The complexities of decorating

I’ve lived in my house a while now, but never really bothered with the décor, I haven’t really noticed it to be honest. However, a few members of my friends and family have begun to comment on the ‘dinginess’ of my living room so I decided to give it a lick of paint; people decorate all the time so how hard can it be?

As I have never really done this kind of thing before; I’ve helped out friends but they have been in charge; I enlisted the advice of a mate who is always doing some kind of DIY, and discovered it is a little more complicated than I first thought. I mentioned that I was going to pick up some paint and he gave me a whole list of items and tools that I would apparently need as well; anyone would think I was starting a painting business rather than just doing one room based on the length of the list I was given.

I trotted off to the DIY store and returned feeling pretty proud of myself; no one need know that it was actually a young lad from the decorating section who had found it all for me and I had only chosen the paint…which proved to be the wrong choice anyway.

Mate – “Are you doing the bathroom too?”

Me (puzzled) – “ No, why?”

Him – “This is bathroom paint and not enough for one wall anyway”

Me – “Oh”

Back to the shop I went, and managed to get the right type of paint in a sufficient quantity due to help from the young decorating expert again.

Eventually we managed to swathe my living room in dust sheets, apply masking tape where required and crack on with the painting; three coats later and the dingy living room has a new lease of life. I now own a lot of painting related paraphernalia, but in all likelihood it’ll stay where it is in the shed for the foreseeable future.

The dreaded bathroom renovation

If you’re anything like myself, then you’ll despise any form of renovation, from the design itself to the installation.  A few months ago, I decided to bite the bullet and begin renovating my bathroom.  One of the biggest problems that I encountered is having enough design options.  I didn’t only want to create a bathroom that was going to match the rest of my place, and I also needed it to be functional and have enough storage space. I’ve decided to use UK Bathrooms as my supplier.  After visiting their website, I discovered how many options they have when it comes to selecting the right bathroom furnishings.  Whether it’s traditional, modern or even some kind of fusion, they have it. Having a selection of styles is great, especially when you can find a wide range of furniture options that are also functional and have enough storage space.  UK Bathrooms have everything from corner mounts to integrated lighting systems.  I’ve decided to choose a stone sink and stand alone tap, which I must say looks amazing!  They also stock a wide selection of different brands.  This means that I was able to search for products from specific companies. So, the reason for this post is to simply explain to my readers that the dreaded bathroom renovation doesn’t have to be a stressful and time consuming process.  I’ve managed to bypass the hassles that are involved and have been left with a stunning bathroom.  Unlike before, it’s now a place that I can actually enjoy spending my time!  Which is pretty much solely credited to the king size bath that it now contains. If there’s one thing I’ve leant from the experience, it’s to enjoy the design process.  It may seem extreme, but I’m very proud of what I have managed to accomplish.  Who knows, maybe I’ll have to quit the finance industry and start my own interior design company some day!

Venetian-a-go-go

Well, you might remember a few months back that I was ranting about my need for wooden Venetian blinds, since the world and his wife seem to think that it’s okay to peer through my living room window as they pass.

I find when making decisions, it’s best to concentrate on the things you have control over.
For me, that means I can pick the blinds I want, without having to ask ‘her indoors’ (since there isn’t a ‘her indoors’) and pay the price I want to pay without someone telling me it’s too expensive.  When my mother asks, I’ll lie and halve the cost.

When picking any company, I like to look at the products in the context of a few other important things, namely customer service, price, and quality.  If I telephone the company and get one of those ‘guessing game’ menus (“Are you ringing about payments?  Press one.  Are you ringing about a new order?  Press two.  Are you ringing about Wednesday?  Press three”) I prefer not to use those.  They never supply an option of speaking with a real live person.

Here’s the plan.  A spreadsheet showing the different companies and the different issues: customer service, quality, guessing game menus (that one deserves a category all of its own), guarantee (or not) and price.  This will help me to make my decision.  You see, my skills in work can overflow into real life (or perhaps I’m just going to the dogs!).

If I call the different companies, mark them down for guessing game menus, make notes of the price and get them to send me a free sample of the wood that I want for my blinds, I should be able to get an easy decision within a couple of weeks, without shelling out my hard earned cash on something which is going to fall apart, with no come back, within a month.

Any company that doesn’t send me a free sample, isn’t nice to me on the phone, and/or provides me with a guessing game menu, is not going to get anything from me!

Garden lodge Christmas present

This year no-one has asked me what I want for Christmas.  I only mention this because there are one or two items that I would really like, and this year is the first one that no-one has asked. The main item on my Christmas list is a 3m x 3m garden lodge.  We’re talking French windows, decking, a heater with a thermostat and timer, and sound-proofing. When I take up drumming next year (my other Christmas list item), it will be the perfect place for me to practice my new musical hobby. Garden lodges are amazing little structures for your garden.  Not only are they built beyond building regulation requirements, they’re like proper little houses in your garden – and you don’t even need planning permission for them. One of the things I particularly like about these babies is that they scream ‘quality’.  I like to think of myself as someone who recognises quality when they see it.  We’re talking heavy duty timber, insulation, suspended floors and ceilings and a ten year guarantee. The company who make these will even put in a shower room and loo for you if you want, to save having to nip back into the house every few hours.  Imagine the parties I could have with one of these.  Instead of the kitchen being the focus, everyone would gravitate to the garden lodge!  No more random people weeing San Miguel into the bushes! So, when you’re opening your PCs and your MP3 players and your socks, spare a little thought for me banging away on my drums in my heated garden pod with decking and remember, Christmas is about giving.  Loving family and friends giving what people want.   Now I just have to find some loving family and friends. Only joking.  Some rich loving family and friends.

Combining quality and looks with Crosswater bathroom fixtures

It’s been a while since my bathroom has been updated, so I’m thinking about installing a new set of fixtures.  This could give the room a whole different feel without having to remodel the whole thing – much easier and more cost-effective, I think.  Throw in some different décor and I’ll have a whole new bathroom. As I shop around, I keep finding myself drawn to the Crosswater line of products.  Their taps are high quality and stylish, and I like the slender, contemporary look of many of their ranges.  They guarantee everything for ten years, so I shouldn’t have to worry about changing the fixtures for a long while yet.  Who wants to deal with things breaking or going out of style in just a couple years? So, if I’m going to replace all the taps with Crosswater taps, I might as well do it right and get a matching set at once.  I like the angular look of the Crosswater Water Square range, and it includes everything I need for the basin, bath and shower.  It’s a nice, manly set that doesn’t scream ‘clueless bachelor living here!’ without making me seem too obsessed with fashion. The Kai Lever set has a nice elegant look too.  I like the way it somehow looks round and angular at the same time – I didn’t know that was possible.  It’s not as expensive as the Water Square range, but it’s not as distinctive either.  I’m not sure how much I’m willing to pay for pure looks … I’ll have to think about that for a bit. It seems that a few Crosswater accessories are available too, such as a bathrobe hook, soap holder and towel ring, but I haven’t decided yet if I want to stay with them for these pieces as well.  It’ll probably depend upon which range I end up getting and whether they have anything that matches.  As long as it doesn’t take forever to find matching, quality accessories, no matter what brand they are, I’ll be content.