I Married Superman

Last night I emailed the image below from Target, to my husband John.

Some of you may remember that our original building plans for the the extension also included adding an en-suite bath for the master bedroom.

In the beginning

Adding the bath meant that we had to steal a few feet from the master bedroom for a corridor leading to my space. Along with the extension, the master bedroom got a new look as well and part of that involved new bedroom furniture. While we did not have to do such a major renovation or build out, this space has gone through a fair amount of change as well. Part of that change involved redecorating. We are down to just one or two changes in the master before it’s complete and the bedside tables are a topic of conversation lately.

Since John is so good with building things, we have talked about how he might build the bedside tables and occasionally, as I have about 599 times over the last nine months, I’ve emailed him examples of things I like from the internet. Some of my favorite resource sites during the renovation have been places like, Young House Love, Design Sponge, and the always inspiring, Poppytalk. In addition, Design Therapy, Bloom Studio, and Apartment Therapy gave me tons of ideas as I was planning my space.

Last night as John was checking his email, I heard him say, ‘You must be joking!’ I knew when I heard him that he was talking about the bedside table and went to his study in time to hear him say, ‘I can’t make that!’ Of course, I had not really expected him to make it, but was only sending him another in a long series of images that had caught my eye.

Now to fully explain the title for this post … a few weeks ago, John ordered a pulley with the intention of hauling a five and half foot unvented hot water tank up into the attic (loft) to provide hot water to the two new en-suites. When he suggested that he and I could lift it up through the smallish opening for the attic space using the pulley, I thought to myself that it might be a difficult task, but being my father’s daughter and having never shirked from heavy lifting, I thought we would manage, especially when John said our next door neighbor would help if necessary.

A few days after that conversation, I came down the corridor from my studio and noticed the attic door was open and the pull-down stairs pushed way back out of the way. When I saw that I knew immediately that something was up and up it certainly was. It seems while I had busied myself with something out of hearing range, the pulley had been delivered and John had used it to hoist the cumbersome tank all by himself. I was both shocked and impressed to find I had been living all this time with … Superman! That man continues to amaze me.

A Trip To The Loo

For anyone not already in the know, a loo here in the UK is slang for toilet. While my new bathroom has one of those, it’s so much more than I initially envisioned when John said that he was building me a room of my own and a bathroom too. I have not done much of the physical work beyond painting and decorating, but I have had the final say in every aspect with the exception of the bathtub’s location. Based on the size I wanted, it could only go in one way and John did a great job making everything fit. He designed the shower in the master bath to accommodate a few more inches in mine since the two bathrooms are back to back. My goal was to make my bathroom unfussy, attractive, and functional without overwhelming the space and I love how it turned out.

The wall color is called Treacle Delight and it’s actually slightly warmer looking than in this image. As much as I love this space, there are a few quirks I want to explain because they’re the kind of things I would probably notice and say, ” I wonder why she did that? “

So in anticipation of some possible questions you may have, here are a few answers in advance. I made a change in the toilet placement that required a box (shelf behind toilet) to cover some of the pipes because the major lines were in place and couldn’t be moved. The creative angle of the toilet paper holder is necessary to because I wanted it on that side and it is too tight to go in the regular way. The last thing I might have done differently is the placement of the radiator. I thought that I would have the bath towel rails hanging above it so the towels might be warmed by its heat, but after the radiator was in place, I decided I wanted the towel rails on the other side of the bathroom. It was too late to move the radiator by then.  A clear plus to having the radiator on the side near the toilet becomes obvious on a cold morning.

I chose the art for this room carefully. The painting and ceramic face you see are two art pieces that I brought from America. I took a large stick from the moor, shaped it up to suit my needs and attached some stems from a cotton plant to echo the rows of cotton in the silkscreen print above.

‘Spirits of the Field’ is the work of my friend Mollye Daughtry, who hails from Alabama, but calls Atlanta home.

The face is one I bought from Michael Barnes, an artist I met in 2004 at The Dogwood Festival in Atlanta Georgia. I noticed on his website, that he will be back this year in a booth at The Dogwood Festival. Look for him if you get a chance and please say hello for me.

Here you can see the repurposed window John used so my space could have more light. Because there are no windows to the outside, these two (the second one is on the other side of the door) provide borrowed light that makes the space seem larger and brighter.

Initially I wanted subway tile in my bathtub area, but all could find were large tiles. I discovered this subway tile look and thought it really worked. (It’s a Laura Ashley tile)

I had the mirrors over the sink made to order (from an online site) and wanted to have two of them for several reasons. One was that I wanted to give the impression that two people could use the sink at the same time even though it will just be me. I’ll show you the second reason later. (notice the other window)

John made the sink stand for me based on my loose directions. I gave him a couple of photographs of some I liked from the internet and asked him to modify and merge them into one for me. I love what he was able to create.  Oh … and my white waste bin in the corner is glass, so if you’ve over for a visit … please be careful what you drop in it. John put all the hardwood floors in as well.

