot in the night – or at least so very early in the morning – is never a good sign for me. It means myriad different things at different times, but for now menopausal hot flushes and simply having too much on my mind are the most predominant reasons for my current persistent sleeplessness.

Today I woke long before 5am, and tried for an hour or so to get back to sleep but right now my brain is ablaze with bright flames of thought burning away at my futile attempts at restfulness. So here I am wrapped in a blanket in the living room, drinking a cup of tea and blogging, writing down all these incandescent thoughts that are consuming me so much this morning.

There is so much to do here, so much we want to change to make this house our own that it feels overwhelming at times. Where do we start? Which room, which task, in what order? Reason tells me of course it’s going to take time to get to all done, there’s no magic wand to wave to suddenly paint woodwork, paper walls, lay new carpets, replace a fireplace, put in a new kitchen.

I do understand the logic of taking our time with this, only doing everything once and doing it properly so making do with everything as it is for now, but oh how I hate living in limbo in the interim… Emotionally I want the entire basic blocked-in canvas of a comfortable home to relax in first and foremost, and only then think about adding in the details as necessary, much later in the process.

Right now it feels like we’re trying to achieve too much all at once, fulfil too many important tasks all at the same time and failing to make any real headway, and I find it frustrating to be planning so much in theory for our future home yet making what feels like so little practical progress in our present environment to move us towards that ultimate goal.

In reality we are getting things done in the house, of course, slowly but surely, but inevitably my chattering childish impatience distorts my perspective. ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet, why aren’t we there yet?’ my impish brain whines and implores. These are the kind of restless thoughts that keep me awake, taunting and haunting me in the dark.

I know I need to sit tight and wait, know that when we’re finally finished it all I’ll be so glad I didn’t rush right in wielding my paintbrush with gay abandon just to cover temporarily wallpaper we’re taking down eventually anyway. I know I need to focus on where we’re going with decorating our house, not on where we are right now. But still I’m fretting at the enormity of it all, my clamouring five o’clock shadows refusing to give me any peace…

It’s Curtains for those Venetian Blinds…

I’m not a great fan of venetian blinds – or vertical blinds for that matter – and yet when we moved in to our lovely little house (three weeks ago today!) we found either venetian or vertical blinds covering most of the main windows throughout. Many have already been removed and given away (woo-hoo!), but the two biggest windows – the two bay windows at the front – are still each dressed only in their two and a half metre wide ventian blinds.

We’ve bought bold bright curtains to replace them with, although our initial intention was simply to leave the blinds in place until we get round to redecorating the rooms. But the weather is already turning colder and it’s getting darker much earlier, and as we both hate looking at those stark slim slats like sliced-up suits of window armour every evening we’ve taken the decision to put up our new drapery before we decorate.

We’ve also chosen to fit voiles within the window recesses for added privacy and for better light diffusion, but unfortunately couldn’t find any in the style we liked with exactly the right drop so I now have to take up about 8m width (for both bay windows) of soft silky fabric by exactly 2 inches, all to be pinned and hemmed by hand. So it looks like I’ll have a busy couple of days ahead with my needle and thread…

PS Although I don’t like venetian or vertical blinds, surprisingly I do have a penchant for roller blinds. The only rooms without blinds in place when we moved in were the kitchen and dining room windows – these are all currently adorned with fussy 1980s terracotta patterned curtains, soon to be replaced with three practical roller blinds we took with us from the flat.

PPS Don’t worry about the fate of the large venetian blinds – they will soon be gracing the large living room and kitchen windows in my youngest daughter’s house – waste not, want not; one man’s meat is another man’s poison, etc – she really loves them! 🙂

Problem Solved!

Before we moved up from London to Inverness recently, we took the difficult (but surprisingly liberating) step of shedding much of the everyday household detritus collected and collated over the decades.

We carefully packed those precious smaller articles we cherished, but happily parted with the larger, bulkier items of purely functional furniture like the dated lumpy old sofa-bed and practical-but-boring el-cheapo wardbrobes. We wanted to start afresh in our new home, and for all we knew we would potentially be buying a relatively modern house with a smaller proportioned living room and already-built-in bedroom wardrobes, so didn’t want to pay to move and store furniture we didn’t plan to keep long-term.

And now we are here, in our wonderfully un-modern house with nothing remotely resembling a built-in wardrobe in any of the bedrooms and a beautifully large sunny living room. So we easily found ourselves a new made-to-order sofa to suit, but have spent the last two weeks researching and reviewing and narrowing our options when it comes to potential bedroom furniture. Our bedroom at the moment consists of our bed, two small side tables acting as temporary bedside cabinets, an open clothing rail replete with clothes hangers and lots of stackable storage boxes.

Our dilemma to date has been deciding exactly what we want to buy and where we want to put it, but finally our problem has been solved! We’ve found two lovely wardrobes online, along with one perfectly-proportioned chest of drawers and two good-sized bedside cabinets – not all matching, but all complementary in design – and have ordered them today. Four out of the five items were already reduced in the autumn sale – woo-hoo! – and we also found a 10% discount code to apply to our whole order, saving us a tidy sum overall – result!

So here we are, two very happy bunnies today looking forward to our new furniture for the future! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Solve