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Edinburgh renovation project

Day 3 in the Big Other house…

My eyes are burning because I’ve been bleaching for the last two hours.

The noise of weeds being scraped off the driveway has mysteriously stopped.

I plunge my Marigolded hand into the oven to scoop out the first layer of dissolved gunk. I make a mental note to buy another can of oven cleaner.

I rinse the cloth, scoop a few more times then decide I really must find out where my driveway weed scraper has gone.

I step outside into the sunshine, hear voices and look over the saggy fence to spy Rod sitting with our 97 year old neighbour.

“Don’t lean on that fence!” she warns me as I drape my yellow hands over it and fix Rod with a look. He’s unrepentant. He and his new pal have been having a grand old time chewing the fat. “Er, I really must get back to the garden,” he eventually says.

Mummykimmy keys

We got the keys three days ago after the 3rd longest 9-month period of my life. I’ve already had two driveway specialists in to quote and Marc has roared in. Remember Marc? So far he has stripped the wallpaper in two rooms – this one:Mummykimmy dining room

and this one:

Mummykimmy toilet

Today he called in some guys he knew and suddenly a builder is coming tomorrow to create a door where there was previously wall. A new patio door has been measured and ordered. He knows a driveway guy. I swear, this man has superpowers. I’m so so happy he’s my project manager and painter and decorator and joiner and designer and entertainer.

He came later today so Rod and I got on with the clearing and cleaning. The kitchen is now spotless and I’ve bleached the tiles in preparation for a coat of white tile paint. The bathroom is sparkling, the driveway is merely crazy paving, and we’ve figured out that a ratchet should remove the railing the previous owners installed for an infirm family member.

I found three sets of rusted shears in the tumbledown shed and managed to get one of them to cut back some of the overgrown bushes in the back. We’ve decided to rent a small digger to level the garden and are trying to figure out if we can afford artificial grass. Rod saw a huge roll of the stuff in B&Q today and we both got quite excited until he decided he quite likes mowing grass so maybe we’ll get turf instead.

I got to choose some wallpaper today which was fun. I’ve been really stuck for our bedroom. The one I wanted was £110 a roll from Matthew Williamson:

mummykimmy peacock wallpaper

The one I got was £12 a roll from B&Q:

mummykimmy feather wallpaper

The toilet downstairs was very bright and quite blue. I would rather it were very chic and black and white. So I’ve bought awesome striped wallpaper, a minimalist mirrored cabinet and some new taps. Together with black lino, black splashback, black skirting and a black radiator it could become my favourite room in the house.

Considering we bought the house after one viewing – you have to move fast in Edinburgh – it’s been full of wonderful surprises. Gorgeous wooden floorboards under the carpet; high quality thermal underlay under stained carpets; wooden internal doors on the fitted wardrobes which precisely fit the four doorways we needed new doors for (mirrored wardrobe doors are much cheaper); treasures in the shed; a Smeg hob and a cupboard under the stairs which even Harry Potter would be happy to sleep in.

Mummykimmy understairs cupboard

I think the aspect that makes me happiest is the fact Rod has finally seen the potential and even got a little bit excited about the house. I had to really twist his arm to buy it and then reassure him for weeks that we’d done the right thing.

If you’re interested how our wee renovation project unfolds then click FOLLOW up there in the top right – or on mobile scroll down to click Follow – thank you!

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Filed under Edinburgh, Edinburgh renovation, home

In which we make a new home

It happened in the space of 12 hours.

I viewed it. I chatted to the owner for an hour. I scrutinised the home report. I sent Rod round to view it. He chatted to the owner for an hour. They shook hands.

Thank God for old-fashioned values. “My word is my bond” does still work, you know, otherwise we wouldn’t have our house.

In the crazy, offer-7%-over-the-asking-price-and-be-prepared-to-go-to-closing, property market in Aberdeen we were very very lucky. We are now the proud owners of a three bedroom bungalow in a lovely part of the city. When I picked up the keys in mid-June the overwhelming feeling was relief. We could move out of the shoebox we were renting. We could unpack our boxes.

But first there was a transformation to mastermind.

The house would have been beautiful in 1995. In 2013, however, the cherry skirting boards and round-the-bed storage cupboards had to go. The carpets were gaudy, the walls were marked and the candy stripe curtains reminded me of the Brady Bunch. I called in Marc.

He roared up from Glasgow in his SUV and gleefully started destroying cupboards and ripping down curtains. Then he switched gears and painstakingly filled in holes, sanded and papered. Every day we went to B&Q. People asked his opinion in the paint aisle. Assistants jumped to attention. A young guy was left scarlet and speechless after Marc demanded: “Where are the knobs?”

Marc in action

Marc in action

I was happy to play his assistant. I cleaned things and painted things and made his lunch and dinner. By the end of the five days we’d agreed I’d be his PR consultant. This man needs his own show. Here is what we achieved:

BEFORE: Bedroom

BEFORE: Bedroom

AFTER: Bedroom

AFTER: Bedroom (the walls are grey, not pistachio, as they look here!)

Kitchen: Replaced ironwork handles with wooden knobs and painted all the doors pale blue

Kitchen: Replaced ironwork handles with wooden knobs and painted all the doors pale blue

BEFORE: Living room

BEFORE: Living room

We ripped up the carpet, painting the skirting white, repaired the holes behind the TV and painted the walls "Wishing Well" grey

We ripped up the carpet, painting the skirting white, repaired the holes behind the TV and painted the walls “Wishing Well” grey

With a new carpet and sofa, it now looks like this

With a new carpet and sofa, it now looks like this

The trouble with starting is that you have to finish. I now want every piece of wood in the whole house to be painted white. I am tackling this one doorway at a time. I’d quite like a few more carpets to be replaced. We’ve started jet washing the decking (a much bigger job than anticipated) and gardening (we have no idea what we’re doing and keep pulling out plants instead of weeds). But we love it. It’s our home and every brushstroke makes it feel more like ours. If you’re ever in Aberdeen, pop in.

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Filed under Aberdeen, home