Harry Potter Home Office

It seems that I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, and even when I do go back to the office I think it will only be for a couple of days a week with the rest of the time working from home. So, with that in mind, I decided to put some of my last three week stretch of furlough to good use and I made my home office/spare bedroom more functional and comfortable.

Unfortunately I was so eager to get going that I completely neglected to take before photos so I’ll have to describe it instead. My desk was in the alcove to the right of the chimney breast so essentially I was staring at the wall all day. The end of the bed was immediately behind me so I couldn’t properly turn in my chair. There were heavy curtains that blocked out the little light that makes it past next door’s forest and it had grotty carpet that was here when we moved in. Oh, and it wasn’t Harry Potter themed!

It is now!!!

I decided I wanted laminate on the floor, and I’d already decided that I was going with a Harry Potter theme (as you can see from the wall art), so I chose laminate that looks like a stone floor to emulate Hogwarts Castle.

We had to take up the dingy old carpet and underlay and then clean the floorboards underneath and then operation laminate commenced.

We’d never laid laminate before, but it’s pretty easy. The hardest part is measuring it properly and going round awkward pipes and edges.

Once the floor was down we got all the furniture back in and rearranged so that I was no longer shoved in a corner with no space.

I’d already painted the Free Dobby mural on the chimney breast. I had to do this freehand – there’s woodchip on the walls so stencils or stickers are a no go.

For once I don’t mind that we have woodchip because it fits in quite well with the old and shabby nature of Harry Potter.

Now came the fun bit – accessorising!

I upcycled a box table that I’ve had for close to twenty years which had seen better days.

I gave the bottom two coats of red and used gold paint around the edge of the lid. These are Gryffindor colours, the house that Harry, Ron and Hermione belong to at Hogwarts. I then drew the HP on the side and painted it gold, and finally I stuck Marauders map wallpaper on the top and added a sheet of Perspex on the top.

I also added Harry Potter wallpaper to the existing bin, an empty and thoroughly cleaned tin of chickpeas and a shelf.

Next I Potterised a cheap paper light shade.

I cut golden snitches out of gold card and attached them and I made wings for some keys and hung them from the bottom. The golden snitch is one of the balls that are used in the game of Quidditch and the flying key appear in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

I found stickers on Amazon for the light switch.

These are the spells to illuminate the end of your wand to see by, and then extinguish it.

I got rid of the heavy curtains and added a plain white blind instead, and I stuck the crests of each house, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin, along it.

I decided to create some more wall art.

Again, freehand because of the woodchip. These are the Quidditch goals and the golden snitch.

I continued with the creativity and pimped up the litter tray area.

I found this amazing piece of wood in B&Q and made a screen by painting it red (leaving the amazing bark at the top) and drawing on a Harry Potter silhouette. I attached some legs which I’d painted gold.

I made the sign by painting a bit of wood that I picked up from B&Q’s reject bin and adding a sticker that I got from Amazon and a cord that I made from some cotton yarn. We also invested in some bigger litter trays to be doubly sure that little furbabies don’t miss and christen the new flooring! The sign says ‘this way to the Ministry of Magic’ and the significance is that in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, witches and wizards gain entry to the Ministry by standing in a public toilet and flushing themselves down!

On one wall I created a portrait gallery.

These pictures don’t talk to you like the ones at Hogwarts, but it’s a good way to showcase all our photos from the Harry Potter studios in Watford and from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

You’ll also spy Crookshanks, Hermione’s pet cat just disappearing off the edge of the photo, and in the corner is Marilla the mermaid which was the project in my last Little Box of Crochet. Perfectly timed! She’s joined all the other magical creatures.

On the final wall I was umming and ahing about possibly maybe painting a dragon across the whole wall. The silhouette wall art is one thing, but a realistic dragon (because clearly they exist!) in colour is quite another prospect. Whilst I was still pondering, I came across some cross stitches and a long stitch piece that I did in 2000 and had never got round to framing, and they’re perfect for the theme. I quickly found a framer, and yesterday I picked them up.

