Categories
DIY projects

DIY ‘smart’ hanging bedside lights

If you want to avoid the mild inconvenience of turning your bedside lights on and off, this is the project for you. Our smart hanging bedside lights can be controlled by phone or voice which is a bit of a revelation in our household. We reckon they look pretty tasty too so to learn how we made + set our lights up, read on.

The smart bit

What allows our lights to be controlled by phone/voice is actually the bulb. There’s various smart bulb manufacturers but Philips’ ‘Hue’ range dominates the market. They’ve got a really broad range and we’ve been chuffed with ours (we have a few around the house). There’s a wifi receiver within the bulb which is what makes it so darn clever.

For our bedside lights, we wanted the classic filament bulb look so opted for the globe bulb from their filament range. Granted, smart bulbs aren’t cheap as they’re still a relatively small market (ours were £25 each) so this won’t be the cheapest DIY project you’ve ever done, but I guarantee it’ll be your favourite thing in your house.

If you just want to control your lights with your phone then the bulb is all you need. If speaking to yours lights is a novelty that you can’t do without, you’ll need a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini which at the time of writing can be had for around £20.

The Hue app

The pendant

These bedside lights plug into a socket like you’d expect. We bought our plug in pendants from Vendiamia which has a great choice of styles. We went for the black twisted fabric pendant to match the matt black touches in our bedroom. You need to make sure the cable is long enough to make it from the socket, up to the bracket, and then dangle down again. 2 metres should be enough in most cases but we went for 3 metres to be sure.

Planning the bracket

There’s plenty of these hanging bracket bedside lights on t’interweb but the beauty of making your own is that you can make it the except shape/size/style that you want. I went for a really simple wall bracket-style design made up of 3 sections of leftover wood battens from wardrobe shelf supports.

Grab a pad and plan out dimensions that look about right. You don’t want the bracket to look hilariously small but equally it shouldn’t dominate the wall or be disproportionate to the bulb.

Cutting the wood

Clamp your wood, mark your cut lines and grab a woodsaw. The back and top section are simple 90 degree cuts. The diagonal section, however, needs to be cut at 45 degrees at both ends to support the other cuts. You can measure and mark this yourself or use a mitre box to make sure the cut is exact.

Drilling holes

There’s a few ways that you could cut the holes for the cable but I’ve got limited tools so opted to stitch drill. This basically involves drilling several holes in a row that meet up and create a long gap. Any proper woodworkers reading are probably weeping at the thought of this technique but it actually works pretty well. Three holes will need stitch drilling to allow the cable to pass up through the diagonal section & back of the top section and then back down the end of the top section to dangle.

At this stage you can now also drill pilot holes & countersinks for when you need to screw the bracket together plus attach the bracket to the wall through the back section. Don’t screw the bracket together yet.

Spray painting

Ahead of painting, get all the rough edges smooth with some fine grit sandpaper.

You could leave the wood naked if you fancy or stain/varnish it, but we opted to paint the bracket matt black. This job’s a breeze. Make sure that you spray paint all the nooks and crannies.

Assembly & mounting

The three bracket sections can now be screwed together. Lay the pendant cable in place and screw the sections together, allowing the cable to pass through the pre-drilled holes.

Decide where you want your brackets to be positioned and drill into the wall. If your drilling into a brick wall like me, grab some wall plugs and screw your brackets into the wall.

Set-up

Screw your bulbs in and open the Philips Hue app to set them up. If, like me, you’re using a Google smart speaker to control them by voice, open the Google Home app and follow the set-up instructions. And then, the moment of truth… “OK Google, bedroom on”. The first time your lights respond to your voice is more exciting than being told your going to Disneyland.

You can set the the lights up to respond to whatever you fancy. For example, Haz’ light responds to “Hats on” and “Hats off” which is obviously hilarious. If I’m being honest, the only reason I’ve done this project is so that every night before I go to sleep I can say “OK Google, Jack off” to turn off my lights – comedy gold. You can also dim the bulbs which is pretty nifty.


As I said, this is on the more expensive side of the projects I’ve done so far due to the cost of the bulbs as they’re still fairly new tech. Of course, you could make the exact same hanging bedside lights with a bog standard bulb, but where’s the fun in that?

