I’m thinking vivid white.

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Seeing this warm grey wall, I’m happy to go Dulux “Vivid White” on the walls. Beige, Dulux “Sand Dune” or “Hog Bristle” bring out too much brown, shown by the unpainted VJs at the top. I want to emphasize the grey. We’re going chrome fittings for everything, and warmth will be provided by the Blackbutt topped vanity unit. The grey tiles will have white grout, the white tiles will have a pale grey and the floor tiles dark grey. (Poor tiler – he had seen a bit of The Block on the TV and the floor tiles were the same – except they used it on the wall and used dark grout. He thought this was good somehow, and instead of listening to me saying repeatedly “pale grey grout for the white tiles, white grout for the grey tiles, dark grout for the floor tiles”, decided he wanted to add his own sartorial choices to the plan. I had to put him straight. Dear fellow.)

I’m a fond user of Dulux products. I use their 3-in-1 primer, sealer and undercoat, which has great coverage. One coat on already primed walls is usually enough, two coats on untreated wood. I’ve done a check on what I need and there’s plenty! I’ve just bought 4 litres of Dulux bathroom and kitchen semi gloss in Vivid White. This paint apparently resists mould and humidity, which will be important in this bathroom, as the view will be to the West and quite hot in the afternoon.

* (later this afternoon)

Having a look at the wall below, I’m particularly thrilled with the white grout. The grey really pops. It’s stronger and darker than I expected. I think the pale grey grout will look great with the white tile and it won’t be long until the whole room is basically done and I can get started on the painting. Best to do it before the fittings go in!

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Quiet

Today a moment of quiet as the boys head off to do a “quick job” elsewhere before coming back in the afternoon to finish off the final bits and pieces. John the builder popped in to let me know, bless him. The tiler never arrives before 8.30am. Bliss.

The builders are nearly done. Except of course the windows. It’s always the windows. There are a few more pieces of VJ to install, a few more beadings to hide the joins, and then it’s my turn to prepare the WIR for painting prior to the installation of the robe carcasses. As John said to me yesterday, laughing, “you know the story, don’t you? The painters will fix that!” I replied, sadly knowing this to be true, “yes, but as I’m the not-very-good painter, you had better do a really good job!” Preparation is key. My understanding (from when I dated a house painter) is that for new walls (not plasterboard) and new wood a quick undercoat is applied first. Then the patching and sanding happens. Nail holes are filled, joins are sealed, then everything needing sanding is sanded. Another undercoat for the tricky areas such as ceilings of bathrooms, and 2 coats of the top coat are applied. I’ll be painting until Xmas, cursing every crusty old french door and window I insisted on keeping. I’ll be painting them all white but the last paint job they had was pretty terrible (oil paint in a beige colour, messy and just painted right over old crusty surfaces), so I’ll be working my butt off to make them look even partly respectable.

We have yet to decide on the topcoat paint colour, but I recently painted my stepdaughter’s room bright white, and it looks lovely and not at all stark. I’m tempted to follow suit for the rest of the house. In truth the whole house needs another paint because the ceilings are starting to look dull and the wall colour has lost its appeal. Dark rooms look darker, and light rooms look tired. Painting VJ is a bitch though and takes forever. There are 6 rooms definitely needing new paint including our bedroom, and it’s looking more and more like I’ll need to do it all. DH is too busy at work, besides, he’s not much chop as a painter.

The tiler will be finished by tomorrow (should he ever appear) and apparently we’re deciding on grout colours today.  Next week the bathroom fittings will arrive and soon enough the trades will be back to install and finish our new ensuite. And now: finding the rest of the money to pay for all this stuff.

The trials and tribulations of tiling

This week sees the joy of tiling the ensuite and WIR. We’re going for a 600×600 concrete-look floor tile with enough warmth in it to match the feature grey Spanish wall tiles (rustic subway design, as shown below). The feature tiles will go on the vanity wall, with the 300×600 glossy white tiles fitted in a brick pattern over the remaining. We’re tiling all the way up to 2400mm, and VJs on the top. Our tiler, Roj, is a man clearly fond of a good meal. He works to a gentle pace, although I must say he’s picked up since the contractor has appeared on site! He has been laying the floor tiles this week, and he’s nearly finished in the ensuite and will move onto the WIR in no time. I bet. BTW, we’re not having marble on the vanity: we’re going with a blackbutt wood. It’s a beautiful wood predominant in pinks and browns, and we’re having a top-sitting basin. Should look good with the slightly old-style chrome tap fittings we’ve chosen.

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The lads are about in force again today as they are now doing the East Wing (which I think they had completely forgotten about). On Sunday afternoon DH and I cleared out the room and now it’s ready for them to rip the guts out and start work. It’s a simple job in there: they’re putting in some French doors (which will eventually open onto the verandah but for now open onto a small enclosed vestibule), replacing some louvre windows at the front with casement windows, and replacing one bank of louvre windows on the east side with wall. I said to DH, it’s never going to be used as a verandah so why should it be lit like one? It’s too hot and bright in there most of the year. The room will be insulated, relined, and have new powerpoints and a light. A simple job and one they should have done in a couple of days depending on the availability of the windows.

The first better bathroom plan

The first of our three planned better bathrooms will be approx 2.7 metres long and 1.2 metres wide. It’s tiny, but as I said to DH and wrote to the architect, I don’t love my clients that much. I’d rather have 30cm more living space – this is the same space that will house several bookcases, a desk, a couch, side tables, music stuff and a small piano, so it needs to be large.

The bathroom, though, can be teensy tiny. I’ll decorate it in a look that will emulate the style I’d like the rest of the house to have: probably a combination of white subway tiles and dark flooring. It’s easy to find gorgeous tiny bathrooms on the web. Here are a few ideas below, with the first image being the basic plan and size:

bathroom plan

Obviously the sink won’t be ugly and the shower won’t have a ghastly base on it. It may indeed look something a little like this:

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Or this: bathroom1

Or this:

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Or even this:

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I quite like all of these images even though I’m starting to see a preponderance of marble. I don’t need marble. Or slate. What I DO want are subway tiles on the wall surrounding the sink and toilet, a larger subway-laid white tile in the shower (because have you SEEN our mould problem on the grout???) and dark, easy care tiles on the floor.

I’ll happily go for a wood-style tile on the floor too, if it ties in with the studio. And I’ll certainly enjoy a chevron-laid floor tile if it isn’t too expensive to cut all those tiles and lay them. We also don’t need much storage in this bathroom so a floating vanity would be fine, or even an old-fashioned sink, like so:

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The only problem I see with this sink is there’s nowhere to hide the cleaning products and toilet paper, 2 things I believe are pretty important in a bathroom, especially given we have no storage in the rest of the house. So we may go with a floating vanity instead, which will give the illusion of more space, but the versions I’ve seen on the web are so ugly I can’t even show them here. What I do know is that as SOON as this bathroom is created it will be the ONLY bathroom then used, such is the appalling ugliness of our other mould-infested, rotting bathroom. Once again, so excited I could SPIT.