Before & After: The house renovation is complete.

Finally, it is done….

For those who have noticed a somewhat silent blog recently, I do have a very valid reason as I have been slogging away 7 days a week over the last couple of months to get this house completed.  My life has been consumed by this project, but I now it is done I think I have enjoyed it…(?!)

I have learnt many new things; how to fit door architraves and skirting, mix plaster, fix windows, mitre corners properly and much more.  I think I have used about 125 litres of white emulsion, and got a sort of snow-blindness by the end of it.  My hands are like a workman’s, and I am exhausted and have spent hours in builders yards and sourcing things online to get the best prices  But it has been worth it, and I am on budget which is a miracle…

In the middle of the job my builders’ firm went bust, which could have been a total disaster and left me up the creek without a paddle so to speak, but we managed to muddle through and finish the renovation.  My builders honoured the contract and worked extra hours unpaid to finish the job, so someone up there was watching out for me I think!  It meant a 3 week delay on the build, and that I had to learn lots of new skills pronto, but circumstances meant that I just had to forge on.

Here come the before, mid-point and after pictures…..

The facade of the house…. from grubby magnolia to zingy blue… I got over vertigo on that scaffolding after a couple of days, and it was a lovely view…

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The garden…. from rubbish dump to a much more elegant space…

The once small and festering loo… now a wall has been moved to create a spacious shower room…

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A large curved shower

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Simple clean lines

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Tattoo Parlour Reveal Part Two – Tattoo Studio

IMG_1758The day has come and Rocket Queen is now open for business with Charmaigne and Danny inking creatively in the fabulous new premises. Here is the tattoo studio makeover story…

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Textured walls, uneven floors and in a mess

When we started the room was large and full of shelving with bumpy concrete walls, a rubbish ceiling, uneven floors and generally in a very sorry state.  It took ages to clear it, and a full skip load of rubbish had to be taken away.

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The floor needed a total overhaul.

The room has 3 windows, all with security bars which need to stay as part of the lease, which then led to ‘Inspiration No 1’-  a prison cell.

This room has to be highly functional, and also very sterile for Health & Safety standards.  Bearing this in mind, we decided to go for non-porous surfaces which are easily cleanable.   I kept thinking about the film ‘Dead Ringer’s with Jeremy Irons in his operating room, so took the tiles idea as ‘Inspiration No 2′ – an operating theatre.

I did want to bring in an abbatoir feel as ‘Inspiration No 3’, and use chains from the ceiling to hand screens from, but was rightly persuaded that it might scare off the clients!

We tiled all around the room with metro tiles and used black grout to make them stand out.  A new ceiling and plasterboard was added to make the rest of the surfaces smooth and hygenic:

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A huge amount of tiling was needed

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Ceiling before replacement and the inspirational iron bars!

The new upper walls were painted in dark charcoal grey paint, (washable but with a matt finish), and the lowered new ceiling was painted white to reflect light.  The floor is high grade linoleum for hygiene in a dark grey with a slight sparkle finish and it is non-slip.  To keep the room very clinical, we installed a stainless steel medical sink, and chose a variety of storage furniture in enamel which continued the sterile look. The white cabinets came from Ikea, and the black trolleys are actually mechanics’ garage storage systems.  The tattoo benches are adjustable so that clients can sit or lie any which way for tattoos on any part of the body.

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Dark floors and paintwork on the walls

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Medical sink

As two tattoo artists work in this room, we bought and installed two medical privacy screens in case people want a private area during their sessions.  I changed the very dull plastic white pvc panels on these for new waterproof and wipeable fabric, (aka shower curtain fabric sewn into panels, and which is as slithery as hell when you sew with it!).  We used really cool retro patterns of tattoos and tattooed people for these.

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Love this fabric!

As the room is predominantly grey, black and white we added some punches of much needed colour, with posters and original artwork by artists like Jacknife’s Chris Hopewell.

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Before & After: really pleased with the transformation…..

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After

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There are two separate treatment rooms, which have been decorated in much calmer colours; one for laser removal and the the other for reflexology and beauty treatments:

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You can see the first makeover on the reception and shop area here

‘Rocket Queen’ tattoo parlour Interior – Part 1

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My fabulous friend Charmaigne is opening a tattoo parlour , and we have been coming up with ideas to transform what is basically a HUGE empty space with creative ideas and a low-as-possible budget.  The shop consists of a vast reception area, two treatment rooms, a tiny staff room, WC and the main tattoo studio.  Various people will work in the shop; tattoo artists, a reflexologist, manicurist, and a laser tattoo removal specialist.

Most parlours we have seen are very male orientated – lots of photos of tattoos on the walls, big black leather sofas and quite cold in style.  We want to make a welcoming, fun, entertaining space for Charmaigne’s customers and their friends, and came up with a hybrid of Boudoir, Circus and Fantasy inspired ideas for the main reception space.  Lots of large scale props will be added later as decoration from pinball machines to pop art to a large scaled rocket.