Equipment

  • Pencil & pad
  • Metal ruler
  • Clamps/vice
  • Wood saw
  • Mitre box (optional)
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Combi drill
  • Screwdriver

Materials

  • Philips Hue bulbs
  • Plug-in pendant
  • Wood battens (I used W30mm x T16.5mm)
  • Matt black spray paint
  • Wood screws
  • Wall plugs (if mounting into masonry wall)

Categories
Doing it up

Varnishing & finishing floorboards

If you’re reading this you may well have successfully sanded a floor. If so, congratulations. It’s one of the proudest achievements of my life and features fairly high on my CV. Compared with sanding, finishing the floor is a doddle. There’s various ways you can treat the wood but we opted to varnish our pine floorboards as it offers the best combination of finish and durability.


Prep

If you have gaps between your floorboards, get a flat-head screwdriver or stripping knife and scrape out all the gunk. This was a gross but undeniably rewarding job. A bit like squeezing a spot.

Decades of grim stuff

Once the room to be varnished is totally clear of dust and you’re ready to varnish, grab a bottle of white spirit and a clean rag and give the floor a good wipe down. This will remove any remaining dust and grime, ready for varnishing. The white spirit should have dried after a couple of hours, at which point you’re ready to varnish.

Varnishing

There’s not much to varnishing, just slap it on with a varnish brush as if you were painting a wall. Our varnish advised 3 layers and we left 24hrs between recoating which was plenty. Remember to varnish the floorboards by the door last or you’ll varnish yourself in.

After a fresh coat

Pine floorboards have a tendency to turn orange when varnished and we wanted to avoid this so opted for Ronseal clear matt floorboard varnish which gave a lovely, natural finish and seems to have protected fairly well so far.

Upstairs finished product
Downstairs before and after

Covering floor to skirting gap

Depending on the size of this gap and your preference, you could choose to leave this gap. However, our gaps were uneven and up to 11mm wide so we popped down to B&Q to buy some primed scotia moulding.

Before fixing in place, Haz painted the moulding with the same paint we used for skirting boards. The next step was to cut the lengths to size and press down into place with some grab adhesive applied to the bottom and back of the moulding. It’s worth getting somebody to help out with applying pressure to long lengths of moulding to make sure they’re evenly glued down.

When you arrive at a corner, fret not. It’s easy to make a smart join by cutting the moulding at 45 degrees with a mitre box and hacksaw. A mitre box basically holds the wood in place as you make the diagonal cut and costs as little as a fiver.

Once the adhesive has dried, you may find there are small gaps between the wall and moulding. Haz, AKA the caulk queen, applied a thin bead of caulk to conceal the gap. It took 10 mins and left a really neat finish so it’s worth doing.


And that’s it – time to sit back and admire your glorious floor. If there’s one key tip I’d give it’d be to varnish the floor as soon as possible after sanding as they’ll damage very easily with no protection, particularly if they’re a soft wood.

Equipment

  • Clean rag
  • Varnish brush
  • Flat-head screwdriver/stripping knife
  • Kneepads
  • Hacksaw
  • Small paintbrush
  • Applicator gun
  • Mitre box

Materials

  • White spirit
  • Clear, matt varnish
  • Paint for moulding
  • Moulding – we chose scotia-style
  • Grab adhesive
Categories
Getting on the ladder

Choosing where to live

Once you’ve bought a house there’s endless things you can change about it, but location ain’t one of them. Some people are lucky enough to know exactly where they want to be which is great. For Haz and I, this wasn’t a luxury that we had as all we knew was that we wanted to be in/near York. After that, it was pretty much a process of elimination which actually worked really well.


#1 | Decide how far you’re willing to commute

If you commute to the same place most days, the first thing to do is decide how far is too far. For me, I was willing to commute up to an hour for the right job whereas Haz was fed up of her long London commute so wanted a sub 30min drive. There’s loads of commute calculators online that will help rule out places that are too far from work like Zoopla’s.

#2 | Decide what you want to be close to/far from

Now you’ve got a rough perimeter based on your commute, it’s a good idea to jot down stuff that you want to have easy access to. Being the geriatric 20-somethings that we are, the key stuff to us wasn’t so much bars and clubs but village life. On our list was a pub, corner shop, and good schools nearby for our future offspring. Of course, a generally nice vibe was on the list too, ideally with plenty of semi-detached houses for us to choose from. Once we’d marked off all the areas that didn’t meet these criteria, there was about 8-10 villages within 5 miles of York on the list.

#3 | Reccy time

Once you’ve got down to a relatively sensible number of options it’s time to get out and about. Comparing multiple places on the same day is massively helpful. We spent 3 or 4 hours driving around to get a feel for different areas. For some, it was immediately obvious that the chance of getting shanked was too high a risk. For others, there were pleasant streets but nothing to write home about. And then, there were 2 or 3 gems that we could absolutely see ourselves living in.

