I’ve always loved change, it energises me.
I know a lot of people avoid it – I can totally see why. It’s stressful, uncomfortable and unknown. Sounds a bit like 2020 in a nutshell really!?
But what can develop from change, if we want it to: is transformation. Big, earth shattering or small and aesthetic. Seeing something or someone transform and grow is so inspiring and energising.
Anywho, all of this is a really flamboyant intro into the fact I actually want to show off some DIY.
A few months ago, after the break up, I moved into a gorgeous little bungalow, set aside on its own, amongst rows of terraced houses on one side and huge listed buildings on another. A magical little place that Ted and I could call home. A bit of work needed to be done before it really felt like ours but otherwise it was perfect (in reality it’s only ours for 12 months… renters life).
The first thing I loved about the bungalow was the garden – all 4 sides are surrounded by a beautiful mature garden that makes the house feel like its own little microcosm. The living/dining room looks out into the garden with dual-aspect windows which makes for a beautiful light and airy space. The owners made this living space even more light by painting it yellow. Which was cute-ish, well, not hideous, but definitely not me, at all. So this was the first thing I decided to tackle. After a few ridiculous quotes (in the thousands) I decided to give the painting a try myself… how hard could it be! I’ve never painted a room before – but a mixture of Google/Youtube/Friends and Family advice and I was good to go….. kinda.
Because it’s an older property (used to be a Scouts hut apparently) the walls have moved and the plaster is pretty cracked and uneven. So I took it upon myself to sand them down. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of dust that came off these walls. Yes I covered everything. Yes I wore a mask. But could I see what I was doing through the dust? Not really. Could I breath? Not at all.
Once that was done I filled any holes that had appeared (or that I might have accidentally created) then I started prepping the walls for paint. Who knew prepping was a thing? Well it is and it takes HOURS. Taping everything, cleaning everything, then going to B&Q for more tape before I could even get my paint brush wet. The room’s pretty massive so it took a good few hours to do one coat of paint. Whilst that was drying I realised I hated the wood colour of the skirting boards, it didn’t go with the ‘Rock Salt’ colour I had spent weeks picking out for the walls. So back to B&Q I went, to pick up some white gloss for the skirting and, once the wall was dry I sanded down the woodwork. I pretty much rotated walls/wood/walls/wood/walls/walls (around 4 coats each) and then 2 days later stood back cried with pride (and probably intoxicated by paint fumes). It looked bloody marvellous – even Neil Buchanan would have been chuffed.
The next weekend I decided to tackle the green bedroom. Again – not offensive green – just not to my taste.
I had obviously spent way to many hours researching #homedecorinspo on the ‘gram, as I decided I wanted a Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen inspired feature wall. This involved wallpapering. Not just that, but wallpapering a panelled wall, not a nice flat plastered wall, a wooden bloody bumpy thing. I bought some wallpaper from Amazon, pretty and only a tenner – thought it was self-adhesive…. it wasn’t. So I ran out to B&Q (I really should have got a loyalty card) again and bought all the other bits and bobs I needed (wallpaper paste, wallpaper smoother, stanley knife) then came back and set to work. It was all going well until I noticed a plug socket in the middle of the wall, now that was something I had not prepared for! I panicked and stanley knifed a hole the vague size of the plug socket (it’s still a bit gappy but it’ll do!
After 2 solid weekends of painting and decorating it was finished! But, I wasn’t! There was a table outside in the garden that the owners asked me to scrap but when I looked at it I thought it just needed a good lick of paint. I honestly don’t know who I thought I was in these 3 weeks, but if ‘Changing Rooms’ were to ever come back on the TV I would chance my arm and apply for a position!
Transforming this house into something that is 100% for me and my style has been liberating. Not only do I feel completely comfortable and at home in my rental but I’ve achieved something I didn’t think I could.
I’m still on a bit of a self discovery journey in my sobriety, sometimes I discover parts of myself I don’t particularly like and need to work on, other times I discover I can do hard things and feel proud of myself. I have also discovered writing this that I love a 90’s reference….
If you are looking at something that needs fixing, physically or emotionally that you are putting off because it seems too difficult or like too much effort; I encourage you to try. You can do the hard things and you can feel proud.