Making filing more interesting – part two

A few weeks ago my lovely other half spent a whole day doing our household admin. And we still had nowhere to put it. We hadn’t had much time to progress on the filing cabinet – we needed to speed up so we could start to use it!

So, after the clean up last time, it was a case of sanding down the cabinet using medium to rough sandpaper. The more you sand, the better the primer takes.

Got through a lot
Got through a lot

We took all the drawers out and took off all the handles. Some were filthy, so needed to be cleaned, again, and then something stronger was needed. So we popped to our friendly DIY store on Woodgrange Road for some silver polish. It’s funny how some things don’t need to evolve as they are already as good as can be:

SILVO - I remember this from my childhood
SILVO – I remember this from my childhood, works like a charm
What a difference (top vs bottom)
What a difference (top vs bottom)

Then it was time to start the primer. Two coats, on all surfaces (including the drawers and the insides. We are nothing but thorough).

Farrow & Ball Primer for Dark Tones (for metal)
Farrow & Ball Metal Primer for Dark Tones
The drawers were tricky, and drippy...
The drawers were tricky, and drippy…
Even the primer looks nice
Even just the primer looks good…
Primed and ready to go
Primed and ready to go

The primer dried pretty quickly over a day or two, and so, it was time to get the colour started. We were excited to see if we had picked well.

Inside first
Inside first coat (a Friday night paint job)
Top coat...
Top coat…(the next morning, note: daylight)
Now for the outside!
Now for the outside.
Et voila!
Et voila!

So, the two coats are on. And phew, we love the colour! (Blue Ground)

But next, and finally, the drawers need to be done. But, oh, they are not going to be easy…We can’t do all the sides at the same time as they need one clean side to stand up on. So, maybe that will be a job for me for this weekend.

This project has taken the best part of a month so far, but it is nearly there. And its been fun. It’s nice to see something you are making come together.

Final post and hopefully the finished thing coming soon. I, myself, can’t wait to see it.

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The spare room develops…

I found this rather beautiful old mirror in our cellar – a lovely gift left by previous owners from the past. It just needed a good clean and then I thought it was a good find for the spare room, so our first guest, staying soon, could see themselves.

photo 1
Mr Muscle gets to work
photo 2
Cleaned up nicely

Having the cleaning bug, I got to work on the spare room again. I cleaned the windows, and window sills. I re-made the bed. I cleaned the shelving unit. And then I dropped the cloth on the floor and when I picked it up, there was a cleaner, much darker patch and I thought, ah, there are decent floorboards under all this dust. So, out came the bucket and sponge and suddenly I was revealing rather nice, old, floorboards.

Before and after as it happened
Before and after

I wasn’t sure about having floorboards upstairs but it was amazing what a bit of fairy liquid did. Suddenly all thoughts of carpet were gone.

And then it was on to finding some pictures to put up. While the renovation happens our pictures had been safely away in bubble wrap, and before that they were in storage for months, so unwrapping some of them was like saying hello to some old much-loved friends.

I bought this one online after a trip to Chicago and have always loved it, and the colours:

photo 1

My other half got me this great print (bottom left below) from a shop in Columbia Road for my birthday shortly after we met. It used to hang above our sink in our flat in Stoke Newington and amuse me. The illustration next to it is from The Gruffalo’s Child, which I got when I worked on the book in my first job…

SING!

And here is the mirror in place below…along with a gorgeous screen print that was given to me by the very talented picture book and general graphic/digital artist Tom Percival as a gift when I left my second job:

photo 1

Extreme close up
Extreme close up

Pictures have basically gone up wherever there were holes in the walls to cover up…so it’s a little random I must say, but, it’s just so nice to have pictures on walls again, and suddenly, suddenly we have one room that seems lovely, even before we paint it. Here it is (with much thanks again to our inherited bed, delivered and put together excellently by my friends)…

photo 5

photo 2

photo 3

And finally, we needed to shield some unsightly piping and remains of the built in wardrobes before they all get boxed in, so we pinned up a simple white sheet, which though was a pain to put up, seems to have done just the job we needed it to.

photo-31

And here we have it, our first room – one that I would genuinely enjoy spending time in:

photo 4

The spare room exists…

While there hasn’t been much building work progress, as I mentioned in my last post, we have been continuing to find things to go in the house – to try to make it liveable for the time being. So, when a close friend who is also doing some decorating, offered us a double bed for our spare room, we jumped at the chance to take it off their hands.

