Ikea is a wonderful place. Meatballs, cakes made from Dime Bars, those clippy things for half opened bags of food that you buy Every Time You Visit. Oh and the odd piece of furniture. Eight years ago I bought a simple wooden cabinet to provide some much needed storage in my old house. I’d always planned to do something ‘jazzy’ with the doors but as it was hidden behind my sofa I never got round to it. Fast forward to the New House and the cabinet is being used as a TV stand and is much more on show.

cabinet before

I felt now was the time to get the paints and wallpapers out and give it a little make over.


It only took an afternoon of painting, I used a variety of paints, ones that I already had in the house. The yellow is a really high shine gloss and the others are all satin finish emulsions. If you are using matt paints – maybe left over from painting your walls – then using a clear varnish or wax will give a nice sheen.


1. Remove the doors and give them a wash and a light sand.
2. Masking tape all round the sides of the doors to avoid drips.
3. Prime with an acrylic undercoat and primer in one.
4. When this is dry paint with your chosen colours, I used a small roller to avoid brush marks.
5. If required finish off with a wax.

If you don’t fancy doing-it-yourself then these pieces already have the paint job done for you.


Oliver BonasMavis Chest £515


John Lewis sideboard by Leonard Pfeifer £650

Though I love my cabinet and its jazzy doors I found just the sort of cupboard I was looking for the other day. Of course it wasn’t quite right as it was so it’s currently being ‘Dad Hacked’ in Dads Garage. I reckon it’ll deserve its own post pretty soon.

P.S. If you’ve not visited the Ikea Hackers website go now. It’s full of inspiring projects to turn your run of the mill Ikea goods into unique one of a kinds.

kitchen before

So this is what my kitchen looked like when I moved in 10 months ago. It had been built in the side return but badly; the kitchen units were fixed to next doors wall, the wall at the end was built with air bricks so very chilly and the roof was plastic so Really Noisy when it rained. The picture above is shot from the dining room through the ‘serving hatch’ which was actually just the old external window. Nice.

Next to the kitchen was a small room which I was using as my craft room. Ideally I wanted the wall between this and the kitchen removed, french doors put in and some sort of glass roof. Then the builders turned up and did this …

kitchen during

Aye carumba. Above this small brick column that seems to be holding the entire back of the house up is my bathroom. I did a lot of tip toeing around and had no baths during this time.

Then this happened …

kitchen after

Oh hello lovely kitchen. It’s not quite finished yet but I thought if I waited to post till that happened the internet might be defunct.

(The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that I still haven’t finished painting the garden fence but it keeps either raining or being too hot. One day soon. I promise.)

We’ve had a long weekend. There was some sunshine and I had nothing planned. That meant there was no way I could ignore the long long list of decorating jobs that need to be done in my house…

In my garden is an offensive fence, I really don’t like the red it’s been stained I’d like it to just be wood colour or maybe a nice green, but the red has scuppered those ideas, if I were braver I would love to paint it black like the amazing home of the late Derek Jarman at Dungeness but being a bit of a chicken I decided that a grey would be a nice compromise. I chose Cuprinol Ducksback in Silver Copse available from all good DIY shops and set to work …

Before …


After 30 minutes …


I painted one fence panel and took a step back… Hmmmm … Had I just made a big mistake? It was just a dull nondescript grey, a little bit like a prison yard or the side of a battleship. Was I about to turn my garden into a builders yard? I had one grey panel and eight red ones and couldn’t decide which was better. So I went to bed.

Next morning the grey was growing on me so I cracked on with the rest …


And now it’s The Most Amazing Garden Fence In The World Ever.


It makes me feel all calm and serene whenever I look at it and then I got a bit overexcited and started painting anything in sight …


Things I have learnt from painting a fence

1. It’s a messy job, buy some disposable gloves to protect your hands.
2. Gently pull any plants away from the fence and cover in an old net curtain or other light fabric to protect them from paint splats.
3. Use a big brush loaded up with quite a bit of paint (the fence soaks up alot) and brush along each slat following the grain.
4. Use a smaller brush or sponge to do the corners and fiddly bits.
5. If you are painting over an existing colour it’ll probably take two coats, mine does but I don’t think I can face it – I’ve still got 12 panels and gates to go!

This is what my lounge looked like a month ago.

I wasn’t making a Gastro Pub style feature wall but more boringly fixing a damp problem. Even more boringly I wasn’t doing this in The New House just getting The Old House ready to sell. I had a bit of a dilemma as to how to decorate the wall when it was finally waterproofed and re-plastered, previously I’d put up a nice bit of wallpaper and I wanted to replace this BUT I didn’t want to spend a fortune on paper that (hopefully) I wouldn’t be looking at for much longer and that also might get ripped down as soon as the New Owner moves in.

I wanted to find a wallpaper that I could live with for a couple of months and that wouldn’t break the bank. There are millions of nice paper designs out there in every colour way and pattern possible so to stop my brain exploding I narrowed my search down by choosing a colour scheme of black/grey/silver and looking for a nature inspired print.

In general it appears I have expensive taste as all my favourite papers were around the £60 a roll mark. Which is acceptable if you’re only doing one wall or a couple of alcoves but can get a bit prohibitive if you’re papering a whole room or the paper has a massive repeat as you end up wasting a lot of paper making the pattern match up.  These were my ‘dream choices’

from left Marimekko Biloba Wallpaper £56.95 from John Lewis
Family Tree Wallpaper £59.95 from 95%Danish
Harlequin Silhouette Wallpaper £58 from John Lewis

Then I moved on to some more attainable ones…

from left Sanderson Squirrel & Dove Wallpaper £35.46 from Housedecorltd
Graham & Brown Mirage Wallpaper £21.99 from Homebase
Cottonwood Leaf Wallpaper £25.90 from Laura Ashley

But the one I went for in the end was this …

… which was a bargain of £13.99 from homebase. It only took about two hours to put up with a couple of limbo moves trying to get it behind the staircase, but I managed it apart from this little problem I had right at the very end of the wall, and apparently the roll!