#4 | What’s affordable

Now you have a shortlist of favourite areas, hop onto Rightmove/Zoopla to check whether you can afford your dream house in these areas. In our case, the top 3 villages turned out to be amongst the most expensive in York – woo! We lobbed the main criteria for what we wanted in a home into Rightmove (3 bed semi, garden, off-street parking) and it looked as though we could just about afford this in the areas that we wanted but it’d be tight. If this hadn’t been the case we’d have looked a little further down the list to see what we could afford.


Once you’ve got to this stage, you’ll have a shortlist of 3 or 4 areas that A) you’d be happy to live in and B) you’d be able to afford your ideal home in. Whilst it’s worth doing some decent online research on things like crime rates, it’s easy to go overboard and end up being put off everywhere. Just because janet_1977 posted something negative about one of your favourite areas on mumsnet.com doesn’t mean you should discount it.

Next steps are to make pals with a few local estate agents and get viewings booked in!

Categories
Doing it up

Sanding floorboards

“Avoid it at all costs”, they said. With hindsight, this advice was sound. But, if like us you want to save a few hundred quid by sanding your floorboards to return them to their original glory, read on.


A few days after getting the keys to our place, we agreed that the dark brown, scuffed varnish downstairs had to come up and that we wanted to reinstate the original pine floorboards in our bedroom that were carpeted. After large amounts of Googling/YouTubing, it transpired that plenty of people hire industrial sanding machines as it costs a shed load to get it done professionally.

Downstairs
Bedroom

Hammering down nails

If your floors are anything like ours there’ll be a fair amount of prep work before the sanding can begin. Firstly, all nails need to be hammered down by at least 3mm, ideally 5mm, below the floorboard surface with a hammer and nail punch. This may seem like a lot, but the sanding process takes up a fair amount of wood so before you know it the nails will be flush with the surface again. The consequence of not hammering down nails is multiple torn sanding sheets which will cost a lot and the risk of damaging the sander. We learnt our lesson after we sadly lost 2 sanding sheets to raised nails RIP (excuse the pun.)

Filling holes & gaps

If your floorboards are old they’ll likely feature some sizeable gaps. Our upstairs floorboards are from the 1930s and so some gaps were as big as 7mm. We decided to fill these gaps by inserting some pine slivers to cover the gaps and stop potential draught. After buying a pack of pine slivers of various widths from eBay, I got to work matching the slivers to gaps and cutting them down to size with a hacksaw. After that, I dabbed some PVA onto either side of the sliver and tapped them into place. Not an issue if there’s a decent chunk of sliver protruding – once the PVA has dried, you can use a chisel to take off the excess without having to worry about it being perfect as the sanding process will sort this.

For more awkward gaps & holes, we used some Ronseal natural-coloured wood filler. This worked pretty well although it’s worth being aware that if you use a clear varnish like we did, this wood filler is likely to stand out.

Other prep stuff

Before any sanding, seal the room off with dust sheets. Honestly, you are not going to believe the mess this job causes so it’s worth being forensic with how you put these up (we were not and 3 months later are still finding dust in rooms we didn’t sand…)

Bloody filthy

The last piece of advice is entirely optional but strongly advised. Unless you live half a mile from your nearest neighbour, give them a heads up that you’re going to be making A LOT of noise. We did this and after the week was up bought them a bottle of wine as it must have been horrendous.

Sander hire

We decided to hire both a floor sander (for main sections of floor) and an edging sander (to get as close to skirting boards as poss). There’s a fair few hire places to choose from but we opted to go through National Tool Hire as they had decent reviews and were competitively priced. They were okay overall but initially gave us the wrong sanding sheets which meant a bloke had to drive round with the correct sheets so definitely check what they’ve given you before taking your sanders home!

The lads

What/how much sanding paper?

We sanded around 50 sq. metres of floor, most of which had a thick dark varnish on that was a bugger to get off. We started off in every room with 40 grit paper (the most coarse), then 80 grit, and finally finished with 120 grit to give a smooth finish. It’ll depend on the condition of your floor, but on the floor sander we used 7 x 40 grit, 6 x 80 grit and 3 x 120 grit. It’s definitely worth switching the paper out regularly as you’re wasting your time if you try to get too much out of one sheet.

