Tuesday, 19 February 2013


It goes without saying that if you are painting woodwork with a gloss or satinwood paint, it is best to do this in the Summer when all the windows can be opened for ventilation.  Paint fumes can be a pain, especially if you are using oil based paints in the Winter and don’t want all your heating going out the windows. 
There are various tips online for eliminating the nasty smell, and one that I have tried and it seems to work is to slice onions in half, place them in a dish of water and position near the painted area.  The onions do seem to absorb the smell, although they also emit a slight oniony smell, but overall the smell of fresh paint disappears quicker.  It also gives your rooms a temporary Voodoo / Juju design aesthetic that can intrigue visitors. 

All our cut MDF for the Alcove Project arrived on Saturday and I’ve already started priming the wood for painting ready for assembling it.  Luckily the primer seems to be odourless and is touch dry within an hour.  I have two tins of Dulux Satinwood from last Summer when I started painting the doors but I’m loathed to use them because of the unpleasant smell. 

I read that Crown have done extensive research on this smelly problem and have cracked it by bringing out a special  Breatheasy® formulation that has the lowest level ratings of VOC (volatile organic compounds) and are odourless.  They actually have a non-drop satin paint for wood & metal and that should hopefully solve my problem.  I really can’t wait to get the cabinets and bookshelves put up!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


It’s totally shameless not to have updated this blog since October, but I can assure you that since then various bits of work have gone on: The bamboo flooring was laid in the living room at the end of last year and beginning of this one.  It looks beautiful.  However, we can’t continue laying more flooring in the other rooms until we free up some space.  Since most of it is consumed by my mountains of books with nowhere to place them, the solution seems to be to crack on and build the alcove units and bookcases in the living room.  This should help alleviate the problem.

The last few weekends have been spent with measuring up & sketching out a logical way to build them.   As the final product will be painted white to match the architraves and skirting, we’ve decided to build them out of 30mm MDF, which should result in some robust units and avoid sagging shelves (one of my pet hates).  The bookshelves in the living room will mainly be for the growing collection of over-sized art books so they need to support a lot of weight.

Photograph: www.caligaricabinets.co.uk

The various quotes online I’ve seen for alcove cabinets with bookshelves have varied from £750 - £1200 per unit so I’m hoping that building them ourselves will save us a fair bit of money.  The material costing of 3 units worked out at around £120 per unit (excluding doors & handles).  The third unit is a slim line unit for bedroom one to accommodate the smaller books with a 4 door cabinet below for DVDs & CDs.  I'd love to have them custom built but sadly my budget doesn't stretch that far, but there are plenty of pictures online (as left and below) for inspiration.

 The advantage of custom made furniture is that you can utilise the space as you want to, to suit your needs rather than trying to buy pre-made cabinets and ending up with a lot of dead space.

The motif in the living room is going to be glass so I've sourced some lovely square glass cabinet handles, but more on that later.

Photograph: www.peterhendersonfurniture.co.uk