The Cottage Smallholder

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Decorating the cottage: update

Photo: Inca tired of the decorating upheaval

As I only have outdoor painting jobs at the moment, the persistent soft Irish misty drizzle has meant that I’m working on our cottage instead. Repairing and decorating the inside.

Danny works from home so we have spent more time together than we have for months. His mini kingdom is the Rat Room. Here he works on his laptop with a diary full of conference calls and deadlines.
“Please make sure that The Contessa doesn’t creep upstairs to nest under the duvet. If she barks when I’m on a call I look/sound like a schmuck.”

The kitchen is almost finished. It looks bright and cottagey. I just need to replace the tiles behind the sink and cooker. The Dulux Light and Space paint works well. It does reflect much more light. Especially at night when the lights can be turned right down.

I had ordered the Absolute White trade version of the paint for the ceiling before Christmas. It’s more expensive but a far greater opacity than the paint available from the ordinary shops so it works out cheaper in the end. So if you are considering using this paint it might be worth going to your local builder’s merchant and ordering the trade version. Few stock it because it’s considered new-fangled!

The paint for the walls was mixed in Homebase where the range is a bit bigger than the premixed paints. The colour is Honey Glaze, which does not appear on the list of Light and Space colours – a very pale primrose yellow. It looks wonderful, but it did take three coats. The cupboards and doors are painted with Dulux Heritage Edwardian Lemon Eggshell. The windows, skirting and door frames are painted with Light and Space quick drying satin (Absolute White) as I was hoping this would reflect more light than ordinary Brilliant White eggshell. It does not have the sort of opacity that I’d expect from a trade paint but the end result is a very pretty room that feels calm and serene. The trick is to undercoat the woodwork with two or three layers of Dulux Trade quick drying primer undercoat and then apply the top coat, rather than one undercoat and three top coats!

I have repainted the bathroom. The walls are completely tiled in white so it was just the ceiling and woodwork (Dulux Light and Space, Absolute White). I’ve also painted the ceiling and the woodwork in The Love Gallery – that leads to the bathroom. We wanted to keep the deep pinkish coral colour on the walls but I’m planning to run over them on Saturday as they look a bit dead now that the woodwork has been buffed up.

I’ve repaired and decorated the stairwell. This is not a conventional hall landing and stairs. The cottage is so old that it’s just a flight of stairs that curve around the central chimney breast, with a little window that overlooks the garden. We used the same colour combination as the kitchen – white ceiling, pale yellow walls and white woodwork. It looks amazing as it was a bit dark and forlorn before.

This is a 360 year old cottage with very low ceilings and small windows. It needs a traditional look. We’ve tried outlandish colours in the past and they just don’t work. Good decorating is all about getting the best out of the space that you have.

A lot of my clients ask me to decorate one room and gradually over the next few months I return to do one more room and eventually decorate the entire house. Once one area is done the rest of the house starts screaming for a makeover. And we’ve experienced that same syndrome.

It will be the sitting room next. Then the bedrooms and finally the exterior. It feels so good to be investing in us for a change. It’s a well known fact that your environment has a fundamental affect on the way that you feel about yourself. Unfortunately we had forgotten this.

But the Min Pins loathe this sojourn. I’m at home but busy and attached to a smelly paint brush. Eventually Inca just sat on the outside edge of the dust cloths on the floor and wept. So I filled the teddy bear hot water bottle that she loves and let her climb into the human dog basket and lie beside the teddy for the afternoon. I know that she has investigated my unusual behaviour and the paint pots. Examine the tips of her ears. Dr Q is also covered with splashes of paint. D’s fleece is streaked back and front.

Only the elegant Contessa has no daubs of paint. She is far too superior to get involved. Holed up in her basket she steps out and stretches when the brushes are finally cleaned and put away for the evening.

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  1. Thank you for clarifying that Fiona, I guess it’s worth the extra then especially for busy rooms.

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