Before we had boiler suits which have changed our lives

As for the edging sander, we had a ‘mare with it. Whatever we did, the sander just burnt holes into floorboards and had a mind of its own. After multiple attempts and even getting a guy out to check it it was working correctly (he too struggled), we ended up not using it. This was frustrating but fortunately we had a finishing sander and corner sander (around £30 each from B&Q) which did a good, if very slow job of sending edges and corners. I reckon the edging sander we had wasn’t working correctly so probably still worth hiring one yourself, but just be aware of this potential issue.

Despite this smile, sanding corners & edges of a varnished floor is the least enjoyable DIY job of all time

We hired 5 dust bags for each sander but you can actually reuse them so if I did it again I’d probs just hire a couple.

Process

As far as the actual job of sanding goes, it’s pretty simple:

  • start with the most coarse grit (likely 40) and work up to finer grits
  • ALWAYS sand in the direction of the floorboards, even if it’s tempting to sand across them as you’ll leave horrible marks if you go against the grain
  • move the sander smoothly and consistently to avoid sanding dips or marks into the floor
  • if you’re sanding a floor that’s already been varnished, be prepared to get through a lot of the coarse grit (40) sanding sheets as the varnish will make them gammy in no time
  • Before you spend hours sanding right up to the skirting board, bear in mind that if you’re adding moulding to cover the gap between floorboards and skirting board, this area will be covered so no need to sand (we added a 12mm pine scotia moulding)
Be prepared to empty your hoover 5 times a day

Time

As we had 4 rooms to sand we hired the equipment for a week and took some days off work and it’s a good job we did as between us the 4 rooms took us 4 full days. It doesn’t need to be 2 man job but it’s certainly helpful from a sanity POV to have someone sharing the experience with you. Plus the sanders are well heavy.

Cost

Hiring both sanders, a shed load of sanding sheets and several dust bags cost £268 for the week BUT as with most hire places, you get refunded for any sheets and bags that you don’t use. I’d recommend ordering a lot more than you think you’ll need. We ended up getting £122 back so the total hire cost came to £146 which is really pretty good. On top of this, we used a humongous amount of electricity as these are serious machines and we ran them for hours. I can’t say exactly what the electricity cost was but I would estimate £100 – £150 so bear this in mind.

The finished product

Eventually you’ll be left with a beautiful looking, smooth floor and can feel pretty smug about having saved yourself a decent wad of cash. However, you don’t want to be leaving those floorboards naked for long because they’re very sensitive beings and will damage easily, particularly if they’re pine like our floors. So, next step is to treat the floor – we opted to varnish ours.

For more info, here’s a great article by Little House on the Corner with more info about DIY floor sanding.

Equipment

  • Dust sheets
  • Floor sander with coarse, medium and fine sanding sheets
  • Edging sander with coarse, medium and fine sanding sheets
  • Corner sander with coarse, medium and fine sanding sheets
  • Ear plugs
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Knee pads
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Hoover
  • If filling gaps:
    • Wood slivers
    • PVA
    • Chisel
    • Hacksaw
    • Wood filler
Categories
Getting on the ladder

Deciding what your ‘dream home’ looks like

I’d love an indoor pool, tennis courts and dedicated mancave but it’s not going to happen. So by dream home, I mean a place that fulfils all genuine needs and as many wants as possible. It took us bloody ages to decide what we were after but from this convoluted and misguided process, we learnt that the right way to do it would be as follows.


#1 | What might the future hold?

Pretty big question to start off with but it’s so important to confront it as it will define what you need from your home. If you’re single and just want to get on the ladder, it might be that you just want a place to crash every night that’s within a 20 min walk of work with a living room big enough for a ring of fire sesh. If you’re looking to settle down and start a family, then today’s needs are very different from those of 5-years-older you so you may want to factor in number of bedrooms, outdoor space and even being near good schools. It’s obvious stuff but easily overlooked so don’t forget to think about future you. We agreed that our first place needed to be at least 5-year-proof, which meant having min. 3 bedrooms and some outdoor space were musts.

#2 | View loads of places, even before you’re in a position to buy

Some people think it’s cheeky, estate agents definitely hate it, but viewing houses to work out what’s important to you before you’re actually in a position to buy a house is MASSIVELY helpful. There’s no substitute for getting out there and seeing places. It may sound daft but we started viewing houses about 18 months before we could buy! Other than it being quite a fun hobby, it allowed us to be specific about what we needed, wanted, didn’t want, and definitely wanted to avoid. For example, the first place we viewed had very little natural light and no off-street parking, both of which we realised were really important to us. Then the next house had a big ol’ open plan living/kitchen area which we loved, so that became a big want.

