Decorating Update – And how to heal a broken heart

I am not the type of person to sit around moping even though I feel my world is falling apart around me.  I tend to take action.  This time around I got paintbrush in hand and painted the walls in my house.  I know it will have to be redone at a later date, but I couldn’t stand the dirty magnolia walls any longer and I was having angst about my future colour choices.  I was also a bit fed up with the paint samples all over the walls.  I since learned that one should paint a piece of card and then hold it against various walls in the house in different light.  Hmmm!

I started with the hallway.   The doors were hideous and so I had a new hardwood front door made to look like it would have when the house was built in the 1800’s.  I also replaced two internal doors  – one in the hallway and the kitchen door.  They are in the original style, except the top panels are glazed.  When I walk into my home, I can see straight through into the back garden.

Hideous Front Door

I hated this door!!!  And the ceiling light!  Ugh!

Hall/Stairs to first floor w/hideous internal door

Below is where I am with the decorating right now.

Hallway Right now – Nice new doors

I love my new ceiling lights!  The carpet had to be cut away for the new door, but the floor is going to be painted eventually.

Right now - hall

As I said, I only painted the walls.  The wood work is so beat up I am leaving it all to the professionals.  I had over 20 paint samples on the walls here!  The colour is Just Walnut by Dulux and is used in every room except the guest room.  It doesn’t go with the carpet, but I don’t care as that is going eventually and the floors downstairs are going to be painted.   It isn’t perfect, but I feel so much better when I walk into my house as I find the colour really relaxing.  It is a grey with a lilac undertone.  Very healing.  It tones in nicely with the front of my house which is French Grey, also by Dulux.  My front door is painted red!  I need to find a nice mirror and hang up some pictures.

Next up was the living room.  You can read about the before over here.

Before - Living Room

Right Now - Living Room

I am waiting for my new Pink sofas to arrive.  I sold the brown leather ones I had.  In fact, the brown looked really good against the grey walls, but they were too big for the room.  The little dresser on the right above is going to be re-painted.  It is post war and light as a feather as it is veneered.  It does have very pretty handles.  I also got some foot stools and side tables that I will be re-painting when the weather warms up and I can sand outside.

Update: Sofas arrived!!! Is is so wrong to fall in love with a sofa?  After a few days of feeling blah, the sun came out and the sofas were delivered.  I think I may need some more cushions.  I have a spare set of covers in Grape which I will use in the winter, or if I get bored. 🙂

Magenta Sofas

The Dining Room

Before - Dining Room

I am NOT loving the fireplace at all.  It is an Edwardian reproduction mantle in front of a post-war brown tiled surround.  I know it is oak, but it isn’t even nice oak.  I am going to have a go at painting it, white!

Right Now - Dining Room

I am currently using the dining room as an art studio.  It has 2 sets of dining tables and chairs.  I wasn’t able to get what I wanted for my old 8 foot long table.  (It is still for sale if anyone is interested.)  So, right now it is holding all of my painting supplies.  The new table has some completed work and supplies for my chairs that I am re-covering.  I like the soft grey on the walls and how nice it looks with my pink striped curtains.  Still not liking the fireplace.

Here is the bathroom and WC.  These are going to be completely redone eventually, but for now I put on a coat of paint to freshen them up a bit.

Before - WC

Crappy windows and yucky carpet!  I HATE carpet in loos and bathrooms, so unsanitary.

Right Now - WC

Here we are with nice new sash windows, new paint and my photos of the Jersey Shore.  Wish I could say I took them, but I didn’t.  There is no radiator in here so it gets a bit chilly.  I call this room the ‘Gents’.

Right Now - WC

I got this cute little mirror at The Range.  I will probably put some of my photographs of Eastbourne in here once I get my act together to print some off.  🙂  I won’t be doing anything else to this room as it is going to get completely redone.

Before - Bathroom
Right Now - Bathroom

Not much I can say about the bathroom.  It isn’t great, but it is clean and everything works.  I bought the bath mat in front of the sink at Marks and Spencer.  The paint makes it more bearable.  No point in spending money on new medicine cabinet as the whole room is going to get redone.  The new window and plantation shutters make a difference on privacy.  I don’t care what anyone says about obscure glass.  If the light is on in the room, and you stand near the window, people can see you!  I don’t have to worry about that with the shutters!  I can even have the window open without worrying about my neighbours seeing what I am doing.

As I had run out of the grey paint, I painted the guest bedroom next.

Before - Guest Room

Lovely sized room with a cozy feel to it as it is at the back of the house.  The ceilings had to go!  They were pretty horrible.

During - Guest Room

Here is the Guest Room during renovation work.  The ceiling was replaced and so was the window.  I discovered an intact Victorian fireplace behind the board!  Not crazy about the sink, but nothing I can do until I redo the bathroom as I am going to reuse the sink unit in there as it is in excellent condition as it is fairly new.

Right Now - Guest Room

This is the Guest Room today.  I painted the walls in Cameo Silk 1 by Dulux.  I didn’t touch the ceiling.  It has been re-plastered so I am leaving it to the professionals.  I also kinda like the pinky terracotta look of fresh, smooth plaster.  The sink doesn’t look so bad in this room now.  I also removed some of the pictures over the bed. I thought it was too busy.  I had a new chandelier installed.  If I can remember where I put them, I have some extra crystals that I am going to add to it.  I use this room to store my clothes.  This is the only room in the house that the carpet actually looks good in as the paint is the correct tone.  I found the little table and put it in here for now.  Not sure if it will stay in here after it gets a paint treatment.

