External and internal decorations

"A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antione de Sainte-Exupery

I’ve finally started the pretty stuff in the studio! Well, that is, if painting is included in the “pretty stuff” category. It is, right? I think it is. They finished all of the mudding and sanding in the studio on Friday, which meant that I needed to paint the ceiling this weekend so that they can install the ceiling fan for me today. (There’s no way I’m installing a ceiling fan by myself on a 12-foot ceiling, so I’m very happy they will do that for me.) So on Saturday, I headed to Home Depot to pick out some potential ceiling colors. If you remember, I had my heart set on a light blue. I ended up sampling these three colors… The one on the right is Behr Sunken Pool, and the one in the middle is the same color at 75%. The one on the left, which is dull and barely visible, is Behr Streetwise. I ruled that one out immediately. My favorite was the middle one (Sunken Pool at 75%), but I thought it could be just a bit lighter still, so I ended up going with Sunken Pool at 50%. It is such a light and fresh […]

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Today I want to share yet another “electrical basics” post with you. This one is super simple, but it’s one that a few of you have asked for specifically — how to wire an electrical out. If you’ve never installed an electrical outlet before, and have been afraid to take that face plate off and see what’s under there, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy this is. And since this is probably the most common situation you’ll find, I’ll be demonstrating how to install an electrical out in the middle of a circuit. First and foremost, before doing anything with switches or outlets or lighting or any other electrical thing, you need to be sure that the power is switched off at the breaker box. If you don’t know how to do this, or don’t know which circuit breaker feeds what area of your house, or you don’t know how to use a circuit tester, DO NOT PROCEED. After you’ve switched the circuit breaker off, always be sure to test the circuit with a circuit tester. In my particular case, I didn’t have to do any of that because none of the wiring for this room has even […]

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The work on the drywall is still in progress, but every day, these areas are looking more and more like actual rooms. It’s so exciting! I showed y’all the studio progress a couple of days ago, so while it does look better now, it’s not a huge difference. This was the view early this morning from the breakfast room door… And the front wall that will be wallpapered… And then the view from the side portico door looking back towards the breakfast room door… And finally, the view from the “office” corner of the studio looking towards the front wall that will be wallpapered on the left, and the shared breakfast room wall on the right. But what ya’ll didn’t see the other day (because it hadn’t been done yet) is progress on the back area — the back entry, storage closet, and half bathroom. From inside the studio, this is the view to the back entry that goes out to the carport, and that’s the half bathroom on the left… The transformation in this area absolutely astounds me. Do y’all remember what it looked like? This area was a storage room at the back of the garage. It had […]

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studio front wall with floral wallpaper coral cabinets and black pendant lights

I’ve been trying to finalize some decisions for the studio so that everything is ordered and ready to go so I can get started as soon as the drywall is finished. One of the big decisions is lighting. Just as a refresher, let me remind you where things will go in the studio. For reference, I stood in the doorway between the studio and the breakfast room to take this photo… The wall on the right in the photo above is where the floral wallpaper that I designed will go, along with a very wide built-in desk with cabinets on either end. It will look something like this… And then the door is where the cute little portico is on the side of the studio (that still needs steps)… And the interior wall to the left of the door in the photo with Cooper is where my office area will go. That wall will look something like this… What that drawing of the office area doesn’t show is that I will have a separate desk sitting in front of the built-in, so when sitting at the desk, my back will be to the wall. And I’ll have a pendant light […]

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It’s been a slow week on the blog, but it’s been a full week of progress in the studio! Progress at this stage on a room this big seems kind of slow, but it’s steady. And while it’s not all installed yet, we do have drywall! That means the studio is really starting to look like an actual room. I’ve been looking at walls that look like this for a year-and-a-half now… So the room feels a lot smaller now that there’s actual drywall separating the studio from the half bath, back entry and storage closet. But it’s still a very big room — around 20′ x 20′ or so. There’s still quite a bit to do on the drywall before it’s finished, but I didn’t want to wait until Monday to give y’all an update. They told me that the drywall will probably be finished by the middle of next week. That means in just a few short days, it’ll be ready for me to get started on the pretty stuff! Yikes!! On the one hand, it feels like it’s taken forever to get here. On the other hand, it feels like things are happening very quickly now. I […]

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We’re excited to announce that we are starting 12 months of Planned Maintenance Works on properties throughout London for new client, The Metropolitan Housing Trust.

