So, where did you go on your holidays this summer? I spent my two-week annual leave at home, painting and decorating, clearing and cleaning, decluttering and reorganising.
It wasn’t meant to be that way. We were all booked to go to the South of France, to stay at my parents’ holiday apartment at Eze, near Nice, but in the week before we were due to fly, my husband got sick, with painful and worrysome tummy pains. He went to the docs and got meds which didn’t help, was sent off for bloods and booked in for a scan, and we kept hoping the pains would ease. Alas, they did not and the day before we were due to set off, we had to face the fact that flying off to the sweltering heat of the Med was not such a good idea.
But I had written and left two weeks’ worth of fashion features to cover my absence for my day job. I had two weeks booked off that I was unlikely to be able to take again in a hurry. So it was home or nowhere. I decided to make the most of it, roll my sleeves up and get done all those jobs around the house that I have been ignoring and putting off for years. Of course, this was in-between solicitous nursing of my sick husband (although a natural nurse I am not).
I started at the top, in my daughter’s bedroom. She is away at uni, but has left such a lot of stuff and rubbish, the room was a tip. Plus I had taken to using it to store my vintage fair stuff, so it really did look like a junk room. I sorted, organised and cleaned the lot, even under the bed, moving all the furniture into the middle of the room, then started decorating, repainting the walls and ceiling in Brilliant White (which I love in a room with lots of light and attic style sloping ceilings) and even eBaying four Ikea bookcases that she had been using to store her extensive range of make-up, fake tan and hair products (I cleared those too, getting rid of all near empties and out of dates).
I moved her bed from the cosy corner into the centre of the back wall, so it was handier for guests, and bought new grey and white striped bedding. There is still quite of lot of storage needed in that room, for house bedding and her soft toy collection (which she will not relinquish) so I made the chests and baskets into seating, creating a chillout corner. My daughter’s bedroom had not been changed since she was a little girl and she had a pink lightbulb mirror, bought from Habitat, on the wall. I replaced that with a gold frame round mirror for a more sophisticated look and I was going to eBay the lightbulb mirror, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it, so I have placed it in the chillout corner instead. I think it works rather well.
I also bought new grey curtains from Ikea. They are a design I really love (I have ivory versions in our master bedroom and in the dining room) and they are very long so great for our high-ceilinged turn-of-the-century terrace and can be hemmed easily with iron-in binding. The cost about £36.
This is a multi-purpose room now. It’s still my daughter’s bedroom when she returns home, but it’s also a guest bedroom and a study for me and for my son, who is doing his A-levels. He loves his much smaller room next door, but I do want him to sit at a desk to do his homework. He complained that the room was still too girly, so I have a change of soft furnishings, pink cushions for when my daughter is in occupation (she still loves pink) and grey and Union Jack ones for when she isn’t. Let’s hope it works and my son spends many a productive study hour here.
I have to say, I worked like a woman obsessed for two weeks,not just decorating and cleaning but also taking so much stuff the charity shops, recycling and the dump. I also painted the main bathroom also in Brilliant White, bought a new wall clock from Next, repainted a large mirror in there, and reorganised all the baskets of bath products. It looks so much brighter and cleaner.
I similarly cleared out the top bathroom of product, decanting shampoos into each other and scrubbing the lot, and finding new baskets and a little table for the towels. The final stage on the top floor was the top landing, which I cleared, cleaning and painted a vintage desk in Cabbage White from Laura Ashley (it has already been painted Harry Potter purple and gold – boy, was that tough to paint over). I also repainted a painting that the children had created years, of a tall skyline of buildings on a white canvas. The colourful acrylic paint was cracking so I white-washed it all so the colours are faint beneath, and went over the outlines in black charcoal.
Anyway, all that took about a week, leaving the second week for the ground and first floor, so I might post about that later. I am pleased with the results. I almost wish I had taken “before” photos, but frankly, I’d have been too embarrassed. As for my husband, well, he’s on the mend and vacuuming as I write. This house is going to be kept clean and tidy. No excuses and I take no prisoners.