Oh monochrome bathroom inspiration!

I’ve been posting lots about my kitchen recently but I’ve not written much about the bathroom. The bathroom in this flat is, frankly, disgusting.  I’ve lived for years in rented and shared student bathrooms but each one of them looks like an ensuite at the Ritz compared to the mould encrusted hole that is the bathroom in our new home.

Desperate to see this monstrosity destroyed one of the first things I did when we had the offer accepted was to start pulling together inspiration for my dream bathroom. Sadly, Mr Harriet is against pink flamingo wallpaper and we can’t afford a claw foot tub (which, when we mostly take showers, would be fairly pointless anyway).

After months of trying to work out something we’ll both like, we’ve realised white subway tiles are a winner in any location, and no one has ever been offended by monochrome. Here’s a few of the bathrooms that will be inspiring our bathroom renovation:

BATHROOM INSPO

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I’m especially loving the mirror ball in the final image, and the black edging tiles.

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My kitchen renovations – part 3

The kitchen renovations have taken longer than we thought. The initial demolition was surprisingly quick, so the next bit was a bit of a shock. Perhaps naiively we expected that once the old tiles and kitchen were removed that we would be able to start installing the new kitchen straight away. We were wrong. Firstly, the wall which had been damaged in removing the tiles completely caved in between the bathroom and the kitchen!

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The pictures above show my view from the kitchen, straight into the bathroom. Those are the bathroom taps you can see floating in midair! I would have panicked more but the builder seemed quite calm about the whole thing so I left him to it!

Secondly, We had to wait until our original (another story to come) builder had re-built the wall and put new plasterboard up before we could even think about installing cabinets – a process that took much much longer than expected, we had to wait almost a week until we even got to this point (one of the reasons he is now an ex-builder):

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And then another full week before we got to here (you can see all the pencil lines where we’d started to draw the kitchen plans onto the walls):

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Now, plasterboard up, I thought we were ready to go and could start installing. But it turns out we’d forgotten some fairly major things.

  1. That the tiles had damaged more places than just where the new plasterboard was.
  2. We hadn’t factored in the pipework before we’d designed the kitchen and the sink and oven were both now in the wrong place.
  3. We hadn’t factored in the plug sockets when we’d had the wall rebuilt, so work was duplicated as we asked the builder to move sockets he’d already installed and patch the gaps (see the new socket for the washing machine above).

But, none of these things was irreparable. We realised that we couldn’t paint over the plasterboard that had been exposed when we removed the tiles (see the brown patch in the photo above? that stuff), particularly because where we’d removed the lining paper the rest of the wall sat a few millimetres further out, leaving a noticeable ridge in the wall. We decided our best bet was to try and even out the wall wit a thin layer of plaster. We’ve never done any building work before, let alone plastering, so this was both exciting and terrifying.

We bought some ready-mixed plaster and a couple of tools and started applying it. I wasn’t particularly good at application but Mr Harriet was amazing! You have to keep a lot of pressure on the trowel as you apply to make it flat, and it dries so quickly it’s easy to leave marks in. He knew when to stop messing with his and it turned out great, but since I tried to even out every imperfection mine was a mess of swirls and it was really uneven.

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It’s a bit like applying a really big area of filler, with the same idea of keeping the trowel wet etc. Once we left this to dry we painted the ceiling (without taping around the gross florescent light, that will be changed once I work out how!) and finally understood why that paint that goes on pink but dries white is so useful when the next day we walked in and saw loads of yellow patches that I missed, but that was quickly rectified!

We then painted the rest of the walls in the same colour I’m using on most of the house, Moonlight from Homebase’s House of Colour range (I wrote more about my paint choices here.) and finally, we were ready for some cabinets…

I’ll post the (hopefully) final update next week.

Love, xxx

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Oh Paint Samples! Luxury paints and new flats don’t mix

I’ve always been a big fan of the chalky colours from Farrow and Ball, and loved the white and greys from Little Greene paint company, but then again I’ve always lived in huge old houses where these paints made sense, and where dark colours add drama.

I was excited to finally be able to buy grown up paint and the first day we got the keys I rushed to buy paint samples as my first priority.

I knew I wanted whites and greys in most places, (something that many of my friends have rolled their eyes at: ‘Of course the girl who only wears black won’t decorate using any colour!’)

The choice of paint in those colours is, surprisingly limitless, and a bit overwhelming. Once you factor in the choices to be made regarding brands, and the joys of navigating what you need from the gloss, silk, matt, emulsion, specialist kitchen or bathroom paint options it’s all, frankly, enough to make you decide redecorating is too much of a chore.

So, choosing not to be overwhelmed, I went straight for the Farrow and Ball aisle. These are the only paints my mum will use in her house, so I know them, I’ve painted with them, and despite the price I have always understood why people buy them.

I’d seen Cornforth White by Farrow and Ball used a few times on Pinterest and it looked like a lovely white-grey that would help open up the space (which was originally painted in four shades of magnolia and coffee…!)

As I carefully painted 10 inch squares of each little tin onto my living room wall I became acutely aware of something: these heritage colours make little sense in my new-ish flat.

Cornforth White, which looked a delightful pale grey in the pot, turned into a hideous brown when painted in my living room. Ammonite (another Farrow and Ball) turned out to be a creamy yellow. Little Green paints fared no better, and their French Grey looked less grey and more green on the walls of my poor little (increasingly cramped looking ) abode.

It turns out these colours, made for gorgeous victorian terraces with bay windows and high ceilings, just don’t make sense in flats like mine. Their chalky matt finishes absorb the light instead of bouncing it around, leaving the colours looking twelve shades darker than intended.

So, sadly, I came to terms with the fact my carefully selected paint choices just wouldn’t work — instead of lifting my flat into an interior designer’s dream, they left it cramped and light-less.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the paints –  my sister’s bedroom at my parent’s is painted in Cornforth White and looks beautiful and serene, which is one of the reasons I’d earmarked it for myself. I just don’t think they work outside of their intended environment.

Cue panic number 458768393746 in the house purchase/renovation… WHAT DO I PAINT ON THE WALLS?

On a impulse dash to homebase Mr Harriet and I raided the shelves of their white tester pots… You can see the test colours along the right-hand side wall in the photo below, there’s about 6 different squares of white that are barely distinguishable, but the Farrow and Ball ‘whites’ look brown.

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Originally we narrowed it down to the three below, the one in the middle is virtually indistinguishable from the wall behind it, but it’s actually got quite a nice grey tint to it that we quite like. The one on the right is called ‘soothing white’ but actually is more of a blue-grey and the paint on the left is ‘Absolute White’ from Dulux’s Light & Space range. It looks nice and fresh but it was actually really hard to paint, and I’m a bit afraid that it might end up like a gloss white, yellowing over time.

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Still unconvinced we went to Homebase again and…

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…we found a winner!

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It’s called Moonlight White from Homebase’s Home of Colour selection and, believe it or not both paint samples above show it, one just has a second coat on that’s still drying, so it ends up looking more like the white on the right, but you can see it has some nice grey tones.

It’s clearly not the most popular choice as it doesn’t even come in 5L pots (a bit annoying when we have plans to bath the entire house in it)… but the more I look at it the more i like it.

It’s fresh and modern without being too cold and stark, it’s cheaper than Farrow and Ball by a long shot, and it’s a nice change from black.