Tag Archives: renovation

Playroom renovation COMPLETE!

A year ago today – exactly – we moved to Edinburgh. To mark this anniversary, we can FINALLY say our house is finished! The boys have a new playroom and we have a whole new room in our house.


I am SO EXCITED about picking up the Wee Man from school – he’s going to burst. Then we’ll have the best job ever of filling it with toys!

It’s been a fun journey – here it is in pictures.

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So my top tips based on our renovation?

  • Get good tradesmen and pay them promptly – the plumber must have been back and forth five or six times, but he was always very obliging because I transferred the money for his bill the same day each time.
  • Take advice even though you had a pretty fixed idea in your head
  • Shop around online – I ordered the staircase myself and saved hundreds of pounds. Of course, I didn’t tell the joiner until after he’d put it all together. He actually said: “You’ve just risen in my estimations”
  • Make lots and lots of tea and coffee and always buy the good biscuits
  • Make “how could I save a bit of money on that?” your default phrase – even when you’re in CarpetRight and everyone’s listening and the assistant is getting more and more pissed off as their commission shrinks before their eyes
  • If you don’t understand what your tradesman’s on about, say you’ll get back to him and Google it. I had to tell the painter about PVA for sealing brickwork – he thought I’d have to buy a specialist substance at £50 per tub.
  • Use PVA for sealing brickwork
  • Make sure your plasterer wears safety goggles – mine didn’t, even though he was doing ceilings, and had to go to the eye hospital leaving shite all over the place for two extra days
  • Humour people. No matter who you have in, they should have been in before the last guy. Just agree and offer more biscuits.
  • Offer lots of praise and then swiftly remove it when they’re not up to scratch – I’ve found it makes them much more eager to please. Yes I know this is coldly calculating.
  • Order wallpaper online. Never buy it from a shop. Ever.
  • Be prepared to get involved if it keeps everything on schedule. I was painting skirtings the night before the carpets came.
  • Locks. Put locks on as many doors as you can, especially if you have young, curious trouble-making children.
  • Be super nice to your neighbours throughout.
  • Make sure there is a spare key with a neighbour at all times.
  • Save everyone’s mobile number into your phone. Seems simple, but honestly saves your sanity.
  • Don’t let your husband do a dump run in the middle of any renovation, ever.
  • Take photos of every stage
  • Have fun with it – it can be a huge pain in the arse but it’s so worth it!

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Edinburgh Renovation part 4

We are in!

Mummykimmy rainbow

To say it’s a miracle is genuinely an understatement. Marc sent me a video at midnight of him papering the toilet. The Wee Man took unwell and we had a couple of nights in hospital (just for observation, he’s fine). Rod shifted everything in a 24 hour period ably assisted by our pal Andy using only a large van. I and my friend Alison were in the old house with our marigolds and bleach until nearly midnight.

Yet somehow here we are.

So what have we done since I last posted?

Well, the bit that made me happiest was the toilet.

Mummykimmy toilet ba

It turned out as fabulous as I had hoped, despite stripes and a small space being a fenickity f*cker of a combination. Certain commentators have called it camp. I take that as a compliment and accept the sparkles in the stripes are a tad OTT.

Mummykimmy sanded floors

The dining room floor was sanded and coated twice with varnish, the bargain rug and splendid lampshade installed – all I need to do now is hang the leafy curtains.

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My black handrails for the stairs went on to my white walls and look freaking awesome – just wait till I’ve got all my black and white photographs up on that landing wall.

Mummykimmy stairs ba

Marc created a frame for the hole in the wall, ready for the door which is coming this week. We’ve put up a temporary door to stop any small children from tumbling six feet onto a stone garage floor. I’m still searching out the best provider of stairs, so any recommendations, please send them my way!

On Saturday the carpets were installed. I’m not sure who was more delighted – me or Marc, who actually tipped the fitters. I wanted the same colour in all bedrooms, stairs and living room to help the energy flow and it bloody worked! The carpet looks different in each room, reflecting the light and the wall colours. It’s lush. It makes the house smell like a showhome.

Today my garage doors were changed for patio doors and the vintage side window was smashed in favour of uPVC. It’s made a huge difference to the look of the house –  and the guys who fitted it were lovely. My friend Karrie, who’d popped by with scones, took his card for her own patio doors.

Mummykimmy garage

As much as I’m desperate to keep up the momentum – I think we’re going to take a break on the renovations for a wee while. I want to paint the house, change the driveway, landscape the garden… But they can all wait. Meanwhile I’ll content myself furniture shopping on Gumtree…



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Edinburgh Renovation Project part 2

Day seven in the Big Other House…

I think I might have repetitive strain injury. Today I painted the kitchen twice with specialist tile paint. It cost me £38 for a tub and saved me about £500 on retiling the kitchen. A third coat is required but Marc took pity on me and said he’d do it. So instead of this:

Mummykimmy kitchen orange

my kitchen looks like this:

Mummykimmy kitchen white

I thought I was pretty early to the house this morning. I turned up at 8.45 carrying Starbucks coffee. But no. Marc had been up since 6.30 and the plumber had been and gone. Take a look at this:

Mummykimmy pipes

Now look at this:

Mummykimmy no pipes

Spot the difference? I have never been so happy to see a hole in a wall.

Our plan to knock through into the garage playroom involves rerouting pipes and removing a radiator. There was a small moment of panic on day five when the plumber said he might not be able to reattach them to such an old boiler and we should really get a new one – at £1200. Luckily Marc stepped in and persuaded the plumber it was worth a try. If it doesn’t work I’ll be contacting Scottish Power and financing that particular cell in my spreadsheet.

Decision made, the plumber came back and cut everything off in time for the cute builder to return tomorrow and use his big tool. The only thing was, the plumber turned up at 7am, catching poor Marc in his pants (he’s staying in the house while we renovate). Luckily Marc is a pragmatist so he was content to throw on a T-shirt and shorts and supervise. Now the dusty messy knock-through job will be completed before we start painting downstairs. Score.

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Other achievements over the last few days include this discounted light fitting, picked up during a two and a half hour trip to B&Q.

Being with Marc in B&Q is a bit like being with a pig in shit. He bartered on my behalf in just about every aisle. We got a £60 rug for £22. He found curtains that exactly matched the idea I’d described that morning, then persuaded an assistant to mark them down by 15%. We both got very excited over black dimpled tiles for the toilet splashback. When the octogenarian who assisted us argued that they had no barcode and were not tester tiles, Marc charmed him into selling us the box for less than the cost of the two tiles we’d originally wanted. To finish with a flourish, he led me and our groaning trolley through the trades till.

So where are we now?

Today I chose carpets. The guy is coming to measure up on Monday and fit on Friday. Marc and his assistant Andy painted my bedroom dove grey and KD’s bedroom comfy jeans blue, including the radiators which now blend in to the walls. Every ceiling has now had a coat of white and the Wee Man’s room is no longer electric blue thanks to a couple of generous layers of white. Tomorrow the feature walls will be papered and on Sunday my harlequin toilet will come to life. I’m planning to film the wallpapering and speed it up – if that works, I’ll share it.

Blue and grey (with the old purple still on the door!)

Grey and blue (with the old purple still on the door!)

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Read part one here



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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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