Utility Room – From Mouldy to Marvelous

I wasn’t sure whether to write this blog… because it involves showing you pictures of our mouldy utility room. But I decided to share because I’m really happy with our marvelous new utility room and I love “before & after” home images!

So I’m going to start with the reasons (excuses) for living with a mouldy utility room for much longer than I want to admit…

After I last decorated this room we had two washing machine related floods. Our standpipe is a bit short and in an awkward position making it difficult to to get the pipe from the washing machine in the right position. Too far down and the water backed up and overflowed, too high up and the pipe can pop out.

These floods ruined the lovely wooden floor my Dad had laid (but he had also plumbed in the washing machine to be fair…). We tried to save it but it just wouldn’t dry out and the wood was badly warped. So Dad helped me to tile the floor and we now have a contraption to keep the washing machine pipe in place!

But these floods in an unheated room and leaving the floor sitting damp for weeks in an attempt to save it – meant that black mould crept in.

We also had water leaking in through the back wall at one point. Luckily it was nothing major – just minor issues with some wonky guttering, some re-pointing that needed doing and a broken slab sitting on top of our corner chimney stack. Fixing the issues stopped the water coming in but left us with more damp and areas where the top layer of plaster was just crumbling away if you touched the wall.

So that leads me on to why I left it for so long!

There are two reasons. Firsty – I knew it was a huge job and wanted to wait until we had some time to do it properly. It’s a storage room with a lot of stuff in it so getting everything out meant the rest of the house was a mess and we needed to know we could do the job fairly quickly.

Secondly – we don’t live in there! We store things in there and walk through the room to get to the back garden but we don’t sit in there and look around. It’s surprisingly easy to ignore the damp and crumbling walls if you’re not sitting and looking at them.

We’re planning to do a lot of decorating this year and telling ourselves that we’re not allowed to do the fun rooms until we’ve done the utility room motivated us to find the time.

Beardie did a fantastic job with some pretty toxic black mould cleaner and sandpaper (wearing a mask & goggles… health & safety first!) and got rid of the worst of the black mould (below left).

Then Dad stepped in and taught me how to plaster. It was only the top layer that was coming away, so we just needed to skim it… but I officially love plastering and am sort of hoping I need to do more when we decorate the kitchen!

I didn’t get a decent picture of just the plastering – but you can see the beautifully smooth re-plastered corner (above right) with a coat on damp-seal on it.

Before & After

The newly waxed cupboard and pallet shelves give us much more practical storage and we no longer have the garden cushions falling on our heads whenever we open a cupboard door!

Look… no mould!

Less cluttered hooks after moving our larger reusable bags and my yoga mat to the new pallet shelves.

And most importantly – Noodle loves his new window. As we haven’t put a blind up yet he has a fantastic view of the fence!

We used Little Greene Intelligent Matt Emulsion in Air Force Blue and it easily covered in 2 coats.

Pallet Shelves

Project house re-juj is in full swing! We had glorious weather over the Easter weekend so I finished waxing our new cabinet and built some shelves in the sunshine.

After taking apart an old pallet I acquired from my neighbour, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wood and how lovely it looked when sanded down and waxed. I decided it would be perfect for some shelving in our utility room.

I’m rubbish at taking photos while I’m doing DIY. Partly because my hands are messy, but mostly because I’m having too much fun and I forget! So I did a lot in between the last and the next photo…

There was a fair amount of making it up as I went along, but I worked out the size beforehand based on what we would be keeping on the shelves, the space we have and also the lengths of the planks. I even used my set square!

I made the top shelf deeper because this is where we’ll be storing our garden bench cushions… it looks a bit odd without the cushions on it.

The finishing touches were a cross brace at the back to make it sturdier and of course… wax!

It’s exactly what we need and there’s even space for more stuff if needed – I think my yoga mat will fit on the top shelf as well.

After waxing I started to wonder I preferred the pale wood… but it matches the cabinet it will be sitting next to and I think the dark wood will look lovely against the new blue walls (when we paint them…).

The wood really does look gorgeous and rustic!

I bought some more wax and one piece of wood for the cross brace – but apart from that the whole thing is made from a reclaimed pallet and bits & bobs I already had.

I can’t wait to get paint on the walls and get everything back in! Did you do any bank holiday DIY?

First steps

I’ve now completed my first week as my own boss and it’s been pretty good!


Despite the fact that it’s been non-stop, I don’t feel I’ve been very productive- because I haven’t been doing ‘proper’ work!

Before I get started, I think it’s really important to have a nice environment to work in. But tidying and decorating always takes longer than I think- especially when the room starts off looking like this!

I’ve always tried to keep my workroom fairly organised, but more recently it’s been a case of just plonking things in there and closing the door. The room has doubled up as a spare bedroom as well, which means that I haven’t had the storage space I’ve needed and I end up with piles of stuff on the bed. I’ve admitted defeat on that one, and my guests will now be staying on a fold up bed that I can store under the stairs!


wpid-img_20140718_095919.jpgIt’s a really small room, but with the bed removed and some classic Ikea shelving purchased, I’m hoping to make it a practical, tidy and pretty space to work in.

I’ve set up a making room board on Pinterest with a few ideas and I’m very excited about making a little shelving unit like this, to sit above my desk.

I was hoping to be a bit further along by Friday- I even thought I might have some paint on the walls! But at least the room is empty(ish) and ready for paint.

wpid-img_20140718_095616.jpgI also think it’s important to have somewhere comfy to sit in a workroom, so I snapped up this Ercol armchair for a bargain price on Ebay. It needs a lot of  love and my dad is going to try and sand it down to take it back to the pale wood before I get started on the fun part- making cushions for it!

Hopefully by the end of next week I’ll have some paint on walls!