The first day of our bathroom renovation saw a LOT of destruction. The entire bathroom was stripped out in a day, right down to bare walls!
Weirdly the room feels tiny now. Lets see what tomorrow brings.
The dining room fireplace was no longer in use, we had the chimney capped but we wanted to keep the fireplace as a decorative feature, here’s how it went…
Firstly, here’s an old photo of the old fireplace, from pre-extension days. Nasty.
First we removed the old wooden surround and painted it. We wanted the paint to match the colour of the Wickes Heritage Grey units in the kitchen, and found that Farrow and Ball French Gray was good (maybe exact?) match.
Once the fire surround was removed we ripped out the old fireback and hearth:
Boarded out the opening:
After this we had a cream marble hearth fitted professionally.
We then ordered some decorative logs from The Little Log Company, and mounted them on a board that snugly fits in the fireplace opening:
We sanded and filled the holes in the plasterboard on the inner fireplace surround, then painted it using a metallic gold paint. Once that was dry we inserted the board with the logs mounted to it, then attached some beading which had been cut to fit with a mitre saw and painted gold – this hides the rough edges of the plasterboard. Here’s the end result, complete with the painted fire surround:
This project is a solution to a shoe-infestation that was threatening to spread over the entire house! Whether it was loafers in the living room, high-heels in the hallway or boots in the bathroom – they were everywhere…
The understairs area in our 1930s semi was a cluttered cupboard, clad in some flimsy tongue-and-groove panelling. An ideal shoe-storage area in the hallway if it could be repurposed with some clever Ikea hackery.
Expedit looked ideal, versatile enough for all sorts of footwear, especially with the various options for doors, dividers, baskets, etc.
1 x Expedit 149cm x 149cm shelf unit, high-gloss white
3 x Expedit Insert doors, green
2 x shelf brackets
1 x large L-bracket
18 x small L-bracket (narrower than Expedit shelf-thickness)
44mm square section timber
I created a 3D model of our staircase and the full Expedit shelf unit in SolidWorks, then modified both of them to work out where I should cut down the Expedit, and get a feel for how the thing would look when done. In hindsight it’s a fairly simple modification but creating a 3D model was a useful exercise to fully understand how things would work before attacking the Expedit with a saw. It was quickly apparent that it would need substantial reinforcement after removing two of the four outer panels – otherwise this could happen!
First I marked out the cut and scored the laminate surface with a sharp knife – then carefully cut with a panel saw.
After fixing the base to the side panel I added three of the upright dividers, and also fixed in one of the door inserts to brace the corner. As a precaution I used wood-glue to fix the dowels in place.
I inserted the dowels a little way through the shelf to locate it exactly against the upright, so it could be marked up before removing it to score then cut to length. Made a minor mistake here when fixing the shelf in place – I forgot to cut down the last upright dowels before inserting them, leaving them exposed and requiring cutting down later (much more fiddly) – lesson learned for the next row!
I fixed the door inserts in place using cabinet connector fixings to provide extra rigidity.
Because the Expedit will be without two of the four structural outer panels it needs reinforcing. The missing upright can be partially replaced with a couple of shelf brackets. My design means this will be covered up when under the stairs, so I’m not too worried how this area looks.
As with a lot of Ikea furniture, the base panel isn’t solid – instead it is a honeycomb of cardboard with a thin outer structure. This means there is nothing solid to fix the shelf brackets in to. To remedy this I cut two lengths of 44mm timber to insert inside the base. 45mm would have been a perfect fit but 44mm was good enough, and readily available. I carefully cut away the cardboard honeycomb using a sharp knife and then a chisel when the knife wouldn’t reach, creating two slots for the wooden battens to slide into. The shelf brackets could then be fixed to the base and upright (being careful to use short screws on the upright thinner walled panel!).
I added L-brackets to the back face of the Expedit wherever I could, taking care to drill pilot holes square to the back, to avoid screws puncturing the surface.
I marked up and cut the left-over small panels to fit in the back of the cabinet – for the triangular areas and those that don’t have a door insert. I then fixed them in place using a few more of the L-brackets.
The upright panel wasn’t quite long enough to fill the void under the stairs, so I carefully cut the end off the other (unused) upright panel. This could then be attached in place, neatly filling the gap.
The hack to the Expedit is all done! It is positioned under the stairs but not fixed in place, in case we need access to the cabling in the void behind it. Two jobs remain: panelling the areas to the left and right of the Expedit, then paint the staircase, but that can wait for another day…
Spring is maybe here, so how did we get on with our newly installed Woodwarm Fireview Slender 5KW over the winter? It was great (pun resisted)!
We chose the “slender” model because we were limited to 5KW for our room size, but most 5KW stoves are quite small – whereas we wanted a full “widescreen” fire! The Woodwarm Slender range are shallower than normal, meaning you get the overall width for a nice looking fire (and decent size logs) but can have a stove small enough to only output 5KW. Any more than that and the living room would feel like a pizza oven! The stove itself looks good – timeless styling without looking twee and “country-cottage”.
We had to gradually build up the test burns, the first being just a handful of kindling – then second and third burns progressively larger. This cures the paint on the stove, and has the unpleasant side-effect of stinking the room out. Once the stove was fully operational it has performed really well, not much more to say really, it burns wood, it burns coal, it gets hot! The instructions go through how to use the vents properly, using the lower ones like a choke on a car to get it started, then gradually closing it and also reducing the upper vent to get a clean burn. Not sure if we’ve fully mastered it yet but once the fire gets going it is very easy to maintain. We attached a magnetic thermometer to help regulate the temperature in the “optimum” burning zone.
Cleaning out the stove is easy enough, the ash pan slides out the bottom section using a detachable handle – although it’s surprising how quickly the ash accumulates! All of the handles on the stove look nice, but they small and quite stiff, so require a fair bit of strength to turn – plus of course they get very hot so use the supplied tool!
All in all, very pleased with it! Our living room looks loads better, and feels MUCH warmer – a grate* choice!
Landscaping is all done – looking good so far. Next up we need to add some green things.
The front garden has suffered 18 months of abuse, being home to piles of rubble, bags of sand, gravel, pallets of bricks, various other building supplies, old radiators, and one blue porta-loo. All these have left their mark, so it’s time to give the front garden an overhaul!
First things first, the digger makes short work of clearing EVERYTHING!
Next, laying the membrane and marking out the edging:
And the latest progress so far – edging has been laid and base substrate for the drive is in place. More to come tomorrow…