We’ve quietly been getting on with improvements to our house this year – when we moved in in December 2005, we had a lot to do and worked quickly to do it. We’re more tired now, and so things are moving more slowly but still surely. Andy is working on the garden, with help from a friend who is making our patio a nice place to be, and my attention is now fixed on the living room.
Currently it’s not the most exciting place to be: we inherited creamy/yellow walls (which are inoffensive enough), office-style vertical blinds (which depress me), and a sandy-coloured carpet. The carpet is mostly OK, except for one area where it is missing – and overall it’s a bit on the grubby side. There used to be an ugly stone platform that someone had build to house their TV – Andy promptly removed that when we moved in because we had a plasterer coming to do some work and so could get them to fix the walls afterward – but that still left a few square feet of no carpet. Our strategy to hide this hole in the carpet has been to obscure it with floor cushions, which has worked quite well but is no good for the long term.
There’s also a not very nice gas fire, a brown tiled hearth (again, not very nice), and a wooden fireplace/mantlepiece which is cheap and not so great. Replacing the fire and hearth is not on our agenda at the moment, but we’re getting the room decorated in a few weeks and so will get the wooden fireplace painted white to disguise the fact that the wood it’s made from is cheap.
I’m looking at getting a new carpet for the room at the moment. I had considered a wood-effect laminate floor, but we had a disaster with our kitchen floor last year and so that has soured us on laminate floors and made us a little cautious. I’ve seen some nice solid-coloured carpets that have some texture to them – a sort of waffle-like embossing. Originally I had been looking at rugs for the room, but it slowly dawned on me that I was doing that because the carpet is something that needs hiding – and the rugs I liked cost almost as much as a carpet, so I may as well do things properly.
I’ve also been looking at window coverings. The room looks out onto the street, so we want something that will prevent people looking in on us while we watch Dr Who. It’s also a bay window, which complicates things further. If money was no object, I would love to have interior window shutters – but our budget cannot stretch that far. I’m thinking I’ll get curtains and some sort of sheer fabric that I can hang as a blind. I’d not been having much luck finding a suitable fabric until I ventured into a cheap-looking curtain shop in Nottingham last week. They have a print on a cream background that comprises coloured circles in shades of greyish brown, navy blue, and dusky lilac. And it’s inexpensive! Hurrah!
One piece in my little puzzle was completed today: a new sofa is about to be ordered. We have a two-seater sofa and an armchair that belonged to my parents in tne 1980s. They are still OK, and a good colour for us, but they won’t last forever, and it’s not ideal having to sit on the floor as soon as we have more than one guests visit us. So, I’ve been looking for a second two-seater sofa, and have finally found one. I had looked in the usual places (Ikea, Ikea andIkea – and some other stores, honestly!) but not found the right thing at the right price – or at the right size, because it’s not a big room. But my mum suggested Sofa Workshop, a place I had studiously avoided because I knew I’d find something I liked but thought that all their stuff was way out of my budget. Happily, I was wrong – I’ve found a little sofa I like (Carrie, in mocha) that comes in a lovely range of fabrics, and is in my budget (it’s in the sale at the moment). The downside is that they make to order, so it will be a few months until it arrives, but I’m in no rush. The store assistant was very nice and patient, and I’d recommend having a look in there if you’re in the market for a sofa. I’m looking forward to having a new place to sit!