This may be more frustrating than continued silence as I’m probably going to write this and then disappear for another 2 years, but hey ho – it’s my blog, so…
I delivered our second Bun just over a month ago – a beautiful little boy called Sasha who we are all entirely in love with. How’s that for a status update?!
He arrived reluctantly, 15 days overdue and with copious persuasion – the only merit to which was the extra time it afforded the Owl and I to complete this summer’s hugely ambitious DIY project. Silver linings…
But first a little catch-up:
Life at Kew is as beautiful as we’d dreamed – not for us any wistful glances back to Barking sunsets over Tesco carpark, oh no.
These days we have a beautiful Siberian larch deck made by the Owl’s own fair hand (last summer’s hugely ambitious DIY project), that faces West into a sunset over an uninterrupted skyline of river and the trees of Lots Ait (apparently built by “Princess Augusta” when she took up residence in Kew Palace, to save her Royal sensibilities from having to confront the realities of life in Brentford. We learned from one of the passing tour boats this summer that Brentford was the biggest slum in Europe at one point. Fact.)
Anyway: the upshot is a view the likes of which I suspect you’d be pressed to find anywhere else in London. We love our neighbours, the local area is ridiculously pretty (like a scene from JP Hartley’s The Go-Between (1953) which has one of the best opening lines for a novel ever: “The past is a different place; they do things differently there,”) and we’ve been slowly building on the advantage of a slightly older Bun to get on with more boat improvement jobs in the last year or so, after a hiatus of about 18months. We are ridiculously lucky.
So: onto today’s post. Obviously “more space” on a boat is something of an oxymoron, so curb your expectations accordingly please, before I begin…
It was the subject of much hilarity when I gave the Owl a joinery course of all things for his 40th in December last year. Despite my protestations that it was his own request (and for the record, I gave him a wine course too – with strict instructions that they were not to be practiced concurrently) we have yet to find anyone who doesn’t collapse into gales of laughter at the self serving nature of my present… But whatever, I Am Not Sorry. Check out the acoustic-insulated stud wall and cabin bed he’s just built!
A bit more back story quickly first:
It was something of a surprise to discover at the start of the year that I was pregnant again. Cue: wondrous amazement all round, after which the Owl immediately began worrying about his sanity/ sleep potential. He concluded that the only solution was to build a new bedroom for Sadie so she didn’t wake up every time the new baby so much as squawked and expedite our conversion back into zombies.
Roll on 9+ months – 41+5 to be precise – and I find myself urgently painting new walls around my vast belly, perched perilously on one of Sadie’s miniature chairs, listening to This American Life with a hot water bottle strapped to my lower back. I love these walls. I didn’t know it was possible to love a wall but these walls are fantastic.
The plan was to build an identical wall to our existing bedroom wall 2m into the living room, creating a box room and an alcove between the two, and that’s exactly what we did. The impact on the living room has been minimal as the sofa was already pulled “forward” to create a play space for Sadie behind it, so we’ve only really lost a couple more feet and the daylight from the port lights – but look at our new spaces! And look how nice and shiny white/ freshly painted they are – after four years of hideous stained yellow/ cream high gloss, it finally feels like this is a grown up space to enjoy being in (rather than suffer the usual low levels of angst every time I looked up).
So without further ado, here’s the latest project in photos. Enjoy – and hopefully see you in less than another couple of years!
Constructing the wall (the Owl’s bit):
‘Before’ shot – so light! So roomy! I think this was before even the stove went in, so before Bun #1 even…
Partially constructed main wall from the doorway to the Bun’s new room.
Completed wall awaiting half its ply topcoat before painting.
The acoustic rockwool insulation packed between both chipboard and ply layers on either side of the wall (it pays at times like this to be married to a sometime sound engineer…).
Clever right?! He got the curve of the ceiling so neat by clipping the metal frame at regular intervals so that it could follow the line. It looked very neat and impressive.
Build done, it was on to the fun bit (for me) – decorating.
Saloon side decor:
Primed, painted and ready for hanging (and stories with H in the meantime)
I’ve long had one of those invisible book shelves and been desperate to use it. This is my chance! So here is the weight of books it can take (titles to be confirmed but these are all helpfully of a theme (from my Old Icelandic/ Anglo Saxon/ Middle English degree modules. Happy memories…!)
Painted living room wall with first gallery pics hung (a Josephine Baker print from one of those left bank street vendors in Paris, and our stunning Ansel Adams wedding present from the Owl’s mum&dad, in case you’re wondering…)
And finally, all finished. Still no invisible bookshelf, you will note. Despite excellent layout planning (with paper templates for all my frames and everything), I somehow managed to forget about the bloody thing. O well. Its time will come.
On to the other side: Sadie’s New Room.
The original inspiration for Sadie’s cabin bed was something like this. Then I found an Ikea hack ‘how to’ using a £250 chest of drawers, which we hacked again (META) to use a couple of chests we found at a charity shop in Brentford. Win!
Bed build complete (ish) – mid paint on the cabin bed and wall
Rainbow WIP. I was originally going to go for the full spectrum, then simply blue and yellow (oddly too cold) but these colours are just me all over, I love them. Simultaneously warm and cool… The paint is all Little Greene, the blue is their Juniper Ash. I Heart It.
The client inspects work in progress
From the saloon doorway facing our cabins and the bow…
Trying out her new bed, which the Owl cleverly made to be the exact same size of an Ikea kids standard mattress
Completed: craft corner