I love the back ledge on the sink. I am still looking for just the right soap dispenser.

I picked these out too. John likes them because they’re energy-efficient.

The sink came with these hand towel holders which I’m using until I decide if I want something else. I think I’m going to stick with these.

Now … back to those mirrors. When the addition was built, my bathroom wall was part of the old exterior wall and had a window in it. John suggested we use the window inset to create a bathroom medicine cabinet even though it only extended about halfway behind the mirrored space.

The cabinet is behind the mirror on the right.

It is a deep, tall, space … perfect for hiding all my stuff.

A last look … what do you think?

A Room Of One’s Own – Week 6 – Update

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I will begin with a picture because that is what today’s post will contain for the most part. As you can see Brian and Bob moved inside after last week. They finished up the outside with a Tyrolean finish and it looks great. The color is slightly brighter, but that’s okay because John wanted to freshen the paint on the rest of the house anyway.

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You can see here where the ceiling is going up along with the scattered bits waiting to be used or carted off.

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Here’s the truck that carried away the skip.

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Brian is plastering over the Artex ceiling that is sadly in all of the rooms. I like it well enough in a few places, but the overall effect tends to make the rooms look smaller and dated. Although this house was built in the 90′s, Artex, the popular finishing method for ceilings in the 70′s has covered the ceilings in all of the rooms until now.

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Bob is making sure the plaster is mixed and ready as Brian needs it. This part has to be done properly or it doesn’t matter how good the person is applying it to the ceiling. They did a really great job covering the Artex and John is pleased every time he looks at the new ceiling.

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Brian and Bob were gracious enough to give me one more photograph before they wrapped things up here for a while.  When they began this project, the back garden looked like this nestled between the back of the house and the garage.

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Before

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After

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Brian and Bob will be away working on another project for bit while John frames out the walls and get all the plumbing and electrical pieces in order. Then B & B will be back to put up the plasterboard (or sheet rock) and finish off the walls and ceiling with plaster.  John will do the tile in the bathrooms and put down the hardwood floors throughout the addition and the master bedroom.

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That’s it for this week. Come back next week to check on us. We’ll still be here shuffling around in the dust.

A Room Of One’s Own – Week 5 – Update

You’ll be amazed at the progress Brian and Bob have made during week five on the new addition, plus John has been getting a bit involved too now that we’re beginning to reach the stage where he’ll be doing some of the inside work. Quite a lot happened last week and I put down the camera long enough to help John move us out of the master bedroom and into the guest room as Brian and Bob broke through the wall that had been the outside wall of the house before construction.

Everything came out of the master including the built in closet or wardrobe that John previously added when he bought the house a few years ago. Houses in the UK don’t come with closets in the bedrooms and it’s up to the owner to decide whether to build one. Our hanging clothes are now up on poles that John hung in the attic or loft as it is often referred to here. The master will have an en-suite bath added and with a new window in a wall that hadn’t had one there before, the whole orientation of the room has shifted.

Additionally, part of our old bedroom will be sacrificed to make a corridor that will lead to my new space taking a bit from the master. As is the way here with many things, rooms are generally smaller and even though this house was built in the 90′s and has larger rooms than most, they would seem small when compared to most homes built in America during the 90′s. My house in Atlanta was built in 1920 so I feel quite at home here, but my first house had huge rooms by comparison which was mostly wasted space. Quite a bit of it was not used except to fill up with more stuff and it was way too expensive to heat and cool. I have long been a fan of  The Not So Big House way of living in Sarah Susanka’s books and I’m excited to be living in a place where people seem to have been living this way for quite some time.

I hope you enjoy the changes and thanks so much for all of the comments you leave each week about the progress…soon I’ll be polling you for thoughts on tile and color choices and if you’ve got any decorative thoughts of dream bathrooms in particular, I’d be happy for you to pass them on for me to consider. I can’t seem to make up my mind and my vision for my space seems to change from week to week.

Remember tomorrow is TMAST and if you’d like to join me in telling a storyplease go here to pick a topic sentence to begin your story. It need not be long even a paragraph will do.  It’s all about practice writing and just for fun.

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Roof tiles waiting to go on the roof.

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Dedication even in the rain…Bob putting the tiles in place.

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With the roof tiles in place,

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Soffits and water drains in place…Brian lets loose a bit as the door frame goes into place minus the glass.

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Adding the glass.

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Break on through to the other side… (Stealing a line from The Doors)  Bob’s in the background.

