I’m trying to take photos often, as I know one day all this will be different and we’ll barely remember what it was like “before”. Today I decided to take pictures of things in the house that tell a story, about life in Number 26 at the moment, about the journey of adopting and adapting this pile of bricks and mortar as our own.
Here is the story, a study in black and white, of Number 26 as it is in February, 2015, on a cold windy night.
We inherited several sets of keys when we moved in. And another set arrived a few weeks later. Opening the various back doors, our strange metal door and our front doors. I always wonder how many other sets are “out there” in the world, in forgotten kitchen drawers, or lost coat pockets.
Without central heating, our house gets really cold, down to 5 degrees C so far this year. In an attempt to conserve heat, I block the draft from our kitchen door with this fella.
The kitchen is one of my favourite places to be on a Saturday morning. I turn on the radio and plan what delicious culinary experiment I’m going to try in my slow cooker today.
Despite our kitchen being an odd shape, it has a lot more cupboard space that we were previously used to. And one of the great joys is our pantry – we can fit everything in there and it’s so cold in the house it’s like a fridge. The downside is our olive oil has separated and the Nutella is completely unspreadable.
In order to stay focused and motivated, I decided to think strategically. Operation Dream House is now underway, and our SMART goals are visible, sellotaped to our dining room wall.
I’ve put lightshades on most bulbs in the house – the rooms we spend most time in. The bulb in the dining room remains bare. The burn marks on the ceiling are scars from back in the day, when gas lighting was used in the house.
We have fireplaces in every room in the house in a range of garish styles. We also inherited some glass decanters from the previous owner. Unimpressed by the taste of before, I try to balance it out with some of our recent travel photos.
Our electrics need looking at. and several of our light switches are hanging off the wall. This one, in the hall, switches on the hall, landing, and porch light. We mustn’t touch the middle switch, hence the tape, it’ll short the house. Much fun when groping in the dark for that familiar rough tape feeling. Click to the left or the right, just not in the middle.
The spinning dials have slowed since we turned off the storage heaters. The rat trap remains for now, as a precaution, if they come back we don’t want them chewing through the wires.
Our bathroom is particularly special. Once a bedroom, converted into a bathroom, the plaster was removed to get a bathroom suite in. It was never replastered and we’re left with a delightful “exposed brick” effect. When sitting on the loo you can almost feel a breeze and spot daylight through the cracks…
Brick and lace – my attempt to bring a little privacy and glamour to a bathroom that looks like a building site
My favourite fireplace is in the upstairs front bedroom; unlike it’s ceramic art deco cousins, this one is a delightful teal number made from cast iron. It has pretty bows and decoration around the edge. I’m going to fight to keep it, although I fear it’ll be ripped out with the rest.
We have a tiny front room which will one day house our bathroom. It’s stripped right back to brick, held together with spiderwebs. The window has crazy expandable foam spewing from its edges.
At Christmas I put up a star light shade in our hall. It softened the light and gave our cold hall a cozy feel. I decided to keep it up for the whole year, it feels more like home now.
Getting our chimneys swept has been on of the best things we’ve done so far. And the cheapest. On the day the sweep came I went out to a local junk shop and picked up a fireguard and companion set for next to nothing. The small wins keep us warm and happy.