Category Archives: House

Wardrobe to Larder Cupboard

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Wardrobe to Larder Cupboard

I have long lusted over the beautiful larder cupboards you see in the pages of glossy magazines and on Pinterest.

They’re a bit expensive, and I had a wardrobe I bought second hand to be a toy cupboard for my daughter that wasn’t being used, so I thought I would have a go at converting it into a larder cupboard. I bought it for £100, and even though it was in a second hand shop it was brand now. I googled it, and it would have cost £1000 full price.

Here it is pre-make-over. I had already removed the hanging rail and added a couple of shelves, so I knew turning it into a larder was possible with a bit of graft.

Firstly I painted it and replaced the handles/door knobs. The paint was Rustoleum satin finish furniture paint in slate. It doesn’t need primer or even to sand the furniture beforehand. I added a sample pot of Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue to give it a bit darker and give it more of a blue tone. I’ve never used the Rustoleum paint before, and I was very impressed. Goes on very smoothly and it just took two coats. I put masking tape on the top panel so I could keep it pine coloured, which makes it match some of my other furniture (you can see it just to the right in the picture below). I didn’t paint the inside as I like the wood bare.

The hardware is from Premier Door Handles.

I bought two wooden wine racks from ikea. They’re called Hutten- see here. You have to assemble them, but it’s pretty simple. They each hold 9 bottles, so plenty of wine!

The shelves are from Wickes. It’s called General Purpose Timberboard and you can buy it in different lengths and widths. Unfortunately they don’t do a cutting service anymore, so I had to break out my trusty jigsaw to make them exactly the right width and length!

The existing shelves were too deep because I wanted to add spice racks to the backs of the doors, so I trimmed them and cut the new shelf to size.

Obviously you could paint them, but I love the bare wood interior look.

I used these shelf supports from Homebase, because that’s what I had lying around. They are supposed to be for glass shelves, so might not be strong enough, so I may end up changing them.

The final touch is a couple of spice racks that I bought from Silver Apple Wood. They are great because they do them in lots of different widths and number of shelves. These are the deep ones, which means they will take larger items than just spice jars. They are made to order, and they took a couple of weeks to arrive.

I made a mistake with these though – I ordered two the same width, not realising the doors are slightly different widths. I need to get a slightly narrower one.

They’re easy to fix to the door, and come with all the fixings you need. I had to switch to shorter screws as the one supplied were too long for the depth of the door.

And here is the finished item. I’m super proud of how it looks, and can’t wait to fill it.

So how much did I save?

The spice racks were £50 each, and the wine racks £8 each. The hardware was £18.50 and the shelf £20. The paint was about £20. Total £157.50. If you include the cost of the two shelves I had previously fitted (£40) and the wardrobe (£100), it comes to just under £300. The ones I’ve seen are at least £700, so I’ve saved minimum £400.

Now I’m off to clear out my over-stocked kitchen cupboards and fill this one!

Update – completed cupboard with the second spice rack added – perfect for baking paraphernalia.

Pink Wendy House

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My lovely girl is a sucker for a Wendy House, and I wanted to create a little corner of the garden just for her.

The bottom left hand corner of the garden gets sun in the morning, but is quite shady in the afternoon because the neighbour has built a massive wall (due to a dispute with the previous owner of my house!!). I thought that would be the perfect spot.

There was a bed of raggedy looking shrubs and general greenery against the wall. So I paid some men to clear the biggest stuff away for me as some of the roots were enormous, and I had learned my lesson after trying to clear the front garden hedge (see previous post).

I decided to pave over some of the bed, meaning I could push the Wendy house back, almost against the wall.

I then dug it out a bit and dug out the bricks that were creating a little wall at the edge of the bed (any job that requires a lump hammer is satisfying). Trying to make it as level as possible.
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I then added weed suppressant fabric, which I pegged down.

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Then added sharp sand, and finally the slabs, which I nicked from the other side of the garden as I wanted to widen the border on that side.

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I tried to get it as level as possible using my spirit level. Which involved lifting the slabs and scraping out sand at various points, and jumping up and down on them, which was fun.

The Wendy house is a Pixie playhouse from The Shedstore website. It’s quite big (6ft x 5ft) because I wanted something that she won’t outgrow too quickly.

