Saturday, 23 November 2013

My New ARTHaven–Tidying Up and Getting Organised at Last

My cousin came to visit us today. She is a keen crafter, and I was looking forward to showing her around our new house and showing her the renovations, but most of all, taking her into my new ARTHaven and watching her turn a bright shade of green with envy! In advance of today, I knew I had to tidy up and try and get somewhat organised in there, so that she would get a proper impression of it as a working space, and not merely a dumping ground. Although there is still a lot of organising and sorting to do, it is all definitely taking shape now.

The office section probably needs more organising than the ARTHaven proper, but at least it is workable. After my latest tidying, this is how it looks now.

01 Office - Tidier!

On the right, you can see the magnificent bronze casting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, created as an apprentice piece in my grandfather’s foundry works in the post-WWII years. It is one of my most treasured possessions and I have not been able to display it until now.

When we were clearing my parents’ house prior to selling it, I saved a lot of Dad’s things, many of which are going to feature in the album I am making about his life. I have collected together some of the objects that he made, and things that were precious to him, or which were of particular interest to him, and I have created a little gallery of “Dad’s Treasures” on top of one of my book cases. Some of these objects look very strange!

02 Dad's Treasures

There is a story behind each one, which I cannot go into here because it would make this post much too long! One day I may detail some of the items if anyone is interested. Suffice it to say that every one of these items has become precious to me, and reminds me of a different facet of Dad’s character, life and interests.

Moving through into the ARTHaven proper, here is how the main papercrafting area looks now, with Sheba (my Cougar cutting machine) on the left, and the display area to the right of the picture..

03 Gen View

I have now set up my video camera, and the two clip-on lamps which I had in my old ARTHaven – the lighting in the new room is extremely good, with LED spots all around, but I thought I would add these two PureLite lamps to help with filming and photography. Not having tried this setup in real life yet, I am not sure if it will be OK, or whether it will need some tweaking.

Here are some detail shots.

04 Video and Lighting Setup

05 Camera Detail

The video clamp with the flexible gooseneck came from Maplins (very cheap!) and I bought two right-angle brackets with camera fixing screws from the USA on Ebay. I have used one of the bases of the old video rig to clamp this arrangement to, to bring it slightly further out over the work area, and have had to add a bit of wood packing to correct the angle of the clamp. We will have to see how it works! The camera is a new one, which I chose on the recommendation of Lindsay the Frugal Crafter – she has this camera and gets excellent results from it. All I have done with mine so far is try it out, and I haven’t done any serious filming with it yet – it was bought for the new room, as a replacement for the old camera which was a nightmare to use because it kept making my computer crash. The new camera has an SD card instead of tapes, which is an improvement, and it will film in HD.

Moving on around the room, I have now set up my display area around the old fireplace. After fixing up the shabby chic shelf unit that I got on Ebay, I began to have second thoughts about 3 shelves instead of 2, because they are so close together that you can’t really use them for many items to display, but the unit is so attractive that I couldn’t bear to replace it! Instead, I have put some antique china pieces on the top shelf, some jars of paper flowers that I’ve made on the second shelf, and on the bottom shelf are some boxes and other small items. On the drawer handles I have hung various items received from online friends, and there are more on the mantelpiece below – those of you who have sent me things may recognise some of them if you look closely!

06 Display Area

Mixed in among these treasured gifts are some items I have made myself, including the binder on the right which I created for a craft show I took part in several months ago, detailing some of my past work. You can also see my small leather art journal with the “Tyger Tyger” page displayed, and pages from my Fine Art album (both works in progress).

This zone will be in a state of flux, with new work being added as time goes on, and the display changed. I have too many ATCs to display them all at once, so these are something which will get changed periodically. I am so thrilled to have an area where I can put out works where I can see and enjoy them.

Further on around the room are the sewing, textile and drawing zones. Yesterday I spent a long time starting to sort the cardboard boxes containing all my fabrics, embroidery materials and equipment, sewing supplies, crochet, etc. etc. There is still a lot to do. Some of this is now stored in the storage zone, and I am hoping to get some more Really Useful Boxes to house a lot of it – these look much nicer than cardboard boxes, and being transparent, you can readily identify the contents, and they are more durable.

07 Textile and Drawing Zones

On the work surface below the wall unit you can see a stack of three small vintage suitcases. These came from my parents’ house and I intend to store supplies in them – embroidery threads etc. They are all in need of repair, but I love the shabby vintage look of them.

