Wednesday, 28 September 2011

not-so-restful rest day

The painters have finished! In 14 days, they painted the bedroom, living room, hallways, and spare room (S prefers to call it his office, but I think Junior might find it useful as a bedroom fairly soon.) They stripped back the wooden banisters and trim and re-varnished everything. They fixed the window sills, inside and outside. They painted the doors, door frames and edging. They even re-painted the wood covering the hole in the ceiling that leads to the attic.

The good news is that we love the new colo(u)rs. We chose a very pale green - almost white - for the main walls and used a slightly darker light green for feature walls in each room. The banisters have gone back to their original dark color. We had intended to make them lighter but as it happens, several coats of varnish scuppered that plan. I would be upset if they didn't look so much fresher than before; plus the dark wood gives a nice contrast to the clean, bright walls. We also chose a glossy white for the doors and trim. I hadn't really thought about the difference between glossy and matte before, but I like the extra sparkle.

During the painting and sanding, however, we discovered that the flat was virtually unlivable. We spent the first four nights camped out on/in our bed (the only piece of furniture we still had access to) amid the dust and paint fumes before fleeing to Brighton for the weekend.

Blustery in Brighton

After one night back from Brighton, S cleverly decided that it wasn't worth putting our health (and Junior's) at risk any longer. He booked us into the local Holiday Inn Express - certainly for its convenience, not for its glamour! Facing the ugly, hated Colliers Wood Tower, and undergoing refurbishment of its own, I can't see how they can justify their prices, but at least it was clean...

Living in a hotel and eating out every night was beginning to wear thin, though. The painters finished their work yesterday and recommended that we give the final coats a day to finish drying before beginning on the carpet tomorrow. So the flat is resting in its semi-completed state.

Living room, still not very livable
Living room, still not very livable

Full bathroom
Bathroom, AKA closet

Almost completely inaccessible kitchen
Kitchen, almost completely inaccessible

The emptiest room: S's office or Junior's room?
Spare room, the only empty space left

Which brings me to the title of this blog. The flat is resting, but I'm not. Some combination of eating out for two weeks, Junior churning in my abdomen, and a possible stomach bug (?) kept me up all night. The midwife didn't think it was anything serious but recommended that I not go to work today.

Of course, after nine nights and a lot of £££, we had chosen this morning to leave the hotel. That left me with several options: extend the hotel reservation for one day/night; go home and rest as much as possible; or go to work after all.

Between daytime TV at the hotel but no internet, or internet but not much else at home, I chose to come home. I restocked the kitchen with a few essentials that don't require much prep and would be kind to my tummy (milk, bananas, yogurt, bread). I changed the sheets on the bed. And I'm catching up with hundreds of articles in my RSS feed. Not the most restful day ever, but far better than the chaos of my office.

Sunny bed with clean sheets

I'm looking forward to having the carpet installed so that we can put everything back together again. All in all, several weeks of inconvenience is a small price to pay for a virtually new flat but it feels longer than that. I just hope Junior likes his home as much as we do!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

preparing for junior

Living room shelves
living room shelves

We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago. Then we remodeled the bathroom last year. We have always intended to work on the rest of the flat - new paint, new carpet, fix the windows - and we started researching the project in March just before we found out I was pregnant. We would have done the project anyhow, but with a little one on the way, we decided not to wait.

Bedroom shelves
bedroom shelves

One of our main objectives has been to use our small space better. Perhaps there is a better way to arrange the furniture. Perhaps there are better shelf options. Perhaps our choice of colo(u)rs will make a big difference.

We also want something that is easy to clean and maintain. Even without a baby to consider, neither of us is particularly good at cleaning on a regular basis (I admire people who can do it daily or weekly, if that gives you any indication).

Filthy walls
apparently the walls were both lighter and cleaner at one point

So we decided to hire an interior decorator, not that we didn't think we could figure it out on our own, but we figured that a professional might have some other insight or expertise to offer. After several months of contacting people, it boiled down to a woman whose style sense was more traditional and posh than ours, and a man who can best be described as a hipster. We went with the hipster.

As the clock kept ticking, we entered the summer months. We went to California for two weeks. Just as we were ready to kickstart the project in August, we found out that the hipster was going on holiday for most of the month. We spent the next few weeks on our own, finding a decorator/builder, sourcing carpets, choosing paints, and generally doing the things we expected the hipster to do.

what's left in the bedroom

We are now ready for the project to start tomorrow. Or at least, we are as ready as we'll ever be. I used to wonder why so many people wait until they are six or seven (or even eight) months pregnant to move, remodel, paint, etc. Now I know: they may not have a choice!

In the meantime, S has been a superhero, carting books and valuables up to the attic we never used before. We have filled every inch of the crawl space in the bathroom with clothes and other essentials. We are anxious to see what tomorrow holds - where will they start? Will we have to move out? Have we packed enough?

Stay tuned for the continuing adventure!