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A little bit of knowledge!

4 Mar

Okay, three months into our renovations, I think it’s a good time to take stock and maybe capture our learning to date (spot who used to work in a Knowledge Management team), because even though we have only been at this for a short period of time, IB and I agreed last night that we’ve already learned A LOT! Top tips at this stage that I can offer the world are as follows.

  1. Make sure to have plenty of tea and biscuits in when you’re got workmen around. A caffeine deprived tradesman mid-sugar crash is a lot less helpful than one who’s had his elevenses and his afternoon tea-break. Seriously, our electrician for example did a lot of little extras for us along the way for no extra money and I’m a hundred percent certain that it was the tea and biscuits that I served him four times a day for ten days that bought us that extra good will.
  2. Don’t stop at one or even two quotes, get three for EVERYTHING!  If we had gone with the first quote we got for our windows, we would have spent an extra £1500  (that’s the price of a new bathroom suite, or getting four rooms plastered or a whole new summer wardrobe – should the need for anything other than old paint splattered denims ever arise again!).
  3. Never talk to someone who’s working on your house while you’re distracted by children, visitors or work. Our window fitter asked me whether we wanted a trim around the windows or whether filler would do. Distracted by the kids I asked him which he would recommend. He said filler and that trim was just something double glazing companies did because it was quick and easy. Luckily somewhere deep down that didn’t sit right and so I told him I’d get back to him.  A quick search on-line told me trim looked better but that it would be more time-consuming for him to do, hence him trying to steer me away from the idea.
  4. If you’re having a room plastered, check that the plasterer has put masking tape down the side of any furniture that you can’t remove from the room. I speak as someone who has spent the afternoon trying to scrub plaster off the sides of our fireplace.
  5. If you get your living room plastered, set up your tv in another room for a couple of days. The effect of sitting in a room with plaster that is drying is like sitting in a subway  without the graffiti and smell of pee!
  6. Tester paint pots are worth their weight in gold but although they seem inexpensive, if you buy too many it can be quite costly. I found I was  drawn to similar shades from different brands, so before I got to the till I went through the 7 or so pots I had and got rid of a couple because  I realised that the shades I had chosen weren’t suitably varied.
  7. DO visit the Dulux paint matching stand if you have some fabric that you like the colour of and want to match paint to. They will scan the fabric and mix up the colour for you. Apparently it doesn’t work with photos though, although I got chatting to the guy in charge of the stand at B&Q and he kindly offered to scan in the magazine picture I’d brought along in order to find the nearest equivalent they had in their colour range. I was then able to get it made up at a cost of  £38 for five litres
  8. Make friends with as many of the big DIY stores offer them 10% discount on certain days of the week (for B&Q, Wednesday  is what they call ‘diamond day’).Finally, a top tip which I cannot claim as my own, it came from the nice man in B&Q and I’m almost embarrassed to say I’d never thought of it before but don’t just try a tester paint on one wall, try it all over the room as the light from the windows falls differently around the room, so the paint might look good in one place but not in another. I was a one patch woman until I heard this pearl of wisdom on Friday! 12 test patches later (3 colours on four walls) I think we might just have our living room paint! By the way, the camera is lying, the one in the middle is not white, its Montelemare no 3!

    do it yourself blog test paint patches

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