Last but not least, the Master Bedroom – my little haven.

Here is a before photo.  I thought I had taken more pictures, but no.  The beige and lavender are not doing it for me.

Before - Master Bedroom

Here is a pic during renovation work on the new ceiling and windows.

During - Master Bedroom

And here is where we are right now.

Right Now - Master Bedroom

Serenity and peacefulness.  Yet full of promise and hope. 🙂  I love my bedroom.  The gray is very soothing while the pinks are very uplifting.  I got the lamps on sale from Laura Ashley and the pink velvet bedspread from Debenham’s.  I made a boo-boo when ordering the curtains.  I had one wide panel made that was draped across the window, but it blocked out too much light.  So I have another little project on my hands in splitting the panel.  Live and learn.

So, this is what I did for three weeks.  I painted my walls.  I started to heal myself with activity and colour.  I blasted music that I sang to really loudly, and badly.  It was my form of meditation.  By the end of my painting jig, I was feeling a lot better.    When I do mundane things, it is like a form of meditation.

I leave all of the doors open in my house now because I like what I see.  It makes me feel good to see fresh clean walls every time I open my front door.  It makes me want to hang up all of my paintings.  There is still a long way to go on the decorating front, but I am no longer in a hurry.  It will happen in good time – just like the mending of my broken heart.

Still Life Class – I can draw ‘Things’

This morning I went to Louise Burt’s Still Life Class.  You can read about the Life Drawing class here.

I went on my own this time.  This class was full of ladies and there were three first-timers, including myself.  Louise pulled out some fruit, vegetables and flowers along with some props and cloths.  Silly me was so excited that I forgot to take a photo of it all.  After the excitement of Wednesday’s class, I went to Sussex Stationers in the shopping mall and bagged myself a large box of Caran D’ache watercolour pencils at half price.   🙂 I brought them with me today.

Here is the first ever still life sketch with my new pencils.

My photograph is understatedly rubbish, but you can get an idea of the first sketch.  Forget the scribbles on the right.  They are just an exercise in working out a layout for my final picture.  I cut a lemon in half and put one half on an overturned goblet and placed a very long red pepper in front of that.  This was just a quick exercise that I sketched in pencil and then filled in with the watercolour pencils.  I didn’t wet it as the paper was too thin.  Did you know that the cut segments of a lemon look like hearts? 🙂

In the second picture, I made everything on a larger scale using watercolour crayons.

This is a bit better and I have proved to myself that I can actually draw ‘things’ if I put my mind to it.  I still feel there needs to be something else, but I didn’t have anything else to hand to try, so I will embellish it with some items I purchased this afternoon.  My lemons went a bit funny after I wet them, but it was a learning curve and I enjoyed working out ways of fixing them.  The interesting thing about this painting is that my items were only marginally larger than the real thing, so I was able to make it very close to scale.

Here is my final piece:

This was done with acrylic paint, straight from the brush.  It was fun because I only had about 10 minutes to do it in.

This class was more relaxed and fun in comparison to the Life Drawing class.  I learned that I am better at drawing ‘things’ than people and have more fun when I just let rip with a brush and paint.  If I had any frustration, it was trying to make the highlights on the pepper, the lemon was a piece of cake in comparison.  Louise gave me some ideas to try at home.

The ladies were mainly in their ‘Golden’ years and were actually quite a hoot.  Some were experienced and the rest of us were trying something new.  We all had our own style.  Everyone is very encouraging of each other.  It just takes time and practice.  One of the ladies had purchased a table top easel from Lidl of all places, complete with paints, brushes and a couple of canvases.  It is under £20, not bad for a starter kit  – and quite useful to store brushes and other materials.   It is a nice little piece of equipment to have when travelling and using on a table.  (I picked one up this afternoon along with a pencil and pastel box set!)

As before, Louise went around to each person to ask questions and suggest things.  She also makes the tea and coffee  and supplies us with cake!

Classes start up again in March.  Here is another look at her flyer: Louise A4 E flyer_Layout 1

I am showing you what I have been doing because I want to encourage others to try new things.  My art isn’t brilliant, but the most important thing is that I went out there and tried something new.  I have met some lovely people and that is priceless.  The lady that sat next to me today is precious.  She believes that learning to paint with a well-known artist when she lived in Australia is what helped her survive cancer.  Every woman I met today had an interesting story to tell about why they want to paint.

Anyway, I have the bug.  Here is what my dining room looks like at the moment!

It makes me just want to go and pick up a paintbrush! 🙂

By the way, Plan A Head, the art supply shop at 42a Commercial Road, Eastbourne is closing down and everything is 50% off.  I picked up an A1 Board for £7.50, which I will cut into 2 pieces.  Their phone number is 01323 739409.  Further down the road, there is a company called Paint Effects, 22b Commercial Road, tel: 01323 417824, that has unprimed and unstretched canvas to give away .  Yes folks, its free!  He also has some vinyl backed canvas that you can just roll up. It is pretty amazing stuff.   Apparently when they make Big signs and backdrops, they have all this stuff left over.  So do them a favour and do one for yourself at the same time!