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.


4 thoughts on “Decorating Update – And how to heal a broken heart

  1. What a sweet little (?) house, Arlene. So sorry to read of your heartbreak. It is NEVER fun. But it looks like you’re pouring your attention elsewhere, which is great.

    Before you paint over your oak mantle, have you tried pickling it? I’m a huge fan of wood finishes in homes, and to my eye, the only problem with it is that it’s too dark. Maybe try lightening the wood before painting it 🙂

    1. Arlene

      Ah Johanna, yes my ‘little’ house is rather substantial to most flats. Considering I moved from a 4 bed house to a 2.5 bed house. 🙂

      I also love wood, but am not that precious about painting it, unless it is an antique. I love my Arts and Crafts dressing table in my bedroom. The handles are hearts! But the Fireplace would have to be stripped with Nitromores in order to do it justice and it is too toxic and the turns on the wood too tricky for me to fiddle with it. So paint it is. Gosh, the darn thing is soooo brown! And the shelf is soo thin. It is not a good piece. So, I’ve got the sandpaper and an undercoat that will cover varnish…..I would paint the brown tile too, but I want to be able to have a real or gas fire as it is a working fireplace. Even the guy around the corner from me who does furniture restoration doesn’t even want to do strip it!!!


    Dear Arlene,

    I love your living room. I am redecorating a similar lounge like yours at the moment in my house (but will have a grey sofa) and I was wondering what colour did you used for the walld around the fireplace in the living room, it is a lovely shade of grey and I would like to create a feature wall with that grey, if I would know what colour is. I ‘ve been looking for a lovely shade of grey for a long time, and this one looks perfect. Please specify also the manufacturer, Dulux or whatever.

    with many thanks, francesca

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