I LOVE them!

There you have it. A very productive furlough and it’s so much more pleasant ‘going’ to work now I have a magical room! I’ve got a few ideas of little improvements to make, but it’s pretty much finished. On to the rest of the house now then!

Safari Lodge Bathroom Reveal

I’ve been waiting for the final piece of the jigsaw to arrive before I wrote this post, and finally this week it arrived so I can have my ta da moment!

Our bathroom had become what can only be described as dingy so we decided before Christmas that the time had come (and probably passed several months previously!) for us to do something about it.

See what I mean? It was clean, it was just impossible to make it look clean!

We didn’t want to rip all the fixtures out and add to landfill when there was nothing wrong with them functionally, so we chose instead to work with what we already had. My Dad, DIY extraordinaire, had previously fitted panels to my brother and sister-in-law’s bathroom as well as my Aunt and Uncle’s, so we decided to go down that route and had the panels and various paraphernalia delivered just before Christmas.

My Dad and C were on standby to assist when my new nephew arrived, and he was due in February so we decided to wait till he’d said hello to the world before we got cracking on the bathroom. He arrived safely, and, thank goodness, before the lockdown so he could meet his Grandparents.

Welcome to the world Leon Rye (more about that bunny blanket another time – one of my creations!) I’m glad you don’t know how crazy things are at the moment!

So, sometime towards the end of February my Dad arrived on a Saturday with the contents of his workshop in the back of his car, and we got cracking.

Shower came off first. I was just trying to work out why both the taps are in the ‘on’ position, and then realised it’s because we’d turned the water off. D’oh!

Then we started the process of cutting the panels down to size. Mantra of the day: measure twice, cut once! It gave my Dad the perfect reason (excuse?) to buy a fancypants new jigsaw. My multipurpose tool came into use too. We ended up with blue snow all over the house, and it was really slippy! Cue much skating up and down the hall!

This is where we left it at the end of day one looking much better, and infinitely cleaner!

It doesn’t look like there was much to finish on day two, but it was deceiving. We did the window reveal and all the edging. Sometimes the smaller jobs take as much time, if not more, than the bigger jobs with more impact.

This is how it looked at the end of day two. Sooooo clean! I loved it immediately and my creative brain starting coming up with ideas for how to accessorise. This is where I come into my own!

The first thing that came to mind, was a giraffe that I knew I’d seen (and coveted) somewhere! Now this might sound a bit odd, but it’s where the whole safari idea started to form. Roll with it!

I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I found some amazing tiles from Wayfair, ordered them and then sat impatiently drumming my fingers until they arrived (I may have gone to work in the meantime, but I was mentally drumming!)

Here they are in the process of laying them. Aren’t they gorgeous!

I found the perfect shower curtain from Wayfair as well. I think it helps to make the conversion to safari lodge rather than just bathroom full of animals.

I found the Relax sticker in the background on Amazon and thought it added a certain je ne sais quoi.

By this time, the piece de resistance, the giraffe, had arrived and she now stands regally in the corner, surveying her domain. I’ve no idea where I originally saw them, but this one is a Fairtrade one.

I fortuitously decided to make a trip to the Dunelm and the Range the weekend before the lockdown and picked up the finishing pieces and also managed to find some tile paint in the perfect colour.

I’ve always hated the random patterns in some of our tiles …

… so I decided to paint them.

Turns out it was the colour that I didn’t like, not the pattern. Now they’re a lovely colour they fit in perfectly with the rest of the bathroom.

Here’s the rest of what I bought.

See that elephant hook? It’s balanced on a tack there, but I decided to be brave and drill tile for the first time ever! This necessitated a trip to Homebase to pick up a tile drill bit. The end result is, well, see for yourself.

