Wednesday, 26 June 2013

handles and headaches

When I was renting this house out, I once did a painting job in an amazing apartment in Brighton. It was in a beautiful Regency building in a posh part of town called Lewes Crescent. It has views over gardens and the sea.
Lewes Crescent
The owner was restoring the original features, so I did faux woodgrain and marbling, and gilded some decorative cornice (sorry, no pics). Anyway, he was taking all the handles off and replacing them. He was mixing all the original features with completely contemporary fixtures, fittings and furniture. It looked beautiful, very eclectic.
I did some scrounging, not something I like doing, but he was throwing out MY perfect choice for a handle.
My perfect choice has always been glass knobs, with stars etched into the back end.

He was literally throwing them out, I couldn't believe it. I don't know if they were original or 20th century replacements but when he said yes, I just ran for the hills back to my place !
They sat in a basket for over six years, waiting for the right doors and when I knew I was returning to this house, I went to count them (because I knew my house had handles that I'd never liked) - and there they were, 12 old and slightly shabby identical crystal door knobs with brass back plates.
12 knobs equals 6 sets -
I have 6 internal doors -
Now for the headaches. I asked my brother to fit them.
Doors one and two went well.

I love them on my old pine doors.
The doors downstairs only have ball catches, so there are no spindles, it was just a case of screwing them on.
Upstairs, there are four doors, that didn't go so well.

The spindles I had didn't fit, they were too short and tapered.
My dear brother decided that door No1 upstairs (the bathroom) didn't need the spindle, because the catch didn't fit anyway, and it had a little hook, as a lock.
That worked, till the warmer weather came and the door slightly swelled, and I got stuck in the bathroom after a shower, unable to turn the handle, because it was spindleless !
I shouted for him to come help me, but he always has his tv too loud, so I looked around and found the bottle soap and managed to push the spout into the gap and release the catch.

I pushed the spout in here to unlock the catch
There might have been a rather loud conversation that day !
I came home another day, to find doors No. 2 (the toilet in a cupboard) and No. 3 (the guest room) all done.
So I did something quite normal, I used all the handles and closed the doors !
It's a natural thing to do because I just love them, especially on all the chippy, shabby doors upstairs.


Ah, big mistake, the toilet door opened ok, but I couldn't open the guest room door. It was shut tight !
I called my brother, who started talking about kicking the door down !!
In the time it took him to repeat this, I rushed down stairs, got a screwdriver and a pair of pliers and took the handle off, and used the pliers on the spindle and the door opened !
What a headache, my brother had decided that if he pushed the short spindle into the inside door handle, then at least whomever was in the room could get out, we just couldn't get in !
Have you got a headache now too !
The doors remained handleless for a while
Eventually, my dear brother went and bought new spindles, and cut them to size.
Slight headache - I normally do the measuring, but at least I have 6 doors, with 12 old crystal and brass knobs,
looking pretty perfect to me.
Answer, I never shut any doors if I'm on my own in the house, (especially not the 'toilet in a cupboard' door as
I'm claustrophobic too !).
Better answer, buy a little kit for every room - a screwdriver and some pliers.
And if you ever want to stay (and you're all welcome !) i'll provide you with a little bucket,
 just incase you get cut short in the night and you can't get out ! 
And if you need to use the 'toilet in a cupboard', don't turn the knob on the inside, as you may squish your fingers,
because it is very close to the door frame.
And it's probably why all the handles were lever handles, like this -
And the moral of this story, if you want something doing, probably best to do it yourself !

Friday, 14 June 2013

decoupaged ikea drawers

A little while before Christmas, before my break with blogging, I had two days off work and time to spare and just wanted to create something. I had wanted to decorate the little ikea drawers for ages, and now they were in the guest/sewing room, I thought they would be perfect for all my ribbons and beads.

I really enjoyed doing these so much. I brought everything into the living room (my studio was too cold) and had great fun with scissors, paper and glue, and a little gold and silver leaf.

I glued the metal leaf to the front edges of the frame (I had seen it somewhere on a much bigger piece of furniture, and loved it). Then I just stuck different papers on the front, and used a stamp pad to darken the edges.

 The script is a piece of wrapping paper.

The  middle top drawer and the bottom ones are covered in images from a magazine. The two middle drawers are covered with the frontispiece of some sheet music.

I really wanted to have the brass label holders that also have a drawer pull, but they were too expensive, so I used these simpler ones. 
I stamped the labels with a mini alphabet set, on parts of the sheet music, and I like the effect of the original typeface with my naïve stamping !

I put sheet music on the top and sides too, which worked well, because the view from my landing was the one below.

All these things are now in my new guest/sewing room, (though that table below is the one in my dining room), and I'm afraid to say I have put things in almost the same way, but that's another post !

As I have always said - more is more !
Less is more doesn't really work for me !

Btw, blogger friends, is it just me, or do you all get a lot of spam these days ?

Linking up with
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Wildly Original Link Party @ i Gotta Create
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Inspire Me Link Party @ Liz Marie Blog
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
What have you done every Friday @ Redoux
Be Inspired @ Common Ground
Shabbilicious Friday link party @ Shabby Art Boutique
Silver Pennies Sundays Link Party @ Silver Pennies

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

the kitchen

When I got the keys back, this is what the kitchen looked like, not bad really, considering I had tenants in here for seven years.

There is a space on the left for the washing machine. The fridge goes on the right. The boiler has never looked nice, but to build a cupboard around it, means filling in the cute little window.
I painted and distressed all the mdf doors, that we had made, and the little tongue and groove upstand, that sits around the worktop.

I had the larder cupboard built, with the dentil cornice, and painted the pine shelving in blue so that the kitchen didn't look like it was off the shelf.
My favourite part is the slate tile floor - I did some paint effects for someone, in exchange for these tiles.
I took the blinds down because they were really stained and covered in 'sticky dust', and it didn't take long to fill it all up !
There is a long list on the chalkboard, for my brother to do, which includes painting the wall outside the kitchen door - er white !!!
I like to think that my dog looks as perfect as the one in the calendar !

This shelf, I brought with me from the other house, and is definitely a favourite place to display stuff.

I might paint this piece white as well, as you know I just love a bit of white, and I think it's time for a change.
The view through the dining room and hall, to the front door with the stained glass.

I have a long wish list for this kitchen, but the main things are to paint the cupboards. I was thinking of a very soft grey. I have mixed Farrow and Ball's Lamp Room Grey with white before and it's a lovely colour. Then I will probably paint the blue piece. I am not sure about the distressing, but it may come through, as I used candle wax to inhibit the paint - silly me !
Then I really need to address the light fitting, as it's just ghastly, and the back door, and the windows, and the hob .....................................
I have to go now, my brother is in the garden pulling up weeds, and I need to go supervise
(but don't tell him I said that, or the neighbours will hear some colourful language !)