Stripping Out:

The blank canvas was really daunting; lumpy rendered walls, awful suspended ceilings, and floors that were mixed levels and in a very sorry state.  A massive strip out followed, with new ceilings going up followed by plastering some wall areas.  The floors had to be stripped and made level.  Lighting was replaced with directional spotlights.

The first space you enter is the large reception area.  We chose an dark aubergine purple for the walls to warm up the large space.  Here is the first coat going up onto the very textured walls, (horrid to paint).  New ceilings and lighting had to be installed.    Rich gold is being used on skirting and door frames, this ties into planned decorative items being added later into the scheme.  Charmaigne has basically bought all the gold paint in the county for this project to date….

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The main tattoo workroom has to be very hygenic, and follow strict Health and Safety rules with non-porous surfaces.  We decided to follow a clinical/institutional theme in this room and play on the operating theatre theme of cleanliness!  The films ‘Dead Ringers’ is the inspiration for this space.  It also has existing security bars on the windows that have to stay, adding an slight prison feel to the room.  Metro tiles half way up the walls were applied to start which will have very dark grey grout, and a plasterer booked to come and skim the remaining walls and ceilings to provide a good base to paint on.  The walls will be a deep dark grey to offset the tiles and bright lights needed for tattooing.   The flooring is ordered; very dark grey lino which again is hygenic and practical.

IMG_9330There is a small staff area and WC, it is really dark and small so a deep red was used and the gold carried through, here it is after coat 1 of paint:

IMG_9329We have done the first shopping trip to gather a variety of furniture and decorative items, sooo excited!!!!  Watch this space for the developing world of Rocket Queen as it comes together…

Bathroom Makeover, and Nightmare!

We have a Victorian house rental property that ticks along quite nicely, and we had the loveliest tenant for a few years who really looked after the house.  However he moved on recently, buying his own home, so we had a 2 week turnaround to sort out the house ready for new tenants. I usually re-paint walls, varnish the floors and generally have a good tidy up ready for the new occupants.

But this time the bathroom was looking dated, and water seemed to be leaking where the previous house owner had installed wooden bead board around the end of the bath area.  This area frequently got soaked, so it seemed better to replace it all with tiles.  The window also needed replacing, so this seemed a good time to get it all done whilst the panelling came down.  I plan to move to this house in a few years, so decided to use my favourite tiles ahead of schedule, and was expecting to upgrade the sink, taps and flooring when I arrived in the future.  All I needed now was good quality fittings and watertight application!

So I got in some builders to re-tile the shower and bath area, replace the sink and window and re-lay practical vinyl flooring.  A few days to get it sparkly and new… or so I thought.  At that point the horrors started…..

It turned out that the previous homeowner had added the panelling and current tiles on top of a layer of older tiles.  Water had been slowly leaking for years under the bath onto chipboard flooring that had swelled like old cereal, plus up into the original plaster walls under the layers of tiles and wood.  Even the floor joists were soaked.  As my builder took off the old layers, the walls pretty much fell off, taking them right back to the original lathe and plaster structures.  We also found a chimney breast and fireplace opening with a piece of wood holding up the entire structure!

I nearly had a heart attack!  I had to call in a surveyor to check the fireplace was safe, and it had to be blocked up fully.  The costs were escalating as we were now going to have to lay new joists, floors, plasterboard, plaster and so on, and then on top of all of that the builder boy that I now call ‘The Wrecker’ stepped back a bit too fast and……

His foot went through the joists and ceiling below, leaving me with a rather large hole in my dining room.  I seriously was not very kind to him when he did this, and should have asked if his leg was OK, but instead some rather choice phrases came out!  He took it well I thought…..

So now the house was filled with dust while I was supposed to be redecorating each room and re-varnishing the floors ready for my new tenants.  So that was put on hold while they got on with the bathroom. It has been tiled with white metro bevel edged tiles using a dark grey grout, modern taps and shower, a new window with privacy glass, a clear glass shower screen and grey slate-effect lino on the floor.  If this is not watertight I will cry!  I was going to use a dark grey paint on the walls, but frankly after having to wait for plaster to dry and do mist coats I have lost all creativity and will to live!  The walls for now are brilliant white, and it is a bit stark, but I think I need a rest!

Here is the final result after what stretched into 8 long day of chaos, sorry I could not get a wider shot.

I have 2 days left to clean/paint/varnish the rest of the house before the tenants move in now that the dust has settled.  I also have to paint the new ceiling that was installed downstairs where ‘The Wrecker’s’ foot came through, yuck….my least favourite job in the world.

My lesson has been learnt yet again that old houses tend to be held up by either wallpaper or tiles.  It is now Easter weekend, so on Sunday once the tenants are in I shall eat a lot of chocolate to recover from the shock both from my hours of labour and costs to my wallet.