Turns out buying a house is quite a big thing. Not just in terms of a big commitment to my other half and to my bank, as well as a big deal for our finances. But it’s also completely new and has opened up a whole world of diy projects I’ve never even thought about it. As someone who’s pretty handy with flat pack furniture but last picked up a paintbrush for GCSE art, the last 10 days since getting the keys have already been a large learning curve. Here are five things that I’ve learnt so far:
- How to Polyfilla
First of all, I’ve discovered it’s ‘Polyfilla’ not poly-filler… I’ve also found out that an unused YoSushi! gift card is the perfect filler application device. I’ve decided that it’s sort of like icing a cake, except I’ve never done that either, and now probably never will given the endless aggravation I felt. Just when I seemed to have the smoothest of finishes, I’d go for one final pass and end up with a pock-marked blotch and have to start all over again. Great.
- The art of ‘cutting in’
Apparently when painting a wall, going around the edges with a paintbrush isn’t called edging, but ‘cutting in’. Obviously! How did I not know this! It’s also really irritating and if you’re a perfectionist, incredibly frustrating when you have one little wrist wobble. Thankfully, none of our walls are particularly straight anyway and the skirting boards are all being glossed eventually, so any and all mistakes will be hidden!
- Mini foam rollers
I really need to purchase a different kind of foam roller for my back. However, the mini-roller set Simon bought is amazing, and has made painting colour onto the walls a much faster and more enjoyable experience. Makes cutting much more efficient (if a little less accurate), and it’s surprising just how much paint gets sucked up into that little tube. Less dipping, more painting!
- Leaving the floor to last is genius
So the house we’ve bought is very old, and hasn’t been decorated for decades. Therefore it has a rather lovely array of coloured and floral carpets. Miraculously, these carpets hide incredibly good quality dark-wood floorboards, which saves our bank balance from replacing them all. It also means that we’ve got hard-wearing in-built dust sheets. Very useful when I tipped over the blue paint pot last night…
- Early nights are no longer a thing
Since moving and both getting office jobs in Manchester that require a 6:00 start, we tend to be in bed between 21:30 and 22:00 on week nights, having got in at 19:00 and had a relatively healthy home-cooked meal. Now that we’re spending our evenings painting/drilling/making a mess, we find that we stagger back to the rental cottage after nine, throw a pizza in the oven, and try to digest at least some of it before instantly falling asleep. Weekends are also no longer for lie-ins, but getting up in time to meet the skip hire man or various deliveries at the house for eight. I know it’ll be worth it in the end, but I cannot wait to get a full night’s sleep without dreaming about tiling again…
We’ve not made things easy for ourselves, wanting to have the whole bathroom completely torn out and rebuilt, and the master bedroom redecorated top to toe around 4 weeks, as we leave our rental on the 26th November (edit: as of today, we’re now moving out on the 4th December thanks to an accommodating landlady!). Oh and we also have a pre-booked holiday for 5 days to Spain in the middle of it. But we’re making progress!
If we keep up the late nights, the bedroom will be done this week. Fingers crossed, the bathroom won’t be too far behind. Then we get to move in, relax, and enjoy our two clean spaces before tackling the rest of the house, one room at a time.
- BONUS lesson: There’s no such thing as perfection
We’ve bought a very old house, with wonky walls, bulging ceilings, and questionable wallpaper tastes. Unless we spend a fortune getting professional decorators in, and stage our own Grand Designs episode, we’re never going to have perfectly straight walls. There will always be one little part of the paint that refuses to stick, a crack that can’t be filled, and a windowsill that won’t be level. The key is to stop striving for the perfect line, and instead go for the perfect home. One that is already filled with memories and our own hard graft that will eventually pay off and become something we look back on with pride.