Over the next few months, we viewed a dozen or so properties and ended up with 4 different lists which described 1) must haves, 2) likes, 3) dislikes, and 4) must not haves. It’s a very simple thing to do but it saved us a massive amount of time when it came to the real search and made being indecisive pretty much impossible. Put as few things possible on the ‘must have’ and ‘must not have’ lists as the more sensible compromises you can make, the quicker you’ll find the place you’re after. Don’t be putting stuff on your must haves like ‘medieval moat surrounding property’ and things on your must not have such as ‘neighbours within 12 mile radius’.

Our ‘must haves’ and ‘likes’
Our ‘must not haves’ and ‘dislikes’

#3 | Spend hours on Rightmove & Zoopla

Rather than defaulting to Candy Crush or mindless Insta scrolling, make Rightmove searches your go-to boredom quencher. Scanning through photos and floorplans gives you a good feel for what’s important to have/not have. By doing this we realised that for some unjustified reason we have a deep-seated hatred of conservatories which meant that this went onto the ‘would like to not have’ list. Online browsing is no replacement for seeing places in person, but it’s far better than doing bugger all.


None of it’s rocket science, but asking yourself questions & doing these things will really help you focus on exactly what you’re after. It worked well for us as 2 weeks after Haz and I moved up to York, a house came up on Rightmove in our number 1 area that, on paper, seemed like our dream home (other than the price…) We viewed it the next day, and exactly 3 months later we moved in 🙂 No doubt there was some luck involved, but knowing what we were looking was massively helpful so I can’t recommend using the 4 list thing enough.

If you want to know what happened in the 3 months between having our offer accepted and crossing the threshold, you can have a nosey here.

For help with deciding where to live, I’ve done some tips here.

Categories
DIY projects

DIY fitted wardrobe

I was very mediocre at DT at school so the idea of designing and building a fitted wardrobe for our bedroom was borne purely out of being a tight Yorkshireman. However, during the process I found that I love working with wood and it’s definitely the most rewarding thing I’ve done in the house. Paying for custom-built wardrobes would cost upwards of £2K, so you’ll be saving a heap of cash even if you have to buy all the equipment.

There are quite a lot of steps so for those who just want to dip their toe in, here’s a relatively brief summary. For the hard-core, follow the links for full details.

#1 | Planning

Who knew that designing a wardrobe could be enjoyable? Being able to fully customise the design is such a massive plus of DIYing it. For us, we wanted to fulfil our storage needs whilst matching the finish to the style of our 1930s interior doors. I spent ages sketching out different designs (unexpectedly fun) and once this was done, planned out the materials we’d need (also unexpectedly fun). I’d strongly recommend doing some market research at furniture shops so you can take measurements and get some inspo.

#2 | Framework

This is when shit got real. It’s all well-and-good sketching out the ideal wardrobe, but actually putting it together is a totally different kettle of fish. The trickiest part of fixing the framework in place was getting the shape ‘square’ because the height of the space varied by 2cm from one end to the other and the walls weren’t plumb either. Otherwise, this is a pretty easy stage and it’s really cool to see the space transforming.

#3 | Shelving

If you get the wood for your shelves accurately cut where you buy it from (B&Q do this for free), this can be seriously quick. It’s just a case of screwing in some shelf supports, plopping your shelves on top and voila!

#4 | Doors

It was all pretty plain sailing until this point… I decided to make some ‘faker shaker’ doors out of MDF and used concealed hinges for a neat finish. The end result was worth the effort, but getting the doors to fit tightly and look good whilst getting the hinges right took a looooong time. It’s possible to make this step a lot easier by buying the doors but that’s not proper DIY, is it? Also, taking the DIY route means you have 100% control over the finished look.

#5 | Hinges

Yeah, that’s right, a whole post about hinges. Settle down for an exhilarating read. Seriously though, doors aren’t much good without hinges so choosing the right ones and fitting them correctly is key. We went for concealed hinges and would strongly recommend them as they’re, well, concealed, so leave the doors looking really smart. There’s a few other reasons to choose concealed hinges that you can read about in the post.

#6 | Finishing touches

The final bits to finish included gluing the moulding around the framework to hide gaps, fixing some knobs on and a lick of paint. And just like that, many hours and £300 later, we had a fully-functioning and pretty handsome fitted wardrobe.


It was a really rewarding project which saved us a heap of cash and meant we could have exactly what we wanted. You don’t have to be a woodwork pro – the last thing I made was a shoe rack a couple of years ago and Haz doesn’t let me bring it into the house! If you fancy giving it a go, here are the links again. I’d love to see your DIY wardrobes so send pics to jack_pnn@outlook.com.