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67 Pont Street, London, SW1X 0BD Client: Knightsbridge School Architect: Marcus Beale Architects Description of works: External refurbishments including roofing and timber repairs plus redecorations,... Read more »

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Works have started at Albert Westcott & Harold Maddison under the Major Works Framework for the London Borough of Southwark. These two medium rise towers... Read more »

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studio during spray foam insulation process - shaved foam from walls covering the floor

Three out of the four things that I hired the contractor to take care of have been finished. All of the electrical has been finished to the point it needs to be before drywall goes up. The HVAC ductwork has all been rerouted. And the spray foam insulation went in yesterday. I’ve only ever had spray foam in an attic, so it was very interesting watching how they had to do the walls and vaulted ceiling. The spray foam initially puffs up and sticks out past the studs and rafters, so then they have to go back and shave off all of the excess so that the drywall will fit right up against the studs and rafters. It’s an incredibly messy process!! I was amazed that they got it finished and cleaned up as quickly as they did. They arrived at 7:30 and began taping up doors and windows, and then started spraying around 8:30 or so. They had everything sprayed, shaved, and cleaned up by around 1:30 or 2:00. There’s one area inside the studio vaulted ceiling that they didn’t do because the new carport roof extends over that area, so they sprayed that area between the carport roof […]

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Today I wanted to provide a visual, color-coded “map” of my house to show y’all exactly what’s been finished, what’s currently in progress, what’s left to do, and what won’t be done. I’m hoping that this will not only relieve some frustration for some of you, but for me as well. Quite honestly, sometimes I feel like my head might explode if I have to field yet another question about why I’m wasting time redoing finished areas of my house while my house remains a virtual construction zone filled with unfinished areas that I really could be/should be working on instead of whatever project I’m focusing on right now. And I figured showing you this color-coded house map was a more helpful way of approaching this topic than my prankster of a husband’s suggestion that I write a post today outlining my new plans for demolishing and redoing the hallway. 😀 (To be clear, I have no plans to redo the hallway.) Here’s how our house currently looks… So let me explain what’s going on in a little more detail… Finished The areas in the dark pink color are rooms/areas that are finished. These include the entryway, kitchen, breakfast room, […]

The post A Color-Coded House Map — What’s Done,...

I’m suffering from indecisiveness with two different things right now. Let me share. First up, I’m not sure about the bookshelves in the music room. You’ll remember that they started out all white, and the doors were black. And then last year, I did some repainting. The doors are now a dark teal (the same Kristi Teal that is on the living room fireplace and the entryway wall), and I also painted the insides of the bookshelves that same teal. Well, now I’m not so sure if I like the choppiness/striped effect of having just the insides of the bookcases painted, and I’m thinking about painting everything from floor to ceiling just on that wall in the dark teal. I’ve been heavily influenced by Lucy at Craftberry Bush, who’s kind of followed the same trajectory with her fireplace wall in her living room. Her fireplace is flanked by bookcases, and the entire wall started out all white, which you can see in older photos in her Instagram feed. Here’s an example… View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lucy Akins | Craftberry Bush (@mscraftberrybush) on Apr 2, 2018 at 6:00am PDT And then she painted just the backs […]

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custom made kitchen basket from Amish Baskets

I feel like I’ve been in a holding pattern for the last few days as I gave my hand time to rest and heal (it was injured in a drill attack, which you can read about here), and then waited for the contractor to get back with me with an estimate for the work that needs to be done in the studio. He got back with me yesterday morning, and let’s just say that the number was about $3000 more than I had expected. For finishing the electrical work, rerouting the ductwork, insulating the ceiling and walls with spray foam insulation, and drywalling to a smooth finish, the total came to just under $11,000. That price includes the drywall and all of the drywall supplies, and it also includes the contractor’s markup, which he’s always very upfront about. Of course contractors have to include a markup. That’s how they make their money. But they earn that markup by being the one to schedule the subs, make sure the subs do what they’re supposed to do, handle the subs when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, making sure that all of the supplies are at the jobsite when they […]