08 Vintage Cases, Boxes and Fancy Yarns

To the left of them I have put my two German wooden buckets – I was originally going to display these in my new bathroom but found that I had more than enough stuff for in there, and thought I could use them as decorative containers in my ARTHaven. Here I have used them to contain some fancy yarns which are far too beautiful to keep hidden away in a box! To the left are two vintage boxes from Mum. The large one now contains all my decorative braids, and the one on top is a Chinese camphorwood box which at present contains some small family mementoes that Mum had collected over the years.

I decided that the whole final section of work top was probably more than enough for sewing and textile work, so I have designated the final zone as the drawing zone. Here I have put out my Zentangle album and sketchbook. On the shelf above are my pens and Inktense pencils and various other drawing bits and pieces, with the larger items like my dressmaker’s curve underneath in the floor unit. The curved metallic object just below the power point is the last remaining part of a lamp that Mum had for embroidery – it was in a seriously dilapidated state and had to be disposed of, but it had a magnifying lens (in the white bag) on a gooseneck. You can see part of my second retort stand with it, and when I find the upright for this, I will be able to mount this lens for fine work. I also have my dad’s glasses with telescopic magnifiers which he used to use for ophthalmic surgery before the hospital introduced their first operating microscope. Maybe I will be able to do my ultra fine 22+ stitches to the inch again!!

09 Drawing Zone

Finally, the storage zone, along the wall dividing the ARTHaven from the office.

10 Storage Zone

This still requires considerable re-organisation but at least it’s a bit tidier than it was! The cabinet on the left was in the original bathroom, and was moved through into here when the builders started the bathroom renovation – in the nick of time, actually, because after this, my hubby asked if he could have it for the garage, and I told him no – I’d already snaffled it up for my ARTHaven! (Considering that he grabs all the plastic Chinese takeaway boxes for his Man Cave before I get a look in, I felt justified in taking a stand over this cabinet!!) The cabinet is brilliant because the central, open part, has shelves which exactly accommodate that size of Really Useful Box – unfortunately these won’t go in the cupboards because the door occupies half an inch of cupboard space when closed, but it doesn’t matter because when they are closed you can’t see what’s n them anyway – which is probably a very good thing, given how crammed with stuff they are – bits of fabric, loads of old sheeting, rug wools, etc. etc.!

On top of the ex-bathroom cabinet, and running the whole length of the wall, is a huge deep shelf for storing large flat things like mount board, cutting mats for Sheba, etc. This is often a storage area lacking in studios simply because of lack of space, and I feel very fortunate to have such a lot of good storage for all sorts of things!

Even though there is still a lot of work to be done to get the room how I want it, it is now certainly a workable space, and having got on top of most of the rest of the house (apart from some odd bits of painting etc.), I can now start being creative again!

With this in mind, here are the art deco doorplate replacements I am working on – at present in the Heat Zone, but there is a certain fluidity between the zones, and I shall need to use this area for mixed media as well, I think.

04 Mould and Plates Made from Polyfilla One Fill

You can see the mould at top left, and the two I made from Friendly Plastic at the top. I have been experimenting with Polyfilla One Fill as a substitute (being very much cheaper) and although they are extremely light and feel fairly fragile, I think this will be a good option – they do not require any strength once in situ, and if I have any failures at the painting stage, I shan’t shed any tears over wasted materials! I shall probably melt down the Friendly Plastic ones and use the material for other projects.

The mat which they are sitting on is my new Presspahn ultra-heat proof mica mat – my original one is only A3 and not really large enough for my heat zone, so I bought this one which is approximately A2 in size. (For details of these amazing mats, please see the description in my sidebar.) You can see my melting pot just in-frame on the left. In use, this radiates quite considerable heat downwards, and was the cause of one of my (too many!) warping accidents to my self-healing cutting mats! I will also be able to do work with the soldering iron and other heat tools on this, and if I want to prevent the build-up of material and stains on it, I can always put a non-stick craft mat on top. The smaller Presspahn mat is now back under the non-stick craft mat in the Papercrafting Zone, protecting the surface underneath from my heat gun.

In the main work area, I have today resurrected the album I am making about Dad’s life – I opened up the box and showed the project to my cousin, and thought I would leave some of it out so that I can start working on it again.

