O is for…

  1. Over.

The building work is over.  Well, at least over in the sense that we no longer have to walk on concrete, sleep in the wrong rooms and make decisions about kitchens, bathrooms, paint and such. Obviously it’s not over in the way that these things are never quite fully over – snagging, finishing off bits and pieces, filling out new spaces with new things and turning the garden from a building site back into a garden, that sort of thing. But certainly waking up every morning and not finding random tradespeople in your home at the crack of dawn is a VERY GOOD THING.

2. Overanalysing.

The next phase of course (as any of you that have ever carried out any sizeable building or renovation work will know) is the overanalysing, the bit where the stuff which is more perfect than anything you had before, is not quite perfect enough.  Many good and kind friends and family have walked in and made very complimentary noises about our new home and the changes we’ve made.  We however, the residents of the madhouse, can currently only see the newly appeared crack under the cooker hood, the paint splatter on the radiators, the fingerprints on the freshly painted walls.  Obviously by we, I mean hubby and I.  The junior fingerprint-makers seem quite relaxed about it all. I know that once the house has been duffed up a bit and lived in just enough to make it look presentable without having to be quite so pristine, we’ll relax a bit too, but for now it’s quite hard to get past that ever so slightly wonky light switch on the landing.

3. Overthinking.

It occurred to me this morning, that 3 weeks of intensive searching for plain grey lampshades for the new lamps in the lounge might be a sign that I’m (slightly) overthinking the final finish of the house.  Sure, we want it to look nice, but it is *possible* that I might have lost the plot at this stage.  Just a tad.  With a renewed energy to get the lounge finished though, I got over myself, took a trip to eBay and bought two standard issue grey lampshades.  I mean, how bad can they be?*

*we might be revisiting this question in a few days.

4. OK.

We are OK, we survived the last 7 hectic and turbulent months and so at last it’s nice to be able to share a little something from the new home with you. This little haven was a spot we didn’t know we would have when we started the renovation.  A major part of the work was extending the house to incorporate a bigger kitchen with open plan dining room, but we didn’t know the final layout would leave us a perfectly proportioned space right between the two to make a little morning coffee spot, looking out onto the garden.

I started with a very lucky buy from Homesense.  For those of you that don’t know it (I didn’t, my mother in law introduced me) it’s the home division of TK Maxx.  Like its clothing counterpart, it carries a wide range of products and is a bit of a lucky dip in the sense that what you find that day is what you find and it probably won’t be there the next time you go.  So when I stepped out of the lift and saw just two chairs like this right in front of me, I knew I had to make a quick decision.

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Fortunately, the decision was right and the chairs fitted perfectly into the space we have.  But they looked a bit lost and it became obvious pretty quickly that sitting there with a drink, but nowhere to put it down was a bit of a pain.

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So the first hunt was for a table.  This really well-priced find, £65 from Marquis & Dawe is ideal in terms of both size and style, with legs that echoed the shape and colour of those on the chair. The table top has a beautifully lacquered finish and the quality feels really good.

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Now for my favourite part – accessorising.  Mr HH and I managed to grab a couple of kid-free hours last weekend to hit the shops and pick up a few bits and pieces.  But it wasn’t quite plain sailing.  I forgot that accessorising doesn’t come particularly naturally to this pragmatic male.  “We are not having bloody wooden acorns!” was his opening gambit. OK, thought he’d go for those.  How about some sleek, stylish ceramic apples and pears? “What are they FOR?” I didn’t think it was even worth suggesting the giant artichoke in the end (and I’ll tell you about the gold pineapple another day).

So in the end, we agreeably settled on a deliciously scented white candle, sitting inside a bell jar, both from Neptune and a tiny spiky plant in a shiny chrome pot (no idea what it is – gardening is definitely not in my skill set) from our local garden centre.  Rather impressively, Mr HH picked out the slate coasters which fit in perfectly; my interiors training is clearly working.

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The final piece of this puzzle was to define the overall space with a stand out piece of wall art.  Now you read the bit above about the accessorising, right?  So you’ll understand then that I had a bit of a job to get these angel wings passed. But O is for OMG I LOVE THEM!  From Cox & Cox, the gilded wings have a blue/grey wash over them and frame the space perfectly.

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Not that the 3 males in my house show much appreciation.  The junior ones keep asking why we have them on the wall when it’s not Christmas.  The senior one has been busy taking a series of photos of himself in ‘angelic’ poses in front of them.  What do they know? I’m looking forward to welcoming lots of girlfriends next week for a Macmillan Coffee Morning and enjoying a bit of female solidarity. Watch this space for lots of cake photos (and please comment with any great baking recipes you have – still planning what to make!)