I appreciate that I’m writing this over a week since the first day of 2020 and a new decade but it has been a strange and busy week. It feels like years have passed and yet we’re only just finishing our first full week of 2020?!
With the end of a year approaching, I do start reflecting on what I have achieved. I don’t make resolutions because they always seem to bring a feeling of failure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t write a list (I love lists!). 2019 has been quite a big year for the house and so it has been encouraging to look back at what we have done in that time and look forward to 2020 and the projects it will bring.
2019 started positively as we were just about completing the master bedroom (read more about how I restored the cast iron fireplace in that room here) and had plans for the hallway and landing, the office, the kitchen and the garden. Easy peasy, should get those done in time to enjoy “British summertime” – you know, that one weekend where we quickly get our shorts on, have a BBQ and get sunburnt in the space of 48 hours?!
Positive vibes were unfortunately short lived as we discovered that the roof repairs we had had just over a year before hadn’t held and we would most definitely a new roof. Great!
Obviously I cried! I have no shame in saying that the prospect of spending the budget set aside for the new kitchen would be spent on a new roof. Logic tells you that it is the right thing to do – all the practical reasons blah blah. The other part of my brain tells me that it is never going to be seen or appreciated and at the moment my kitchen smells and looks disgusting so why can’t we just carry on with that?! The logic always overrules though doesn’t it and we had just had new carpets laid upstairs so it would have been daft not to replace the roof and prevent any damage to rooms we had already completed.
The new roof was finished at the beginning of February and I have to admit, it looks great! We took the opportunity to board out the loft and insulate upstairs while we were at it. We aren’t planning on a loft conversion but it does give more storage space which is always appreciated and of course, upstairs is now super toasty and warm!
March and April saw the office insulated, plastered and decorated. That has been a bit of a rush job for convenience and I would love to bring a bit more fun in there! We have used scaffold boards for shelves though and I love the texture that they bring to the room. We still have pictures and a pegboard to fix to the wall too – more on that soon.
Renovation fatigue was starting to hit at this point and I was starting to feel overwhelmed with decisions that needed to be made (read more here and also check out the others in the blog series). I take on a lot of the decorating, which is fine and I enjoy it, but I really felt like I just wanted to wake up and see that renovation fairies had been in while I was asleep and done it all for me.
In July work started in the hallway and landing. We needed a new ceiling and it needed to plastered. The harrowing red walls were finally going!!
Work began in August and it was a big paint job. If I didn’t hate painting ceilings before, then I definitely did after this!! I’m so pleased with it now though and it feels wonderful to walk out into a bright hallway and landing. We still need to add more pictures and mirrors and should get round to that over the next month or so.
Hot on the heels of the hallway and landing was a phone call about the kitchen – the kitchen fitters had a space in their schedule and work could start in the next couple of weeks. One week I was finishing off painting the woodwork in the hallway and the next week the kitchen was completed stripped out and had been plastered ready for new units. It all happened so quickly and September and October passed in a blur. Life carries on in the background and we already had a weekend with friends planned and were having family over at the end of October. The dining room had become the temporary kitchen so the race was on to get the kitchen completed so that the room could return to normal.
I was in a car accident a couple of years ago and I still get flare ups from the the injuries now and then. In August I had to have a break from painting the hallway and landing because of my neck. Thankfully after a few days the pain eased and I was able to carry on. In November when I was painting the kitchen it happened again and took longer to ease and I had treatment for it, which seems to have resolved things for the moment. It has been frustrating at times but that’s the cost of DIY I guess so I will need to learn to pace myself this year.
We hurtled towards 2020 with a snag list longer than your arm and an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. Taking the time to rest in December highlighted to us that we needed to look after ourselves more and also take more time out for each other, and seeing friends and family.
So, what do we have planned for 2020?
Before we start another project we really need to go through the list and get it done. The jobs aren’t big in themselves and I know that once we get started they’ll be done in no time. There are some areas that need a refresh and we need to spend a day in the office sorting paperwork and getting everywhere organised. I am looking forward to getting pictures up on the walls in the completed rooms so they don’t feel quite as bare.
The dining room has been touched at all since we moved in, other than the rewire. It needs freshening up, I’d like to tile the fireplace and generally make it our own. It has been quite battered with the rewire too so hopefully it won’t need much more than a good sand down and some filler!
The living room is another room that needs freshening up. We desperately need new sofas but they may have to wait a little while longer. In the meantime I have bought some cheap calico to cover them and changed the cushion covers – it cost about £60 and it making them bearable! We’d like to install shelving in the alcove where the television sits and the floorboards need sanding down and varnishing again. I can’t wait to make this room our own!
We don’t have a large garden but it is a lovely sun trap so we plan on having a wood store built and moving that nearer to the back of the house so that the corner that gets the most of the sun can be a space to sit out in and enjoy the light nights with friends. You already know where I want to be sat when we have the 48 hours of “British summertime” don’t you?!!
I have a couple of old Belfast sinks and galvanised tubs that I need to plant up and I would love to have more of a herb garden too. I am not green fingered in the slightest so perhaps I shouldn’t start running before I’ve learned to walk!
We have decided that 2020 will be a year of balance! There are still jobs to do on the house but we also need to do other things away from it.
We really enjoy spending time in the Lake District or Peak District so we need to take time out of our weekend and do more of that. As much as I enjoy planning and decorating, my mental health suffers if I don’t keep up with my fitness. I have started the Couch to 5k programme again (3rd time now!!) and I want to keep up with my running and fitness instead of letting it slide. My family and close friends don’t live nearby and it can be hard to see them but we must – a wall can be painted over but time with family and friends is often priceless!
I am excited to get started with all our plans for 2020 and I am looking forward to a positive year. I know the fatigue from the renovation can come in waves but I am ready to ride the next one and I feel better prepared for what is to come for Spolland House.