None of this could have been achieved without our lovely builders:

Mark, Mike, Sid, Al and Fred

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Battenburg cake has gone!!

We promised ourselves when we moved into this house almost 18 months ago that the Battenburg cake path and balcony would be replaced. We're thrilled that our "new" garden was completed on Thursday this week.

We used Summers Gardens, who are based at Caerau Uchaf, near Bala (if you're ever in the area, do go and see their own gardens and treat yourself to some of the yummy cake that Stephanie bakes for their cafe - no I'm not on commission!). Toby did the design and suggested the materials (Indian stone and as a contrast some stone chippings) and despite my original reservations regarding more multi-coloured paving it definitely was the right choice and looks wonderful. We had some rain this afternoon and the colours look even more impressive when it's wet.

Toby and his lads came on Monday, 23 August, and amazingly all the old paving and walling was ripped up and in the skip by 4pm. They worked through heavy rain and wind for the first two days but for the rest of the first week the weather was pretty good. The second week the weather was glorious, summer came to north Wales at last!

Here are the before and after pictures, do click to enlarge them and see what a wonderful job Toby & Co have done.

The border has been removed where the concrete planters were on the left hand side and the path taken right up to the fence, this has given the impression of much more width to a very small garden:

View from loft window:

We still have to sort out the borders, rescue some of the plants that were disturbed during the works, move plants around, decide what new stuff we want, plant up with new plants and bulbs. We have quite a bit more room now as the borders have been widened.

Pictures taken this morning when some of the pots had been brought back:

The bird bath fits very nicely into this corner of the garden, Paul's cleaned it up and it looks like new:

We found a special place for our little sleepy elf - a drain has been formed in the bottom corner of the garden and he disguises it very nicely!

We're just hoping for a bit more nice weather now as we'd like to paint the pillars and wall around the balcony to match the house.

Thanks so much for coming to see our new garden, we hope you like it as much as we do.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Long time no post!

Nothing really to post about as there's nothing much going on inside. The garden's kept me quite busy, you can see it here if you like. We've had a landscaper round to discuss replacing the hard landscaping and disturbing as few plants as possible. Just waiting for him to get back to us.

We're still waiting for the sun room floor to be levelled, not holding our breath as it's son Neil who will do it when he's been reminded enough times!

The only other thing that is new is our little addition to the family, Poppy:

If you want to read more about her she has her own blog. Paul thinks I'm a bit sad!

Friday, April 16, 2010

16 April 2010

Well, I can't believe it's one year and one week since we moved in! There's not really much more to blog about as there isn't really much left to do, just a few finishing off bits which have had to wait until Paul recovered enough from his stem cell transplant and got some energy back.

This week he has laid the carpet tiles in the loft bedroom, these took a lot of finding as we wanted it to be pink and to look as close to a normal carpet as possible. Because of the limited headroom and dog-leg staircase we couldn't get a roll of carpet up there as it needed to be 5 metres wide.

After much searching we found that Heuga did a range called Simply Soft and the "barley" colour is actually pink. I've now changed the bed linen to the new set I bought months ago from Dunelm.

I've got plenty of room for my craft desk and cupboards but I think I'll have to be a bit tidier now!

Also today we've had new blinds fitted in the sun room. We had five people come out to quote and the prices ranged from £450 to £2,000 for the job. We wanted pleated blinds in a reflective material so that the light would filter through but the sun wouldn't be a problem. The £2,000 quote was from Sandersons which was a joke! The nicest and neatest blinds happened to be the £450 quote which was from Angela's Blinds, a small family company from Newtown in mid Wales, about an hour's drive from here. Selwyn came and measured, he is such a nice man and we were most impressed when he took his shoes off at the door - something he always does without having to be asked! He came and fitted them today and he even keeps a pair of slippers in his van to wear in his customers' houses - how considerate is that!

The blinds are "Perfect Fit" which has a frame which clips into the beading of the windows and the blind fits neatly behind the frame. We chose a subtle striped beige material which is neutral and blends well with the paintwork and the chairs.

Last week Paul fitted blinds to the Velux windows in the sun room and kitchen roof. We had these in a plain cream fabric which blends nicely with the colour of the paintwork on the ceiling. The blinds are closed in this picture and plenty of light still comes through but it keeps out the sun which makes the room very hot and was also shining directly onto the carpet and furniture in the lounge and would have eventually caused them to fade.