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Previous outer and inner wall showing insulation between the two. (and Brian)

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Brian and Bob measuring wall for corridor opening and John inside moving and rewiring the internet to make way for window (closet still in this picture)

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New bedroom window.

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Looking in through bedroom window at what will be door to my space. There will be a corridor through part of the old bedroom leading to this entry way.

A Room Of One’s Own – Week 4 – Update

This post is mostly pictures because I managed to get some (arty ones) I really liked of Brian and Bob while building this past week. While they may be used to the odd snap or two by a property owner while working, I think they’re beginning to become a bit more aware of when the camera is around. Both have been such good sports, answering my too many questions at times and flashing me an occasional smile when I’m moving in with my camera trying to get just the right shot to keep things interesting.

No one is safe from the camera not even the people who deliver the big stuff.  Interestingly none of the drivers with the large deliveries seem to even notice the woman with the camera snapping photos from different angles like it’s a red carpet event.

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You can see by the delivery what Brian and Bob worked on for a fair amount of  this past week.

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Brian is putting brackets in place to help anchor the trusses while Bob is doing the same on the other side in the shot below.

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When that’s done, they put the trusses into place.

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I did a little climbing to get this one.

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Brian

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Bob

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That’s all for this weeks update, but remember, tomorrow I’ll have the first TMAST posting so if you’re writing along with me be sure and post yours on your site and send me a link so I can include it with my post tomorrow. If you need a reminder as to what I’m talking about go here and here to join me.  Remember it’s practice writing not perfect writing and it need not be lengthy to post and participate.

A Room Of One’s Own – Week 2 – Update

Last week I introduced you to the work being done in the back garden. Since John first surprised me with the idea of a room of my own, I’ve imagined all the places I could place my desk and what my view might be while writing. I’ve gone back and forth thinking… should I position it so I’d be looking at the wall or would an outside view be better for my creative process. I’m still trying to decide what would be less distracting and better for my work.

Watching Brian and Bob our builders work over the last few weeks has been a lesson in not letting distractions get in the way. They’ve worked steadily through a heat wave while breaking up the concrete for new the plumbing. It looked like tough work making a space beneath the walkway and along the side of the house. They spent the better part of a week digging deep into the backyard (garden) through three or four feet of dirt and rock to lay more pipes for the new bathrooms and making way for the foundation. Recently Brian and Bob have had to work around the rain with enough stops and starts to aggravate even the most patient soul. We’ve had a wet week or two lately and they never seem put off by it.  All along they’ve moved at a pace that John said was faster than he’d imagined possible and we don’t think it will be too long before we see the roof going on.

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A Room Of One’s Own And A Bathroom Too

I have a secret I’ve been keeping from some of you and now that things are taking shape, I feel inclined to share the news. Remember what Virginia Woolf said about a woman needing “a room of one’s own” in order to write fiction…well guess what John is giving me. Yes, that’s right four walls that will exist just to serve me and I get to make all the decisions about fixtures, color, decor, flooring, anything and everything..it’s up to me. Now if a room of my own wasn’t enough by itself…John decided I should have an en-suite bath as well.  As you can see by the building plan we’re actually adding two bathrooms so instead of the bath and a half we currently have, there will soon be three bathrooms and a loo. (half bath)

I can’t begin to tell you how loved I feel by John’s decision to add on to a perfectly reasonably sized 3 bedroom bungalow in order to make me feel more welcome and at home. When I came over last May for three months, he totally restructured the closet in the master bedroom giving me the bulk of the space, later he added extra cabinets in the bathroom and bedroom for me to have enough storage for all the things a woman uses on a regular basis, then he added bookshelves and space in his study for me before revamping the kitchen and later installing more cabinets for my kitchen things that should be arriving any day now.

John’s been so caring and considerate, commenting more than a time or two that he knows how difficult it must have been for me to sell off my things and leave my home and family and move here to live with him. He’s done all these things without my asking, suggesting, or mentioning anything about space.

It’s a tremendous gift he’s giving me and I’m not just talking only about a room of my own. I had an awareness the other day as I was making decisions in my head about how I wanted to do certain things. Having never had the opportunity to design a space from the ground up, I realized I was placing limitations on my creativity out of habit as I’ve always had to work within the framework of those who’d gone before me. The more I thought about this, the more I saw a pattern in some of my creative writing…as in too safe and too predictable. So you see, this room of my own, my quiet place for writing fiction has already has given me a bit of the freedom Virginia Woolf spoke of when she wrote about all the circumstances that kept women of her day from being able to tap into their creative voice. Going forward now, I need to remember sometimes the limitations are not those placed on us by outside conditions, but rather the internal ones we create for ourselves.

I’ll be posting updates in the building process weekly and I hope you’ll come back to see the progress.

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