I painted the back and sides before construction, as I knew access to the back in particular would be difficult once constructed. I also painted the underside of the floor to give it extra protection.

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Sweetpea by Cuprinol in case you are wondering! I also discovered something interesting about Cuprinol shades during this process. It’s best to put a second coat on quickly if you are going to do more than one coat. If you leave it too long (over about 6 hours) then the second coat does a funny separating thing. I emailed cuprinol to ask why, and they said that once it dries fully it forms a wax coating that repels the second coat. I think if your wood is rough or very dry and absorbent then it wouldn’t be a problem as the first coat soaks in. But as the Wendy house had already been treated then it probably wasn’t very absorbent.

Anyhow, with hindsight, I painted the wrong bits before construction. If I was to do it again I would paint the back, front, windows and doors (including the window batons), balustrade (if that’s the right term for the rails at the front), corner pieces and roof edges. In fact pretty much all of it! All of these were very fiddly to paint once constructed, and I would have made a better job if I had done it beforehand. Particularly as I was painting bits of it in a different colour (Cuprinol Natural Stone). The sides are actually easy to paint when constructed!

I painted the floor once I had put it in position.

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Then following the instructions, I carefully put it together. It wasn’t overly difficult, and it says you need two people, but I did it in my own. I just used garden chairs to prop things upright when needed.

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Adding the door

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Chiselling out for the window hinges (actually easier than I thought).

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Nailing the roof to the slats. Great stress reliever. Bit noisy for the neighbours.

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The walls are up! Note the strategically placed chairs.

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The roof is on! This is the only bit where I thought the instructions were a bit suspect. I couldn’t for the life of me get the inner batons to connect inside in the way they were described in the instructions and picture.

Anyhow, I decided it didn’t matter as the roof felt would cover the small gap at the apex. So I chucked it on and thought fuck it.

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The windows were fun to put in. I pre-painted the door and window frames and the beading (definitely recommend this step). And I glued the beading rather than using nails. I was enjoying it so much was doing it at 10pm in the half dark! I also glued the little diamond onto the apex as nailing caused it to split. Just general purpose wood glue.

After some fiddly painting to finish it off. This is what it looks like.

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As my Daughter would say ‘ta da!’

A tale of two sheds

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When I moved into this place, it had the world’s largest shed. A proper man cave, it was actually a shed with an extension on the front, and was 20ft wide by 16ft deep.

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It wasn’t the best looking thing in the world, but I did have the idea of turning it into a summer house. Until I took a proper look at it.

According to the neighbours it had been up for about 20 years, and it was a bit rotten in places. So I decided to take it down. Which was easier said than done! As you can see from these photos which were taken during the demolition, it was actually well constructed, and at one point I thought it was going to fall into the neighbours garden! The shed was only a foot from the fences of three different neighbours, so we could only attack it from the front.

First I got an electrician to take out all of the dodgy electrics so that I wouldn’t get electrocuted.

Then my Sister’s boyfriend came to help, and it took us about 5 hours to kill the beast!

First the front came off. You can see the original shed at the back.

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This was the trickiest bit – how to get the roof at the back down! It was thick chipboard with heavy duty felt on top (much thicker than regular roof felt) fastened down with proper nails rather than felt tacks. It took us ages to figure out a way

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The answer was to saw through it in sections with the jig saw until we weakened it sufficiently to pull it down. At one point it was leaning precariously to the left, right next to the neighbours shed.

All of this was achieved with two people, a lump hammer, an iron bar, a cordless drill and a jig saw (a complete life saver – couldn’t have done it without this). Oh and a rope which we used to pull it down and to stop it toppling sideways into the neighbours garden.

As you can see from the last picture, I ended up with a huge pile of wood to deal with. I had a moment of inspiration, and decided to freecycle it as much of it was in quite good condition. The response was brilliant and I got rid of at least half of it. One lovely guy even sorted out which wood he wanted, then swept the floor! I then got a company to come and get rid of the rest. It cost me £180, which was cheaper than getting a skip, and I didn’t have to cart it all to the front of the house. Bargain! I had been quoted £1600 by a gardening company to pull it down and take it away. So I was quite happy with my saving!

To replace it I chose a cheap 8×6 shed from Shedstore. It cost about £220, and I paid an extra £99 to them for someone to build it for me.