Saturday, December 26, 2009



This is the back of the house which faces the sea. The size of the dormer shows just how much the size of the loft bedroom has been increased. Not the prettiest house from the outside but we think painting the rendering has made a big difference, everyone who knew the house before thinks the painting alone has made the house a lot better! The planning officer wanted the dormer slate hung, which we were happy to agree with, but he wasn't keen on the house being painted as he thinks the town is in danger of becoming like Balamory! We promised to keep it subtle so hopefully he likes the outcome.

The house fronts onto the pedestrian lane, tucked away in a quiet little corner of town. These pictures look down the lane with the harbour and mountains just about in view:

And these pictures look up the lane (the little bit of wall painted white on the right hand side of the lane in the after picture - just in front of the white house at the top of the lane - is the rear entrance to the garden of the restaurant where we used to live so we didn't have to move far!):


The utility room is at the front of the house, facing onto the lane, the above pictures show the side window just above the gas meter and the larger main window to the front. Below the before pictures were taken on our second viewing of the house so it's nice to say this time it's not our mess! The new units were the original ones in the kitchen which we have re-used. We still need to get around to either buying or making plinths.


The state of this really had to be seen to be believed. Clicking on the before picture to enlarge it gives you some idea!


The huge slate fireplace stretched the full length of the lounge. This, along with the pine panelled walls and mock beamed ceiling made this room very dark. We had the small windows removed and French doors/windows put in which has given us easy access to the sun room and kitchen as well as lightening the room.


The layout of the kitchen wasn't the best, with the gas cooker originally very close to the opening window. The sun is very strong on this side of the house so standing there cooking would mean that it's not just what's in the oven that is roasting! We moved the cooker to the other side of the room and didn't replace the wall cupboards by the window as they cut out a lot of light.


According to the builders, our conservatory became a sun room when the polycarbonate roof was removed and replaced with a pitched slate roof with Velux windows. They opened this up by knocking down the dividing wall between the conservatory and kitchen and it is such a bright, sunny room that we spend a lot of time in here, even in the winter it's comfortable enough with the two radiators.


The bathroom was probably the room that changed most, it was completely stripped out and the landing walls removed, new stud walls built to provide a shower alcove and a storage cupboard.

This is what we saw on our first and second visits:

The toilet was in a little alcove and the enormous airing cupboard was a waste of space. So the room was stripped and walls removed so that we could decide what to do with it:

The original toilet alcove became a storage cupboard with access from the landing:

The airing cupboard was halved, the rear half became the shower alcove in the bathroom and we could still access a smaller airing cupboard from the landing:

The new toilet was put into the alcove where the bath with cupboard above originally was and a new vanity unit replaced the old one in roughly the same place:

The old shower cubicle which had been built around an opening window was removed and the space left clear so the window sill can be used.

The new bath has been positioned where the new stud wall was built dividing off the old toilet alcove to form the storage cupboard on the landing:


Bowed and cracked ceilings had to be removed and replaced, the damp outside wall had to be remedied and apart from one wall this room was one of only two that did not need a plaster skim. The fitted wardrobes were probably the worst case of DIY we've ever come across (but it did make for easy removal!) and how two people could need that much wardrobe space was beyond us! Removing the fitted wardrobes opened the room up and using free standing furniture has given it a sense of space. We just need to decide what to do for a wardrobe in the alcove, our old pine wardrobes are just temporary until we find exactly what we want.


The outside wall of this bedroom had a major damp problem which left us wondering how, with lights and sockets in use, no-one was ever electrocuted! The builders again remedied the problem and we moved the bed and electrics to the inside wall. The radiator was moved from under the window to allow us to put a chest of drawers there and was sited on the outside wall instead. More poor DIY wardrobes which were again removed and replaced with free standing furniture. Again the ceilings were cracked and bowed and had to be removed and replaced.


There is so much to say about the loft. The surveyor, architect and builders had never seen such a poor conversion and it was ripe and ready for bringing the house down. It was a recipe for disaster due to some of the roof supports being removed, the main purlin cut into by at least half of it's depth to provide headroom for the stairs, and the floor joists laid directly on top of the bedroom ceiling joists going in the same direction.

This has now become the guest room with en-suite and furnished mainly with the office furniture left over from the restaurant to provide me with a desk and storage for crafting. We still have to choose some floor covering, which will probably be carpet tiles due to the fact that we can't get a roll of carpet up the dog-leg stair case. Once we've done that we'll use the new bed linen and the room should look a lot better than the mish-mash it is at the moment.