01 Album Resurrected in New ARTHaven

Having the large moveable floor units will be great when working on this project, as they will provide me with a lot more surface to work on, and to spread out the materials.

When the room is properly organised, I propose to do a video tour.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Our New House–Topping Out

Last night we had our “topping out” party as a thank you to the wonderful team of builders that we had. Unfortunately not everyone involved was able to attend, but the core members were there with their families. I was so pleased that we were able to do this, as I really didn’t want the adventure simply to fizzle out as they went off to do other jobs.

Officially, a topping out involves putting a leafy bough on the apex of the roof to celebrate the final piece of the roof being completed. The origins of this practice are obscure, but it goes back to Europe’s pagan past. These days it’s as much an excuse for a boozy knees-up as anything else!!! We didn’t do this when our roof was completed, nor when the roof was finally on the garage, and I really wanted to mark the end of our building project. Our “leafy bough” is the little wooden tree that Paul made – he originally made it for Andy and for the duration of the project, it lived on our kitchen windowsill – if you look back at some of the earlier photos you can see it there. The other day I was in the garden and found it by the garden steps, in a sorry state, having been left out in the rain. I brought it in and scrubbed it to clean it off but there is some discolouration which I can’t remove. I put it out on the hall table for Andy to take, and he has given it to me! I am delighted to have it and shall treasure it as a memento of our adventure.

11 Paul's Little Wooden Tree

Getting ready for the party – I bought a lot of savouries – crisps and dips, and canap├ęs and other hot finger food. I wanted to keep it fairly simple so I could spare my energy for making the puddings! In this first photo, the table is new – it folds into a half-circle table that we put up against the radiator – there isn’t much room in the kitchen for a table but it’s nice to have somewhere to sit, and it extends to a reasonable size.

01 Party Food

Many years ago, I painted my grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine table white, and got a smoked glass top for it. It is now in the hall of our new house, and is proving very useful for putting things ready to go upstairs, or in to Mum’s annexe. The dish on the right is on a lazy Susan base and is lovely for parties. My hubby’s sister gave it to us shortly after we were married and I’ve used it such a lot.

02 Party Food

I laid out the puddings on the table in Mum’s annexe. Sticky toffee pavlova, chocolate mousse, trifle and fruit salad.

03 Puddings

The sticky toffee pavlova.

04 Sticky Toffee Pavlova

This my absolute favourite pudding of all time! The meringue is made with golden caster sugar so it is slightly brown-coloured rather than pure white. You make a toffee sauce with soft brown sugar, butter and syrup and fold it into whipped cream for the filling, reserving a little to drizzle on the top. Yum yum. Now, what do I do with all those egg yolks?

The trifle.

05 Trifle

I only put a dash of sherry in this time because there were children at the party, but I usually put in enough to notice! Trifle sponges soaked with a tin of raspberries and half a raspberry jelly made up at half strength (I hate trifles with solid jelly in them. For my US readers – jelly = jello.). Sliced banana on top, then custard, then whipped cream, and decorated with toasted flaked almonds. Yum yum again! You can see the chocolate mousse and fruit salad behind. The latter consisted of oranges, apple, banana, melon, grapes, fresh pineapple and passion fruit – this last makes it taste gorgeous and exotic! The juice came from the fruit itself, with some mixed tropical fruit juice that I bought.

The party in full swing. Tim (electrician), Andy, Chris’s wife and daughter, Paul with his youngest, my hubby, Paul’s wife.

06 The Party

Chris, Tim, Andy and Chris’s daughter.

07 The Party

Wonderwoman – until we moved she was my home help. Unfortunately we live a bit too far for her to travel to us. She is Andy’s partner. This whole project would never have come about without her because we would never have met Andy, had she not introduced us!

08 Wonderwoman

Paul with his wife and youngest of three children – she is utterly adorable! They have another girl and a boy – all three children were great, and so well behaved – they are a lovely family.

10 Paul, Louise and Phoebe

We had a great evening and it was nice for them to see each other’s handiwork finished – Tim told me that he rarely sees the finished job because he’s usually in at first fix, laying cables. None of them had seen the place at night, or with all our stuff in and looking so organised and tidy! My hubby told me this evening that the house had never looked nicer! It makes all the difference having the pictures up, rugs on the floor and some ornaments out. It feels really nice and homey now.