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My hand is healing just fine after the drill attach a few days ago. It’s still sore, and on the surface, there are only a few small scrapes and a very small amount of swelling. It feels like I have bone bruises on my knuckles, but other than that, everything’s fine. I did meet with the contractor yesterday, but I haven’t gotten a quote from him yet. He said it might be a couple of days, so I’m waiting patiently for that. Or trying. 😀 “Patient” isn’t really a word that comes to mind if I were to describe myself, but I have no other option. The last couple of days of downtime have given me time to think. I don’t know why I feel like I have to take on so much myself. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone (not even myself). So I guess it’s just a money thing. I like to be as frugal as I can by doing as much as I can myself. But because I keep taking on so much myself, that means that areas like my studio stay out-of-commission for much longer than they should. That studio has been in progress […]

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Well, I’m done with the electrical work in my studio. Let me clarify. It’s not finished, but I am. I’m calling in the pros to finish it up for me. And it’s not because I don’t know how to do it, or I feel like it’s above my head. It’s because I injured myself yesterday in a way that really scared me. I could probably count on one hand the number of times in my DIY life that I’ve had a power tool accident that really scared me and injured me, but this was one of those times. And it had nothing to do with the actual electrical work. It had to do with this devil of a drill… This is not my daily use drill. The drill I use for daily tasks, like putting a screw in the wall to hang a picture, or install drawer slides, is a little lightweight blue drill that I’ve had forever. I love that thing. It’s the perfect size for my small hands, and like I said, it doesn’t weigh a whole lot, so it’s easy for my wrists to support and use on tasks that take hours. This big DeWalt, on the […]

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Last year, I wrote a post about the first steps in how to wire a room, including info on circuit breaker panels, what a circuit is, and all of those basics. If you missed that post, or want to refresh your memory, you can find that here… Wiring The Studio, Part 1 (Electrical Basics – Circuit Breaker Panels, Circuits, and More) This isn’t really exciting stuff, but I know many of you were interested in learning the basics. And even if you’re not looking to rewire your house, I do believe that information is empowering. And it’s a good thing for homeowners to understand how things like electrical circuits work. NOTE: This isn’t necessarily intended as a tutorial, but is more for removing the mystery and helping you understand how this very important part of your home works. Take caution if you choose to do any wiring on your home. Before starting, you need to check local building codes, local requirements, etc. All counties have different and specific requirements, so check with your local building permit office. Since I’m currently working on my studio, I want to show you how I wired one of the five electrical circuits in my […]

The post Electrical Wiring Basics Part 2 – Wiring...

Oliver Goldsmith Primary School, 83 Peckham Road, Camberwell, SE5 8UH Client: London Borough of Southwark Description of Works: • The overhaul, repair and redecoration of... Read more »

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We’re delighted to receive news that our site, the Elim Estate, has won a Considerate Constructors Scheme 2019 National Site Award! We’re extremely proud of... Read more »

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Works have started at Casby House and Lupin Point is SE1 under the Southwark framework. This £1.9m External and Internal refurbishment project includes concrete repairs... Read more »

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I don’t have any studio progress to share just yet, but I’ve been taking a look back at what I’ve accomplished so far on this house, and I wanted to give you a mini “at a glance” house tour. Ever since the beginning of the year (and since I did my blog redesign), I’ve been trying to get things a little more organized around my corner of the internet. And one thing I’ve been trying to get updated is my home tour page. Y’all, I can’t even tell you how encouraging that process has been. Just to go back and see all of the rooms of my house as they looked when we bought the house, and then to see how they look now, is so fun, so encouraging, and so motivating. But what I love the most is seeing all of the color. It’s no secret that I love color, and so seeing all of the rooms together on one page just makes me smile. Here’s what I’m talking about… I’m still convinced that my breakfast room needs a little something more to add some oomph. Those white curtains will have to go eventually (or get a makeover). I […]

