Thursday, 13 October 2011

The bathroom is nearly finished. It's taking so long because we have more time than money, and we have very little time. We also lack skill.

There was a problem with the ceiling: old paper and gloss paint patches we couldn't shift. So we bought some lining paper and attempted to apply it. Stevie on a step ladder at one end, me on a cupboard at the other, long stick in hand, as you can imagine it didn't work. I had to rethink. I didn't want to emulsion over the glossy patches because I worried it wouldn't take, and I didn't want to faff about with oil based paint: too stinky. So we just left it the way it was thinking, all the while, that we would have to employ someone to do it for us when we could afford it. Then I saw a picture of an artist's house on Pinterest: she had wallpapered a room in scraps. I didn't like her choice of paper but I liked the idea, thus Stevie went hunting for odd roll ends. He came back with a huge bag load, but they were all a bit shiny and I'm not a huge fan of shine. Silverware, yes, eyes, absolutely, but not wallpaper. I was after more of an old quilt aesthetic.

I mentioned this to my WOW* ladies one Wednesday as we were chatting after a lesson (they are really coming on, by the way, some of their stories are wonderful) and one of them said she had had some old wallpaper sample books for a project, but they'd disappeared: "Go and ask round the design shops and see if they are throwing any away," she said.

So I did.

I was given six books by a very kind young woman in home-ware shop in Gretna. I only needed a few squares so the rest are going to WOW for an art project.

The blind was another problem. The old one was manky: little black dots had eked their way across the surface, and i couldn't get them off. It had been up there for ten years, and had only cost three quid at Ikea, I figured we were due a new one. So, off we went to  get a replacement; they had roller blinds, and slatted blinds, and all sorts of other blinds, but no roman blinds. And it was a roman blind I wanted.  I looked online, there were loads, but none were the width of our windows. I could get 90cm, 120 cm, or 60cm; all of which were far enough from the 100cm I needed they might as well have been ten metres. So I checked the cost of getting one made, and found we could go on holiday for that much, and we haven't had a holiday since we went to Cornwall for a week in 2007.

Meanwhile, I kept seeing things made of old burlap sacks (again on Pinterest): cushions, chair-covers, table runners. They all looked jolly nice but I had no idea what burlap was or where it could be purchased. So I googled and found out it was hessian, and after a few clicks of my mouse I found a website that specialises in upholstery material. They sold hessian by the metre, not only that they had some that was exactly the width of the window, and it was only £1.62 a metre. I ordered four metres.

One day one of us will remove the masking tape.

Today I took the old blind apart with the idea of using the bits of string etc to make a roman blind out of the hessian. I cut the required length and attempted to hem, remembered I couldn't sew a straight line and, thus, there was no way I'd be able to make those neat little rod pockets. And, what's more just trying would make the whole enterprise hateful. So I improvised.

Detail: I'm particularly thrilled with the purple dotted line, it reminds me of postmen.  
Once the wooden batten was in place – shove, shove– and the little eyelets were screwed into it, I threaded them with the string. Then with a big needle, just caught bits of the fabric with the string where I supposed the rods would be if someone else had made it. It's not perfect, and it probably won't last, but I for now I'm happy with it.

I still have a bit of grouting to do, but can't find the squeezy thing for getting it deep in the crevasses. I need to work out what to do with the bath's side panels (marine ply, not pretty), and order the flooring. So, I'm waiting for more inspiration and pay day.

Now I'm off in search of a musician, so I'll come visiting tomorrow.

*Women of the World: a local charity that helps women who find themselves living here far, far from home.


Philip said...

Can't say I like the blind. I'd keep potatoes in it. But the ceiling! The ceiling is inspired! Looks absolutely brilliant. Just don't have a bath when you have a hangover, or a migraine may result. But seriously, it looks fantastic.

Sharon Longworth said...

Thanks Eryl - I've now got Philip sitting next to me proposing all sorts of wonderful design ideas for our bathroom ceiling...

nick said...

Your ingenuity is most impressive. I love what you've done with the ceiling and I love the hessian blind. Glad it's all gradually taking shape bit by bit. I can see you'll end up with the most amazing bathroom.

Titus said...

I love the ceiling and I'm pretty taken with the blind too - the stitching is good. My only hangback is that I always think hessian smells funny. That may be personal.
Well done you! And Stevie!

Eryl said...

Philip ~ it is like potato sacks, and if I'd been able to get old sacks, with writing on, I would have. Glad you like the ceiling, I just hope it stays up.

Sharon ~ sorry!

Nick ~ thank you. It's amazing what one can come up with given time and no money!

Titus ~ it does smell funny, but I'm hoping that it will mellow, for now it makes me sneeze.

Elisabeth said...

Clever you Eryl. Marvelous that you can use such inexpensive resources to create a beautiful bathroom and home.

Pat said...

You can never go wrong with hessian.
I couldn't work out where the masking tape was for, then decided you painted the glass blue. Nice.
It'll be difficult to take a photo of the whole caboosh but I'd love to see the finished effect.
'Spect you'd love to see it finished:)

Scarlet Blue said...

I find this post inspiring... especially as I've got a Pinterest list of things to do as well... yes an inspiring post... but my eyes keep wandering to the chocolate cake below!!

anopisthographiste said...

I love love love the scrap wallpaper, and actually the potato-sack look is quite endearing too!

Eryl said...

Elizabeth ~ as my mother used to say: necessity is the mother of invention.

Pat ~ you never fail to make me smile. The masking tape was to protect the glass when we painted the window frames. We also used it on the wall to protect them, but when we took it off lumps of wall came too. So now I have more plastering and painting to do!

I'm becoming slightly desperate to get it finished now.

Scarlet ~ I will post the recipe for the cake soon, promise. I should be a little less stressed from Friday for a week, the uni is closed next week so no classes to prep for.

Anopisthographiste ~ how lovely to get such a positive reaction, thank you. I'm pretty taken with it myself, I only hope steam doesn't bring it all down.

63mago said...

It's not so easy to find real potatoe sacks nowadays, or flour bags: They were traditionally white, woven more dense, and had the name of the farmer or the name of the mill on it.

Alesa Warcan said...

Hey, that's looking good.

We need to redo our bathroom too... Which is still fuchsia from the misdeeds of the previous owner's teenage daughter. ; j

Perhaps we should take a page from your scrapbook.

Carole said...

Very nice. Your vision in decorating is superb. You make the most ordinary things look extraordinary.

Unknown said...

I adore your Roman shades! You Go girl!