The other day I took some final pictures of the bathroom, with ornaments on the counter. I still have to do some painting in there to finish off (the arch, touching up here and there) and this will get done eventually. Meantime, I am working on filling the damaged areas of the architrave around the doorway from the bedroom, and once I’m satisfied with it, I shall paint the door frame. Here’s how the bathroom looks now.

01 Bathroom Counter and Arch

These pictures were all taken in daylight, which gives a better result colour-wise – it’s been very hard photographing the bathroom as it’s such a subtle colour and I usually have to manipulate the photos to try and get as close as possible to how it actually is – in these photos I haven’t done this and most of them are more or less OK.

02 Bath and Mirror

I love my big round mirror and what is reflected in it from different angles.

03 Towel Rail Radiator

04 Shower

I unpacked some more boxes the other day and found all my shells. I decided to add an accent colour in the bathroom, which is blue – I have quite a few pieces of dark blue glass which I think look good against the natural background of the tiles.

05 Counter with Ornaments

I put all my smaller shells in this big glass jar.

06 Basin

Blue glass, pottery, shells and pebbles.

07 Counter Ornaments

My new artificial bamboo plant in the corner, with more pebbles and my big shells.

08 Bamboo Plant

I am loving how the bathroom looks now, and love even more how fabulous it is to use, and how utterly self-indulgent I feel when I am in there! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Our New House–Some New Photos

Since we moved over a month ago, I haven’t been taking so many photos because of being really busy unpacking things, getting Mum settled in, and also dealing with a bad dip in my M.E. as a result of seriously overdoing things over the past weeks – I am only amazed that I didn’t crash earlier, but I assume I was running on adrenalin during the move, and once the pressure was off, my body protested that it had no reason to keep going, thank you very much! I’ve had a few good days in between but have to resist the temptation to boom and bust and overdo things again when I’m feeling better.

I decided I should take a few more photos of the work that’s been done. Today I’m concentrating on the downstairs where most of the difference has taken place, and I will need to go out and take some more photos of the garage when energy and weather permit – my hubby has made good progress out there after the team have completed the work, and today he went over and picked up his boat from the farmer who had been storing it in his barn for him – great sigh of relief that it fits! I said I’d have been pretty disgusted with him after all this work, if he hadn’t measured it properly!!

Anyway, back inside the house. When our new boiler was fitted, the glass panel over the white uPVC back door had to be  replaced with a solid panel to allow the flue to pass through to the outside. As a result, the back passage and utility room were very dark and felt quite claustrophobic.

01 Old Back Door Panel

Andy said that a cheaper option than replacing the whole door would be to have a glass panel to replace the solid one. I didn’t know this was possible, but he said the panel is held in with a bead and a sealing strip, and it was a simple matter to replace it. I told him we needed to have a cat flap. The one in the original panel was a feature mentioned in the agents’ particulars, and as with quite a few other features, we soon found out that they did not function – in this case, the previous owner had glued it up so it wouldn’t open!

Here is Paul fitting the new panel. You can see that there is a circular hole for the cat flap. Being a double-glazed unit, the seal goes around this hole as well as around the edge of the panel.

02 Paul Fitting New Glass Panel in Back Door

Here is the door complete with cat flap. Having a glass door makes a huge difference to the whole feel of the back passage, and also gives a lovely view onto the garden. This idea of Andy’s was a positive inspiration, and well worth the extra on the budget!

03 New Glass Panel with Cat Flap in Back Door

The kitties have been quite amusing with it – Beatrice was very interested and kept peering out through the door. I held it open for her but she wouldn’t go through. In the end I went outside and opened it from there, and out she hopped! I went in again and repeated the process and in she came. She has now got to grips with it and is popping in and out whenever she pleases. Phoebe was a lot more nervous about trying it, and my hubby eventually got her to use it by putting her food bowl outside and encouraging her out, and then reversing the process! Today she’s going in and out with no problem, so hopefully soon we will be able to dispense with the litter tray and get my hubby’s bathroom civilised at last! We’ve had to shut them both in there on days when the builders were here, because they were in and out of the garage and the kitties would have had access to the road.

Shortly after Mum moved in, my old fridge which I had given her, gave up the ghost, presumably not surviving the move. My hubby bought her a new one, which is slightly smaller so doesn’t fit the space quite so well. Here it is, alongside my old electric cooker which fits perfectly in its allotted space. Mum isn’t very good at keeping the ceramic hob clean – I remember spending about half an hour on her hob in the old house after she’d moved out, so I have decided to clean it every morning for her when I go in to clean her hearing aid – this way any spills don’t get burnt on, and it’s easy to do, taking only minutes.