The Shedstore website is easy to navigate, and delivery was pretty prompt. However, I’ve had a series of problems with the shed itself. As its a cheap shed, the quality isn’t great, so various bit have broken before the shed was constructed. So when the guys came to build it, some of the pieces were the wrong size and another broke. They were supposed to report this, but in fact it only got reported when I phoned up. I contacted Shedstore, and they were rubbish – basically ignored my email then blamed the manufacturer and told me to phone them.

Anyhow, eventually new pieces arrived and I arranged for the guys to come again and build it. They then discovered another broken bit. But fortunately we agreed they would screw it together and just build it. I couldn’t wait any longer. From order to it finally being built took about two months!

They dont contact you to arrange construction until the shed has been delivered. And then it can take several weeks to get a date. My advice would be to try and get round this by contacting them directly to book an appointment before the shed arrives. I did this when waiting for the replacement parts and it definitely speeded things up.

I have painted it in Seagrass and Jasmine White by Cuprinol, and am really happy with how it looks. I’ve only gone for one coat of the Seagrass as it has soaked in to the rough wood, and I like the current depth of colour. It looks like a little beach hut at the end of my garden. And matches beautifully the parasol I have over my patio furniture.

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On reflection, I would have spent more and gone for a proper tongue and groove shed. I particularly realised this when my daughters new playhouse arrived (more of that in another post) which was much higher quality. I definitely got what I paid for. But it’s cute and it does the job. Now I just have to try and fit everything that was in the old shed in the new one!

Patchwork Wall

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Continuing my obsession with patchwork, I decided to embark on trying a patchwork wall for my daughter’s room.

First step was to gather lots and lots of pieces of wallpaper in similar colours. I went for pinks, blues and neutrals. Despite the fact it was for a two year old’s room, I didn’t want it to be really childish, so I just collected a smattering of children’s wallpapers (Peppa Pig, Disney Princesses etc.).

I used a mixture of freebie samples from Homebase and B&Q and loads of samples from Wallpaper Direct. These come in A4 size and the first two in your order are free then they’re about 75p each. It’s not a cheap way of buying large amounts of wallpaper but you can get some gorgeous, expensive wallpapers to really make the wall look special. You can also search by colour or design (e.g. Flowers). A couple of my favourites were by Pip Studio. And I really learnt through this process that with wallpaper you do get what you pay for. The more expensive ones were much thicker and so much easier to put up.

With the samples which were not already A4 size I cut them up trying to keep the edges as straight as possible. I made them different sizes and if any of them had interesting designs I tried to get the best bit in the middle.

I then pressed the whole lot under some heavy books for a few days to make sure they were flat (as some of them had been rolled up for several days). I had no idea how much I would need so I laid them out on my bed to see how much space it would cover.

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Figuring I had about enough – about 100 pieces for a 224cm by 247cm wall, I decided to go ahead.

The first stage was to put up the most important ones (to my daughter) – so
up went Peppa, Princesses, Poo and Tinky Winky – scattered about the wall.

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I used regular wallpaper paste and tried to go right to the edges on each piece.

Then I just built it up. Overlapping pieces as I went.

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It was pretty easy to be honest. But much more time consuming than just hanging wallpaper the usual way. From time to time I had to cut pieces to fit a gap, but generally I used the pieces whole. I found it good to work quite quickly, and I finished all the pieces all in one go as it was quite easy to slide around and reposition the pieces as the paste stays wet for a while.

And here is the finished article:

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I didn’t quite have enough to finish the wall – so there is a bit behind the drawers that is not quite done yet! I reckon another 10-15 pieces will do it. And I’m still sticking down the edges and rolling them to get them really flat. You need to let the wallpaper dry overnight to really see which edges are sticking out. I’m using leftover wallpaper paste but may have to go for wallpaper edging glue if I have any stubborn edges.

And the first thing my daughter said when she saw it…..WOW!

Update – October 2018

I have discovered that the best thing about this is that you can just update it when you get bored or grow out of it. 6 years ago my daughter liked Peppa Pig – now it’s all unicorns and fairies. So we just covered over the bits that she thought were too baby-ish with some more current designs. Half an hour of sticking with wallpaper adhesive (the stuff in a tube), and bob’s your uncle! It looks similar, but more age appropriate for an 8 year old.