As we are likely to have family staying with us over Christmas, we knew we had to get the spare rooms in some sort of order soonish, so getting this bed gave us a reason to finish clearing all the boxes and rubbish out of there.

A few weeks back, my other half organised a junk clearance company to come and collect all the building materials and things we’d ripped out during the rewire and plumbing work we’d had done. They were fantastic and I jumped up and down in the new spaces we had that were finally clear.  So after a quick hoover, and moving of some doors from the room (we have four original doors which need to be stripped and rehung at somepoint which are stashed away now), we were then ready for our new delivery.

So, here’s the spare room progression from moving in to now.

The week we moved in.
The week we moved in.
Have I made any progress? 8 weeks in.
Have I made any progress? 8 weeks in.
Remains of the old built in wardrobe
No boxes but, the remains of the old built in wardrobe
What a difference a bed makes!
What a difference a bed makes. 12 weeks after moving in we have a workable spare room.

We still need to repair a wall, revamp a window, paint, and decide on what to do about the floor but, for now – it’s starting to look like a room. And cosy! I even picked up a cute clock just in Ikea at the weekend which I thought gave it a homely feel.

So. Now. Who wants to be the first guest?

Making filing more interesting – part one

It’s been a few weeks since I blogged. Hey, I guess I have been having a life outside my house! Yay me.

We’ve both been busy, and the house has been having a quiet period. And while it does we have been looking around for things to go in the house when its done. One thing we talked about getting for a while was a filing cabinet. Anyone that owns a house knows there is a lot of paperwork that goes with it. And while my professional filing strategy is filing paper in the BIN as long as I have a digital copy, that doesn’t quite work for household admin. You always need to know where to find your mortgage agreement, council tax bill, driving licence etc, so, we wanted a filing cabinet. And personally I think they are one thing that can be practical, but beautiful, if you get an old one or work one up.  So, we have been on the lookout.

A few weeks ago I visited this Discount Office Furniture warehouse in Manor Park, E12 after a recommendation by a family member. They have a great selection of used office furniture – desks, chairs, filing cabinets, bookcases – and the occasional gems. We went back last weekend for another look and found the below, and old 15 drawer filing cabinet which we liked the look of:

Complete with old stickers
Complete with old stickers

We talked to the guy in the warehouse about advice for revamping it, and the first step in the process was to get it all cleaned up, before sanding it down if we wanted to repaint it. So far, we’ve just managed the cleaning part but we have ordered some paint for the next instalment.

Cleaning it up actually took a while. It had a lot of residual glue marks from old stickers on it (why do people use stickers when the handles have a place to put paper labels?) – so we grabbed a bottle of white spirit, a bowl of soapy water and got cleaning:

Elbow grease
Elbow grease

I was on quality control duty while the other half white spirited and scrubbed at the leftover glue:

I sent a few back
I sent a few back

The inside was pretty filthy so I grabbed the soapy water and a scourer and got to work:

cleaning inside
Looking better

And then it was putting all the drawers back in, and drying it all off before making our own labels:

Cleaned up nice
Cleaned up nice

Pretty pleased with how its looking so far.

While making our own labels we found a few old ones from the previous owners. It seems this was no ordinary office filing cabinet:

Also found one that said 'Information Profiling'. Hmm.
Also found one that said ‘Information Profiling’. Hmm.

This may have held a few secrets in its time. And I’m pretty sure our paperwork will be far less controversial than the ‘Stop and Searches’ that were previously held in here.

While the original unit looks great, we decided that it might be interesting to paint it with a bright colour to make it more of a feature. We’ve picked ‘Blue Ground’ by Farrow & Ball which might not be a usual filing cabinet colour but we’ll see what happens. The next stages are to rough it up with sandpaper (apparently the rougher it is, the better the paint will take), give it a coat of primer and then two coats of the paint (Farrow & Ball do metal paint versions of all their colour options). We’ve gone for a silky finish rather than matt or gloss, which I hope will echo the original metal finish.

So, the paint has arrived and now we just need to find the time to get the next stage done. Which, is easier said than done.

Part two to come soon…