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I’ve been working on the electrical stuff in the studio, which isn’t pretty, but it’s definitely necessary. So while I’m working on the non-pretty stuff, I’ve been dreaming of what the studio will look like when it’s actually finished. I’ve been envisioning green cabinets, which I shared the other day. I knew the green paint colors in those inspiration pics weren’t exactly what I’d need to go with my wallpaper, but I figured I could pick a green from the wallpaper that would be pretty close. Well, I was wrong. There’s no green in that wallpaper that comes even close to those inspiration green paint colors. So I started pulling out other colors directly from the wallpaper to see if any struck me as a potential cabinet color. As a reminder, here’s the wallpaper… And here is the sample that I ordered from Spoonflower… I did try the greens first, but none were even close to those bright kelly green inspiration pictures. Here’s a sampling of the greens I pulled right out of this wallpaper… And here they are with the wallpaper. Here’s the first green… That’s just such a blah color. It does nothing for the wallpaper. Or me, […]

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The studio is cleaned out and ready for work to begin! I can just envision my office area over on the left, and my long work table under the windows on the right. It’s going to be amazing! (I’ll put a link to the post with my plan at the end of this post in case you missed it.) Just a few days ago, it looked like this… I spent a couple of hours tackling the mess by myself last week, and then I had a few days where life got in the way, and I didn’t have any time to dedicate to this room. So yesterday, I called my brother in for reinforcement. We worked non-stop for about four hours, and we GOT IT DONE! There are still a few items left in here, but I can easily work around them. And we left the things that I’ll actually need, like the ladders and the rolls of electrical wire. So the next step is electrical, followed by rerouting the air ducts. Once that’s done, I can call in my drywall guys to do the insulation and drywall. And then we’ll be off to the races! New flooring, installing trim, […]

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I did get started on the studio yesterday, but I’ll be honest. If I hadn’t posted yesterday about needing accountability, I wouldn’t have gotten anything done at all. In fact, I put it off as long as I could, and then around 4:30 yesterday, I said to myself, “Kristi, you HAVE TO show progress tomorrow because people are going to ask. So GET.SOMETHING.DONE.” Accountability works. There’s nothing drastic about the progress I made, but I did put in a good two hours of work. At least it’s a start. And at least the room doesn’t feel quite so suffocating anymore. This is what it looked like yesterday before I got started… And this is this morning… There’s a little more breathing room, and a little more room to move around, as evidenced by Cooper. Yesterday, he was trapped. (Did you even notice him? It’s my own version of Where’s Waldo?  😀 ) And now he can roam a bit freer. (Don’t worry. The saw has a blade guard on it, and it’s not plugged in. He just likes to sniff all the things.) So it’s not huge progress, but it’s progress. And the best part is that I got over that […]

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I’m not a hoarder. I don’t generally form any kind of emotional attachment to things. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of possessions I have that actually have any kind of emotional/sentimental meaning to me. Everything else could be loaded up on a truck and taken away, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. So no, I’m not a hoarder. What I am is an incredibly messy and disorganized person (although you know I’ve been trying to become more organized.) I can generally handle my messes during a project because I know it’s just a temporary state. My messes do start to get to me when I near the end of a project and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. By that time, I’m anxious to dive into the cleaning, organizing and putting away so that I can enjoy my newly-finished project or room. But sometimes the messes get so out of control that they seem way too big to manage. And when they get like that, I don’t feel excited to dive into the cleaning and organizing. I just want to shut the door on the mess and bury my […]

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My colorful small bathroom makeover is finally finished! This is the bathroom that’s in the hallway — the same one that I completely remodeled about four years ago. And at the beginning of this month, I decided that it needed a shot of color. Here’s how it turned out… Almost all of last year, this bathroom had a dull gray vanity and grayish green walls. I didn’t realize just how boring and depressing the bathroom felt until I changed the wall color and added some bold color to the room. Here’s how it looked before… I can’t believe I lived with that for a whole year. 😀 The “new” bathroom is so much more me. The makeover started with the new shower curtain fabric, which actually isn’t new at all. I bought that in 2016 during my failed attempt to turn my living room into a dining room. I had intended to use that fabric for the dining chairs, I believe. I can’t really remember now. But it’s been sitting in a box ever since I gave up on that vision and realized that my living rooms should be a living room. I’m so glad I came across that fabric […]

