Just sitting on my sofa and thought I'd take a few photos of my little sitting room. It's not our main sitting room; we use our larger second reception room for that. I suppose one of them should be used as a dining room, but we tend to eat in the kitchen, or in the conservatory, where we have a table and chairs.
This room is at the front of the house and gets a lot of sunlight as it faces south. Looking back, we've done quite a lot to this room, but I remember when we looked round our house with a view to buying it, I was pleased that all the rooms were smoothly plastered and that they still had the original coving and ceiling roses. I remember thinking all we really have to do is repaint and recarpet!
Needless to say, we ended up doing a whole lot more! First off, we painted the walls in Farrow and Ball's White Tie. I've never been a fan of yellow which is what both reception rooms were painted in (see the last image).
That last very blurry photo is an image from the estate agents website when we were looking at the house. It looks so different now!
The second major task we undertook was ripping up the carpets and sanding the original pine floorboards. This took ages as we used a small orbital sander, as we got so fed up using the big industrial sanders you can hire. The strips of sandpaper easily ripped on those and as they cost about £10 each, it got too frustrating to continue! It was worth it in the end, as the boards are lovely and it really lightened up the room.
The next major change was removing the slate fireplace and surround, as seen in the last photo. It wasn't original to the house, and was much too large for the chimney breast- the mantle shelf overhung the ends of the wall. It was also scumble- glazed in a dark brown colour that I really didn't like. It was a bit Edwardian and gloomy, and our house is Victorian.
I also hated the 1950's inner tiled insert and red-tiled hearth- it was a real mismatch of styles. So I bought the Carrara marble fire surround and hearth on EBay for £100, which was a real bargain, as it's in lovely condition. The OH found an antique black iron insert and we were ready to go. We did the removing and fitting ourselves, it was quite easy really, although it needed two people to lift the heavy marble sections into place.
As you can see, I'm a bit lazy about lighting the coal fire, so I just stand my little electric stove in front of the fire during the winter months. I do love open coal fires, but mostly for the glowing effect of the flames, as our house is warm enough with just the central heating on really. The little black electric stove is brilliant, because you can choose which of two fan heaters you want on, or none at all or just the flame effect. I propped a few logs beside it for effect, and they also hide the electric cable too!
The next thing we did was making a built-in cabinet for the tv. Again the OH made this out of reclaimed Victorian cupboard doors he found in a skip. I still can't believe how many builders still rip out original features and just dump them in skips. We have found so many sets of doors and things in skips- that's the good thing about living in a place where the vast majority of houses are Victorian or older. Inside the tv cabinet are shelves for DVDs and books and things. It also luckily hides the multitude of plug and cable sockets that were on the wall, and looked hideous.
Aside from that, all we had to do was furnish the room, which was the most fun bit of all!
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