I’d love to say I purposely gave them a jaunty head tilt, but that would only be partly true! The first one (on the right) ended up wonky due to, I guess, substandard drilling skills, so I did the second one on the slant too to balance it out. But hey, I have a head tilt due to the squint in my right eye, so maybe these heffalumps are just particularly empathetic to my plight! I’m counting it as a success! I didn’t crack the tiles and the hooks are fully functional!

The final touch is a well travelled monkey! I ordered a new light pull from Etsy and had it sent to work, but then the lockdown happened and we all had to work from home. It hadn’t arrived by then and, as it turns out, yours truly had somehow managed to put my work address with our home postcode! D’oh again! It finally made its way back to the seller and she kindly sent it out again to home and now it hangs on the light desperately catching its breath after all that to-ing and fro-ing!

It’s hard to get a decent picture of the overall effect, being the smallest room in the house, but here’s the best I could do.

I ummed and ahed about the monkey candle, but the first time I lit him, I knew I’d made the right choice.

So relaxing to have a candlelit bath.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my bathroom talk! I’m happy I’ve finally been able to do the big reveal. Massive thanks to Dad for making it possible. Just need to beat this corona business now so people can actually come and see it in person!

Dressing Room Transformation

I’ve had a productive weekend. Firstly I’ve deleted Candy Crush (again) so I haven’t wasted hours on that, and secondly, I’ve transformed my dressing room. That makes us sound really posh. We’re not, we don’t have a west wing or anything like that, I just commandeered the little front bedroom when we moved in and designated it my dressing room.

Our house is an old house, and ventilation isn’t great, and we compounded that a while ago by removing the extractor fan in the bathroom (because it leaked every time it rained and two roofers/builders couldn’t work out how to stop it) so in the colder months we have a condensation problem. As you can see, my wardrobe had no doors because I was going for a walk in wardrobe type of feel, but it meant that the condensation got into my wardrobe and occasionally I’d take an item I hadn’t worn for a while out and it would smell damp. I decided I needed doors so I took myself off to Ikea.

The room instantly looks twice the size because of the mirrors. It also means you shock yourself as you enter the room!

Obviously it’s completely impossible to leave Ikea with only what you went to buy so the room got a bit more of a transformation than I was planning!

This ……

….. became this.

It was all looking so much better and I decided I needed a change of window dressing and light fitting so I perused B&Q’s website and chose new fittings. I fell in love with a chandelier. I wasn’t sure if the new mirror doors would bash it, but I bought it anyway.

So, here’s the chandelier in our living room! It was too long but it looks better in the living room anyway. I put the one from the living room in my dressing room and I’m happy with how it looks.

I was quite sad to take the old curtains down because they were made by my own fair hand and I love the fabric, but they were starting to look a little shabby and they really didn’t keep any light out because I didn’t line them.

I’ve kept the fabric and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it at some point in the future.

Putting the new blind up was a little tricky, and I’ve already warned hubby to be really careful if he needs to open or close it. An old house means old plaster and bricks, and when you drill you can never be quite sure how it’s going to turn out! Three out of four of the rawl plugs are pretty secure, but the fourth is a bit dodgy and could easily come out. Luckily it’s not on the side with the drawstring so hopefully it’ll hold (at least until I can ask a certain DIY talented Dad if he thinks it will need looking at). Anyway, here it is.

I’m really pleased with the improvement.

It’s difficult to get a picture of the whole room because it’s so small, and practically impossible to avoid snapping myself in the mirror doors, but here’s my best attempt.

A successful weekend’s work I think!

I’m going to finish with a picture of a new acquisition. My uncle gave me Next vouchers for my birthday so I decided to pop out and see if there was anything I could get. I got a few bits and bobs, but my favourite was this bowl which I’m using as a fruit bowl.

I love it and it looks great on our white worktop. As you can see from this picture, as well as the last few of my dressing room, I like stars. I’m always drawn to them.

Well, early start tomorrow so I’ll finish here. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my transformation.