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We are mid project at the Alberta Estate in SE17 for the London Borough of Southwark and works are progressing well on the external and... Read more »

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King and Queen Street, Walworth, London SE17 1DQ Client: London Borough of Southwark Summary of Works: Elevation works to Robert Browning Primary School. Description of... Read more »

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I’ve made a bit more progress on the bathroom, and if all goes as planned, I should have it finished today. And I’ve made a few changes that I think made a pretty big impact. If you’ll remember, this is what it looked like two days ago… And this is what it looks like now… I like this current version so much more! First of all, the series of nine separate framed resin petries is gone, and based on the suggestion that about half of you made, I put them all in one frame. And since I didn’t want to build another frame, I just decided to use the one that had been there all along. If you’ll remember, it used to look like this… I like that the frame carries the stained wood look from the countertops and the ceiling to that far wall. I do wish the frame were a bit lighter in color, though. I’d prefer it to match the countertops and not the ceiling, but unfortunately, that frame isn’t real wood. If it were, I would have refinished it by now. But it’s actually a cheap paper veneer with a printed wood grain on it wrapped […]

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A few days ago, I shared with y’all that I wanted to frame a series of nine resin petries to hang on the bathroom wall during its current colorful makeover. First I want to show you how I made the simple DIY shadow box frames that I made for the petries, because you can use this idea to frame all kinds of two-dimensional and three-dimensional items. And then I’ll show you why I don’t think they work well on the bathroom wall. These are the resin petries I wanted to frame. They’re about four inches in diameter. And I wanted to display them in very simple easy-to-make shadow box frames. How to build the shadow box frames Step 1: Cut four pieces of 1″ x 2″ lumber the same length, mitered on the ends. I cut my four pieces to approximately 10 inches long, mitered on the corners. Then I put them together using wood glue and 1.25-inch 18-gauge nails. Note that I would generally use my table saw to cut a rabbet into the 1″ x 2″ lumber before cutting the pieces, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the blade on my table saw to raise or lower. […]

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Let’s have a heart-to-heart chat. I want to share some encouragement with y’all that I know I’ve shared before. In fact, I’ve probably written similar posts several times over the years. I’ll probably write another one sometime in 2020. But I feel like we all need a reminder every once in a while. And since it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought this might be the perfect time. So what is this reminder about? It’s this… Your home should reflect you and those who live in it. No one else. Period. This whole blogging thing is challenging at times. Not from a “oh, my job is so hard” aspect. I thrive on the actual work, and feel incredibly lucky that I get to do what I love every single day and make a good living doing it. But from the “putting my life/home out there for public commentary and input” aspect, it gets challenging. And I’m not even talking about the meanies. That’s not what this post is about at all. This is more about others’ expectations for your home, and doing your best to quiet the voices and stay true to yourself. I think that the sheer volume of […]

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new DIY decorative shower curtain made of bright watercolor floral fabric 2

I finally got my new DIY shower curtain made! I was beginning to think it would never be finished with all of my sewing machine problems, and then the fact that the fabric I was using was a complete pain to work with. I was about ready to scrap the entire project and start over with a new fabric. But I’m glad I kept going, because this DIY shower curtain in the bright watercolor floral fabric adds so much color and life to my previously blah bathroom. I still haven’t painted the walls, and that drab green color is doing the room no favors. It will soon be a bright, clean white. I wish I could change the tiles in the accent border, but that’s way more than I want to do right now. So for now, the tiles will stay. But I might swap those out later this year or next year after I’ve gotten way more done on the rooms I’m actually supposed to be working on this year. 😀 Here’s a peek of the new shower curtain with the colorful resin petries that I intend to frame for the wall, and a glimpse of the new cabinet […]

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Garage Doors

Environmental Restoration

Asphalt Paving

Elite Fence

Floor System