01 Cooker and Fridge in Annexe Kitchen

The white object above the fridge is a small counter-top freezer that we bought for her, so she can be independent. I have also got some food of hers in the larger chest freezer in the outhouse and she can ask me if she wants anything. The system is working very well. I also have a small freezer in my kitchen as part of the fridge-freezer and like Mum, use this for more everyday stuff, keeping the excess in the outside freezer.

In Mum’s shower, I asked Paul to fit another grab rail, which you can see on the right. I also bought and fitted a shower curtain to run along the shower screen support – it was quite useful camping out in the annexe after we moved, before the bedroom was ready, because I was able to experience the shower first-hand and noticed what improvements were necessary.

02 Shower Curtain and Additional Grab Rail in Annexe Shower

I realised that I hadn’t photographed my new stairlift. Here it is at the bottom of the stairs. You can see the rail running up the right hand side of the stairs, and in this picture the arms, seat and foot rest are folded down ready for use.

03 Stairlift

In the next picture you can see it folded up to make room for pedestrians to pass up and down the stairs. You can also see the hinged rail, raised in this photo – this type of rail was necessary because of the door into the annexe being right at the bottom of the stairs, and it won’t open when the rail is down. The seat has to be “parked” slightly up from the bottom, not just to allow the hinge to fold, but because there is a charging point there, and at the top of the rail – it runs on a battery which is continually charged from the mains while the seat is at a charging point – this means that if there is a power cut when you are half-way up the stairs, the stairlift continues to operate.

04 Stairlift Hinge Up

Unfortunately when it is not on a charging point and not in motion, it makes the most irritating beeping noise and despite my protestations, Acorn say they cannot prevent this. It’s funny how on the TV adverts they never show you this feature! I go to bed much later than my hubby and am always afraid this loud noise is going to wake him!

Here is the hinge in the “down” position. To take this photo I had the annexe doors open (there is a double-door system, one door opening each way) because with them closed the light was so bad, but normally the hinge is never down when the doors are open.

05 Stairlift Hinge Down

The hinge control is mounted on the wall at the top and bottom of the stairs, with a button for “up” and one for “down.” The stairlift was also supplied with two remote controls, one for the top, and one for the bottom, of the stairs, so that you can call the chair from whichever end you are – I find this very useful for carrying things up and down stairs – I can load the chair, and go up or down on foot. I am fortunate that I do not always need to use the stairlift but it does save a lot of energy and on bad days it is essential.

In case you haven’t already picked it up, here’s a photo showing the new decor in the hall, which continues up the stairs and along the landing. We got rid of the awful flowered wallpaper and have a much more subtle colour scheme of cream and mushroom, which will be much better for displaying our pictures (once I finish putting them up!).

06 New Decor in Hall

The old dark red tiles in the sitting room fireplace have now been replaced with the same cream tiles that were used for the kitchen splash-backs. Paul has tiled on top of the red ones – a very quick and dust-free job. He has done a beautiful job, arranging them in a brick formation, and using up all the small pieces in the hearth.

07 New Tiles in Sitting Room Fireplace

Here is a detail of the hearth.

08 Sitting Room Fireplace Tile Detail

We are very pleased with this. My original plan was to get rid of this fireplace altogether and replace it with something less heavy looking, but after having had time to think about it, I realised that would be a mistake as it is a magnificent original art deco feature of the house – both my hubby and Andy were very relieved that I changed my mind! It looks so much better with more contrast in the tiles – you can see the beauty of both the fireplace and the very nice gas fire, to much better advantage than with the dark red tiles.

Now for some pictures of my beautiful new kitchen in action. Looking at these pictures, my first impression is that it all looks a bit of a mess!! Let me assure you that eventually a lot of the stuff at present under the reduced height part will be put away – I still have quite a lot of sorting to do and have not yet got the utility room organised to my satisfaction.

09 Reduced Work Surface in Kitchen

The full-height unit is great, with plenty of power points for my various machines (bread and yoghurt makers, toaster) and there are lights under the wall units. There’s a lot of junk waiting to find homes on the peninsula but still plenty of room for laying up trays etc. Lots of storage space underneath, with my famous carousels in the corner.