#1 | Planning

#2 | Framework

#3 | Shelving

#4 | Doors

#5 | Hinges

#6 | Finishing touches

If you fancy reading about some other furniture projects, here’s a post about our DIY scaffold board dining table and another about how I made our decking with integrated storage seats.

Categories
Doing it up

Plans for our crib

If you’ve read the post about the condition of our house when we moved in you’ve probably got the impression that there’s a decent chunk of stuff to do. A lot of the work to be done is your bog standard decorating, but we’ve also got a few mini and not-so-mini projects in mind that we’re hoping will make a big difference to our home.


Full house redecoration

On the Rightmove listing photos, the house looked like it was finished to a pretty decent standard. It’s only when we viewed that we realised that every room is in need of some TLC. It’s a case of lots of little things adding up eg: most of the woodwork needs stripping & repainting/varnishing, there are holes & gaps everywhere that need filling, and wallpaper is peeling off in various places. Along with this, every room needs a lick of paint which will help highlight the picture rails and we’re going to put up wooden blinds in most windows. This is all going to take a while so we’re going to tackle one room at a time as I have the focus of a 2 year old and will jump from room-to-room otherwise.

Fitted wardrobes, shelving, other DIY projects etc.

The house we ended up buying is in a really lovely area. This meant stretching ourselves a little on the mortgage which means that we don’t have cash to splash. Pretty much anything we can do ourselves, we will do ourselves. I’ve got a load of ideas in mind which hopefully I’ll get chance to pick off inbetween all the other house jobs!

Flooring

Every downstairs room except the kitchen has relatively recent pine floorboards with a dark, badly scuffed varnish. This needs to get sorted out because it looks a mess. In the short-term we’ll be sanding and re-varnishing these with a clear varnish to show off their real colour.

All the bedrooms and landing need re-carpeting, except for the master bedroom where we’re going to pull up the carpet to show off the original pine floorboards that will look lovely once sanded and varnished.

Extension

This is the one that’s going to risk bankrupting us. Our four closest neighbours have all added single storey rear extensions, probably because the gardens are long so lend themselves to this. Our kitchen is pokey and we’d love to have an open plan area where we can cook/eat/drink/chill so we’re going to add around 3 metres to the back of the house. This space should also allow us to add a small utility room and as part of the work we’re going to sneak a loo under the stairs.

Extending Driveway

Something else that all our neighbours have done is knocked most of the front garden wall down and extended the driveway across the house so 2 cars can comfortably fit. This is something I’m keen to crack on with because it’s a middleclass-problems ball ache having to squeeze one car onto the drive and the other on the road.

The Shed ❤

Before the extension goes up the butters garage is going to have to go as it’s in the way. To replace this, me and J Leaf Snr are going to build a shed and we’re very excited to get cracking. It’s going to be used for storage and also as a workshop for me to potter about in. Haz is equally as excited about having a shed as it’ll mean she’ll have the house to herself most of the time.

Decking/BBQ zone

At some point we’ll get round to setting-up part of the garden for BBQs and general summer chilling. I’m thinking decking with a fire pit and a wooden frame over the top to hang festoon lights. This is another project I’m really looking forward to but it’s a luxury so other stuff needs to get done first.

Future stuff

Hopefully most of the things above will be done by the end of 2020, but everything seems to take longer than we think so let’s see. In the next few years, there are a few other things that we may end up doing. One is a loft conversion so we can add a 4th bedroom. There’s no need for this in the near future, but if Haz ends up getting the 8 children she wants then we’re definitely going need more bedrooms. Of course, we could move instead, but we love this location so much that I think a loft conversion would be a good shout.

My Dad has recently built a shepherd’s hut for my parent’s garden (give it a Goog if you’ve never heard of one) which is a beautiful thing. If I get time/can find the cash, I’d love to build a shepherd’s hut to put at the end of our garden under the apple tree. It’d be a cool place for family/friends to stay and we could put it on Airbnb to generate a few pounds.

Another garden project that may or may not happen is building a treehouse. Given that we don’t have kids, I probably don’t have an excuse to do this for a good few years yet. BUT, it’s definitely something I’d be keen to do and the apple tree is the perfect shape for a wee treehouse.


Reading that back is slightly alarming as it’s a lot of work and is gonna take a good year or two. But actually, I love having a project on and all this DIY stuff is pretty rewarding so bring it on.