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…

Complicated bathrooms and building sites

It’s a happy day in E7. Today our slightly odd en-suite was mostly ripped out. I say slightly odd as the loo in the en-suite was a Saniflo toilet. This is one of those loos that doesn’t need to be plumbed in, and has a macerator underneath it. It’s a solution for spaces where you can’t make your bathroom waste pipe reach the soil stack, without making major alterations to your house. However, as we found when we moved in, our one was very loud (not ideal in the middle of the night) and quite smelly. We are lucky to have a main bathroom downstairs so we haven’t been using it since we moved in, so when we had a plumber coming to do a few other bits we decide to get rid of it!

The ensuite before
The ensuite before

And it's gone!
And it’s gone!

We’ve been consulting with builder and plumber friends and they think we should be able to plumb in a toilet, its just going to be a bit tricky as we need to run pipes underneath another room. Or raise the floor a little.

Luckily, this is how the other room looks at the moment:

Not too much problem disturbing this room
Not too much problem disturbing this room

This did have a fitted wardrobe at the end until today and a lot of leftover pipes from an old boiler, so our plumber has been working out which ones he can remove or take elsewhere. The plan, in the near future, is to try to run our waste pipe under this floor (our spare room) and out the back. At least the floor already had to come up when we rewired, so the disturbance has already been started, and we don’t need to use this room for a while (sorry would-be overnight guests!).

The current en-suite is long and thin, and we are hoping to split the room into two, and use one end for a wardrobe, and the other end for the bathroom, moving the toilet as close to the back of the house as we can (which should mean it ends up just behind the wall in the picture above where all the pipes are). We have some complicated decisions to come about where to put doors, whether to change windows, and exactly how much hanging space we need in our wardrobe area – but that is the fun part to come!

For now, we no longer have an old Saniflo in our bedroom (essentially, as the en-suite never had a door) and while our house is becoming more like a building site as the days go on, it all still feels like progress.

In the meantime I will be dreaming of the massive luxury of having space to hang clothes and being able to go for a quiet wee in the middle of the night without waking the neighbours.