10 Peninsula Unit in Kitchen

The oven and hob work beautifully for me – to be able to sit to cook is awesome, and relieves my hubby of so much! The extractor hood is extremely effective with three speeds of fan (I’m pretty well incommunicado with it on as it’s so powerful and I can’t hear anything else!) and the lights shining down onto the hob make a huge difference. Paul put all my fridge magnets on the steel surface after I realised you can’t have fridge magnets with a built-in fridge! John, the kitchen fitter, made me a neat little place to store my trays, and I’ve got pans and baking tins in the cupboards above and below the oven.

11 Hob and Oven

I love my silk sunflower plant in the corner behind the microwave – I brought this with us from our old house. One day I may get round to putting a sunflower picture on the wall behind!

12 Sink and Microwave

In addition to all the general storage in the kitchen, my hubby and I each have our own cupboards – his has his “man mugs” and his radio, and all his chutneys and other things he likes, and mine has my fine china mugs and my favourite tea etc.

13 My Kitchen Cupboard

Some years ago at a mobility show I bought a wire pull-down unit for a kitchen wall unit, and this has been fitted in my cupboard. If I am sitting down, all I need to do is pull it down to access my mugs etc.

14 Drop-Down Unit in My Kitchen Cupboard

Everything in my new kitchen works so well for me! I originally anticipated using my wheelchair in the kitchen but I have not needed to do so, as the perching stool serves me very well. I can sit to wash up, to cook and prepare food, and together with my trolley, everything works fine, and I am so enjoying cooking again!

Still quite a bit of organising to do in the utility room but the shallow base units and the wall unit in the back passage, and the sink units in the utility room proper, are proving very useful. The door to the left of the boiler covers the electricity meter, and the ropes coming down in front of it are attached to the airer which pulls right up to the ceiling. The box on the worktop contains my spice jars – once Tim the electrician has been back and provided me with another power point in the utility room, I shall get my big spice rack up and get all the jars out.

16 Boiler and Units in Back Passage

My airing cupboard is proving very satisfactory too. I still have to paint the bi-fold doors and the bit of plastering on the right. I was sad to see the original sliding window go, but it would not have been workable, and Andy has made a beautiful airing cupboard.

15 Airing Cupboard Bi-Fold Doors

The bi-fold doors were working fine until Mum arrived. Then I noticed that they kept popping open, letting the heat escape. It became clear that every time Mum opened the door on her side of the cupboard, it was creating a small pressure wave in the air in the cupboard that was sufficient to open my doors. I didn’t know what the answer was, and until Paul returned, I kept them closed with a box on the floor. He came up with this very neat little catch made out of a simple piece of bent metal. In the closed position, it extends up into a slot cut in the wooden frame of the door, preventing the doors from popping open.

17 Airing Cupboard Catch Closed

When open, it allows the doors to open freely.

18 Airing Cupboard Catch Open

19 Bi-Fold Doors Opening

Such a simple solution, and so easy to use! Here are the doors open, showing the shelves inside – the interior was constructed to my own design, with a hanging rail on the right, where I keep several hangers ready for use.

20 Airing Cupboard Open

Another very neat thing they have done for me is Andy’s ramp between the utility room and the kitchen, made from some surplus laminate flooring from the kitchen. There was a small step here which was a nuisance for my trolley. He has matched the pattern so that the join is invisible.

21 Ramp from Utility Room into Kitchen

Next time I’ll add a few more photos showing the finished work, and the renovations in use as we live in the house and enjoy all the improvements! Now that we have paid the balance and the builders are “signed off” it feels very strange, and I miss them all so much! It’s been such an adventure from beginning to end, watching the transformation of the house from not very satisfactory through a horrendous mess with dust and builders’ rubble and tools everywhere, until gradually we began to witness the beauty emerging as the plastering and painting began, and the final touches which brought our beautiful house to light. With the new roof and other essential work (e.g. replacing a lot of cowboy-installed stuff) and the practicality and luxury of a truly workable kitchen and a bathroom that is pure indulgence as well as being accessible and easy to use, we feel that we have future-proofed the house for many years to come – not to mention my beautiful new ARTHaven where I anticipate spending many happy hours being creative! In addition, we’ve made a safe and comfortable home for Mum in the annexe, and once she realises we mean business as far as establishing proper boundaries is concerned, we hope that she will be content, knowing that we are just the other side of the door, but enabling her to have her independence, and us our privacy as we live our own lives.

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