Sunday, 18 December 2011

Miscellany for Sunday


When I first moved into this house, I declared it to be completely liveable-with for now. And then I proceeded to not live with it, but to start chipping away at the edges, making little changes here and there, and suddenly finding that they had grown into major undertakings.

It felt strange, and sometimes wasteful, to be undoing the work that the previous owners had put so much time in doing. But I was helped by being so much shorter and smaller than they had been, and needing rooms to be scaled down, made less cavernous, softer, homelier.

Remember the work that was being done on the bathroom? All the mess and disruption, caused initially by the replacement of an ancient and deeply undesirable concrete-and-asbestos soil pipe? Then the bright idea of moving the toilet along to the right by a few inches? Then the addition of a walk-in shower?





This is where we're at today:




And remember the utility room? The soil pipe again - and connecting drain - that had to be replaced? The floor that had to be levelled by several inches?







 Followed by the notion of a run of worktop with appliances beneath? Oh, and a sink for buckets and bathing of small dog? And a new roof? And the removal of all those spidery beams?


And the boxing-in of pipes and vents?


The utility room is still unfinished but with not much left to do, waiting for the woodwork to be painted, the floor scrubbed, and the planned dresser to be found to replace the old bookshelves that have taken much of the clutter out of the dining room - looks like this:




And now it's starting to feel almost there, almost my home, rather than someone else's, or a holiday cottage that I was allowed to 'do things to'. It's very different from my old home, yet very different from the cottage that I moved into almost five months ago. I feel ready for my first Christmas in my new home.

Speaking of which.... it's not Christmas yet, but my birthday today.


The un-Christmas packages, some of which have sat for weeks, tantalisingly full of secrets, were opened this morning, and revealed this:


And scented narcissi are filling the sitting room with the perfume of Spring. Lovely gifts.


I am now 63 years old. Not young, not old; just 63.

I might give myself a day off.

41 comments:

Sue said...

I do love a good before and after photo. Happy birthday!

joy said...

happy birthday.
wow, lovely work.
I'm 63 too, a good age, hope to be moving in january so will be blogging about my new home.

joy x x

Danielle P. said...

Oh, happy birthday! It looks like you'll be spending many a cosy hour by the fireside this winter, perusing these excellent new books.

May I compliment you on your renovations? The bathroom is stunning, and I am terribly envious of your utility room. Your house does indeed look homely.

frayedattheedge said...

Happy Birthday from both of us!! We hope you have had a wonderful day and that the menagerie spoiled you with lots of birthday snuggling up!
I love your bathroom and am amazed at the transformation of the utility room. One of my long term aims is to remove our enormous bath and put in a much smaller one, leaving room for a walk in shower.

June said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
What wonderful rooms you have made! I shudder . . . positively shudder . . . to think of the cost of all that work, but whatever it was, if you have it, it was worth it. Beautiful, I say again!
Your appliances look like mine. As a matter of fact your counter looks like mine.
Are you living in my house?

the veg artist said...

What brilliant progres - it's looking so smart in time for Christmas. I love your shower, especially. I think you must have been a Project Manager in a previous life!
And Happy Birthday!! Brilliant selection books, too. I love the Angie Lewin book, and get my copy out every few weeks for a browse. Feet up and enjoy, now!

Razmataz said...

You renos look amazing. It's amazing when you see the dirt floors to realize the future potential of a space, but you really had a vision.

Happy birthday to you today.

Noelle said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL AND MANY, MANY HAPPY RETURNS! So many changes in your life but oh what changes! Your cottage is a dream come true and I think you will find many of us are just a tad envious (Heaven forgive us!).
Be happy and enjoy every moment with your furry friends! Good things come to good people...
MacIntosh (Corgi), Maira (cat) and I are hoping to see lots of holiday photos on your blog!
God bless,

Desiree said...

Happy birthday!!
What a beautiful bathroom, I'm a bit jealous :-)
You've done wonders to the cotttage, it may cost a lot of money, but you enjoy the expense every day!!.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

You've made such a difference to the house, and I love spotting ornaments from your previous home. (Where are the rest of those glass ornaments?) Just beautiful. Enjoy!

Jan x

Arthur Ransome said...

Happy Birthday! You've achieved a wonderful home in such a short time. Not that it feels short when you're in the midst of it. Everything you've shown us looks lovely. Are you now able to relax and enjoy it? I hope so.

Toffeeapple said...

Happy Birthday Rachel! Your house is looking more like home every time you show it. The renovations will soon be over.

elizabethm said...

I love what you have done to your house. Looks wonderful and very much in keeping with the cottage. Just wondering now if you are having a day off being 63?

