How (not) to build a house – Part 7

I can’t believe I am writing part 7 now and we are still not living in our house! You can read all previous installments of How (not) to build a house (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) on my blog

The truth is we have run out of money, steam and oomph.

The builders left us (they couldn’t get out of here quick enough!) and we shut the door behind us and went on a much needed break to Greece.

On returning, Alex & I walked around the house and came to the conclusion that despite there being loads to do, we will just have to move in as it is or we will NEVER live here! There are a few urgent requirements such as sealing the marble tiles in the bathroom – but the rest will come as and when.

So, the move date has now been set for mid September – which I suppose I should feel excited about, but I am feeling strangely flat. Alex and I joke that we both have PTSD from the whole 8 year ordeal!

One thing I really AM excited about is the new mural in the bedroom, which loyal readers may remember is a version of the Serendipity Rainbow Mural that we recoloured in greyish pastels especially for my bedroom. This was a total beast to put up, and Daniel my amazing decorator, did a superb job wrestling with the 4.5m long pieces that also needed to be cut in around the beams. I was unsure if I should just have a feature wall, or the whole room – but ‘In for a penny in for pound’ is one of my life mottos – so I went for it!

I LOVE it! It is interesting how when you paper all 4 walls the design seamlessly wraps around the room, and in some ways becomes less of a focal point. I decided to use my plain Tisbury Pearl wallpaper on the cupboard doors and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results, it elevated the boring MDF into a luxurious finish.

Here is a picture of one of the kids bedrooms, which are still rather empty… but who needs furniture?! Both rooms are mirror images of each other. We have created these platforms with a rope as a barrier which creates lots more space, and we are hoping to build a long desk across the wall under the windows. My daughter is obsessed with all things vintage, and my son is going through a huge gym/kick boxing phase so I imagine they will end up quite different in the end!

The corridor leading to the kids rooms has these lovely oak fins framing the windows. The internal courtyard garden will be visible from all aspects of the house, so the planting will be incredibly important!

The guest loo is papered with the Gypsophila wallpaper in Mocha. We used an off cut of the marble from the kitchen worktop to set the sink in and some tiles from Ca’ Peitra.

I think my biggest disappointment is that I SO wanted to have the exterior paving finished before we moved in, as the single thing I long for most (apart from not having to share a bathroom with my teenagers!) is a lovely little garden. I dream of sitting outside sipping wine on a warm summer’s night, or being able to rootle outside for some mint for cooking, and that joy of watching plants grow a tiny bit each day.

This whole landscaping situation has been a bit of disaster. In an attempt to save money, we decided not to hire a garden designer. With the help of a friend who knows about these things, we sketched out where we wanted the flower beds. The architect suggested self-compacting gravel, and we got a small sample which looked fine, but now over a big expanse it is a horrible yellow colour and doesn’t drain at all, so it has actually gone green. It’s a disaster! And to make matters worse our builder charged us an absolute fortune to do it, in an attempt we think to claw back some money due to the build running over time so much. Also the guys booked to lay the paving stones stopped returning my calls, which is probably a good thing as we couldn’t afford to pay them anyway – plus I am now realising that we really do need to have some design input!

The interior courtyard garden
Horrible self-compacting gravel which will have to go!

I am DETERMINED that the next house build mailer will be full of us moving boxes and furniture, so watch this space!

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