This DIY life…..

23 May

‘So how are things going with the house?’ It’s a question I’m asked on a regular basis and normally its one I love to answer. It somehow validates what we’re doing when friends or family show a genuine interest in or curiosity about our progress. Even more so when something about our experiences triggers them to remember and share their stories of DIY or renovation projects. Sometimes it helps to know that you’re not the only one who has struggled with misogynistic builders or an on-line radiator sales company whose definition of good customer service is to shout at you and slam down the phone because you ask why your radiators haven’t arrived!

The thing is, I’ve noticed that just lately the question ‘how’s the house going’ is not causing me to light up with excitement. I know it’s not because I’ve lost interest in what we’re doing but rather we’ve reached a point where there is simply nothing to talk about because NOTHING is moving forward! Well when I say nothing, I mean specifically the kitchen, which is meant to be our main focus just now. But the DIY gods are not smiling down on us and we’re just not making any progress. Obstacles to date have included :

  1. Our favoured builder – of the three we got quotes from – is not returning our calls. So either he took a dislike to us or he’s just so damn good (which I have to say is the most likely option given the three page email filled with free advice he sent with his quote) that he’s booked out for the rest of his working life.
  2. The building regulations people cannot decide how much money we need to pay them or even what form we should fill in – all we’re looking to do is incorporate the external utility ‘room’ into the main kitchen space. So far we’ve spoken to two different people and been given two different quotes and two different application forms to complete! Granted on a positive note, the price is going down (by nearly two hundred pounds), so IB is in favour of us ringing a third time to see if the price will drop again.
  3. In terms of the kitchen design, well the first company we approached gave us a plan for a kitchen that was totally lacking in creativity and imagination. Something to do I think with the designer being clearly hung over on the morning we went in to the showroom. The second – remember Mr. Magnet – has not even bothered to come back with a design for us, despite us calling to chase him. So now, we’ve got to start all over again…….

Anyway, you know what, this DIY Dame is not going to be beaten. We will get the kitchen renovations up and running and in the meantime there are still lots of smaller projects that we can tackle – although time is proving tricky to find just now as we’re both so busy at work, earning the money to do the renovations – you know how it is!  Still, even if our renovations have ground to a stand-still, it doesn’t stop me looking for ideas and inspiration. I’m still obsessing about how to maximise our storage options (remember the stair storage ideas?)  and have been hunting around for other clever tricks we could use. I found these ideas on the channel 4 home design site. They focus on the living room but the site is worth a visit as it features ideas for all different rooms in a  house.



I love the idea of building a window seat with storage beneath in a bay window (although we don’t have any in this house!).  A lift up lid is the least expensive option of course but putting drawers in like this looks better.

Or you could have a sofa bed which also has storage below the cushions (checkout IKEA).




Oh and then I found this, which has nothing to do with living room storage, but I love to bake and I love the idea that one day in my new kitchen, I might have space for one of these (from Infarrantly Creative):




Finally, I also found some interesting storage ideas on one website for children’s playrooms but they could just as easily be used in childrens’ bedrooms.



I love the chalkboard idea in particular, but in terms of the last picture, well there’s no way my boys would ever settle for a bedroom or playroom that was that neat and organised, but hey a Dame can dream!


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