Dan said...

Happy birthday Rachel! Lots of lovely books to browse through over the winter! I LOVE your bathroom, it looks so peaceful and relaxing! The utility room has really come along in leaps and bounds too.
Dan
-x-

dinahmow said...

A very happy birthday, I'd say!
You are to be complimented on your taste, your vision, your photographic skills. Oh yes...your fortitude.

It looks beautiful, Rachel.From the builder's level on the hearth brush to the spring blooms.Take a day off!

Janet said...

Your renovation looks just wonderful! How exciting to see the finished photos. happy B'day.

Jayne said...

Your house looks lovely, thank you for sharing it, it gives me hope for the future.
Hope you have had a very happy birthday today.

John said...

Happy Birthday Rachel!

I love the changes you made to the bathroom and the utility room, and how the improved utility room affects your view from the kitchen. I especially like all the curves and slants of the bathroom, good bones there.

MTVA said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! We are the same age - as you say so well, not young, not old...and your improvements have turned out wonderfully well! Your job now is to have a rest and admire it all - and Enjoy!

Mary Ann said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!

My birthday is coming up soon. I'm going to be 62 years young:) Your renovations are wonderful. I think creating the utility room was a necessity that you wouldn't be able to do without. Very nice.

Von said...

Well done you.Funny how that happens - not just renovations but also age! Happens all the time round here.Suddenly yesterday we found ourselves demolishing the shade house and with a new paved area with patio doors and shade sails overhead giving us air and shade and a much more pleasant, useful outlook. So easy to do in imagination!We've spent 9 years undoing the mess of others and a large sum of money!
Very happy birthday to you, lovely age to be, I remember it well.

Anonymous said...

happy birthday to you. you've done wonders with the cottage. i love reading your blog. Fran

Poshyarns said...

Happy Birthday Rachel and my goodness do you renovate in style. Beautiful.

alice c said...

Happy Birthday! Your first whole year in your new home - obviously the best year of all!

Diane said...

Happy Birthday! Your house looks so lovely. Well done for all your efforts.

annie hoff said...

Happy Birthday! The House is looking good.

Saranne said...

Happy birthday to you! I so enjoy reading your blog, and am impressed with all of the improvements that you have made! ox

Isabelle said...

Happy Birthday!! It all looks lovely.

Gwen Buchanan said...

You deserve every one of those gifts and more.. what a restful time you will soon be enjoying.. and you did it.. you made it through..
Fantastic... I absolutely love the way you have carved out your space and made it you!!
It must be such a pleasure using your home now and having it feel like your home.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Many happy returns of the day! You home is looking terrific. Love it!

Joan said...

Your re-decorating is simply Lovely!! Quite a mess to put up with but what a marvel at the end! Thank you for sharing the photos.

BumbleVee said...

Happy Birthday to you... hAppy birthday to you.... happy... oh, sorry.. happy day Rachel...... still got ya beat by a few years...sigh....

... AND.... the place looks amazing! wow..... what a difference it all makes! Sometimes a bit of mess and disruption pays off eh?

Preseli Mags said...

All wonderful. The house looks amazing. Happy birthday.

love those cupcakes said...

Belated birthday greetings. The house is looking great.

jabblog said...

Belated Happy Birthday. You've definitely put your stamp on your new home.

Mary ,East Coventry USA said...

Belated birthday greetings! Your house looks beautiful- very lovely. Hope you enjoy all the books- I just finished The Hare with Amber Eyes.
It was an incredible read.
I have one year on you and feel neither old or young as well. There are some days, though...
Love the blog,
Mary

Bea said...

Rachel, Happy Belated Birthday! Your house is fabulous. I'm amazed at all the work you've had done and that you managed to remain sane through the whole process. May you have many good times in your lovely new home and I look forward to hearing more about the apple tree planting. In the Spring we planted apple, lemon, lime, peach and nectarine trees in our back yard. Fingers crossed that they do well and we get lots of fruit.

rogern said...

you're really making headway there. looks fantastic. happy birthday for yesterday and so please our parcel arrived intact :) r.x

Alicia said...

I missed your birthday as I was traveling but wanted to extend my fondest wishes... my life would be so boring without your life to check in on every day or so. I bet that seems funny! I live in Los Angeles - a virtual hub of busyness every single day. But I so look forward to checking your blog and getting my "Rachel and Team" fix! Happy Birthday again and again.. I hope it was wonderful!! - Alicia

Ginnie said...

A very bleated happy birthday, Rachel, and your remodeling work is gorgeous!

Ginnie said...

Argh! Not bleated - belated!

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